Michael in Lake Charles, Louisiana called in to tell of his hitchhiker story:
“I’ve lived in Lake Charles, born and raised, but in 2004, I moved to Alaska to be a youth pastor for a church. I was living in Seward and was invited to come and speak at a church in Fairbanks. About a 9 hour drive. I'm from the south. Not used to... I got there in January, this was in February. I took out on this trip by myself and had been given tips: This is where you want to stop, this is where you don't want to stop, gas is real expensive here... Things like that. So I got out just north of Anchorage. North of Wasilla, up in that part of the country. There are people who have said that you stop and pick up hitchhikers. It's just kind of a thing. You don't really do it in Louisiana. Here it's life and death. If you see somebody on the road, you stop.
So I saw a man walking north on the road and I pulled over. He got in the truck and I remember, just remember distinctly, he had a bit of a body odor smell. He smelled like a campfire. He was unshaven. His name, he told me, was Alex. He spoke with a Russian accent and he said he was a mountain climber and he said his favorite place on Earth was the top of Mount Everest and that he was in Alaska to climb Mount McKinley. So he was on his way to Denali Park. He rode with me in the car for about two and a half hours, asking me about why I was there. About my calling and feel on my life, those types of things, with me. He gave me tips about driving on the ice, told me not to do things that would have caused error. We came to a town called Trapper Creek, I don't know if you are familiar with it. I was not going to get gas there. It was one of the places I was told not to get gas there because the prices will kill you there. He said, You'll want to stop here because the weather is too bad. Denali is going to be closed, and so I said, Okay. He had been in the car for two and a half hours, we talked extensively about Everest and his plan to see the top of Mount McKinley.
Well, we stopped. I got out, started fueling the car. He grabbed his small backpack that he had, and walked into... I saw him walk into the gas station, the little junction station, had a little cafe in it. He walked through the doors. When I finished filling up, I went in to use the restroom, pay and grab a bite. I asked the clerk, I said, Where's the man that just walked in and she looked at me and said, You're the only one that has been here for hours. I said, No, a man just walked through these doors. We spent twenty minutes walking around the back of the building. We followed the tracks, the two sets of tracks back to the truck. He was nowhere to be found. There was icy wetness where he had been sitting in the truck. The truck still smelled like him so at that point, I've chalked it up to, was it a ghost or was it an angel? I don't know what...I wouldn't have had enough gas. And when I got to Denali that gas station was indeed closed.”
Source: Coast To Coast – October 31, 2015
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