So you thought that hitchhiking went out of fashion years ago, along with that bygone era of bell bottoms and tie-dye? Well, here in the San Juan Islands, the practice lives on (as do the styles—we love tie-dye!).
In 2006, a group of San Juan islanders began brainstorming ways to develop a more sustainable transportation system here on the islands. Today, the San Juan RIDESHARE committee operates nearly twenty designated RIDESHARE sites on San Juan Island alone—in addition to sites on Orcas and Lopez—making this small island something of a mecca for hitchhikers, backpackers, money- and gas-saving residents, and lone travelers looking to travel by a combination of car and foot. The sites are essentially like bus stops, marked by yellow RIDESHARE signposts each depicting a hitchhiker’s upturned thumb. Any driver who sees a hitchhiker waiting by the side of the road is welcome to stop and give him or her a lift.
Aside from being an inexpensive and environmentally responsible means of transportation, hitchhiking on San Juan Island is a great way to meet some San Juan locals and experience an island tradition. As a newcomer to the island, I have yet to try hitchhiking, but after hearing first-hand accounts from some of the other kayaking guides at Outdoor Odysseys, I am anxious to try it out.
So come visit us here on San Juan Island, for a chance to experience the beauty and magic of the Pacific Northwest, see whales and bald eagles from the seat of a kayak, and—who knows?—maybe even try out hitchhiking!