Hitchhiking–with Robots, Road Warriors, and Ghosts from the Past

Update August 2015: 
Hitchhiking Robot in the USA–Ouch 
HitchBOT the robot was created to hitchhike across countries. After having success in Germany and Canada, the robot came to the United States but the journey was short-lived. Scott Pelley tells of HitchBOT’s demise in the City of Brotherly Love.

My hitchhiking days stretched from Ohio to Iowa–with interludes in Ireland, Wales, and a few other European countries. Recent articles help me remember my on-the-road travels: HitchBOT made a happier trip in Canada (see article below); film director John Waters wrote a hitchhiking book called Carsick; and a new article looks at the demise of the “era of good feeling” hitchhiking.

Assuming you won’t be making a sign and heading for the entrance ramp, hitch a virtual ride with the following links:
** HitchBot the Canadian robot made it across the country—and even “kept its friends and family up to date along the way”—as futuristically weird as that sounds.
** This historical site looks at the Depression era when people with little money found new ways of getting around. Hitching a ride in a car or truck gained in popularity—and a subculture grew.
In this era, hitching is not so much “road less traveled”–maybe a bit more “road warrior mentality”–but it still has nostalgic appeal for some. If I try again, I’d need a sign: I doubt something like “Old Dude Heading West” would help much, but possibly “Traveling to See My Grandkids” would get a sympathy ride. Or maybe I could dress up as a Canadian robot and see what happens. I probably wouldn’t hitch through Philly. 
Looking back through 40 years of fog, the romance of the road seems appealing at times, but I’m probably too old to write “the hitchhiker’s guide to finding your lost youth.”
by dan gogerty (pic from www.cbc.ca)

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