By most accounts, hitchhiking has devolved from a commonplace it's-all-good-bro kind of '60s sci-fi adventure to a life-threatening how-badly-do-I-need-to-get-to-Spokane art form. Like most dangerous pursuits, though, it's the stuff epic stories are made of. So to do it right, follow these time-tested rules.
1. It will rain on you. Dress and plan accordingly.
2. Beers, weed, and other favors go a long way. Tip your driver.
3. Travel alone, and shower. It's easier to pick up one clean-looking person than three bearded homeless-looking people.
4. Or travel with one partner. Two people are not much room, and you have someone to back you up when the driver goes all serial-killer on your ass.
5. Carry protection. Don’t show it, but have it ready just in case. This goes for hand-to-hand altercations as well as sexual intercourse.
6. Walk and hitch. Sitting in one place may be easier, but it gets you nowhere. You might as well cover some distance at the same time. Also, when people come across you walking in the middle of nowhere, they are likely to feel bad for your situation and pick you up. That or they'll find you odd and creepy and drive past quickly, wondering why you are walking in the middle of nowhere.
7. When walking, turn and make eye contact. Pointing away from traffic and haughtily throwing a thumb to the side is only cool if you're smoking, wearing a leather coat, and look like James Dean.
8. Or don't walk. Stay in one place. Ideally near a café or shelter. This way, when you inevitably do not get picked up, you have something to resort to.
9. Hide excess baggage. Ideally you have just one bag, on your back. If you have two or more bags, hide them in the ditch down the road a ways, and then wait for your ride. Once they pull over and let you in, retrieve the other baggage and stuff it into any space that will accommodate it.
10. Don't be ugly. In a recent study, ugly people got picked up 100% less than normal-looking people.
11. If traveling with a (non-ugly) woman, pull the ol' switcheroo and let her thumb while you hide in the bushes. When the hopeful driver halts, step out as if you were taking a leak.
12. Make a good sign that says where you are going. Something funny and not creepy. Make fun of your situation in a clever way that will make people want to sit in a car with you and instill fear.
13. Montana Code 61-8-507 states: a person may not stand on a roadway for the purpose of soliciting a ride. This means that to properly and legally use your thumb, stay on the shoulder.