We rode the thumb into and out of Lincoln within three hours. My thumb is not more than a puny couple of inches and it bends backwards like a wiry gymnast. And yet my thumb goes out when Jacob and I need a hitch. We figure we don’t look too scary, if but a tad dirty, and certainly smelly. All the rides we’ve had have involved full on open windows. When we rolled down to Rogers Pass this morning and decided to try to catch a Nero in town, I stuck that back bending puny thumb out into the air, and after a few minutes a large truck pulling a camper pulled over. A taller bearded man with a navy hat got out and asked us where we were headed. Scott was going to visit his son in Washington, who is apparently a survivalist living off the grid. Scott hauled his camper to make the week long visit more pleasant.
This is what I love about riding the thumb. You sit with a stranger in a fast moving metal box and you have to trust them and they have to trust you. Scott dropped us off in the middle of town where people in lawn chairs lined the streets waiting for a rodeo parade. As Jacob mentioned our attempt at a rest day was sort of a failure. But we got to get some snacks, charge the phone, watch horse drawn carriages hand out beer and candy, and we sat in more than one fast moving metal box with more than one kind stranger. On the way out of town after the thumb went up we were picked up by Jimmy and his dog. He took us halfway to the pass and we were back on the pavement. Trucks and cars flew by and a large bus was followed by a beat up yellow VW bus. A hippie bus! We thought for sure it would stop and sure enough it did.
“Thanks for picking us up.” I said as we crawled into what was the living space that Joseph was currently using.
“Don’t thank me, I’m just the messanger. Thank Jesus. A worn bible sat on his dashboard, and a few personal things were strewn about.
“This car hasn’t been running so well but we don’t really know where we’re going anyway do we? God knows.” Joseph whistled when he talked.
“We’re going to Rogers Pass.” Jacob said.
Joseph pushed the old bus into gear and we were flying down the two-lanes and be was telling us all about how he had come from a 40 day fast in Israel. And he picked up people traveling and told them about scripture. At one point he told us how he has a psalm a day to live by and when Jacob asked what today’s was he pulled the bible off the dashboard, taking his hands off the wheel as we approached a curve in the road. When Jacob told him he could help look it up Joseph said, “are you ready to die today? If God says its time?”
It reminded me of traveling in buses in Tanzania.
Well we didn’t die. Joseph dropped us off wishing us blessings. We hiked another few hours and are camped and in bed and close to the divide.
Jacob and I talked about the people we meet while hiking or not hiking, how their lives are on different trajectories, but how for a time our lives cross and we are touched and then we go off and they go off and we don’t know how the stories go.
I wish the stories go well for Scott, Jimmy, and Joseph.