After spending the whole of my first day trying to get across Michigan, I was getting disheartened about going all the way the across the Midwest and New England to get to somewhat milder winter. The temperature never rose above zero Fahrenheit by the time I reached I-75S. I knew from previous years this was the road used to get to central Florida. That cinched it, I changed directions and headed south. Quickly and elderly couple picked me up. They were only headed to Ohio, but assured me it would still be light out when they let me out. I had no illusions about trying got find a spot to make a fire to ward off the cold. Freezing to death seemed certain for anyone trapped out in this cold.
I made up my mind to press on until I hit Florida. I would stay on the road hitching. We passed a van that seemed full of smoke. You could not even see the driver and passengers. I made a remark about how they must be smoking up a storm. Secretly, I wished that after my ride let me out, this van would stop for me and keep me in smoke all the way to Florida. It did not take too long for my ride to reach its destination and let me out. As soon as I got my gear together a familiar van pulled over offering me a lift. My hopes soared, as I held a vision of riding all the way to florid awhile getting stoned on good smoke. I climbed in.
Right away, I captured reality. The smoke I believed I saw was caused by frosted windows. This van had no heater. This crew also held no smoke. However, they were headed to my destination--Florida. Several guys were installed in their sleeping bags scattered on the floor. Even the driver was in a sleeping bag. He worked the gas and brakes with both feet encased in his the bag. I rolled up in my bedroll and joined the parade. At least this gang was intent upon driving straight through until they found warmer weather. At first light in the morning we arrived in Chattanooga Tennessee. The temperatures were exceedingly mild-- up in the fifties. We stopped for coffee and breakfast, and stripped down to shirtsleeves enjoying the weather. I had not gotten my ride with a van load of hippies getting stoned, but I did find a ride that got me to mild weather. I felt grateful.