"Canada 2003" story # 2

Boston, Massachusetts           June 17, 2003

Canada? Canada's just up over that border there yonder. But, don't worry, it's a friendly border. Some say the friendliest around.
     Yes, a Canada trip is in the makings. Some friends and I are going hitchhiking cross-Canada this summer, and we're excited. So, I was home in Grand Rapids, Michigan following my last South America trip for only three weeks before I was heading out again.
     Three of us Canada-trekkers got things started in mid-June by meeting up in Boston. Boston seemed like a very white city, rather well-off, with sidewalks that led you pleasantly through old, brick buildings or lawns green beneath summer sun. The "Bean-towners" don't pronounce "r's" at the end of words, as in "Bang-eh" (Bangor). They do it in a harsh way that, for lack of a better explanation, kind of makes them sound like assholes.
     After two days, we were talking like them for kicks. But, we had to take off from Boston. We had to hitchhike towards the giant maple leaf in the north, and we hoped to reach Bangor, Maine in a day. The trip's first challenge.
     All right, eh?
     It's important you get to know a bit about us Canada-trekkers, so if you see us on the side of the road you'll stop, and give us some baked buns and hot chocolate. So, here's the lowdown on the who's-who on the what's-what on the Canada trip:

Firstly, there's me. There's always me. I'm still growing my hair, uncut since October 2001. It goes two inches past the bottom of my neck, and it still has blond-ness in its brown-ness due to highlights somebody gave me. I still take only cold-water showers. I still have a strange habit, when I'm around college buddies, of saying, "screw it," and just calling everyone "Johnny." I still enjoy a good animal chase. I still nutritionally believe in the "all-ice-cream diet" when it's economical, so there should be lots of half-gallon ice cream breakfasts. And, finally, I'm still poor. I arrived in Boston with $210 to go around Canada with and no credit cards.
     Secondly, there's Lucas "Johnny" Seipp-Williams, a college friend. He's a bit short, and a dark ridge of hair appears on his turtle shaved head that peeks out from his t-shirts. He'll probably get most of the chicks on this trip, due to the great, white-faced smile he's got that makes him look as playful as a kid. His face also comes alive when he dances; creative and surprising facial expressions make up his one-of-a-kind dance-floor image. The Baltimore Orioles cap he usually sports broadcasts to everyone his home city.
     Thirdly, there's Adam "A.J." "Johnny" "Rohr-ski" Rohr. If you call him "Rohr-ski," though, he's liable to slap you. I think Adam is going to be the early crowd favorite. His look and build would look quite in-place on a farm. (We're involved in a loose farming program as we cross Canada.) He's nice, humble, and polite. He looks like he's enjoying himself, as he gets kicks often and out of everybody. He's a friend of Johnny S.'s from Baltimore. And like Johnny, he just graduated from college. This trip should help him decide what he wants to do next.
     A fourth trekker is meeting us later on.

A Bostonian friend of ours drove us a ways north of the city. At eight o'clock on a still-cold morning beneath a cloud-less sky, we left the expressway at an interstate exit among a New England maple-and-oak forest.
     I was going to be hitchhiking to Bangor by myself. Johnny and Adam would be hitching as a pair. It was the first time either of them had ever tried to hitchhike in North America. Adam was nervous. He commented that he didn't really like to talk. Talking, of course, is a near-constant part of hitching rides from people. ... Adam is a fun guy and a friend to many; he just isn't the type of guy who jabbers when there isn't anything to say.
     I think, though, that Adam will find there are some places in life where the people you come across just naturally inspire interesting, worthwhile conversation. Travelling and hitchhiking are probably two of those places.
     I gave Johnny and Adam some final advice and told them to go out to the expressway on-ramp and stick their thumbs out. They were going to go first.
     "See you in 'Bang-eh." Adam smiled at me beneath his red baseball cap.
     Johnny and he took off, leaving me and my Purely Pistacchio half-gallon of ice cream to sit and watch. They, with their tents and sleeping bags and clothing strapped to them in backpacks, hiked the on-ramp. Anxious for their first long day of hitching, they disappeared behind some tall oaks and maples.
     I wouldn't see them again until Bangor.

To be continued ...

- Modern Oddyseus
with Johnny and Adam

Much thanks to Johnny's brother, Josh, and Ann for the place in Boston to stay!
Thanks to Tony Canty for the ride!

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