I scanned my map, considering my next move. My plan was to follow the coast Northward, but a great number of locals had tried to talk me out of it because traffic on that route was so sparse.
“Go inland -- you’ll never get rides along the coast,” agreed a group of bus tourists I’d met at the rest station.
Another factor I had to consider was the weather forecast. The local weatherman was talking about rain, rain, and more rain, which certainly works against the hitchhiker. One might think you’d benefit from drivers’ sympathy in the rain, but bad weather has the even stronger effect of making everyone look a little more sinister. Picture dark grey clouds, blankets of rain, and Mother Teresa standing on a street corner. Is she concealing a knife under her habit? Possibly. Never trust a wet nun.
No, inviting a dripping wet, possibly dangerous stranger into your car is simply not as appealing as doing so for a dry one. I’d learned this the hard way, spending rainy days catching truck spray beside highways and ducking into convenience stores for shelter. The “poor hitchhiker in the rain" sympathy doesn't really exist to the extent that I'd hoped.
I had to make a decision. Should I risk it? My larger plan was to complete a loop of the island. The map of my Epic Hitchhiking Journey just wouldn’t look right with a big wedge cut out of it. The naysayers had a point though; it was a very desolate area and there were other, busier roads I could’ve taken.
But those locals were forgetting something. Lower traffic frequency also means a higher per-car chance of pick-up. Drivers think, “He’ll never find a ride out here … maybe I should stop.” You might only see one car in half an hour, but you’ve got a pretty good chance that he’ll give you a lift.
And you know what? Rain is just water. H2O. Life-giving. Ubiquitous.
I made my decision. I’d head North.