He persuaded me to forget about hitchhiking from Chicago. It would be too dangerous, he warned me, to hang in those areas alone. It didn't take too much convincing, as I love Chicago and busing or ridesharing to Pittsburgh, my next destination, would afford me more time in Chicago.
I spent my last full night in Chicago awaiting a call. I had been contacted by two deaf people who were headed east from St. Paul and interested in picking me up in Chicago. They were supposed to call me back and let me know the official plans, though their original ETA was 6am. I bode my time with Edge and some of his co-workers, throwing back a couple local brews and a stomach ache's worth of fried Oreos.
We headed back to Edge's apartment around 4am, I still had not heard from the deaf people. I'd have to bus it after all. I was dreading this, knowing that tickets to PGH were $60. I decided instead to buy tickets to Cleveland for the night and attempt hitchhiking the rest of the way, approximately a 2.5 hour drive. I went to bed around 6:30am with no plans for the following day. Edge woke me up around 2pm, so I could go with him to church. He was scheduled to play that night, so I found myself a seat and kept myself busy on his comp through the setup, sound check, and rehearsal. When the church service was through, it was about time for me to head back to Edge's place to pack. I left there around 10pm with ample time to get to the Megabus terminal for my 11:30 departure. I restlessly attempted sleep for the whole seven hour bus ride. My mind was racing with plans and to-do lists for future tours; even after writing them all down I could hardly sleep. We arrived in Cleveland at 7am, I was ready and willing to take on another day of hitchhiking.
Number Four pulled over a little ahead of me, a college aged young woman named Melissa. She was going down I71, not I77, but upon looking at my map I saw they both go to Akron. I was just happy to escape Cleveland! She is a student at Cleveland State University, she was "escaping". Skipping I suppose, and her first day of class at that! She was headed to a town called Strongsville for lunch and offered for me to eat with her. We went to a sushi place and I talked her ears off about anything/everything. Melissa said she could take me as far as Akron. From there, I could take I76 east most of the way to Pittsburgh.
I only got a block or two away from the interstate before being intercepted by Akron police. They asked where I was going, to which I responded "Starbucks." My answer was suspicious. "Ain't no Starbucks down that way. Only thing there is you being the victim of somethin'." I gave them my ID and they were still suspicious.
"Doesn't look like you, do you have other ID?"
I gave him my student ID.
"Something with your picture?"
I gave him a family photo. Lol.
Thankfully, I don't have any warrants out for my arrest. They let me go, pointing me in the direction of the town's transit center where I could catch a Greyhound bus to Pittsburgh.