How Much Does It Cost To Hitchhike Across America?

Mark Baumer

16.01.14

On July 2, 2006 my traveling companion and I began hitchhiking across America. We started on one side of America. Twenty days later, we ended up on the other side of America. Below is a list of all the expenditures that I made on the trip. Also, it’s important to note that while traveling I kept all my money in my left shoe.

Location: Meat buffet restaurant in Nashua New Hampshire.
Date: July 2 2006
Time: ~7 p.m.
Item: Multiple plates of meat and some garbanzo beans.
Price: $20.00
Total Expenditures for trip: $20.00
Notes: A woman who sold cinnamon buns at the mall dropped us off next to a meat buffet and told us to eat a large amount of meat for dinner.

 

Location: Large grocery store in Londonderry New Hampshire.
Date: July 3 2006
Time: ~8 a.m.
Item: Two unripe bananas and a bagel.
Price: $1.50
Total Expenditures for trip: $21.50
Notes: My traveling companion suggested I buy either yogurt or cottage cheese but I didn’t listen to him.

 

Location: Sandwich restaurant in Medford Massachusetts.
Date: July 3 2006
Time: ~11:30 a.m.
Item: A twelve-inch piece of bread filled with some cheese that had been melted on tuna.
Price: $7.50
Total Expenditures for trip: $29.00
Notes: This sandwich restaurant was near my traveling companion’s brother’s apartment. We walked to his apartment and said “Hello.” I used his computer to check my email. My mom had sent me a message. She said she missed me.

 

 

Location: Hamburger restaurant in Warwick Rhode Island across from the airport.
Date: July 3 2006
Time: ~4:00 p.m.
Item: A hamburger, a container of french fries, and a cup of brown ice cream.
Price: $3.00
Total Expenditures for trip: $32.00
Notes: A police officer picked us up and told us to stop hitchhiking. He dropped us off at airport and told us to use an airplane to get to California. We didn’t have enough money to buy plane tickets so we went to a fast food restaurant instead.

 

Location: Bus stop in Warwick Rhode Island near the airport.
Date: July 3 2006
Time: ~5:00 p.m.
Item: A bus ticket.
Price: $2.00
Total Expenditures for trip: $34.00
Notes: My traveling companion and I were afraid to hitchhike in Rhode Island because we thought the police would shoot us if they saw us hitchhiking again. We took the bus to a beach in Rhode Island where the sun liked to go to sleep.

 

Location: Breakfast restaurant on Main Street in Warwick Rhode Island.
Date: July 4 2006
Time: ~8:00 a.m.
Item: A bowl of yogurt and some toast.
Price: $5.00
Total Expenditures for trip: $39.00
Notes: A friend let us stay in his basement. He had a refrigerator full of deer skulls. We went out to breakfast in the morning. Everyone ordered waffles except me.

 

 

Location: Pizza restaurant next to Interstate 95 in Connecticut.
Date: July 4 2006
Time: ~11:00 a.m.
Item: A half of a calzone.
Price: $5.00
Total Expenditures for trip: $44.00
Notes: A man who liked mustaches and baseball dropped us off at a rest area. My traveling companion and I shared a calzone. While I ate I watched an older man struggle to eat his undersized hamburger.

 

Location: Bus stop in New Jersey.
Date: July 4 2006
Time: ~1:00 p.m.
Item: A bus ticket.
Price: $8.25
Total Expenditures for trip: $52.25
Notes: A college dropout out named “James” who was on his way to a barbeque dropped us off at the bus station and said, “This bus goes to New York City.”

 

Location: Metro station in New York City.
Date: July 4 2006
Time: ~2:00 p.m.
Item: Metro pass.
Price: $8.00
Total Expenditures for trip: $62.25
Notes: We were somewhere in New York City. I had never been to New York City. My traveling companion suggested we go to a park. We went to a large park.

 

 

Location: Burrito restaurant in Brooklyn New York.
Date: July 4 2006
Time: ~6:00 p.m.
Item: A burrito and a fountain soda.
Price: $8.00
Total Expenditures for trip: $70.25
Notes: My traveling companion knew some people who were having a barbeque, but when we got there the only thing left was an empty jar of salsa and some crumbs. We walked up the street and bought some rice wrapped in a tortilla.

 

Location: Bus stop in New York City.
Date: July 5 2006
Time: ~8:00 a.m.
Item: A bus ticket from New York City to Tarrytown New York.
Price: $2.00
Total Expenditures for trip: $72.25
Notes: We slept at a girl’s apartment. I slept on the living room floor. My traveling companion slept in the girl’s bed. In the morning, I couldn’t find my glasses. I had left them in Rhode Island.

 

Location: Bagel Restaurant in Tarrytown New York.
Date: July 5 2006
Time: ~9:00 a.m.
Item: A raisin bagel with cream cheese and a bottled iced tea.
Price: $4.25
Total Expenditures for trip: $76.50
Notes: It was drizzling. While we were eating our bagels, a postal worker came in and accidentally spilled a hot coffee on his own chest.

 

 

Location: Gasoline restaurant in Martinsville Illinois.
Date: July 6 2006
Time: ~3:00 p.m.
Item: Some gummy worms and circus peanuts.
Price: $3.25
Total Expenditures for trip: $79.75
Notes: The day before, in New Jersey, a man asked if we would drive his dump truck to St. Louis. Neither of us knew how to drive a dump truck, but I pretended I did so I drove the man’s dump truck. He gave us food and bought us motel rooms to sleep in. My traveling companion mostly sat in the passenger seat of the dump truck and ate candy while I drove.

 

Location: Laundry room at a motel in Casey Illinois.
Date: July 6 2006
Time: ~4:00 p.m.
Item: One load of laundry.
Price: $1.25
Total Expenditures for trip: $81.00
Notes: Ten minutes after we fueled up the dump truck in Martinsville Illinois it caught on fire and we had to abandon the highway. The man that owned the dump truck paid for our motel room, but he was very sad. He would no longer be able to make any money in St. Louis without a dump truck.

 

Location: Small grocery store in Casey Illinois.
Date: July 6 2006
Time: ~7:00 p.m.
Item: Farmer’s Almanac.
Price: $5.00
Total Expenditures for trip: $86.00
Notes: The man who owned the dump truck bought us pizza for dinner. Afterwards, my traveling companion and I walked up the road to a small grocery store so my traveling companion could buy a bottle of cough syrup and get high. I bought a local farmer’s almanac so I could learn about the weather patterns that year.

 

Location: Sandwich restaurant inside a gasoline restaurant in Casey Illinois.
Date: July 7 2006
Time: ~12:00 p.m.
Item: A twelve-inch piece of bread, a bag of chips, a fountain soda, and a cookie
Price: $10.00
Total Expenditures for trip: $96.00
Notes: The man who owned the dump truck spent all day trying to fix the dump truck. He couldn’t fix it. My traveling companion sat inside the gas station all day while he tried to fix the dump truck.

 

Location: Yard sale in a suburb of St. Louis Missouri.
Date: July 8 2006
Time: ~10:00 a.m.
Item: A one-speed bicycle.
Price: $6.00
Total Expenditures for trip: $102.00
Notes: The man who owned the dump truck left the dump truck in Casey Illinois. We rode with him to St. Louis. He paid for our motel room. In the morning he told us to hand out the flyers to everyone in suburbs. My traveling companion suggested we buy the bike so we would have our own form of transportation while in St. Louis.

 

Location: Coffee restaurant in suburbs of St. Louis Missouri.
Date: July 8 2006
Time: ~1:00 p.m.
Item: An iced mocha latte.
Price: $3.00
Total Expenditures for trip: $105.00
Notes: My traveling companion and I got tired of handing out flyers and asking people if they wanted their driveways repaved so we sat in a coffee restaurant for two hours. At the end of the day the man who owned the dump truck paid us each ten dollars for the entire day of work.

 

Location: Metro station in St. Louis Missouri.
Date: July 9 2006
Time: ~11:00 a.m.
Item: Metro pass.
Price: $5.00
Total Expenditures for trip: $110.00
Notes: The man who owned the dump truck gave us the day off. It was Sunday. We decided to go downtown so my traveling companion could buy drugs. A hotel down the street from our motel had a shuttle van that went to a nearby metro station. We rode the metro downtown.

 

Location: A miniature hamburger restaurant in downtown St. Louis Missouri.
Date: July 9 2006
Time: ~3:00 p.m.
Item: A bag of thirty miniature hamburgers.
Price: $7.00
Total Expenditures for trip: $117.00
Notes: A drug dealer stole forty dollars from my traveling companion. We tried to get the money from his quadriplegic girlfriend, but she began crying when we asked for the money. There wasn’t much to do in St. Louis so we looked at a large national monument and then ate a bag of tiny hamburgers.

 

Location: Large grocery store four miles from our motel in St. Louis Missouri.
Date: July 10 2006
Time: ~7:00 p.m.
Item: Two boxes of frozen lasagna, a package of cookies, some chips, a gallon of milk, and eight cans of tuna.
Price: $28.00
Total Expenditures for trip: $145.00
Notes: We spent the day paving driveways for someone who knew the guy that owned the dump truck. We got paid sixty dollars for twelve hours of work. After we were dropped off at our motel we walked four miles to the large grocery store to buy some food.

 

 

Location: Burrito restaurant near our motel in St. Louis Missouri.
Date: July 10 2006
Time: ~9:00 p.m.
Item: A burrito.
Price: $8.00
Total Expenditures for trip: $153.00
Notes: On the way back from the large grocery store we each bought a burrito.

 

Location: Hamburger restaurant near our motel in St. Louis Missouri.
Date: July 10 2006
Time: ~9:30 p.m.
Item: A small ice cream cone.
Price: $.50
Total Expenditures for trip: $153.50
Notes: After our burritos my traveling companion said we should treat ourselves to a small ice cream cone in celebration of our first day of work in the paving business.

 

Location: Movie restaurant at the mall ten miles from our motel in St. Louis Missouri.
Date: July 11 2006
Time: ~1:00 p.m.
Item: A movie ticket.
Price: $3.75
Total Expenditures for trip: $157.25
Notes: It rained in the morning so we didn’t have to pave driveways. In the afternoon, we hitchhiked to the mall to watch a movie about pirates.

 

 

Location: Clothing restaurant at the mall ten miles from our motel in St. Louis Missouri.
Date: July 11 2006
Time: ~4:00 p.m.
Item: A basketball jersey size XXXL.
Price: $5.00
Total Expenditures for trip: $162.25
Notes: After the movie my traveling companion said he thought we should buy shirts that we could wear while paving driveways.

 

Location: Laundry mat one mile from our motel in St. Louis Missouri.
Date: July 13 2006
Time: ~10:00 a.m.
Item: One load of laundry.
Price: $2.00
Total Expenditures for trip: $164.25
Notes: No one picked us up to pave driveways in the morning so we decided to leave St. Louis and continue hitchhiking across America. We had worked in the paving business for two days. It was clear that I was much better at paving driveways than my traveling companion.

 

Location: Hamburger restaurant near the highway in St. Louis Missouri.
Date: July 13 2006
Time: ~1:00 p.m.
Item: A medium-sized ice cream.
Price: $1.00
Total Expenditures for trip: $165.25
Notes: It was very hot out. We waited on the side of an on-ramp for two hours. No one offered us a ride. My traveling companion suggested we take a break and sit inside a hamburger restaurant while we eat ice cream.

 

 

Location: Gasoline restaurant twenty miles from St. Louis Missouri.
Date: July 13 2006
Time: ~2:00 p.m.
Item: Gasoline money.
Price: $5.00
Total Expenditures for trip: $170.25
Notes: A guy named “Scott” picked us up. He worked for a company that manufactured airplanes. A few minutes after he picked us up he asked if we minded if he smoked some crack. He smoked some crack while he drove. After a half hour he pulled off the highway and said he needed gasoline. My traveling companion told me to give him some gasoline money.

 

Location: Gasoline restaurant somewhere between St. Louis Missouri and Kansas City Missouri.
Date: July 13 2006
Time: ~5:00 p.m.
Item: Gasoline money.
Price: $5.00
Total Expenditures for trip: $175.25
Notes: A guy named “Ron” picked us up just as it started to rain. He seemed intoxicated and only drove forty miles per hour on the highway. Ron said he used to do golf with Brett Favre, smoke cocaine with Axl Rose, eat weed with Ricky Williams, and play hockey on the US Olympic team that defeated the Soviets in 1980. When we got to Kansas City, Ron said he was frightened of a man who lived in Kansas City and asked us for gasoline money.

 

Location: Fried fish restaurant in Kansas City Missouri.
Date: July 13 2006
Time: ~7:00 p.m.
Item: A plate of fried fish.
Price: $6.75
Total Expenditures for trip: $182.00
Notes: We didn’t have anywhere to sleep in Kansas City. It was raining. We found an abandoned unlocked truck behind the auto garage next to the fried fish restaurant.

 

Location: Taxicab in downtown Kansas City Missouri.
Date: July 14 2006
Time: ~9:00 a.m.
Item: A cab ride.
Price: $40.00
Total Expenditures for trip: $222.00
Notes: In the morning, we got a ride to downtown Kansas City, but when we were dropped off my traveling companion realized he had left his camera in the abandoned truck where we had slept. We took a taxi back to the auto garage, but the abandoned truck was gone.

 

Location: Sandwich restaurant in downtown Kansas City Missouri.
Date: July 14 2006
Time: ~3:00 p.m.
Item: A twelve-inch sandwich.
Price: $6.00
Total Expenditures for trip: $228.00
Notes: My traveling companion was very depressed about losing his camera. We sat in a greyhound bus station all afternoon. The camera had been a gift from his ex-girlfriend. My traveling companion wanted to go home. Eventually, we left the bus station and went to a sandwich restaurant.

 

Location: Gasoline restaurant near highway in downtown Kansas City Missouri.
Date: July 14 2006
Time: ~5:00 p.m.
Item: A styrofoam cup filled with orange soda.
Price: $1.00
Total Expenditures for trip: $229.00
Notes: In the grass next to the highway where we were waiting, there was a dead deer carcass. A brown van picked us off about a half hour after I finished drinking the beverage in the styrofoam cup.

 

 

Location: Hamburger restaurant in Salina Kansas.
Date: July 14 2006
Time: ~11:00 p.m.
Item: A cup of brown ice cream and a container of french fries.
Price: $1.50
Total Expenditures for trip: $230.50
Notes: The man who owned the brown van drove us an extra hundred miles. He dropped us off next to a hamburger restaurant. My traveling companion bought three hamburgers. I found a can of tuna in my bag. I opened it, drained the water, and ate the tuna with a plastic fork.

 

Location: Large twenty-four-hour corporation in Hays Kansas.
Date: July 15 2006
Time: ~1:00 a.m.
Item: Some bananas and a package of granola bars.
Price: $6.75
Total Expenditures for trip: $237.25
Notes: A boy named “Andrew” picked us up outside a gas station. He had never left the state of Kansas. Andrew dropped us off at a corporation that was open twenty-four hours. My traveling companion and I tried to sleep on the lawn furniture inside the corporation, but a man told us to leave. We walked across the street to a car dealership and slept in the back of a pickup.

 

Location: Breakfast restaurant in Ellis Kansas.
Date: July 15 2006
Time: ~9:00 a.m.
Item: Eggs, home fries, bacon, and toast.
Price: $5.00
Total Expenditures for trip: $242.25
Notes: A woman who worked for the post office dropped us off on a dirt onramp in Ellis Kansas. She gave us each twenty dollars and a bag of cookies. We tried hitchhiking on the highway, but the police stopped and told us hitchhiking was illegal. On the other side of the highway there was some breakfast food. After the police left, we ran across the highway and ate breakfast.

 

Location: Sandwich restaurant in Longmont Colorado.
Date: July 15 2006
Time: ~3:00 p.m.
Item: A twelve-inch sandwich.
Price: $5.00
Total Expenditures for trip: $247.25
Notes: A religious man named “James” picked us up in Kansas and drove us all the way to Colorado. We didn’t know anyone in Colorado so James said we could stay with him at his condo. He fell asleep soon after we got to his condo. My traveling companion and I walked up the street to a shopping center that had a sandwich restaurant.

 

Location: Ice cream restaurant in Longmont Colorado.
Date: July 15 2006
Time: ~4:00 p.m.
Item: A cup of ice cream.
Price: $3.00
Total Expenditures for trip: $250.25
Notes: My traveling companion asked a few people in the shopping center for drugs, but they didn’t have any. We walked across the street to the ice cream restaurant and bought ice creams.

 

 

Location: Gasoline restaurant in Cheyenne Wyoming.
Date: July 16 2006
Time: ~11:00 a.m.
Item: A drink and an ice cream cone.
Price: $2.25
Total Expenditures for trip: $252.50
Notes: A priest who was driving to Wyoming to start a college dropped us off in Wyoming. We tried hitchhiking on the highway, but the police told us it was illegal. We sat down outside the gasoline restaurant and waited for someone to give us a ride.

 

Location: Gasoline restaurant in Cheyenne Wyoming.
Date: July 16 2006
Time: ~3:00 p.m.
Item: A microwave burrito.
Price: $2.50
Total Expenditures for trip: $255.00
Notes: No one stopped to give us a ride so we bought burritos and microwaved them inside the gasoline restaurant.

 

Location: Gasoline restaurant in Cheyenne Wyoming.
Date: July 16 2006
Time: ~6:00 p.m.
Item: More ice cream.
Price: $2.00
Total Expenditures for trip: $257.00
Notes: Some local teenagers stopped and asked us what we were doing. We told them we were hitchhiking across America. My traveling companion asked them for drugs. One of the teenagers gave my traveling companion some drugs. I went in the gasoline restaurant and bought more ice cream.

 

Location: Small grocery store in Henefer Utah.
Date: July 17 2006
Time: ~1:00 p.m.
Item: A sandwich and a fountain soda.
Price: $3.00
Total Expenditures for trip: $260.00
Notes: No one would give us a ride in Cheyenne so around 11 p.m. we climbed on a freight train headed west. We both fell asleep as the train crossed Wyoming. In the morning, my traveling companion said the train would probably go all the way to California. We only had one bottle of water and a can of tuna. Around noon the train stopped next to a highway. We climbed off and walked a few miles to the next town.

 

 

Location: Ice cream restaurant in the mall in Salt Lake City Utah .
Date: July 18 2006
Time: ~7:00 p.m.
Item: A bucket of ice cream.
Price: $10.00
Total Expenditures for trip: $270.00
Notes: A friend from college let us stay at her parents’ house in Ogden Utah. We spent the day at the beach. Her brother owned a speedboat. In the evening she drove us into the city and we walked around a mall.

 

Location: A store in the mall in Salt Lake City Utah.
Date: July 18 2006
Time: ~8:00 p.m.
Item: A pair of sunglasses with yellow lenses.
Price: $1.00
Total Expenditures for trip: $271.00
Notes: I found a pair of ugly sunglasses that didn’t have a price tag. I asked one of the employees how much the sunglasses cost. He said, “I don’t think we sell sunglasses that ugly.” I put them on. He sold them to me for a dollar.

 

Location: A restaurant where people touched microphones in Salt Lake City Utah.
Date: July 18 2006
Time: ~9:00 p.m.
Item: A ticket to watch people touch microphones.
Price: $14.00
Total Expenditures for trip: $285.00
Notes: A bunch of men touched a microphone while everyone in the restaurant laughed while the men were touching the microphone.

 

Location: Gasoline restaurant in Salt Lake City Utah.
Date: July 18 2006
Time: ~11:00 p.m.
Item: A container of lip balm.
Price: $2.00
Total Expenditures for trip: $287.00
Notes: The air was very dry in Utah. My lips had cracked.

 

 

Location: Gasoline restaurant in Wells Nevada.
Date: July 19 2006
Time: ~2:00 p.m.
Item: A sandwich and a drink.
Price: $7.00
Total Expenditures for trip: $294.00
Notes: A tractor-trailer stopped and picked us up on the western edge of Salt Lake City. The guy driving was named “Seth.” He was driving across Nevada to pick up a shipment in Reno. My traveling companion sat in the passenger’s seat. I sat on the mattress in the back of the truck’s cab.

 

Location: Gasoline restaurant in Golconda Nevada.
Date: July 19 2006
Time: ~4:00 p.m.
Item: Some trailmix.
Price: $2.25
Total Expenditures for trip: $296.25
Notes: Seth stopped in Golcanda to buy chicken nuggets. He bought a container of fourteen chicken nuggets. When he climbed back in the truck he ate one of the chicken nuggets and threw the rest of the container out the window of the truck.

 

Location: Gasoline restaurant in Reno Nevada.
Date: July 20 2006
Time: ~9:00 a.m.
Item: A fountain soda.
Price: $2.00
Total Expenditures for trip: $298.25
Notes: We woke up on the roof of the Nevada Historical Society in Reno. My traveling companion and I climbed down and walked to the highway. After waiting an hour my traveling companion said he was thirsty.

 

Location: Gasoline restaurant in Reno Nevada.
Date: July 20 2006
Time: ~9:30 a.m.
Item: An automated slot machine.
Price: $.25
Total Expenditures for trip: $298.50
Notes: I had never gambled so I decided to put a quarter into a machine. I pressed a button. It said I had lost.

 

Location: Hamburger restaurant in Davis California.
Date: July 20 2006
Time: ~2:00 p.m.
Item: A hamburger, a container of french fries, and a cup of ice cream.
Price: $5.00
Total Expenditures for trip: $303.50
Notes: Someone picked us up in Reno. He asked if we were meth addicts. We told him we weren’t. He drove us into California. Two hours later we stopped at a hamburger restaurant.

Tags:
  • mark_leidner

    lol

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  • Final_Word

    “On July 2, 2006 my traveling companion and I began hitchhiking across America.”

    And you only made it to R.I. before you quit. What are these words “bus” and “cab” you use?

    • markbaumer

      oh well

  • flinch987

    All that and you cheated?

    • Final_Word

      They didn’t even get past Rhode Island.

      Sad and weird definition of “hitchhiking”.

      • markbaumer

        sorry, didn’t mean to be weird and sad

        • markbaumer

          actually, i usually try to be weird and sad all the time

    • markbaumer

      sorry

  • FernLaPlante

    This reads like it was written by a 9-year-old

    • markbaumer

      thank you

    • Tom

      Thanks grammer nazi.

    • peter

      i think it sounds like hemingway

  • really?

    You would make a good lawyer, but are a terrible writer

    • markbaumer

      thank you, will go to law school now

      • markbaumer

        also, pretty sure i would make a terrible lawyer but already on my way to law school

  • snowBIZNESS

    Lol were you dosing the whole time?

    Also, why the hell would you go to backwards to Tarrytown from NYC when going across the country?

    • markbaumer

      not sure…seemed like good way out of city

    • mediagonebad

      When hitching you never know where you will end up. People drop you off in the strangest places and, while your goal is to go the most direct route, it does not always work out that way.

  • Bill

    This was an excellent story! These are the kinds of stories people who take planes will never have. Ignore the people who don’t appreciate the subtle deadpan humor contained in the minimalist dialogue.

    • markbaumer

      thank you bill. i don’t mind people who discredit, but appreciate people who got the humor. glad it came throguh

  • Mike S

    HIGHLY HIGHLY recommending checking out Season 1 of ‘Thumbs Up’ on VICE . com. Fascinating hitchhiking film. I have watched it 4 times, Extremely entertaining.

    • markbaumer

      ive seen bits and pieces of this. will watch the whole thing

  • http://www.spinnwebe.com/ spinn

    I gotta know what the touching of microphones was about

    • markbaumer

      went to see michael showalter do standup

  • Attica

    This is amazing. You should hitchhike across the Americas to Chile next.

    • markbaumer

      maybe someday…i think it would be fun to hit a golfball from canada to south america

  • Ted

    I’m referring to everthing as “X” restaurant from now on.

    • markbaumer

      school: education restaurant
      work: the money restaurant

  • snoebay88

    Could have gone coast to coast on Amtrak for $265,I just did.

    • markbaumer

      never traveled coast to coast on train. think i would rather do that than take a plane

  • JJ

    Really enjoyed this! Glad you did not get violated!

    • markbaumer

      thank you. glad i wasn’t violated either. don’t think people get violated hitchhiking as much as people fear that people do

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  • Tod Mesirow

    my only wish is that there were more photographs.

  • Jack

    This reads like it was written by a man who looks up when he hears geese passing.