Thursday, July 28, 2005

The Assholes of Ashland

The morning sparkled like a new dime when I walked out of the hotel yesterday in Bemidji, Minnesota.

I walked over to the Sta-Mart, bought a Coke Zero, and laughed when the store clerk revealed the definition of the term "Uffdah!"

She told me it means: "Oh Shit!"

At the time, I didn't know just how prophetic that word would be.

Rides were steady across Minnesota and at one point, I met a young man and his entourage who were celebrating the driver's birthday. The party boy gave me his treasured "Anarchist Dollar" that he designed himself [from an actual dollar bill, of course] and another girl gave me a Guardian Angel in a Plexiglas heart.

Both of those items comforted me later on in the day.

The last ride out of Minnesota took me to the outer limits of Superior, Wisconsin.

I thumbed a ride and a big, ugly, dirty guy picked me up in a van and told me that he would take me to Ashland.

I was very excited.

As the miles passed, this guy's demeanor changed and he started making remarks and acted a bit too much like a serial pervert to suit me.

Finally when he realized that I was neither going to play his game or let him under my skin, he got mad. And there, out in the middle of nowhere, on US Highway 2 between Superior and Ashland, he threw me out of his van.

I mean...He THREW me out! Physically. As in pushed and I tumbled out onto the gravel.

Then he grabbed my pack and hurled it out. The bag tumbled down the embankment [I almost did, too!] and into a ditch.

I rolled my legs out of the way very quickly to prevent from being run over by his van.

Then I read the license tag.

And I wrote it down on a matchbook cover with a Sharpie pen.

I was standing on the highway, as the sun was setting...Totally surrounded by forest.

A guy finally appeared in a nice car and I flagged him down. He took me to the police station in Ashland.

The police proved to be worthless. They told me that there is no shelter in Ashland and that I was going to have to turn around and hitchhike back to Superior.

Superior from Ashland is 65 miles away.

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