Salt Lake City, UT

Jack’s driving hours are limited by federal laws, so we pulled into a truck stop in northern Utah for the night. After a cheap motel sleep we continued our trucker lifestyle with a gas station breakfast and headed to Salt Lake City. Jack had to smuggle us through certain parts of the highway, like scales and when other company trucks were around. We felt like illegal aliens, shoved in the sleeper cabin of Jack’s truck, not being able to see what was going on or where we were. That’s okay because we made it to Salt Lake City in good time.

Jack is an interesting guy. Not your stereotypical trucker. He owns a production company and is trying to make a documentary on the trucking lifestyle. He heard us on a NPR radio station in Portland, Oregon on Sunday night and liked the idea of our story. To his surprise he spotted us on the side of the road Monday afternoon. Jack has some good ideas to make the documentary a success. He's planning on doing a combination of pre-arranged rides and hitchhiked rides with truckers all over the country and getting their stories on film, sounds like an interesting idea to me. We talked more about setting up a blog or website for Jack. He has so many cool stories from the road and sees such amazing places everyday. Jack you got an audience waiting to hear your stories and see your sights, make it happen.

Jack’s truck was too big for the roads around Utah’s capital building, so his friend Roger picked us up and drove us to the capitol building. Niki met us there too. We decided it would be fun to vote, so we went inside to ‘have our voice heard’. It turns out nobody wanted to listen, so they sent us off without letting us vote. Not even Niki, a Salt Lake resident. We got some cool stickers though. And some even cooler jump shots.

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After saying bye to Jack and Roger we got in Niki’s sweet new Acura and headed back north towards Montana.

North to Montana

Before we tell you about Niki you should check out her web site for yourself. Just click here. She even wrote about hangin' out with us in Utah.

After meeting up at the capitol building Niki took us on a quick tour of Salt Lake City and to Café Rio before heading back up the same road we just came down.

Like Jack, Niki works full-time at a good job, and has a dream to be in the entertainment industry. The difference is, Niki is a rocket scientist. She works in the engineering department at a local NASA facility. We found it to be a pretty interesting contrast from riding with a trucker to a rocket scientist. But when we got talking to her, she was so down to earth, just like Jack. She wants to be an actress and work in the film industry, just like Jack. Pretty cool how two people from two very different lives both want the same thing.

Niki is chasing her dream of acting through doing local jobs and film shoots. She’s gonna be working with Allan Wills from www.areyoumywife.com in the coming few weeks too. Check out Allan and Niki’s web sits for details as they come. We had a good time chatting and seeing the sights of the Utah and Idaho countryside from her car, unfortunately the ride was a short one because Niki had a film shoot in the evening and had to get back to Salt Lake City. That’s okay it looks like we’ll see her again in Nevada in a couple weeks. Hope so anyways.

We said goodbye to Niki in Pocatello, Idaho and tried our luck at the highway on ramp.

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After 20 minutes a Jeep pulled up to the adjacent intersection and we heard a voice yelling at us to get in. Without thinking we jumped in as the Jeep was already moving. Mike and Bronson saw us on the side of the on ramp earlier and decided to come get us.

They are two local high school grads going to see their friends at college in Bozeman, Montana. What a sweet score, that’s like 250 miles away. Plus Mike’s Jeep had a massive stereo and a DVD player. We cruised in style watching ski videos and movies through Yellowstone National Park into Montana and onto Bozeman.

At Montana State University we met up with their friends and stayed in John Michael’s room. Got the full first year dorm experience. Way too many people packed into a small room huddled around an Xbox and a smuggled stash of beer. The beds are modified using a few 2X4’s to create enough room for a futon and a make-shift kitchen including a mini-fridge, microwave and a toaster oven. I didn’t see it, but I’m sure a George Foreman grill was somewhere around.

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After a late night, and a crowded sleep in a stuffy room we were back on the highway headed to Helena.

Helena, MT

First off some phone and contact info details. Nextel kinda forgot about Montana, Wyoming and most of the Dakotas. So our phone doesn’t have service today and maybe not tomorrow. We can still check the messages though, but email is the best way to contact us. It’s also wreaking havoc on the GPS tracking so please be patient for the next day or two, we're working to get it going. Thanks.


Slow going on the Montana highways today. Kept it grassroots the whole day, but our first ride didn't come until about noon in Bozeman and took us all they way to Belgrade, 10 miles away.

Another half hour on the side of the highway, then a two-tone brown van pulled over. We crammed ourselves in with Arianna, Leprechaun and their son Rowan. That’s right Leprechaun. They are a friendly group who belong to the Rainbow Family organization.

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Along the ride we learned a little about numerology from them. Calculated from our birthdates Freddy and I are both 8’s, while Arianna and Leprechaun are collectively a 7. Here’s where it gets interesting: Add both our 8’s together and you get 16, now add the 1+6 and you get 7! So both groups are both collectively 7’s. Not really sold on what this means, but they were pretty excited about it.

Leprechaun talked passionately about mind over body, spirit over mind, body over mind type theories and ideas. Like two stone statues we sat in the back of the van trying to take it all in. I don’t really get it all, but it seemed positive, so that’s cool. Half an hour later they dropped us off on the side of the road with the challenge to take two cookie jars, fill them with cookies then write love on one and hate on the other. Over the following two weeks focus on each jar thinking thoughts of love and hate for the appropriate ones. Apparently after two weeks the ‘hate cookies’ will be rotten and the ‘love cookies’ will be fresh. Interesting. Someone try it out and let us know on your findings.

After parting ways with our Rainbow Family friends we waited a couple hours more for a ride to Helena. A few dozen rabbits kept us company on the side of the highway, so that was fun, so much fun. Finally Drew picked us up and took us the 65 miles into Helena. Drew is a nice local guy back from military service and finishing business school. He took us into town and dropped us at the local shopping mall. Luckily the capitol building was only a couple blocks away. 34 done.

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A run-in with winter

After the Montana capitol building we walked a mile or two down to the highway to head north to Shelby. Well that was the plan anyways. We found a busy onramp and parked ourselves, thinking it wouldn’t take long to find a ride.

Four hours later we were standing in the same spot, but a lot colder. We were contemplating what to do, when an American beacon of hope gave us the answer. Wal-Mart. We hauled our stuff over and wandered around, thawing our bodies and searching for a plan. The plan came in the form of gloves, thermal underwear and new socks. Confident we were now set to tackle the Montana winter, we returned to the same spot as before. Another hour hitchin’ in the dark, but no rides came. The cold even gave us a chance to try out some new moves to add to our hitchhiking guide. We came up with 'the shiver' and 'the frozen plea'. Both are similar, make yourself look as cold as possible and hope a passing motorist takes pity on you. Nobody took pity and we decided to pull the plug and find somewhere to stay. But before leaving we got some cool photos:

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We found a cheap motel, thinking we needed to be back in the same spot at the on ramp early in the morning. Then we decided to check the phone messages. Greg, a local Helena resident left a message saying he could take us north to Shelby in the morning. Perfect, exactly where we needed to be. You see, Nick from Leisure Travel Inc. of Minneapolis set us up with some Amtrak tickets from Shelby, MT to Minot, North Dakota. The plan is falling into place…