|<map lat="35.600950000000296" lng="-82.55402000000016" zoom="11" view="0" float="right" />|
|Country:||United States of America|
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Asheville is a small city in North Carolina, USA. Although it's located in a rather conservative region of the United States, Asheville stands out as a very diverse and open city. In the city one can find your typical southerners wearing flannel shirts, trucker hats, and work boots, wealthy professionals, a rather strong anarchist subculture, hip-hoppers, hipsters, street performers, among other groups of people. There are many local breweries which produce beer quality enough to rival many in Belgium or Germany.
Downtown Asheville is rather isolated from most exits to the highway; however, hitchhiking is very common even from the downtown to the outer parts of the city limits. Just point yourself in a direction and put out the thumb.
East Toward Charlotte
Bus 170 or E2 from the ART center in downtown will take you to a nice on-ramp to I 40 in East Asheville for $1. Ask to be left at the VA center (not the hospital) or Go Grocery. Hitch at the traffic light or on the shoulder.
South Toward Greenville/Spartanburg/Atlanta
Take bus w2 and get off at the stop in front of Hampton inn on Brevard road. Cross the street and hitch at the on ramp to I26 or walk .2 miles west to the Citgo and ask people. The wait won't be long. Follow 26 to Spartanburg or take 25 to get to Greenville and Atlanta. If you are continuing south, Try to find someone going to at least the junction with I85 in Traveler's Rest South Carolina (where there are many big gas stations). This is where everyone refuels as South Carolina has the cheapest gas in America. Even better, is to continue onto I85 and have them leave you at the Pilot Station at exit ? 31? Just a few miles down the road outside of Piedmont, SC. Their you can find car and truck traffic to any point south. Beware, though, that Pilot has a policy against hitchhikers. It is not heavily enforced, but you may be asked to leAve if you are too conspicuous.
West Towards Knoxville/Nashville
Exit 44 at the junctions of I40 and road 74 is probably the best spot, as there's plenty of space for cars to pull over. Many of them are offering short rides though as theis is also the road towards towns in Great Smoky Mountains. I waited about two hours for a car to Knoxville, but I rejected 4 or 5 short rides as I didn't want to get stuck.
Most exits around Asheville are still about five miles from the downtown. But, as stated above, hitching is common in and around the town so people are likely to pick you up from there as well and take you into downtown or wherever you need to go.
From southwest i85 and Atlanta
North Carolina is a hub for migrant farm workers. Look for them at any exit from Texas to South Carolina and you have a chance to get a ride. They often work in the piedmont area (further east) so ask them to leave you at the cross of 85 north and 26 west in Spartanburg. There are two gas stations at the first exit on 26 heading west and most people stopping there are heading through Asheville and beyond. Though people are conservative in this area and unused to hitchhiking, they are often very friendly and curious. Owen approached two young guys at this gas station. Though they were local from Spartanburg, they drove him to Asheville because they had 'nothing better to do' and treated him to beer.
Places to Avoid
Accommodation and Sleep
There is a nice park near UNCA where you won't be bothered in North Asheville off of Merrimon. Down in the river arts district there are many abandoned buildings and factories.
Warren Wilson College
If you take bus 170 to Warren Wilson College, there are forests and hiking trails very close to the campus where camping is allowed. There are even some treehouses and abandoned houses there. The students are friendly to travelers and are able to procure food for you from the cafeteria at no cost to them (tell them to use their 'flex dollars' or to get a to- go plate from glad). There is free wifi in all buildings. Be wary of sleeping in dorms and common areas because security or staff will ID you after a few days and kick you off campus. There are work crews on campus such as the garden, farm, and landscaping crews which might appreciate volunteers, if you want something to do.
There is also food not bombs every week in Pritchard park.
In one case, Eripson was merely walking on the road (no thumb) and a man offered to give him a ride from a far away West Asheville exit off I-40 all the way into downtown.
Owen had a similar experience. You can hitchhike anywhere in town. Suburu's are your best bet. Be friendly and praise Asheville.
Other Useful Info
A good place to loiter without them kicking you out is the Firestorm Cafe and Bookstore. They have many independent publications regarding poetry, short fiction, anarchism, and various other social topics. The primarily vegan food is overpriced, the coffee is fair trade (therefore expensive), but the music and movie showings in the evenings are free of charge.
Trainhopping is also very easy from this town. The train is slow all through south Asheville and hoop able, and stops in the river arts district and west Asheville. Ask any of the traveler kids in Pritchard park or firestorm if you need tips! trash:Asheville