Our plan is to hitchhike to Picauville, France.
What’s there? A chateau (castle) that needs help with maintaining the grounds (weeding), and basic upkeep of the chateau (room cleaning, etc).
We hitchhike from Denan, France to Picauville. It was easy. Got rides from 3 – 4 different cars. Everyone was really nice.
Here’s how we did it.
A day or two before leaving, I would plan the route using a map, and Google Maps, in order to compare both routes.
Basically, I would route the beginning destination to the final destination, then write down the names of the towns in between, with the goal being to get a ride from one town to the next, spacing the towns approximately one hour apart. I would go over the routes with Raegan.
The day of hitchhiking, we’d pull out cardboard from a dumpster and make a sign, using a Sharpie marker. Raegan, cleverly, added a smiley face to the bottom along with the letters “SVP” standing for s’il vous plait (French for “if you please”).
At Saint Malo, France, we put our thumbs out again, but no one stopped. After about an hour or two, we decided to take a train from Saint Malo to Saint Lo.
We arrive in Saint Malo, find a grocery story, and go inside.
Raegan gets an avacado, a sesame seed baguette, a chocolate mouse cup. It’s only a few euros. It’s starting to rain, lightly, so we park ourselves on our backpacks and sit outside the grocery store, under the awning.
Ripping the bread into sandwich size sections, we split it longways, then puncture the avocado and squeeze the contents into the bread. Although it was cold, it was a delicious meal. The chocolate mouse proved a satisfactory dessert.
Sitting there, our hair a dirty tangle, our backpacks strewn about, eating with our hands, we probably looked like filthy travelers in need of a bath.
I expected us to get shoo’ed away a store employee. We were left alone. We were ignored by the shoppers, too. After the occassional glance, they were on their way to their business, having their own lives to consider. It appeared to be a small town, too, so their lack of interest or curiosity surprised me. Then again, maybe French people mind their own business.
Raegan sat on the L.L Bean sleeping bag, that was rolled up into the carrying sack, the one I had gotten for my birthday or for a Christmas gift some years before, and I perched my butt on the ledge below the window. Beside us sat our backpacks and Raegan’s shoulder bag.
We finished eating, tossed our trash, and got our gear in order. Raegan unfolded the cardboard sign, got the marker and wrote “Picauville :)” on one side. We stood, hoisted our backpacks on, then crossed he street.
It was cold, overcast, windy, and the air was misty. It began raining lightly.
We hope to get Picauville before the inevitable downpour.
We stood there with our thumbs out. The road was not heavily trafficked. And the few cars that passed did not even slow down.
We were ghosts. Unseen by the land of the living.
Raegan starts complaining.
“We just have to be positive. Someone’s gonna come along any minute. Maybe like a famous actor, Tom Cruise, or someone like that. He’ll be driving a little car. He’ll be incognito.”
Raegan wasn’t having it. She didn’t want the pep talk.
Raegan held the sign and put out her thumb. I did, too.
Ten minutes passed.
Then, it happened.