No luck in Southern California

Toyoder

Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2024
Messages
6
Reaction score
21
Location
Alaska
So.. little trip update for ya'll on some traveling I did this last week.

So I came down to the states from Alaska for a few weeks to visit family and friends and get a break from the cold and dark -- Jan/Feb is when the winter really starts to drag on.
Ended up in LA with the intention of making my way north to Portland/Seattle where I had some other friends I wanted to see.

Landed in LA in mid February when they were expecting the second round of crazy weather to come through. Already knew that I probably wasn't going to be able to take my preferred route (101) because of weather/road closures/etc.. So I decided to do something that seemed logical at the time, but in hindsight I'm not so sure about.. head east. I took public transit to San Bernadino with the hope of either hitting I-15 to east of the Sierras or if I got a ride all the way out to Nevada, well fuck it, why not go out there? Got to SB kind of late, so I bedded down for the night, not far from the bus station (tried to find a spot that wasn't gonna be encroaching on anyone cause there were lots of folks out on the streets).

Next morning I catch a bus out of the city to a place that looked promising, an on-ramp to I-15. I hitched there for a few hours (somewhere between 2-3 hours) with no luck. It starts raining lightly.. I'm not sure if I'm gonna get picked up in the rain, or if there's enough traffic at this on-ramp for it to make sense to hitch here. So after feeling a little bored and thinking I might've found a better spot, I walked north about 4 miles to another on-ramp. When I got there I realized it was a worse spot than the last.. no room for cars to pull over and it's a weird on-ramp that had both SB and NB traffic, not ideal.

At this point I realized that I was fairly close to somewhere I had been before -- only other time I'd been to SoCal was for wildland fire work a few years back and we had a fire right off the interstate in San Bernardino. I remembered there being a rest stop and lots of traffic, so I thought that might be a good spot to hitch out of. Look it up on the map and sure enough, it's about 4 miles west of where I was. I start walking that way. The light rain that had been drizzling all day turned into a real, heavier rain. I kept walking. Somewhere along the way I stopped in a giant culvert to smoke a cigarette and thought how nice it'd be to spend the night there.. if only there wasn't a little river running through it! Eventually make it to this rest stop/gas station right near this on-ramp.

I'm standing there, in the rain, completely soaked.. thinking how I probably looked like a drowned rat. Wondering who's crazier, me for trying to hitchhike, completely soaked in a downpour, or anyone who'd be willing to stop for a soaking wet stranger on the side of an on ramp for I-15. After musing on the situation and laughing to myself at how ridiculous it was, I started to ask myself what the next day or two would look like. I had checked the forecast and it was supposed to be raining for the next two days. Flash flood warnings and travel advisories be damnned, I was going to hitch my way out of SoCal.
I wondered if I made the right call avoiding 101..

I'm not sure how long I stood waiting at that on-ramp in the pouring rain. It couldn't have been more than an hour.. I started to get cold and realized that I was fucked if I didn't figure something out. There were no good spots to post up and wait the rain out, there was no way I was going to be able to dry my clothes out if it was going to be raining for the next couple days.. So eventually I made the decision to give in and head back to San Bernardino. I've never been one to pay for hotel rooms, but this would be the time to do it. I made my way to a Motel 6, where I unpacked my pack and laid everything out, cranking up the heat and drying everything.

At the Motel I looked at the weather in the state.. rain, rain, rain.. everywhere was forecasted to get rain for the next two-three days. Except Sacramento. There was only supposed to be rain for one more day there and then it was supposed to clear up.
I figured that anywhere out of southern California and this shitty rain would be an improvement, so I got a bus ticket to Sacramento. Went back to LA and then north to Sac.

After an uneventful like 12 hour bus ride, we made it to Sacramento. I found a nice little spot to bed down for a few hours right down the street from the bus station, near an on-ramp for I-5. The next morning I got an early start, grabbed a gas station coffee and posted up at an on-ramp for I-5 North. During this time I remembered that a guy I knew a while back lived somewhere in Northern California.. I hit him up and sure enough, he said he was right of the 101 in Mendocino County. Sweet, that became my new goal, get to the 101.
---In hindsight, I should've take a bus out of Sac to SF or the Bay Area somewhere, but I looked at a map and saw that this bus went out this highway a ways to a casino that was on a highway that eventually connected to the 101. Perfect.

Take this bus out of Sacramento, further and further out into farm country and the last stop is this giant casino complex. Perfect hitch spot right out front because there's a traffic light right on the highway. I start thumbing it there at the traffic light for a while, not having any luck. After a bit a cop car pulls up.. "damnit" I think to myself. It was a deputy or someone from the sheriffs office, he asked where I was going, said that I wasn't likely to get any rides on this road and that cell service disappears a couple miles further into the hills.
He offered me a ride back to town, or to see when the next bus would be. I asked if he thought there might be a better spot to try and hitch from to try to get west. He offered to give me a ride to at truck stop north of Sac off the I-5. Only a couple miles north there was a state highway that cut west to 101. Sounded good to me, so I took him up on his offer and got a ride in his patrol car to this truck stop.

I got comfortable there for the rest of the day and hitched the northbound on ramp till the sun went down. Nice dude walking his dog offered me some weed and cigarettes, said he was heading south otherwise he'd pick me up.
Went into a burger king to charge my phone and eat some fries.
The next morning I got an early start, hit the on-ramp pretty much as soon as I woke up. Stood there for a few more hours and the only person who stopped was an uber driver who asked me where I was going and how much money I had. I told him I was trying to hitchhike and he said "no one will pick you up". Thought to myself I'm gonna hitch and get a ride, just to spite this guy.
Sometime after noon I start thinking about how long I'm going to wait here at this spot. It'd been over 6 hours, would I end up having to wait days? --Little backstory here on me, I haven't done many big trips in the past few years since I moved to Alaska. I have hitched from the Toronto area across Canada to Alaska and then down to NorCal.. but that was several years ago. During that trip I did end up waiting for 2 days in this small town in BC.

Then I started to wonder about my plan to make it to the 101. Would I even make it over there? Was this even a good spot to make it to the 101 --- no, I decided, it wasn't.

Of course there were no busses from this place back to Sac. I looked it up on maps, was 18 miles to the bus back to Sac. Decided that I had to choose very soon if I was going to make that walk happen because I did not want to be walking on rural highway/roads after dark (in hindsight I could've definitely just spent the night in a field on the side of the road, instead of worrying about being stuck on the road when it got dark).

Then something just flipped for me. I decided that I was done..
I had the luxury of being on the road for fun, not necessity. So I didn't have to keep going if I didn't want to -- it was kind of a freeing experience to just decide to be done. I decided I didn't have to prove anything to anyone. I didn't even have to prove anything to myself. I just wanted to do some traveling and hitchhiking has been something that I enjoy and find to usually be a good experience, so I figured that's what I'd try to do.
I walked the 18 miles back to Woodland (town outside Sac) and took a bus to Sacramento. Treated myself to the finest gas station hotdogs and pizza and decided that I'd just take a bus north.
Ended up taking the Amtrak up to PDX because it was only like $30 or $40 more and I haven't ridden in a train in a long time so I thought that could be fun.

I learned a lot from the trip.. had fun, unfortunately didn't really meet anyone, since no one picked me up, but that's okay.
Hindsight is 20/20 and I would definitely do things differently if I was going to do it again. But also part of it was just shit timing -- Southern California seeing more precipitation in a month than it normally sees all year is not something you can really plan for. Probably should've been more patient, but I just wanted to keep moving.. if hitchin wasn't working, it felt good to be walking.
Avoided interstates before, and this trip kind of cemented that for me.. can see the upside if you get a ride going far, but I was not in a hurry.

Cheers to ya'll and good luck out there..
 

stacysadistic

Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2024
Messages
15
Reaction score
28
Location
Seattle
I'm thinking about a hitching trip from Bellingham to San Diego, and I was looking at hitchmap to find a good route. My original inclination was to mostly stick to I-5 and go through Sacramento, but bunch of people reported bad experiences trying to hitch out of that city. Apparently a lot of jerks yelling at hitchhikers and ppl said it took a long time for ppl to get picked up. Now I'm considering using a route closer to the ocean. I dont think there's as much long distance traffic as those big interstate freeways the truckers use, but hitchmap has a lot better reviews on the PCH.

I might even stick to the coast in oregon/washington cuz there's some great campsites on the beach, but Im a little wary cuz amtrak and greyhound/flixbus don't really go out that way. I don't want to get stuck out in the middle of nowhere.
 
  • Best of Luck!
Reactions: marymemarryme

AyeAaron

Hobocop
Joined
Nov 26, 2019
Messages
101
Reaction score
111
Location
Seattle
I'm thinking about a hitching trip from Bellingham to San Diego, and I was looking at hitchmap to find a good route. My original inclination was to mostly stick to I-5 and go through Sacramento, but bunch of people reported bad experiences trying to hitch out of that city. Apparently a lot of jerks yelling at hitchhikers and ppl said it took a long time for ppl to get picked up. Now I'm considering using a route closer to the ocean. I dont think there's as much long distance traffic as those big interstate freeways the truckers use, but hitchmap has a lot better reviews on the PCH.

I might even stick to the coast in oregon/washington cuz there's some great campsites on the beach, but Im a little wary cuz amtrak and greyhound/flixbus don't really go out that way. I don't want to get stuck out in the middle of nowhere.

I'm surprised people hitch up the PCH, at least N past Big Sur. Its very very slow going, and I wouldn't even drive it for more than a very short distance to visit someone etc.
 

Toyoder

Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2024
Messages
6
Reaction score
21
Location
Alaska
I'm thinking about a hitching trip from Bellingham to San Diego, and I was looking at hitchmap to find a good route. My original inclination was to mostly stick to I-5 and go through Sacramento, but bunch of people reported bad experiences trying to hitch out of that city. Apparently a lot of jerks yelling at hitchhikers and ppl said it took a long time for ppl to get picked up. Now I'm considering using a route closer to the ocean. I dont think there's as much long distance traffic as those big interstate freeways the truckers use, but hitchmap has a lot better reviews on the PCH.

I might even stick to the coast in oregon/washington cuz there's some great campsites on the beach, but Im a little wary cuz amtrak and greyhound/flixbus don't really go out that way. I don't want to get stuck out in the middle of nowhere.

Previously had good luck going from Portland -> Mendocino county all on the coast.. but that was also in the summer/fall time and like 8 years ago.

I have also heard that there's a lot of public transit up and down the coast -- not sure what the status of that is these days, but someone mentioned you can catch buses most of the way up Cali.
 

Coyote Red

Active member
Joined
May 3, 2023
Messages
33
Reaction score
42
Location
Eugene
Tried hitching SD to Eugene this past year on I-5 it was shit. Had to spend on busses the whole way besides a few short rides, SAC is shit for hitching these days plus junkies tryina rob my guitar from behind me on the on ramp lol fucking idiot tried me three times my dog kept scaring the shit out of him and he'd run away then sneak behind me again
 

Coyote Red

Active member
Joined
May 3, 2023
Messages
33
Reaction score
42
Location
Eugene
I'm thinking about a hitching trip from Bellingham to San Diego, and I was looking at hitchmap to find a good route. My original inclination was to mostly stick to I-5 and go through Sacramento, but bunch of people reported bad experiences trying to hitch out of that city. Apparently a lot of jerks yelling at hitchhikers and ppl said it took a long time for ppl to get picked up. Now I'm considering using a route closer to the ocean. I dont think there's as much long distance traffic as those big interstate freeways the truckers use, but hitchmap has a lot better reviews on the PCH.

I might even stick to the coast in oregon/washington cuz there's some great campsites on the beach, but Im a little wary cuz amtrak and greyhound/flixbus don't really go out that way. I don't want to get stuck out in the middle of nowhere.

Theres buses down the OR coast with a small gap between Yachats and Florence which is easy hitching
 
  • Useful
Reactions: stacysadistic

stacysadistic

Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2024
Messages
15
Reaction score
28
Location
Seattle
Thanks! That's super useful. Like city buses right? Seems like that route would be much easier to camp and save money on lodging, and a much better view than going through Sacramento for sure
 

Coyote Red

Active member
Joined
May 3, 2023
Messages
33
Reaction score
42
Location
Eugene
Thanks! That's super useful. Like city buses right? Seems like that route would be much easier to camp and save money on lodging, and a much better view than going through Sacramento for sure

Not quite city busses but busses that go town to town a few times a day not sure if the schedule is online or not but most grocery stores in OR near the 101 should have em. Camp safe careful of the wildlife.
 

Otter

Stateless Wanderer
Joined
Feb 15, 2023
Messages
38
Reaction score
23
Location
🇨🇦/🇺🇲
So.. little trip update for ya'll on some traveling I did this last week.

So I came down to the states from Alaska for a few weeks to visit family and friends and get a break from the cold and dark -- Jan/Feb is when the winter really starts to drag on.
Ended up in LA with the intention of making my way north to Portland/Seattle where I had some other friends I wanted to see.

Landed in LA in mid February when they were expecting the second round of crazy weather to come through. Already knew that I probably wasn't going to be able to take my preferred route (101) because of weather/road closures/etc.. So I decided to do something that seemed logical at the time, but in hindsight I'm not so sure about.. head east. I took public transit to San Bernadino with the hope of either hitting I-15 to east of the Sierras or if I got a ride all the way out to Nevada, well fuck it, why not go out there? Got to SB kind of late, so I bedded down for the night, not far from the bus station (tried to find a spot that wasn't gonna be encroaching on anyone cause there were lots of folks out on the streets).

Next morning I catch a bus out of the city to a place that looked promising, an on-ramp to I-15. I hitched there for a few hours (somewhere between 2-3 hours) with no luck. It starts raining lightly.. I'm not sure if I'm gonna get picked up in the rain, or if there's enough traffic at this on-ramp for it to make sense to hitch here. So after feeling a little bored and thinking I might've found a better spot, I walked north about 4 miles to another on-ramp. When I got there I realized it was a worse spot than the last.. no room for cars to pull over and it's a weird on-ramp that had both SB and NB traffic, not ideal.

At this point I realized that I was fairly close to somewhere I had been before -- only other time I'd been to SoCal was for wildland fire work a few years back and we had a fire right off the interstate in San Bernardino. I remembered there being a rest stop and lots of traffic, so I thought that might be a good spot to hitch out of. Look it up on the map and sure enough, it's about 4 miles west of where I was. I start walking that way. The light rain that had been drizzling all day turned into a real, heavier rain. I kept walking. Somewhere along the way I stopped in a giant culvert to smoke a cigarette and thought how nice it'd be to spend the night there.. if only there wasn't a little river running through it! Eventually make it to this rest stop/gas station right near this on-ramp.

I'm standing there, in the rain, completely soaked.. thinking how I probably looked like a drowned rat. Wondering who's crazier, me for trying to hitchhike, completely soaked in a downpour, or anyone who'd be willing to stop for a soaking wet stranger on the side of an on ramp for I-15. After musing on the situation and laughing to myself at how ridiculous it was, I started to ask myself what the next day or two would look like. I had checked the forecast and it was supposed to be raining for the next two days. Flash flood warnings and travel advisories be damnned, I was going to hitch my way out of SoCal.
I wondered if I made the right call avoiding 101..

I'm not sure how long I stood waiting at that on-ramp in the pouring rain. It couldn't have been more than an hour.. I started to get cold and realized that I was fucked if I didn't figure something out. There were no good spots to post up and wait the rain out, there was no way I was going to be able to dry my clothes out if it was going to be raining for the next couple days.. So eventually I made the decision to give in and head back to San Bernardino. I've never been one to pay for hotel rooms, but this would be the time to do it. I made my way to a Motel 6, where I unpacked my pack and laid everything out, cranking up the heat and drying everything.

At the Motel I looked at the weather in the state.. rain, rain, rain.. everywhere was forecasted to get rain for the next two-three days. Except Sacramento. There was only supposed to be rain for one more day there and then it was supposed to clear up.
I figured that anywhere out of southern California and this shitty rain would be an improvement, so I got a bus ticket to Sacramento. Went back to LA and then north to Sac.

After an uneventful like 12 hour bus ride, we made it to Sacramento. I found a nice little spot to bed down for a few hours right down the street from the bus station, near an on-ramp for I-5. The next morning I got an early start, grabbed a gas station coffee and posted up at an on-ramp for I-5 North. During this time I remembered that a guy I knew a while back lived somewhere in Northern California.. I hit him up and sure enough, he said he was right of the 101 in Mendocino County. Sweet, that became my new goal, get to the 101.
---In hindsight, I should've take a bus out of Sac to SF or the Bay Area somewhere, but I looked at a map and saw that this bus went out this highway a ways to a casino that was on a highway that eventually connected to the 101. Perfect.

Take this bus out of Sacramento, further and further out into farm country and the last stop is this giant casino complex. Perfect hitch spot right out front because there's a traffic light right on the highway. I start thumbing it there at the traffic light for a while, not having any luck. After a bit a cop car pulls up.. "damnit" I think to myself. It was a deputy or someone from the sheriffs office, he asked where I was going, said that I wasn't likely to get any rides on this road and that cell service disappears a couple miles further into the hills.
He offered me a ride back to town, or to see when the next bus would be. I asked if he thought there might be a better spot to try and hitch from to try to get west. He offered to give me a ride to at truck stop north of Sac off the I-5. Only a couple miles north there was a state highway that cut west to 101. Sounded good to me, so I took him up on his offer and got a ride in his patrol car to this truck stop.

I got comfortable there for the rest of the day and hitched the northbound on ramp till the sun went down. Nice dude walking his dog offered me some weed and cigarettes, said he was heading south otherwise he'd pick me up.
Went into a burger king to charge my phone and eat some fries.
The next morning I got an early start, hit the on-ramp pretty much as soon as I woke up. Stood there for a few more hours and the only person who stopped was an uber driver who asked me where I was going and how much money I had. I told him I was trying to hitchhike and he said "no one will pick you up". Thought to myself I'm gonna hitch and get a ride, just to spite this guy.
Sometime after noon I start thinking about how long I'm going to wait here at this spot. It'd been over 6 hours, would I end up having to wait days? --Little backstory here on me, I haven't done many big trips in the past few years since I moved to Alaska. I have hitched from the Toronto area across Canada to Alaska and then down to NorCal.. but that was several years ago. During that trip I did end up waiting for 2 days in this small town in BC.

Then I started to wonder about my plan to make it to the 101. Would I even make it over there? Was this even a good spot to make it to the 101 --- no, I decided, it wasn't.

Of course there were no busses from this place back to Sac. I looked it up on maps, was 18 miles to the bus back to Sac. Decided that I had to choose very soon if I was going to make that walk happen because I did not want to be walking on rural highway/roads after dark (in hindsight I could've definitely just spent the night in a field on the side of the road, instead of worrying about being stuck on the road when it got dark).

Then something just flipped for me. I decided that I was done..
I had the luxury of being on the road for fun, not necessity. So I didn't have to keep going if I didn't want to -- it was kind of a freeing experience to just decide to be done. I decided I didn't have to prove anything to anyone. I didn't even have to prove anything to myself. I just wanted to do some traveling and hitchhiking has been something that I enjoy and find to usually be a good experience, so I figured that's what I'd try to do.
I walked the 18 miles back to Woodland (town outside Sac) and took a bus to Sacramento. Treated myself to the finest gas station hotdogs and pizza and decided that I'd just take a bus north.
Ended up taking the Amtrak up to PDX because it was only like $30 or $40 more and I haven't ridden in a train in a long time so I thought that could be fun.

I learned a lot from the trip.. had fun, unfortunately didn't really meet anyone, since no one picked me up, but that's okay.
Hindsight is 20/20 and I would definitely do things differently if I was going to do it again. But also part of it was just shit timing -- Southern California seeing more precipitation in a month than it normally sees all year is not something you can really plan for. Probably should've been more patient, but I just wanted to keep moving.. if hitchin wasn't working, it felt good to be walking.
Avoided interstates before, and this trip kind of cemented that for me.. can see the upside if you get a ride going far, but I was not in a hurry.

Cheers to ya'll and good luck out there..

I had to Hitch North out of Sac last fall. I was surprised how hard Hitching in Cali is. A Sheriff's deputy gave me a ride to a truckstop on I-5 as well. He even bought me lunch.

I got a ride after an hour or so.

I was able to catch a few rides up to Weed, CA that day, but I got stuck there for a few days.
 

Otter

Stateless Wanderer
Joined
Feb 15, 2023
Messages
38
Reaction score
23
Location
🇨🇦/🇺🇲
I'm thinking about a hitching trip from Bellingham to San Diego, and I was looking at hitchmap to find a good route. My original inclination was to mostly stick to I-5 and go through Sacramento, but bunch of people reported bad experiences trying to hitch out of that city. Apparently a lot of jerks yelling at hitchhikers and ppl said it took a long time for ppl to get picked up. Now I'm considering using a route closer to the ocean. I dont think there's as much long distance traffic as those big interstate freeways the truckers use, but hitchmap has a lot better reviews on the PCH.

I might even stick to the coast in oregon/washington cuz there's some great campsites on the beach, but Im a little wary cuz amtrak and greyhound/flixbus don't really go out that way. I don't want to get stuck out in the middle of nowhere.

That was probably me getting yelled at in Sac 😂.
 

enxomachina

Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2020
Messages
21
Reaction score
84
Location
Anchorage, Alaska
I'm thinking about a hitching trip from Bellingham to San Diego, and I was looking at hitchmap to find a good route. My original inclination was to mostly stick to I-5 and go through Sacramento, but bunch of people reported bad experiences trying to hitch out of that city. Apparently a lot of jerks yelling at hitchhikers and ppl said it took a long time for ppl to get picked up. Now I'm considering using a route closer to the ocean. I dont think there's as much long distance traffic as those big interstate freeways the truckers use, but hitchmap has a lot better reviews on the PCH.

I might even stick to the coast in oregon/washington cuz there's some great campsites on the beach, but Im a little wary cuz amtrak and greyhound/flixbus don't really go out that way. I don't want to get stuck out in the middle of nowhere.

I think the whole coast of Oregon has a series of local bus systems costing 4$ per small town, it's tedious to research it all but it's pretty nice. I've never heard of hitchmap, I'm going to check that out
 
  • Useful
Reactions: stacysadistic

enxomachina

Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2020
Messages
21
Reaction score
84
Location
Anchorage, Alaska
I think the whole coast of Oregon has a series of local bus systems costing 4$ per small town, it's tedious to research it all but it's pretty nice. I've never heard of hitchmap, I'm going to check that out

There also might be a local bus system from Salem to the coast and back, I think it lands in Lincoln City, which has a casino
 
  • Useful
Reactions: stacysadistic

About us

  • Squat the Planet is the world's largest social network for misfit travelers. Join our community of do-it-yourself nomads and learn how to explore the world by any means necessary.

    More Info

Latest Library Uploads