America feels big this morning, hitchhiking across

Leaving San Mateo Fairgrounds for the east coast, at my bunkhouse door with a stuffed duffle bag and a book bag this morning.
My bunkhouse trailer this morning. Franklin’s bicycle. The Rabbit’s plastic bottle recycling bags. A propane table-top stove. I lived behind the blue door for five jumps with Butler Amusements in metro-San Francisco, on the edge of Silicon Valley.
Our ‘reefers’ house 15 Mexican carnies stacked three bunks high, five deep with a kitchen, a refrigerator, lockers and two showers (hope I get better pix of Mexican quarters in the future).

William Shakespeare died on this day in 1616 at age 52. I used to commemorate today every year when I lived at the Belden-Stratford in Chicago, which has a seated Shakespeare statue across from its entrance.

I’ve just turned 54 and I’m hitchhiking from metro-San Francisco to the East Coast. I don’t know exactly where I’m going but I’ll be looking for carnival work along the way.

I mention my annual Shakespeare ritual because it is what I normally would do today and what I’m doing seems so odd for my age.

I’ve been working in the San Francisco/Silicon Valley area for the last month and a half. I didn’t get confirmation of my Los Angeles carnival jump so I’m hitchhiking to the east coast to make sure my year of working coast-to-coast in carnivals lives up to its mission early on.

My duffle-bag is too heavy. I’m only carrying two changes of clothes but the sleeping bag, tent, laptop and camera equipment make it a burden. I won’t be walking far without effort.

I’ve hitchhiked much of the USA, eastern Canada, Europe and North Africa. So I know there are cold nights, wind, rain, desert sun and generally harsh weather ahead.

Facing backwards with my thumb out, the westward wind will be in my face.

Yet I don’t know how it will feel. I was in my 20s when I last hitchhiked cross country.

I’ve chosen the southern route this time, heading south along I-5 to Los Angeles, then west along I-40 until heading north again in Tennessee on I-81 toward I-95 and the Washington D.C. to Boston corridor I’m seeking.

I’ll be traveling through California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and places northeast.

Who will I meet?

The country looks big on the map this morning, feels big.


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