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Archive for Tuesday, July 30, 2013

40 years ago: Hitchhikers comment on their mode of travel

July 30, 2013

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From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for July 30, 1973:

Hitchhiking was a popular way to get from one point to another in the 1970s, and several people thumbing their way through Lawrence were questioned by a reporter this week on their methods and intentions. "Hitchhiking is independence based on dependence," said one Jim Stein, who said that he was on his way from Washington, DC, to the Cascades. George Bender, who was en route from Cincinnati, Ohio, to Seattle, Washington, commented that "hitchhiking should come back in style more with the gas shortage and pollution and all." "Hitchhiking is convenient and the price is right," opined Wally J. Yarborough, who was on his way from Denver to the nation's capital. Another traveler agreed on the cost-effectiveness: "I'm out here because I'm a pauper, man," said Paul E. Johnson, who was attempting to travel to Wichita. "The American Dream doesn't include hitchhikers." Lawrence Police Captain Merle McClure warned the public, "People are crazy to even stop and pick one up. It's foolish.... I used to hitchhike all the time when I was in college in Lindsborg.... but that was when they didn't have everybody on the road the way they do today." The legal status of hitching a ride in Kansas was that it was forbidden "on the roadway," meaning the "travel portion of the road," according to state highway patrol Captain Gene Goldsberry. Soliciting rides from the curb was legal, but no pedestrians were permitted on the interstate. Hitchhikers passing through Lawrence said that the city policemen were very courteous about explaining the law and made few arrests.

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