Thumbs Across America

Andrew Jones shoots his trip hitchhiking across the country, interviewing people along the way.

00:00Copy video clip URL Tape begins with a countdown.

00:18Copy video clip URL Text: “This documentary was shot by the Producer using an 8mm home video camcorder. It is the first of its kind to be shown in this country.”

00:26Copy video clip URL Text: “Dedicated to the memory of Marvin Jerome Short.”

00:30Copy video clip URL The beginning of Andrew Jones’s journey. He is standing on a streetcorner, holding his hitchhiking sign, “CALIF” (other side “SAN FRAN”). VO: “I started hitchhiking when I was thirteen years old.” B-roll of exterior Boston (where Jones begins from) and Jones walking with his things and trying to catch a ride, as he explains the origins of his crosscountry idea and his past experiences with hitchhiking. It is possible at this point that someone else is operating the camera.

01:33Copy video clip URL Montage of Jones’s future rides.

01:55Copy video clip URL Title graphic: “Thumbs Across America.”

01:57Copy video clip URL Jones interviews his first driver. Text: “Boston, MA. Ride 1.” In response to Jones’s question on why he was picked up, the driver answers, “You had an honest face.” His wife usually doesn’t let him pick up hitchhikers. He talks with Jones about his life, how he met his wife, their kid, etc.

03:22Copy video clip URL Text: “Newton, MA. Ride 2.” Jones is in a pick-up truck with a young man. They discuss the man’s attempt to start his own construction company.

04:10Copy video clip URL Text: “Framingham, MA. Ride 3.” Jones’s driver is another young man, who has “always picked up hitchhikers.” They discuss the man’s hitchhiking trips-he once hitched to Moosejaw, Saskatchewan to try out for a hockey team.

04:54Copy video clip URL Text: “Hartford, CT. Ride 4.” Driven by a man and a woman.

05:08Copy video clip URL Jones is on the side of the road. He talks about problems he had finding a ride in Connecticut. He runs afoul of a state trooper and hides in the bushes for three hours before going back to catch a ride, worried the cop might return and bust him.

05:37Copy video clip URL Text: “New Britain, CT. Ride 5.” Jones has caught a ride from an older gentleman, who “know[s] what it’s like to be stuck by the side of the road.” His car had broken down on the interstate the day before and no one picked him up so he had to walk to a pay phone.

06:34Copy video clip URL Text: “Day 2.” When the video fades in, the text reads, “Waterbury, CT. Ride 6.” Jones is being driven by a man in a car with the top down. He has done some hitching before. He’s headed to Danbury and is not very talkative.

07:43Copy video clip URL Text: “Danbury, CT. Ride 7.” Jones’s driver is a slightly older man, more talkative, asking him about his journey so far. He jokes, “If you were a woman, you’d be here by now!” They run into some traffic and Jones discovers that the man had passed him twice the other day, but had to get home.

08:40Copy video clip URL Text: “Port Jervis, NY. Ride 8.” Jones’s driver this time is a younger man. He thinks Jones will make it to California, but “there’s a lot of weirdos out there, you know. You don’t know me, I don’t know you. I took a chance myself.” They agree they both lucked out.

09:20Copy video clip URL Text: “Milford, PA. Ride 9.” Jones’s driver is another slightly older man driving a Ryder truck. They have stopped for coffee at a gas station. The man washes the windows. Jones meets an elderly man headed for Boston from Illinois with a load of cow hides. Jones gets back in the Ryder truck, which apparently had two men in it. They tell Jones stories from the road, mostly about accidents. They also show him where he is on a map and discuss their route.

11:53Copy video clip URL The men drop Jones off on the side of a road and say goodbye. Jones explains in a VO that he spent the previous night in a motel in Waterbury, CT. He is now in western Pennsylvania. Jones: “As my ninth ride pulled off, I had a sneaky feeling I might be here for a while, and I was.” He waited for five hours.

12:39Copy video clip URL Text: “Carlisle, PA. Ride 10.” Jones is riding with a woman and her young daughter, who is interested in the camera. Jones interviews the mother. She also mentions that people are often afraid to pick up hitchhikers, but “I don’t have anything to fear…cause I got the Lord on my side.” She invites Jones to her house.

13:35Copy video clip URL At the woman’s house, filming her making food. Jones: “So what’s your husband going to say when you bring this stranger home?” Woman: “He’ll probably freak out….he doesn’t really approve of me picking up hitchhikers.” Her husband comes home and is okay with everything.

14:07Copy video clip URL Text: “Day 3.” Jones gives a VO of his previous night. He is currently waiting at a toll booth for a ride: “Frankly, the thrill was gone and I was getting a little tired.”

14:38Copy video clip URL After waiting for three hours, Jones quits and goes to a truck stop. A kid keeps staring at him, which Jones talks about in a VO.

15:00Copy video clip URL Text: “Carlisle, PA. Ride 11.” Jones gets a ride from the man he sat next to at the truck stop. He talks to the driver, who drove a tank in the army. As they enter West Virginia, the driver gets on his CB radio to find Jones a ride.

17:24Copy video clip URL Text: “Wheeling, WV. Ride 12.” Jones is in another truck stop. He gets advice from a waitress, who advises caution to potential hitchhikers: “They should stop and think.” In a booth, he talks to a truck driver, who says his favorite thing about truck driving is being his own boss.

19:06Copy video clip URL Jones is on the road en route to Kansas City.

19:45Copy video clip URL Montage/b-roll of Jones crossing Ohio and Indiana.

20:41Copy video clip URL Text: “Day 4.” Jones is still with the same driver. When they reach Kansas City the driver also gets on his radio and finds Jones another driver.

22:15Copy video clip URL Text: “Kansas City, MO. Ride 13.” Jones talks to this driver as well. He has been to 49 states in a truck and explains topography to Jones, like the wide skies make Kansas look flatter than it is, and “You’ll go up all the way until we get to Lymon, Colorado: altitude 7500 ft, and then you’ll go downhill to Denver, down to 5280 ft.”

24:26Copy video clip URL Jones is at another truck stop diner, filming a woman scoop ice cream to put on pie. He talks to various people at the diner, which is near Junction City, Kansas. Jones goes back on the road, giving another VO on his whereabouts and describing the sunset. He’s made it to eastern Colorado.

26:14Copy video clip URL Text: “Day 5. Lymon, CO.” Jones interviews a worker at the truck stop garage about hitchhiking. He meets a female biker at a gas pump, a family from Oklahoma City in the diner, a group of guys also dining, and the waitress. Footage from all their interviews are cut together. He also meets some guys in a VW van on their way to Vancouver.

30:58Copy video clip URL Text: “Lymon, CO. Ride 14.” Jones is bring driven in another truck by a man, but something is wrong with the truck. They’re going to try to make it to Denver anyways. The driver talks about Denver and its odd city limits: “The whole city limits of Denver is outlined by 5280 ft. If it ain’t 5280 ft, it ain’t Denver.”

32:28Copy video clip URL Text: “Tomahawk, CO. Ride 15.” Jones is in another truck driven by a younger man. VO: “My 15th driver was a truck from Dallas, Texas. He was moving furniture from Dallas to Laramie, Wyoming.” He was not planning to go across central Colorado but changed his mind so he could give Jones a ride (thus putting him very far out of his way!). They stop for food after the driver checks out his map and Jones interviews him. This trucker is self-employed. He used to work for a company but likes being about to “call the shots” better. They hit the road and Jones enjoys seeing the foothills appear and gradually grow.

35:56Copy video clip URL At a roadside diner, Jones interviews an elderly cowboy. They talk about rodeos.

37:40Copy video clip URL Sped up b-roll of driving through a canyon next to a river.

38:22Copy video clip URL Text: “Day 6. Green River, UT.” VO from Jones describes the rest of his night. Jones interviews two people on the way to a camping party in their own campers. One gives Jones a tour of her camper.

40:52Copy video clip URL Driving montage.

41:26Copy video clip URL Jones meets a man and his 4 year old son at a gas station in Salt Lake City. They are traveling around taking various forms of transit. They plan to write a book when they finish. They’re taking photos and voice recordings while they travel. They got the idea after the son told his dad he wanted to take a ride in a semi. Jones films them leaving in a taxi and hangs around at the truck stop awhile longer, talking to the waitress and various people. He also goes to a repair shop and talks to the workers. He also bids goodbye to the driver who picked him up in Tomahawk.

45:50Copy video clip URL Jones visits a bowling alley. B-roll of bowling alley, VO of owner talking about how long she’s been in the business, how she almost went professional, etc.

46:49Copy video clip URL Text: “Day 7.” Jones gives another VO about his night-he decided to spend the night in Salt Lake City. Unfortunately, he waited for six hours on the highway for a ride. But he meets another hitchhiker who unfortunately doesn’t speak much English, but they don’t stay together.

47:49Copy video clip URL Text: “Salt Lake City, Utah. Ride 16.” Jones is being driven by a young man. They discuss Jones’ route and the man divulges that his road name is “Peanut.” A montage of Utah and Nevada roads follows.

49:03Copy video clip URL Text: “Day 8. Sparks, Nevada.” Jones is in a truck stop casino. He talks to an employee as well as someone passing through to Sacramento.

50:25Copy video clip URL Text: “Sparks, Nevada. Ride 17.” Jones is getting a ride from the young man who is going to Sacramento. The driver discusses his life with Jones-he left home at 15 and went to sea.

51:37Copy video clip URL Text: “Sacramento, California.” Jones interviews a  truck radio repair man in his shop.

52:09Copy video clip URL Jones is trying to get a ride from Sacramento to San Francisco, but not having much luck: “I felt invisible, like the invisible hitchhiker.”

52:27Copy video clip URL Text: “Sacramento, CA. Ride 18.” It’s gotten dark, but Jones has finally found a ride from a blacksmith.

53:02Copy video clip URL Text: “Day 9.” Jones VO: “It took me 7 hours to get a ride out of Sacramento.” He stayed in a motel in Fairfield that night.

53:17Copy video clip URL Text: “Fairfield, CA. Ride 19.” Jones is riding with an older man in a car. He talks to Jones about how Jones has made it this far.

54:13Copy video clip URL Text: “Vallejo, CA. Ride 20.” Jones is picked up by a man driving an orange dented Volkswagen. He pulls over for some car maintenance and shows Jones the pellet gun in his glove box. This guy is quite a character.

57:23Copy video clip URL B-roll of the road to San Francisco as Jones gives a VO of how it felt to finally be done: “I was delighted, I was happy, but I was also a little sad I guess.” A montage of the people & places Jones encountered along the way plays.

59:06Copy video clip URL Credits roll.

59:53Copy video clip URL End of tape.



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