Remember when you could cross the country hitchhiking in
just a few days? I do, Iím old enough. I did it dozens of times, from New
York to LA, from New York to Florida. I would simply pack a bag and stick my
thumb out at the nearest highway ramp. Back in the early ë70s, rarely an
hour went by I did not get a good ride. But times have changed. A couple of
rapes and murders, an oil sponsored media using that for scare tactics, and
hitchhiking died in America.
Something is about to bring it back, bigger, better! For
years I would tell people I had this terrific idea to make hitchhiking safe
and practical again. But they would shrug, or worse, laugh at me. It seemed
hopeless. My idea was a simple one really. A Hitchhikerís Club, with
membership cards, like concert passes, supervised by a large organization.
People would join for a small fee, as either rider or driver, and go through
a security check.
You would then be able to stand by the curb with a large
size membership card around your neck, a photo ID with a highly visible and
recognizable logo, and wait for a driver who had the same card pasted on his
windshield or dangling from his rearview mirror. You would check each otherís
cards first, and then get a ride in relative safety with a mutual bond of
trust established by being members of the same club. Today, with cell phones
and onboard computers, such safety checks would be made that much easier.
I know a lot of people in the electric vehicle industry
who would support such an idea. Auto-Free Times (Culture Change) told
me about GO GERONIMO. Turns out a group in Californiaís San Geronimo
Valley had the same idea in 1996 and their club already has 125 riders and
275 drivers. Background checks are done by the Marin County Sheriffís
In theory, a national Hitchhiking Club could drastically
reduce the numbers of cars on the road. It would uncomplicate car pooling
and make it a way of life. The ideal institution to oversee a national
hitching program would be the American Automobile Association. But something
tells me it wonít be that simple. Why would they sponsor a program that
could theoretically cut down on car and gasoline sales? So it needs to start
elsewhere. What better way than clubs with a youth-oriented, green
You can start your own club where you live, with your own
schools, your own police department, and use GO GERONIMO as a model. Many
little clubs around the country will set the trend and eventually merge into
a national program.
GO GERONIMO P. O. Box 304 San Geronimo, CA 94963 (415)
Remy Chevalier is starting a new green fashion magazine and can be
contacted at 25 Newtown Turnpike, Weston, CT 06883 tel. (203) 227-2065