April 25, 2012
By Ryan Bonham
Eat your heart out, Jack Kerouac.
Self-professed hitchhiker Tim Shey, whose traveling path often passes through Lake County, published his second book earlier this year, a work filled with tales reflecting his experiences in hitchhiking across the country over the past 16 years.
Shey, who often works as a laborer for friends living in the Cedarville/Surprise Valley area of northeastern California, said his travels have taken him far and wide through the years. His first trip to Lakeview occurred in 2004 while hitchhiking from Cedarville, Calif., to Washington state.
His newest book is entitled “The First Time I Rode a Freight Train,” and features stories inspired by his many years traveling a solo journey in and around the United States, in which he proselytized his Christian faith.
Born and raised in Iowa, Shey graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in English literature in 1995. He published some of his short stories on the online blog Ditchhitchhike.com, as well as the Ethos (italics), a publication of the University of Iowa’s journalism department.
After finishing college, Shey worked full time in lumber yard until 1996, when he considered, applied for and did not get accepted into law school. The allure of the open road came about that year, Shey said.
“I’d say I’ve been hitchhiking 80 percent of the last 16 years,” he said. “I’m a Christian, and I’m hitchhiking by faith.”
Shey said that he’s putting each and every day’s provisions into his faith in God, and writes about his experiences and encounters from this travels.
He published his first collection of reflections from the road, “High Plains Drifter: A Hitchhiking Journey Across America,” in 2008, which traced his travels from earlier journeys of 1986-87 as well as those spanning 1996-99.
“You see a lot of nice country, but mostly it’s the people you meet (that leaves an impression),” Shey said.
Shey acknowledged the social stigma associated with hitchhiking, particularly in the United States, but he said he mostly faced occasional warnings by Johnny Law and recalled mostly positive interactions; sometimes they even helped him get to his next destination, he said.
“If you’re not causing any trouble, they’ll cut you some slack,” he said.
Shey said that the first book was put together within 10 days, but his newest effort is the culmination of two years of work.
Lake County Examiner [Lakeview, Oregon]
Copyright 2012 Lake County Examiner
[Corrections: I received a BA from Iowa State University, not the University of Iowa. It is Digihitch.com, not Ditchhitchhike.com. Ethos is published by the Journalism Dept at Iowa State University.]