“Just Stick Out Your Thumb”

montreal

In the spring of 1967, I took another road trip.This one didn’t involve one car, but many. My boyfriend at the time(who later married my roommate, but that’s another story!) and I decided to go from Cambridge to Montreal to visit the World’s Fair. Neither of us had a car, but that didn’t seem to matter. We decided we would hitchhike.

At this time, the fastest way to get to Montreal would have been on the New York Thruway for most of the way. However, New York State was vigorously enforcing anti-hitchhiking laws. That left us Vermont. We caught our first ride across Massachusetts to Route 7 in Vermont and were determined to hitch up it to Canada. We were beyond ignorant of what we were planning. In those years, drivers on Route 7 were 1. few and far between and 2. not ever going more than 5 or 10 miles. We spent a day hopping through Vermont in very short spurts.

My favorite ride came courtesy of a family who passed us by and then circled back around to let us in the car. My boyfriend had long scraggly hair and I had straight long hair. The family said,”We never met any real hippies before, so we were curious.” They drove us 10 miles before letting us out.

Our last hitch was with a man in a Cadillac who stopped for us near the Canadian border. He was wearing a crash helmet, which ought to have been a warning, but we needed a ride. He could take us to the outskirts of Montreal. He drove like a maniac, and of course got pulled over by the Canadian border patrol who thoroughly searched his car for contraband. Fortunately for us clueless students, we were all waved through. It turned out he was well known by the guards!

We had a wonderful time at the Fair, staying with relatives.

We took Greyhound home.

7 thoughts on ““Just Stick Out Your Thumb”

  1. I am also waiting to hear that ex-boyfriend story.
    This is a lovely post. Speaking of hitch-hiking, I think it was probably safer then (1967) than now. Not that I know anything about New York in the sixties but it seems that a fear-factor has enforced the laws more than the law enforcement officers.

  2. I think it was much more common and generally considered safe. Most people I knew did it and also picked up hitchhikers. I think everyone associates it with serial killers now and avoids it.

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