Archive for the ‘The First Time I Rode a Freight Train & other hitchhiking stories’ Tag

Obedience, Fasting and Prayer   4 comments


This quote is from my book The First Time I Rode a Freight Train & other hitchhiking stories, page 51:

“‘The monastic way is very different. Obedience, fasting and prayer are laughed at, yet only through them lies the way to real, true freedom. I cut off my superfluous and unnecessary desires, I subdue my proud and wanton will and chastise it with obedience, and with God’s help I attain freedom of spirit and with it spiritual joy.'”

[excerpt from The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky; Book VI, “The Russian Monk”]


“We tend to use prayer as a last resort, but God wants it to be our first line of defense. We pray when there’s nothing else we can do, but God wants us to pray before we do anything at all.

“Most of us would prefer, however, to spend our time doing something that will get immediate results. We don’t want to wait for God to resolve matters in His good time because His idea of ‘good time’ is seldom in sync with ours.”

― Oswald Chambers


“Be not forgetful of prayer. Every time you pray, if your prayer is sincere, there will be new feeling and new meaning in it, which will give you fresh courage, and you will understand that prayer is an education.”

― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov


“It is possible to know all about doctrine and still not know Jesus.  A person’s soul is in grave danger when the knowledge of doctrine surpasses Jesus, avoiding intimate touch with Him.”

–Oswald Chambers


Missionary Quotations: Hudson Taylor
Where Have All the Monks Gone
New Testament Circumcision
Paga (Intercession)
Obedience: The Bondage Breaker

Escape from a Possible Robbery   Leave a comment


Dreams from the LORD 2011-2014
8 February 2014

Last night I had a dream where I was at a relative’s place.  I talked with my cousin and I told him that I had to take a bus to Denver.

I took a bus to Denver and I had a large stack of manuscripts with me—it looked like there were 20 or 30 manuscripts.  I got off the bus and walked to this photocopy store and sold my manuscripts for a lot of money.  The guy at the cash register paid me in cash and I put the money in a small backpack.

As I attempted to walk out of the store, these two guys bumped into me and walked quickly outside.  I knew something was wrong:  they wanted to steal my money.

So I walked back to the cash register and asked if I could phone a taxi.  I didn’t want to walk back to the bus station with all of this money.  The two guys walked back into the store and crawled up to my backpack (it was sitting on the floor next to my feet):  they were staring at the backpack.

Then I noticed someone I used to work with years ago at Pike Construction in Ames, Iowa.  He was leaving the store.  I asked him if I could get a ride.  He said it wasn’t company policy for him to give someone a ride in the truck (he was driving a dump truck).  So I asked him if I could ride in the back of the truck.  He said that that would be all right.  So as the truck pulled away from the store, I climbed in the back of the truck and escaped a possible robbery.

My interpretation of the dream:

In the dream, I noticed that I didn’t hitchhike to Denver—I took a bus.  Maybe my hitchhiking days are coming to an end.

The photocopy store represents a publishing company.  The stack of manuscripts being sold for a lot of money means that my books will sell a lot of copies (or one of my books will sell well).

The photocopy store was in Denver, Colorado.  Maybe this means my books will sell well in the Rocky Mountain states or in the western United States.  I have done most of my hitchhiking west of the Missouri River.

The two guys who try to rob me is the devil.  The devil is always trying to steal, kill and destroy the works of God.  The Lord told me to write my two books (High Plains Drifter and The First Time I Rode a Freight Train).  My two books are a God-work:  it was not my will to write those books.

A former co-worker from Pike Construction helps me escape a possible robbery.  I think this is very interesting, because the last time I worked at Pike Construction was in February of 2001.  I have not kept in contact  with anyone from Pike Construction since I left.  Out of the blue, someone from my past helps me evade an ambush from the devil.

Interesting little detail:  the dump truck that I escaped in looked like the dump truck I used to drive for Pike Construction.

Helena to Hamilton, Montana   4 comments


Today I hitchhiked from Helena to Hamilton, Montana.  I stayed at the God’s Love shelter in Helena overnight.  It was very cold when I walked out of Helena this morning—it was probably a few degrees below zero F.  I got a ride to Missoula from Helena.  I went to the library in Missoula.  Then I walked across town to the south side near the river where I got a ride in the back of a pickup to Lolo.  From Lolo I got a ride to Victor.

I was standing on the side of the road just south of Victor when this guy told me to come inside his chiropractic office (Sage Chiropractic Office).  His name was Dr. Allen McClintick and he gave me a cup of hot tea to drink.  I met his secretary and we had a nice chat.  They were both Christians:  she was a missionary to New Guinea for a number of years and Allen was a Navy SEAL in the late 1960s and 1970s.

My ride from Victor to Hamilton was with a guy named Nate.  He was a Christian and he knew someone (Corey) who picked me up in August of last year.  Nate dropped me off at the Bitterroot Public Library in Hamilton where I did some work on my two blogs.

I was on the catalog computer and I discovered that the Bitterroot Public Library recently purchased my second book The First Time I Rode a Freight Train & other hitchhiking stories.  That was a pleasant surprise.  I remember telling the staff at the library about my book last fall.  As far as I know, I have books in five public libraries in Montana (Hamilton, Columbus, Belgrade, West Yellowstone and Forsyth).

The First Time I Rode a Freight Train & other hitchhiking stories
Guided by the Thumb

Guided by the Thumb   3 comments

[Updated September 20, 2012]

By Bridget Ryder

“If you don’t have patience, don’t hitchhike,” Tim Shey said.

He’s speaking from his experience of using the mode of travel for sixteen years and his ventures have brought him through Teton Valley on more than one occasion. He’s slept in junk cars in Victor and grassy spots in Driggs, sheet rocked a house in Tetonia, and volunteered for Habitat for Humanity.

His roaming follows inspiration, providence, and the compass of circumstance.

“I just knew God inspired me to hit the road,” he explained.

He felt the nudge in 1996 but he never thought he would still be standing with his thumb out on the highway 16 years and two books later.

Shey, a native of Iowa, started hitchhiking in Ireland and parts of the United Kingdom in the early 1980s. In 1995, he finished his degree in English at the Iowa State University and then hitched his way through the Western US. In between, he worked in the lumber and construction businesses and then hit the road for a solid nine months in 1999. During that hitching stint, a lady at a gas station in Texas asked him when she would get to read his book. She wasn’t the first to ask. When he returned to Iowa, he wrote 200 pages in ten days.

“I just wanted to get it done,” he said.

Over the years and between his travels, Shey touched up the manuscript and it appeared online and in CD form until Publish America put out the bound pages of High Plains Drifter. He stopped wondering why he got a degree in English.

“I guess all those English papers were good practice,” he said.

But the heart of his story is his Christian faith. As he travels, he both shares what he believes and lives it.

“It’s an act of faith, you can’t plan it like this,” he said.

The connections, reconnections, and happenstances he experiences lay beyond his control. A ride can lead to a conversation, a job or a friend, places he has returned to work or visit such as a cow-calf operation in California or the home of friends in Teton Valley.

He formed a strong connection with Jeremy Aughenbaugh of Jackson, Wyo in 2003 when one of Aughenbaugh’s roommates gave Shey a ride from Dubois, Wyo. They then  invited the hitchhiker to stay with them for a few days. The two bonded through their common Christian faith and Shey has consistently returned to visit his friend since.

“He definitely wasn’t what I expected a hitchhiker to look like,” Aughenbaugh said. ”[He’s] clean cut, he seemed like he was on a mission.”

Aughenbaugh doesn’t put Shey in the category of a wander beaten down by life trying to figure out where to go. He has a purpose.

“His life is a sermon,” Aughenbaugh said.

Shey predicates, according to Aughenbaugh by getting into chance conversations in his travels and letting people “on the perfect timing” that he attributes to the action of God. Take Saturday for instance. Shey had been trying to head south out, but met with little luck, a calm inner movement told him to try the other way.  He quickly caught a north-bound ride and found himself where help was needed—helping Aughenbaugh build a Habitat for Humanity house.

“If I run into a brick wall, I say I’m going in another direction,” Shey said. “I hitchhike by faith. God protects me.”

In all his years of accepting the help of strangers and doing what popular opinion considers a good way to get killed, he has only felt endangered once.

On his way through New Mexico, Shey picked up a ride from two men. The trip ended at the trailer park where they lived. Outside the car, Shey continued his conversation with the driver, Apache. While they talked, Shey could see the other man flanking him. Then he pulled out a knife and lunged toward the hitchhiker. Shey jumped back.

“What are you guys trying to do rob me?” he said.

Apache called his friend an idiot and told him to put the knife away.

“That was the only time somebody pulled a knife on me and it was not that big of a deal,” Shey said.

Apache sent Shey on his way with a fist full of cash and even his blundering attacker gave him a dollar as he left.

On the other hand, he has also been offered a ride with the stipulation “sir, if you don’t kill me.”

“I think I‘m on the road to redeem the image of the hitchhiker,” he said.

According to Shey it’s five times more likely for the hitchhiker to be killed than for someone bumming a ride to be the murder.

He admits to getting tired of hitchhiking, but for feels that for now it’s his calling.

And if you’re driving, don’t miss the opportunity to give Shey a ride. He might write you into his next book.

The Victor library carries Shey’s first collection of recollections as well as his more recently published volume of tales, The First Time I Rode a Freight Train and Other Hitchhiking Stories.

Follow Shey on his blog or read his whole story at the Victor library.

Teton Valley News [Driggs, Idaho]
Copright 2012 Teton Valley News

[The title of the article in the print issue was “Following the Compass of Circumstance”]

Teton Valley News
Eastern Idaho and Oswald Chambers


centennial2 resized

Tetonia, Idaho

The powerful play goes on
By David Stein
Teton Valley News
July 21, 2016


“Last night, LaPriel and I were driving home. We were just outside Newdale, Idaho about 25 miles from our farm, when we passed a hitchhiker.

“I only caught a glimpse of him as we were driving by at 65 miles per hour. He appeared to be fiftyish, clean shaven and standing with a large hiker’s backpack.

“I slowed and asked LaPriel if we should pick him up. She didn’t say no.

“I rarely pick up hitchhikers. More often in Mexico than in the U.S.

“My son and I had once stood hitchhiking with our backpacks outside Gardiner, Montana after finishing a three-day hike through Yellowstone National Park. I had wrongly assumed there would be a taxi or shuttle service in Gardiner at the conclusion of our hike.

“Fortunately, a guy from Cincinnati stopped and drove us back to our car. He had recognized the Cincinnati Reds jacket my son was wearing and decided he should help.

“Perhaps it was that memory that prompted me to pick up this hitchhiker. I slowed and turned our car around and drove past the man with the backpack. We decided he looked safe so we turned around again and picked him up.

“His name is Tim Shey. He said he has been hitchhiking full time for twenty years. He earns money working side jobs: landscaping, construction, working on farms.

“When he is close to running out of money, he buys a loaf of bread and starts looking for work. No peanut butter. Just bread. He said he is sick of peanut butter.

“Tim doesn’t have a tent. Just two sleeping bags. He sleeps in places where he won’t be bothered. He said he travels full time so he can share his Christian faith.

“I asked him what has changed about hitchhiking in the past twenty years. ‘For me, nothing,’ he said, ‘but, there are less people doing it.’

“‘How long does it take to get a ride?’ I asked.

“‘It depends,’ he said. ‘Sometimes five minutes. Sometimes and hour. If no one has stopped in an hour, I start walking.’

“He said when you are in your twenties, there is no better way to figure out what you want to do with your life then by hitchhiking across the country. Especially because of the random people you meet, and you see what they are doing for a living and how they like it.

“We dropped Tim at the gas station in Tetonia. He planned to stay at the city park and hitchhike to Jackson, Wyoming the next day.”

Teton Valley News

Author Pens Tales Reminiscing from the Road   7 comments


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, 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, not  Ethos is published by the Journalism Dept at Iowa State University.]

* I wrote 200 pages in longhand in 10 days.

The First Time I Rode a Freight Train & other hitchhiking stories
A Short Hitchhiking Trip


The First Time I Rode a Freight Train & other hitchhiking stories   6 comments

The First Time I Rode a Freight Train & other hitchhiking stories

By Tim Shey


The First Time I Rode a Freight Train & other hitchhiking stories
Hitchhiking Stories from Digihitch
Writings from the Road
Book Review:  The First Time I Rode a Freight Train & other hitchhiking stories
Stobe the Hobo


These are the titles of the 91 chapters in The First Time I Rode a Freight Train & other hitchhiking stories:

The First Time I Rode a Freight Train
A Conversation with a World War II U.S. Navy Frogman
A Hot Meal at a Campfire in Montana
A Providential Ride to Manhattan, Kansas
The Only Time Someone Pulled a Knife on Me
Sleeping at the Post Office in Bridgeport, California
My Backpack
Washing Dishes
A Christmas Story or Junked Cars Can Be Beautiful
Meeting a Former Editor from Warner Brothers or Things Happen for a Reason
A Conversation with a Vietnam Veteran
My First Time in Jail for Hitchhiking
On a Ranch Near Ennis, Montana
High Plains Drifter
A House or a Home?
Las Vegas Earthquake
A Fast Trip
A Dog Named Patton
Some Monks Hitchhike
San Miguel, California
Acts 2: 38
A Foot Soldier
A Hitchhiker in Bakersfield
A Speed Skating Coach, a Dream and a Former Drug Dealer
Stacking Hay in Ashton, Idaho
They Are Fighting People
Escape from Cuba
Sitting in Jail in Broadus, Montana
Abraham from Macedonia
A Hitchhiker, a Knife and a Piece of Paper
A Ride in Nebraska
Barack Obama and the Media
Sleeping on a Stack of Lumber in Columbus, Montana
Men Plan and God Laughs
Never Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight
Someone Gets a Free Gas Can
Goodbye, Las Vegas
The Strangest Thing I Ever Saw
At a Cafe in Merriman, Nebraska
The Things I Carry
A Week in the Life of a Hitchhiker
The Pacific Ocean
Picked You Up On The Road
Good Karma
Miguel the Chef
A Ride on the Reservation
It’s a Small World
Branding Calves and the California Outback
Greensburg, Kansas
Rock Springs, Wyoming to Barstow, California
Chris McCandless Revisited
A Hitchhiking Trip to Kansas
Western Kansas
Meeting a Hermit in Montana
Why is Hitchhiking Illegal in Wyoming?
Outside the Box
Smuggled Over Teton Pass
Reckless Faith
Some Days Are Slow and Some Days Are Fast
I Should Go To Dairy Queen More Often
North of Brookings
The Son of Man Hath Not Where to Lay His Head
Wyoming, Idaho and Montana
Victor, Idaho
Marty the Stonemason
Truth in the Inward Parts
A Bank Robbery
A Sleeping Bag in the Ditch
Eastern Wyoming
Egypt is Burning
A Walk in the Sun
The Helena Hobo
A Ransom For Many
A Peculiar Path
A Great Multitude Followed Him
The Spirit Driveth Him into the Wilderness
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
Fixing Fence and the Emigrant Trail
The Sunrise This Morning Was Very Beautiful
Two Pleasant Surprises:  High Plains Drifter Revisited
Wyoming to Utah
The Computer, Jane Smiley and Iowa State University
Dubois, Wyoming
Lance Corporal Chance Phelps, USMC, 1984-2004