The above biology lesson is relevant at the moment because it's happening right now. The last few days in this part of California they have been having a massive spider hatch. At any given moment a shower of micro arachnids will come cascading down from absolutely no where to begin a parade across what ever surface they happen to land on. To include my gear, my clothes, my hair, my face...pretty much anything exposed is liable to see an army of creepy crawlies shopping for real estate.
I'm not certain of the species, but they are orb weavers for sure. And the adorable little fellas have seen fit to grace me with their company day and night here. I can't look down without seeing them skitter across my arm or stroke my beard without them coming out on my hand. Which is kinda cool. I like spiders. And no, I don't care what anyone thinks of that. We aren't in the business of pulling punches here.
I got a ride out of Redding with a rad pair or guys about my age in a minivan, named Jack and Patch Work, they also had a pair of hounds who were ridiculously friendly, unfortunately I forgot their names as soon as I heard them, but they were no less awesome for my forgetfulness. I knew they were tramps before they even hit their breaks, and I was stoked to get to ride with them. Patch Work was the more talkative of the two, and was generally a train hopper, but wasn't bashful about hitchhiking either. We spent the whole ride swapping Road stories, and really hit it off. I've never hopped a train before, but they definitely gave me the bug to try my hand at it. Patch Work commanded an encyclopedic memory of the train schedules through out the country, what trains to get on where, and where they would take you, how long it would take to get there, what your options were at each train yard...it was fascinating to me. I really couldn't tell you how many crusty train hopping kids I've met over the years, but these were the first I can honestly say I got along with. Courteous and respectful, with a no bull shit attitude. Yes. I liked these guys. I hope to run into them again some time.
They took me as far as Williams CA, a spot I've hitched out of 4 times now, which is kinda cool considering every ramp I end up on is entirely at random. From there I caught a ride a few miles South to Dillard where I waited until the sun went down to hump to the next exit. Dillard was a ghost exit. No traffic, no business to speak of...no way of getting out unless it's on foot. It was darker than Harlem when I made it to the Pilot station down the Interstate, and there was another hitchhiker there already. His name was Chris. We made some small talk and he was better than half drunk, so I went to the truck stop to see if I could get online. It wasn't happening. They wanted $2 an hour to use the internet, which just so happened to be $2 more than I had. So I made camp for the night with the baby spiders, and awoke in the morning to find 2 more hitchers on the ramp. The exit was getting tramped out in a hurry. The two new arrivals were chicks with fairly dubious gender roles headed for Oakland, so Chris and myself agreed they should go first, as they wouldn't have to wait long (females don't wait for rides, they just stand there and POW! cars stop like fucking magic). About 30 minutes later they were on their way down the 505 and Chris was propositioning me to partner up. The notion of traveling with another guy never held much appeal to me, but it didn't seem as though I had much to lose, so I agreed. And here we are. Jammed up on a popular ramp, broke as a joke, spending the second night in a row in the same spot. I don't like it one bit, but my options are limited. Maybe we'll make it out by morning? I'm not betting on it. Lame is the word.
On a brighter side, the ground scores over the last few days have consisted of 3 oranges, 1 bean burrito (still in the plastic), 2 brand new Bic lighters, and a very badly beaten up 25 cents. The Road provides.