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United States of America

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|currency = American Dollar ($)
|BW = US
|map= <map lat='39.44525647027036' lng='-98.6623687744132' zoom='3' view='0' />
|hitch = <rating country='us' />
}}
'''''For specific information on each state please check the links at the bottom of this page.'''''
[[File:Kasper-hitch-nh.jpg|thumb|250px|[[User:guaka|guaka]]<small><sup>[http://guaka.org/ site], [[User talk:guaka|wikitalk]]</sup></small> hitching in New England, taken by [[User:Amylin|amylin]], September 2007]]
'''The United States of America''' as , commonly called '''The U.S.A.''', or simply '''America''' is a country is divided up into consisting of 50 states; for . For the convenience of the common hitchhiker , these states are discussed in detail along with their capitals at the following in their individual pages (see below). The US is bordered by [[Canada]] to the North north and [[Mexico]] to the Southsouth.
Hitching, like everything else in America, varies greatly depending on what type of area and what part of the country you are passing through. In general you can get rides fairly easily if you hitchhike the right way; in fact, often you can find more than just rides, such as offers for free meals, invitations to homes and parties, etc.
Relatively quite __TOC__ == Culture == Many Americans have a few limited worldview. (I can say this because I am one.) We think there are two places in the world: America and other places. Don't waste your time explaining that "American" is an incorrect demonym. And get used to our senseless system of measurement. It's a part of our culture. Despite a large number of immigrants all across the country, most Americans are still curious about people from different parts of the world, fascinated by foreign accents, and eager to introduce visitors to American culture. Despite an undercurrent of xenophobia and racism in rural parts of the country, Americans tend to have a pragmatic view towards foreigners: Americans might profoundly dislike your country of origin, but they will rarely hold that against you as an individual. Relative to other Western countries, people in the rural United States are profoundly religious. People who pick you up might inquire about your religion. If you're not religious, try to deal with it in a positive way and accept the difference. Despite a level of religious intolerance much higher than in Europe, Americans tend to have a pragmatic approach to people of unfamiliar religious backgrounds: Americans tend not to judge you badly even if they might be suspicious of your religion. More often you will be picked up by really cool people, and often dropped off exactly at the point of your destination, as hitchhiker [[User:Guaka|Guaka]]'s experience shows, for example. Detours  === Cars ===''Driving in the United States is similar to driving in Canada, but very different from driving in Europe. It is not uncommon for hitchhikers Americans to drive more than an hour each way to work, and 77 percent of Americans drive alone to their jobs... Most states allow people to drive unaccompanied once they have reached the age of 16.'' -[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Driving_in_the_United_States Wikipedia: Driving in the United States] There are much more than 250 million registered vehicles in the USA, the most of any country. Everyone has a car, and gas is so cheap that people drive everywhere. As a result there are a lot of roads and highways. Sometimes you may need to change your technique to accommodate unfamiliar infrastructure. Sometimes it can be hard to find a place with slow traffic! Although traffic is heavy, hitchhiking is also hard because nobody trusts somebody with no car. (Why don't you have a car? There must be something wrong with you.) It would help to look like a foreigner, but don't go so far as to wave a foreign flag around. Hitchhiking is not as common here than as in Europe due and Latin America, so expect to have to explain yourself, possibly to the police. (See the section on police below). == Transportation system == === Interstates ===[[File:2006-interstate-map.png|right|A map of the interstate system in 2006. ]]An 'interstate', also known as an '''expressway''', '''freeway''', or (confusingly) '''highway''', is a large, multilane road that covers vast distances, and passes through major cities. If you aren't planning on going to the countryside, you probably won't need to stray far from the interstate system.  Interstates are designated on maps by "I-..." and have road signs [http://hitchwiki.org/en/File:InterstateSign.svg#file like this]. Even-numbered routes run from west to east and are numbered from south to north. For example, [[I-10]] runs across the south from [[L.A.]] to [[Jacksonville, FL]], and I-90 across the North from [[Seattle]] to [[Boston]]. Likewise, odd-numbered expressways start with [[I-5]] along the west coast (Seattle to cheaper gasL.A.) and I-95 along the east coast ([[Maine]] to [[Miami]]).  The main interstates have two or three numbers, as in I-8 or I-76. Offshoots or ring roads will have a preceeding digit, for example, I-295, which runs along I-95
== Methods for catching rides ==
If you're going for speed over a long distance (3+ hours), then the best bet is to stay on the interstates. Highways are better for shorter or more senic trips.
=== Long Distance Interstates ===If you're going for speed over a long distance (3+ hours), then ''Thumbing it on on-ramps''' is sometimes the best bet is way to stay on hitchhike the interstates (designated on maps by "i-#": road signs appearing [http://hitchwiki.org/en/File:InterstateSign.svg#file like this]) instead of local highways Standing along the shoulder with a thumb or sign can take a few hours so bring something to read. Try to stick to on-ramps exits that have large towns, truck stops, [[rest area|rest stops]] or any other reason for drivers to stop there (restaurants, [[petrol station hitchhiking|gas stations]], hotels, etc.). State highways is also Ask a good way driver to catch rides especially when your destination is not very near to an interstate, Its easier to hitch a ride drop you off at on on interstates as drivers are more relaxed and not going very fast-ramp with plenty of traffic.
Often times the best way For this same reason, be prepared to hitchhike is turn down a ride with someone who's "just going to stay on high traffic ramps with large shoulders for people to pull over onthe next exit". Getting dropped off on a low-traffic exit is the gravest danger when hitching on interstates, especially where the police are unfriendly. It can easily lead to long, long delays. Identify the last truck stop, major intersection (with of a non-freeway), or rest area before your driver's destination, car every ten minutes and get off there rather than risking getting stucknone of them stopping. If Eventually you do get stuck may give up and stand on the highway or walk a low traffic ramp, you can try hitchhiking on few miles to the highway itself even if next exit. Since pedestrians are prohibited. There is a good chance not allowed along interstates in most states, you will get are likely to be picked up before police see youby a state trooper. In the best case, your ID will be check and if they do they are just going to give you a warning and ask you to go back to the ramp or even give you may will be given a ride lift to the next one just to get rid of youexit. See the section on police.
Asking When making '''signs''' in the states, it best to use the two-letter state abbreviations, which are universally understood, notable exceptions being OK, HI, and LA. The first two could be confused for rides at rest areaswords, particularly on toll roads such as I-90 between the last ([[BostonLouisiana]] and ) could be confused with ([[ChicagoLos Angeles]] is one of the quickest ways to get a very long distance ride, but soliciting and loitering is prohibited there and sometimes you will be kicked out before finding a ride. A good way to avoid being kicked out is to greet everyone entering the building with a friendly smile and give them a friendly nod, then ask them for a ride as they leave the building. This gives them time to become comfortable with your presence and prevents them from having the opportunity to complain about your solicitation to the employees). Additionally:
You can also look for rides at the truck stops or gas stations themselves*"Philly" = [[Philadelphia]]*"D.C." = [[Washington, but be discreet about it as with rest areas, some customers will complain and staff will make you leave the propertyD.C.]]*"N.Y.C." = [[New York City]]*"S. As a rule Love's, Petro, and TA truck stops will be the quickest to kick you outF" = [[San Francisco]]*"L. Pilot/Flying J truck stops and smaller locally owned truck stops are generally a lot more lenientA. You may even find signs that prohibit you from soliciting a ride" = [[Los Angeles]]*"NOLA" = [[New Orleans]] (not universally understood, so caution is necessary like asking instead of showing them a sign to your destination.but in the South at least)
'''Asking for rides at rest areas or gas stations''', is often one of the quickest ways to get a very long distance ride, but soliciting and loitering is might be prohibited there and sometimes you will be kicked out before finding a ride. A good way to avoid being kicked out is to greet everyone entering the building with a friendly smile and give them a friendly nod, then ask them for a ride as they leave the building. This gives them time to become comfortable with your presence and prevents them from having the opportunity to complain about your solicitation to the employees.  '''Asking for rides at truck stops''' is the same way. As a rule, Love's, Petro, and TA will be the quickest to kick you out. Pilot/Flying J truck stops and smaller locally owned truck stops are generally a lot more lenient. You may even find signs that prohibit you from soliciting a ride, so caution is necessary like asking instead of showing them a sign to your destination. === Short Distance US/State Highways ===If you are only going a hundred milesor less, you can often make better time on US highways, state highways , or even local roads. Even if you are going long distances, if you aren't concerned about making good time, getting off the interstates can be a very rewarding experience. Local highways will grant you a better picture of what local life is like in that area, and typically offer a greater variety of drivers and scenery. To hitchhike on these highways, it is best to stand at the edge of town right before the speed limit picks up, even walking on the highways also helps as shoulders most of the way are pretty wide. Standing at stop lights outside of towns along these highways is also a great way to catch a ride, even if the speed limit is quite high.
=== Urban and Suburban Short Distance ===
You may also wish to try asking for rides at smaller local gas stations, but you are unlikely to make as much progress doing this.
 
=== Getting out of big cities ===
You may find yourself in very sprawled out cities like LA or Phoenix, then try your luck on Craigslist! I (http://hitchwiki.org/en/User:Nora) crossed the US and found a few rides on Craiglist, messaging people who offer rides and asking if they would take me for free. Probably works best as a foreigner and a girl, but is worth a try. And maybe you can 'pay' in stories or music!
== Police/Laws ==
[[File:Unitedstateslaws.jpg|thumb|400px|right|Overview of hitchhiking laws by state.<br> Green: Hitchhiking legal while on the shoulder of the road <br> Yellow: Hitchhiking legal while off the traveled portion of the road, stay in the grass to be safe. <br> Red: Hitchhiking is completely illegal.<br> Gray: Specific laws, check the respective state article(s).]]
=== Overview ===
The legal status of hitchhiking in the United States is a bit of a difficult topic; laws and their enforcement differ greatly from state to state as does the information available online and in general knowledge. Many people (including police officers) mistakenly believe hitchhiking is illegal anywhere in the US; sometimes you'll get away with holding a cardboard sign but not with holding out your thumb, and sometimes nobody will hassle you even if you stand or walk right on the interstate. The specific articles on states will give you more information on this topic.
=== Nationwide Police === Many police in this country have arrest quotas, not to mention many police (not all!) are assholes. That being said, you may encounter an officer of the law who is a rather enthusiastic about giving you a hard time. Keep in mind that even foreigners have rights, such as the right to refuse being searched. For good information about dealing with the police, check out https://www.flexyourrights.org/  Being in a state which permits hitchhiking does not guarantee that the police will not harass you. Most police don't know the laws and will tell you it is illegal to hitchhike in that state. [[User:Thewindandrain|Thewindandrain]] argues with cops on a regular basis and refuses to stop hitchhiking where it is legal. He has been innocently arrested for this twice, but has remained confident and never been taken to jail even after being cuffed and in the car and continuing to stand up for his rights. They are usually bluffing right to the very end. If you know the law in that state, don't be afraid to tell the police they are wrong! Frequently when confronted with your response, law enforcement officers will react unprofessionally and occasionally aggressively and even in a discriminatory way if you are not their race (sad but true: white people will have an easier time than blacks or latinos). They may curse, call you names, and/or threaten to arrest you if they see you hitchhiking again and then leave the scene. This is usually a bluff. They may even cuff you then give you a ride out of their jurisdiction. Occasionally they may admit to their mistake and leave you alone. If you are uncomfortable and feel threatened by the officer, you may request to speak to his/her supervisor. Supervisors will show up to talk with you about the law openly and professionally. === National laws ===
The only nationwide law (Code of Federal Regulations) that prohibits hitchhiking is 36 CFR 4.31 which states that hitchhiking is illegal on any property under jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior: National Park Service. This includes but is not limited to National Parks, National Scenic Byways, and National Recreation Areas. This law is often amended to allow hitchhiking at the discretion of each park. Check with the park's respective state article for information
=== State and Local local laws ===
Look to the map pictured above which indicates each state's laws. Most often, the laws state that the hitchhiker may not "solicit a ride" "on a roadway". The word roadway is usually defined in state statute books as "exclusive of a shoulder" or "the traveled portion of the highway", making these statutes easy to circumvent.
Tourists who intend to cross into the USA by hitchhiking should note that the US immigration department will log that you have been hitchhiking, should they discover that you are. This log will be visible to any guard who subsequently checks your immigration status. If you decide to leave and enter the USA again, it may make your entry back into the USA more difficult if it is not a hitchhiker friendly state.
=== Ignorant Police Officers =Personal Experiences ==
Being in a state which permits hitchhiking does not guarantee that the police will not harass you. Most police don't know the laws and will tell you it is illegal to hitchhike in that state. [[UserFile:ThewindandrainUnitedstateshitchhiking.jpg|thumb|400px|Thewindandrain]] argues with cops ''Relative Ease of Hitchhiking Each State of America (based on a regular basis and refuses to stop hitchhiking where it is legal. He has been innocently arrested for this twicesurvey of hitchhikers with 114, but has remained confident and never been taken to jail even after being cuffed and in the car and continuing to stand up for his rights000 miles cumulative experience. They are usually bluffing right to the very end)''. If you know the law in that state, don't be afraid to tell the police they are wrong!<br> Green: Easy <br> Yellow: Average <br> Red: Difficult]]
Frequently when confronted with your response''Haven't hitched extensively there, law enforcement officers will react unprofessionally and occasionally aggressively and even in a discriminatory way if you are not their race(its occasional but as long as you are prepared and confident you would be fine)where I have, the experiences have been unique. I've hitched Oregon to Mexico along the famous highway 101. They may call you names or threaten I also hitched from Oregon to arrest you if they see you hitchhiking again and then leave Chicago on i90 in the scenedead of winter. This is usually Lots of clothes for that one, and a bluffwarm place to retreat to at every stop. They may even cuff The most remarkable thing about hitching in the States is that you then give you a ride out of their jurisdictionget picked up by REALLY interesting people. Occasionally they may admit to their mistake and leave you aloneNot all the time. If you But our beloved weirdos are uncomfortable and feel threatened by more common in the officer, you may request to speak to his/her supervisorUS than anywhere else I've hitched. Supervisors will show up to talk with Regardless of what you think about the law openly and professionallyStates, it's easily one of the most interesting places to hitchhike, especially if you LIKE adventure.'' - [[User:Chael777|Chael]]
== Car License Plate ==
Every ''Have hitchhiked moderately in US, about 9,000 miles(including ferries and train hopping). Its a diverse country so generalizing a state issues its own specific car plates. For example, or even a car from Alabama will county(as I have been picked up in the most conservative counties) would not be specifically [http://enright.wikipedia.org/wiki/License_plates_of_the_United_States Car license] tagged as such. In I have been picked up by really awesome people(some Statesof them are now my friends), the license plate will also show the county Friendly cops(who offered me water and money) to discriminatory cops(who just wanted to get rid of residence. This can me), people who turned out to be helpful if gay(asked sexual favors), bored people looking for a good conversation(what you have to do is just listen and and ask question to acknowledge that you spot are listening), people who saw me as a car curious and tired foreigner etc. It was a great experience and helped me learn a lot about the culture here. One thing I learned is that might be going in the same direction if you are having fun then you get picked up easily as compared to when youare not. It might also be helpful to write down the license plate number in case of foul playMy personal favorite states are [[Alaska]] and [[Missouri]].'' - [[User:Keep_trying|Tarun]]
== Food ==
''I hitchhiked over 200,000 miles in 50 states of the US, 19 states of Mexico, and 8 provinces of Canada I would say in general that it is easy to hitchhike in all those countries but some of the most difficult places are in America. Each state varies greatly in geography and ease of hitchhiking. In the south, for example it is easier to hop freight trains since the hitching is so difficult. My favorite states for travelers are [[Colorado]], [[California]], [[New Mexico]], [[Oregon]], and [[Arkansas]]. I have hitched alone, and with numbers of other people. Hitchhiking with two people or large equipment like a bicycle or kayak seems to give shortest waits. I would rank hitchhiking as a slightly more risky activity than cycle touring on windy highways with no shoulder. These days I prefer to ride freight trains and motorized bicycles, and I recommend you do the same.' Eat' - [[User: '''Thewindandrain|Thewindandrain]]
If you are friendly, people who pick you up will offer to buy you food quite a lot. Additionally, a lot of people will throw you some bucks to eat and even give you shelter if its late at night. From change up to $100. An anonymous hitchhiker has been given $100 dollars twice, and they have been given $60 dollars several times as has [[User:Zenit|Zenit]]... If you are looking for monetary gifts, the key is the right type of answer when they ask, concernedly, what you do to eat - "Naw, we're pretty much all right, we got *some* money." (emphasizing the "some" slightly)- if they've asked this question and you answer this way you'll basically always get a friendly handout - for which you should thank them profusely, of course. :)[[File:ChaelUSwalking.jpg|thumb|350px|[[User:Chael777|Chael]]<small><sup>[http://www.velabas.com/ site]</sup></small> crossing a bridge in Oregon, August 2009]]
For vegetarians and especially for vegans traveling between cities''I hitchhiked from Panama to the US, times can be hardintending to go through the whole of the US by hitchhiking with my little brother. [[User:Zenit|Zenit]] for one has sustained himself mostly on chips and granola bars for weeks at a time I cannot recommend to hitchhike in the Mid Westpairs. It takes _days_ to find rides. We looked like regular guys, however if you are looking did 20k+ miles in right places more than 10 countries. If you can always find vegan food like cheese and bean burritosdo it, biscuit, cheese pizza etcdo it alone. You can even ask restaurants to remove the meat part from the meal, '' - Summer '14
Once you open your mind to it, there are actually many opportunities for dumpster diving in urban areas. Port cities are especially good. Note, however that dumpster diving is in a similar sort of gray area as hitchhiking, with local legality depending on the particular state's laws, and the prevalent attitudes of local law enforcement officers.
Grocery stores and gas station(with fast food)are prime targets for food ([[:trash:Trader Joe's|Trader Joe's]] or Starbucks are especially likely I crossed the US from Boston to have an unlocked dumpsterSan Francisco the southern way. The north east is tough, prepare for some waits and has looks as if you were not worth anyone's attention. Luckily it gets better soon! Texas was the best state for me, lots of organicsrides even from women, and basically no waites. Also California is pretty good to hitchhike, though more tourists. To all girls - it's definitely safe enough in my opinion, though I was asked for sex a few times by people not understanding hitchhiking much. And in general - for me waites for longer than in Europe (when alone I have to hardly wait longer than 10 minutes ever). Grocery stores cannot sell packaged foods past their expiration date, and so throw them away but still wrapped in dumpsters behind the storelongest wait during the whole trip were ~2 hours at a bad spot.'' - [[user:Nora|Nora]]
Another great place to dive is food distribution centers. As they supply restaurants, their food comes in bulk and they throw out their food sometimes days before the expiration date. Google Maps can help you turn up locations. ''Check Trashwiki for detailed information on [[:trash:United States of America|dumpster diving in the United States]].''== Links ==
''' DrinkAnalyses of hitchhiking in the USA by [[User:Korn|Korn]] on warmroads.de [https: '''It is often possible to retrieve used cups from //warmroads.de/en/hitchhiking-in-19-the trash at fast food restaurants with "free refill" policies and refill them. Otherwise, American water is just as free and healthy as any other country of -usa/ - Hitchhiking in the worldUSA.]
== Hitchhiking Books ==
Rather than a genre of its own, hitchhiking books probably fit better in a genre of alternative travel books, with Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods and Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.== Nomadwiki & Trashwiki ==
To that list of fun and funny and moving and important books, we should add Colin Flaherty’s Redwood to Deadwood, a 53-year old dude hitchhikes across America. Again.{{nomadwiki}}
Redwood to Deadwood describes Flaherty’s hitchhiking trip across America.
 
"''Before I tucked my thumb in for the final time, I'd run with wild horses. Visit a pot farm. Hunt big game. Poach big game. Get by a police helicopter. Get info family feuds. Ride in cop cars. Reconnect with old friends. Make new ones. Get tired and exhilarated. Lost and found. Kicked out and invited in''."
 
"I know how to cook muskrat, squiirrel and rockchuck. And oh yea, I almost got killed.”
 
Book reviewer Janet Jay said the book is [“the best hitchhiking I have ever read or even heard about.  My friend heard about it when she was sitting next to a guy on an airplane who was reading it. He was laughing out loud. So she asked about it. He said that was how he heard about it too. So books hitchhike as well as people.”]
 
== Personal Experiences ==
 
[[File:Unitedstateshitchhiking.jpg|thumb|400px|''Relative Ease of Hitchhiking Each State of America (based on a survey of hitchhikers with 114,000 miles cumulative experience.)''.<br> Green: Easy <br> Yellow: Average <br> Red: Difficult]]
 
''Haven't hitched extensively there, but where I have, the experiences have been unique. I've hitched Oregon to Mexico along the famous highway 101. I also hitched from Oregon to Chicago on i90 in the dead of winter. Lots of clothes for that one, and a warm place to retreat to at every stop. The most remarkable thing about hitching in the States is that you get picked up by REALLY interesting people. Not all the time. But our beloved weirdos are more common in the US than anywhere else I've hitched. Regardless of what you think about the States, it's easily one of the most interesting places to hitchhike, especially if you LIKE adventure.'' - [[User:Chael777|Chael]]
 
''Have hitchhiked moderately in US, about 9,000 miles(including ferries and train hopping). Its a diverse country so generalizing a state or even a county(as I have been picked up in the most conservative counties) would not be right. I have been picked up by really awesome people(some of them are now my friends), Friendly cops(who offered me water and money) to discriminatory cops(who just wanted to get rid of me), people who turned out to be gay(asked sexual favors), bored people looking for a good conversation(what you have to do is just listen and and ask question to acknowledge that you are listening), people who saw me as a curious and tired foreigner etc. It was a great experience and helped me learn a lot about the culture here. One thing I learned is that if you are having fun then you get picked up easily as compared to when you are not. My personal favorite states are [[Alaska]] and [[Missouri]].'' - [[User:Keep_trying|Tarun]]
 
''I have hitchhiked over 70,000 miles in the United States, been through every state, and while I have nothing to compare it to other than Canada, I would say in general that it is easy and fun to hitchhike here. Each state varies greatly in geography and ease of hitchhiking. My personal favorite states are [[Colorado]], [[California]], and [[Arkansas]].'' [[User:Thewindandrain|Thewindandrain]] ([[User talk:Thewindandrain|talk]]) 04:42, 28 October 2012 (CET)
 
''I hitchhiked from Panama to the US, intending to go through the whole of the US by hitchhiking with my little brother. I cannot recommend to hitchhike in pairs. It takes _days_ to find rides. We looked like regular guys, did 20k+ miles in more than 10 countries. If you do it, do it alone.'' Summer '14
 
== Links ==
* [http://thebplot.wordpress.com/2011/09/29/6249/]
* {http://www.RedwoodtoDeadwoodbook.com]
{{IsIn|North America}}
[[trash:United States of America]]
[[Category:United States| ]]
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