Dude gave me his name, but I didn’t ask his permission to share, so I’ll tell you that dude’s name is “Noah.” Noah’s hitched rides from Shasta County to the San Mateo County coast. He has no specific destination. New Mexico, ultimately, then back home.
“Lightning Fields, New Mexico,” I suggested. Noah hadn’t heard about Lightning Fields. I told him about Just John, riding a tricycle, heading south a couple of years ago, and that his plan was to reach the southern end of the Coast Road, then turn east to New Mexico, bound for the Lightning Fields.
“An electrical dude,” observed Noah. “I’ve been reading about Tesla and his inventions.”
Noah’s traveling south, dependent on hitchhiking to reach the next destination. “Riding a bike would be better,” says Noah after I tell him about Just John riding his tricycle. “More independence, travel at one’s own pace, stop wherever and whenever, and, more room to pack more supplies.”
Noah’s belongings fit within a modest-sized backpack, larger than what we slung across our backs when in school, but smaller than an expedition backpack, which may be more suitable for Noah’s coastal trek. A black canvas shoulder bag holds items requiring frequent use, such as Noah’s bullet-shaped, stainless steel thermos.
Noah’s tanned skin from the past couple weeks of unseasonably warm temperatures contrast to this week’s winter weather of snow at 1,000 foot elevations and hail storms at sea level. After a long rainy hitch that brought him through Marin County and across the Golden Gate, and a complicated navigation through the drizzly city, Noah got a ride from San Francisco, through Pacifica, around Devil’s Slide, then down the coast and up to Apple Jacks in La Honda. “I’ve enjoyed two good woodstove fires and really good music in the past 24 hours.”
Atop Noah’s long, brown, sun-kissed curls, sits a green felt hat, with a stubby brim, adequate-enough to provide sun and rain protection. Noah’s summer-weight, black pin-striped suit is layered underneath by a red tee, and a green wool v-neck sweater, topped by two thick scarves. Birkenstocks on Noah’s sockless feet display signs of wear at the heels.
Next stop Santa Cruz, then maybe Monterey, unless Noah hitches straight into the Sur.
Keep an eye to the Coast Road for “Noah,” and, if you’re headed to the next town south, maybe offer him a lift.