All the minivans, trucks and trailers on the major and minor highways during the summer months takes me back to a road trip adventure I had back in the early eighties.
I was with my then boyfriend, Greg, and a guy we had met hitch-hiking along the Alaska Highway in the Yukon Territory of Canada. We had been trying to get a ride for some time and even with the endless stream of traffic, no one wanted to stop for three road weary travelers; two men with three day growth and long shag haircuts, and one woman not looking very sexy in an ankle length stonewashed jean skirt and hair tied back in a bandana, although the halter top was pretty seductive. We had just given up and were discussing where we might go to find a place to sleep for the night when a slick new Winnebago pulled over. The door hissed open and a jovial man with thinning grey hair and a welcome smile invited us in.
Joe was in his early fifties, which seemed incredibly old to us at the time. His wife Margery tried to look younger with her synthetic red wig curled snugly around her narrow head and a painted face caked with foundation. She sat at the fold-down linoleum table mixing cocktails, her long lacquered nails clicking against the plastic pitcher as she stirred, her black false eyelashes fluttering in a summer breeze that blew in through the screened window. It was splattered with dead bugs.
The door shut tight as a suction and we were on our way north from Dawson Creek to our next destination, which was wherever our ride took us. We could not believe our good fortune as Margery passed us each an icy martini from a jug in the cooler below the minibar. Then she pulled out a tin of Tetley Tea, opened it and pulled out a large rolled joint. She lit up and passed it to Frank, our traveling companion.
We set our backpacks down and settled into the comfy leatherette benches on either side of the table, feeling rather smug, as if we’d won the lottery. This was the ride of all rides. Then Margery took a martini from the cooler and handed it to Joe.
“Thanks toots,” he said as he downed the drink in one swallow. So, where you kids headed?” His words slurred together into one.
It was then it hit us. These two friendly people were completely smashed and we had just embarked on what would be the wildest ride of our lives.
To be continued…