I would like to have stayed in Newcastle and done nothing another day or so, but there were things to do in London before I flew back home. So I put out the old thumb and waited for my ride. And I waited for my ride. And I waited for my ride. But none came forth. For 12 hours I stood off and on in a drizzle. The gloomy sun set.

There is an art to hitching. Look drivers in the eye as they go by and smile. Serial killers are not known for their smile. Make sure the weather is sunny. Folks are not friendly when they or the weather are gloomy. Be cheerful. Be young. Be pretty. I never caught a ride after I turned 50. Take off the hat and show your hair, but be not too hairy. Pick a spot where cars can stop easily, and where you won't get smushed. Most of all, learn to listen. An empathetic ear can cure the world. Missionaries usually create more dis-ease.


I sought shelter from more drizzle. I found an abandoned machine shop nearby smeared with grease. I spread newspapers on an oily tabletop, followed by my poncho and sleeping bag. Maybe tomorrow would be a better day, but It was not to be. During this miserable day, I had only made it 8 miles south across the Tyne to Gateshead. This equaled my worst day of hitching since that scorching day, June 6th in Cáceres, plus today I had rain too.


This day was Mom's 69th birthday.
As I write this,
August 24th, 2013,
Mom would have been 107.
Happy Birthday, Mom!