Landing in Las Vegas wasn’t what I expected. I can usually get a ride around one to two days or few hours.
There seems to be a consensus among all types of drivers that the cellphone is king. Las Vegas is a example of the extreme. Just about everyone I saw was glued to the phone.
Well it didn’t matter anyway because I was sitting in the truck stop parking lot under a small tree sitting in my lawn chair holding a sign for Montana. Montana is a straight shot north from Vegas on I-15 . Straight or not the temps were in the high 90’s on that asphalt at the truck stop. This was around 10 am.
Finally there became a chance to talk to a few truck drivers that walked by and I learned that previous hitch hikers had destroyed any chances of getting a ride out of this truck stop. It only takes a few to screw it up for others.
One tall man walked by and was asking me where in Montana I was going and I said Missoula. Well he mentioned that he and his girl friend were going to take a plane but hadn’t decided.
Well a few minutes later an employee of the truck stop comes over to me and says ican’t hitch on the property. Oh! Well time to move on . Just on the edge of the property was that same man who spoke to me earlier on, now he is sitting outside with his girlfriend next to an older 1990’s Dodge RV. Its one of those short RV’s.
Well the woman says if I’m going to Missoula would I be interested in Driving the RV and taking all three of us there. SURE!! I showed her my valid California Drivers license and we made a verbal contract. I would drive them if they provided the gas. “It’s a deal”, they say. So here we are waiting for kind folks to give the man work and get the gas tank, 40 gallons worth filled so we can leave. 4 days later we were on the road.
We managed to fly a sign at different Walmart’s begging for gas and whatever. First in Utah then a couple of places in Idaho. It was the 1st day after memorial day and people were feeling pretty generous. Finally the last place we landed in Idaho we waited until the early morning hours of the first day of June and the lady received a monthly check into her account. Now we could fill up with gas anywhere.
So off we go, rolling the rest of the way through Idaho and into the Montana high country. It was averaging around 35 degrees at night and 45 in the daytime enhanced with strong wind a scattered rain mixed in. I drove straight thru to Missoula that early morning and into the early afternoon the same day on the 2nd of June .
We arrived one day ahead of time before her son was to have graduation ceremonies from high school. We made it. I stayed at friend of theirs home for about two days then I walked out on Russell St. early in the morning headed towards the interstate.
The City of Missoula has grown since I remember it back in 1980 when Mt. St. Helen’s dropped a foot of ash all over me. That was a sight back then.
Jean Andre Vallery