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A Day in the Azores

I'm not generally the easiest person to wake up in the morning, but on port days on cruises, I'm up before the old people. It helps to have free access to the best alarm clock invented-- free scheduled room service. Such was the case today, when our ship stopped in Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel, Azores. I've wanted to go to the Azores for years, ever since a guy named Eric Bomblatus, whose family is from there, told us about how beautiful it was. Sometimes all it takes is planting that seed.

At eight a.m. sharp we were off the boat and walking down the cool sunny streets of the city. I remarked that I wished I had a motorcycle to explore the island with. Ten minutes later we passed a motorcycle rental place. Prices were checked, found to be reasonable, and a plan practically wrote itself.

Between the five of us (Todd, Ben, Carl, Christophe, and me) we rented every motorized vehicle they had left. We got a 650cc motorcycle, a 125cc motorcycle, two quads, and a 125cc scooter. A mother-daughter duo we had befriended on the ship stopped to say hi, and were added to our party as passengers. Driving down the street, we looked like a post-apocalyptic gang.

The Last Time I Hitchhiked

On Jimmie Aaron Kepler

[caption id="4359" align="alignright" width="300"] Hitchhiking[/caption]

Spring break 1974 was the last time I hitchhiked. By then it was going out of vogue. Drivers viewed picking up a stranger as a risk. It was in the mid 1970's that we learned some people picked up hitchhikers to do harm to them. They would rape and kill them. Had I know that I would have never stuck my thumb up and hitched a ride, but I did. Here is that story.

The story of the last ride I hitched is straightforward. It was spring break 1974. The effects of the Arab Oil Embargo that was put in place during the Yom Kippur War of late 1973 were taking effect. Due to shortages, cars and their drivers lined up at service stations to get gasoline. The traditional full service station became extend during this period. Sometimes you had to wait days to fill up your car’s tank.

March of 1974 found me completing my junior year at The University of Texas at Arlington. Fortunately, I lived adjacent to the campus. This meant I could walk or ride my ten-speed bicycle to class. More and more frequently, I opted for my ten-speed as my preferred method of transportation.

During this same time, Interstate 20 (I-20) was under construction across south Arlington, Texas. Lake Joe Poole was a future development dream.

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