Thumbing A Ride
Hitchhikers, Hostels, and Counterculture in CanadaBook - 2018
As a national network of roads spread across Canada, so did the practice of hitchhiking. Thumbing a Ride examines its rise and fall in the 1970s, drawing on records from the time. Many equated adventure travel with freedom and independence, but a counter-narrative emerged of girls gone missing and other dangers. Town councillors, community groups, and motorists demanded a clampdown on a transient youth movement they believed was spreading anti-establishment nomadism. Linda Mahood asks new questions about hitchhiking as a rite of passage, and about adult intervention that turned a subculture into a pressing moral and social issue.
This work relies on oral histories, interviews, and newspaper and magazine articles to tell the stories of young hitchhikers in Canada in the 1970s, during a period when hitchhiking across the country became a youth movement. In addition to the voices of real people, the book gleans information from social work reports about hitchhiking by the Canadian Welfare Council and from the archives of the Canadian Youth Hostel Association. The book describes the hitchhiking subculture with its rules of the road and emphasis on cooperation, and the vast network of hostels and crash pads used by hitchhiking transient youth. It also describes the responses of communities to hitchhiking transient youth, leading to laws banning hitchhiking, and details the youths' protests against the closures of hostels, culminating in the ‘the Battle of Jericho’ at Jericho Beach. The book includes many b&w historical photos from archives and private collections. Annotation ©2018 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)