My Hitchhiking Days

37 Chevy (

My next car was a six cylinder, “37 Dip Rod Chevy.” It was an old car, nothing really special. It had a really nice sounding engine, but before long I started hearing this little “tick,tick,tick.” Pretty soon it was a “bang,bang,bang.” I think they must have doctored the rods. Soon thereafter, I was afoot.

They moved us from Camp Stoneman, which was an army base, to Treasure Island. It was YBI actually, between San Francisco and Oakland. I was hitchhiking back and forth from our place to work.

One time, I was coming back from Oakland. I had gotten a ride through the tunnel and there was some kind of little town, four or five miles from the tunnel. The railroad track ran right along the road there. There was a brakeman, switching cars.
I got to talking to him. I asked him where they were going. He said they were going to Pittsburg, which was just down the road from Oakley.

“Could I ride with you?”
“Ya,” he said, “just get on the caboose. When I get through switching, we’ll just go.”

I got on the caboose and rode with them. Another couple of towns and they switched cars. When I got to Pittsburg, their time was up. I got off and hitchhiked the six or seven miles it was to Oakley. It was pretty amazing to me, how I got home that day.

One of my good friends who used to work in Pittsburg gave me a ride to work once in a while. A week after my train ride, I was hitch hiking and I saw this car rolled over, wheels up, alongside the railroad track there. It looked like his car.

I went over there and, sure enough, it was his car. About twenty feet away from the car, he lay there, deader than a door nail. The wind was lifting his hair and he looked like he was sleeping. That was a hard trip.

The radio was still on. That was what caught my attention, otherwise I might not have seen the car at all. It was pretty far off the road.

That was a little tough.

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