I found a girlfriend in Portland. She was fifteen, and a Mare Winningham dppelganger, I was nineteen. Before anyone goes off the handle, she was officially an emancipated minor, stating that she was on her own in her personal life. She had papers stating the fact.
I talked Erica into moving to Reno. We found a place and she found a job as a maid. I wasn’t so lucky, and we soon found ourselves broke. I borrowed some money from my mom and bought her a bus ticket to her home town of Alton Illinois.
A few weeks later I have scraped up enough money to prepare myself for an adventure. A new backpack and a smaller bag. I have $30.00 in my pocket as I stick out my thumb at the newly opened Vista onramp to I-80. I stick out my thumb and within five minutes a car pulls over. I get in and the driver looks over to me and asks if I know how to drive. I do. He is a salesman on his way to Denver. He stopped in Reno and stayed to long. He hops into the backseat as I take control of the car. A few hours later we are in Salt Lake City. It is morning and he calls his office and is told that he is needed in Salt Lake so my ride ends.
I get three or four rides to Cheyenne and Denver, still making record time for a hitch hiker. In Denver I am picked up by a guy in a truck with a Camper. I load my gear in the back of the truck. He says he is going to Kansas City, but he has to make a detour in Oklahoma, if I wanted a ride. I am not in that big of a hurry. The detour takes about three hours. In the back of the truck he carries a purebred Greyhound and he is on the way to have the dog breed with a Okie bitch. It was quite interesting. When we arrive in Kansas City Mo it is dark and I am tired. I remove my backpack but forget the other small bag. I am bummed out, but since I couldn’t actually remember what was in it, I shined it on.
It is a little after dusk when I am let out in the middle of Missouri. It is dark as I search out a place to throw my sleeping bag down. I am looking for a tree or something I can sleep under. As I walk I see flashes of light around me, I am baffled thinking I am having an acid flashback, until a small bug lands on my arm and it’s butt begins to blink a pale blue. A lightning bug; I had never seen one.
The next ride was to good to be true, the guy gave me a ride to the door of Erica’s door. She greets me with a hug, and all is good. A few days later I am at her trailer when a package is delivered, addressed to me. The greyhound breeder had found my small bag, which held an address book. He had recalled where I was going, and found Erica’s address and mailed back the bag.