SOMEWHERE OUT WEST — Rudy Langenkamp’s thumb has been getting a workout since May 6.
Langenkamp, 20, of Russia, is hitchhiking his way to California. He was expected to arrive in the state Tuesday or Wednesday.
His journey began on May 6 after he received a ride from a friend from Columbus to Cincinnati. Since then he’s visited all the states between here and Florida and then began his travels to California.
The purpose of the trip is to draw attention to wasted food throughout the United States. He’s hoping to encourage businesses to donate the food to shelters in their towns. He also wants to promote the adventure of hitchhiking.
“Everyone I’ve met has been super cool and it’s been really interesting getting to know them,” said Langenkamp. “I’ve heard a lot of neat stories and have been able to learn a lot from everyone I’ve met. Couldn’t imagine things going any better than they have been- weather has been fantastic and making really good time as far as travelling goes while being able to see a lot of neat sights and exploring different cities.
“I’ve been camping out in my hammock every night except for one, when I stayed at my cousin’s place in Houston, Texas. Looking forward to the rest of the trip and excited to see more of the country and meet more people along the way,” he said.
After arriving in Cincinnati on May 6, Langenkamp made it to Central Park in Louisville, Kentucky, where he camped out.
“I made it down to Pensacola, Florida, very late on night two and camped out,” he said.
After exploring Pensacola, Pace and Milton on day three of his travels, Langenkamp attended a free beach concert.
“I adventured down into some islands and set my hammock up under a pier on Pensacola Beach for night three,” he said.
Langenkamp arrived in New Orleans on day four of his travels. He camped out in a part in the city that night.
“I explored New Orleans and French Quarter day five, took a trolley around the city,” said Langenkamp. “I camped out just outside of the city for night five.”
He traveled through Baton Rouge and Lafayette and made it to Houston, Texas, on day six, where he stayed at his cousin’s house.
“I explored Houston and League City and rode with a truck driver from Houston to El Pasco on day seven,” he said. “I slept in the truck on the way there (night seven).”
Day eight was spent exploring El Pasco.
“I took a bus to the U.S./Mexico border and spent the day in Mexico adventuring around part of the country. I came back into the U.S. and made it to New Mexico, where I camped out near a park for night eight.
He woke up on day nine to a sunrise over some mountains in New Mexico. He caught a ride with two women in an RV and entered Tucson, Arizona, in time for lunch.
“If I had to guess, I’ve rode with around 30 different people to get where I am now,” said Langenkamp. “All of them have been really nice and friendly, learning a lot from them as I go.
“I’ve been looking into the food waste issue along the way, talking to many people and a lot stores down south, especially near big cities, have recently gated off the food waste areas due to negative press on the issue. I will continue doing research, I hope the states along the West coast will be more open/transparent about the issue.”
Langenkamp is the son of Jim and Marci Langenkamp and has just completed his sophomore year at Ohio State University, Columbus, where he is majoring in nursing/pre-med.
Langenkamp’s Great American Adventure can be followed on Instagram, @thegreatamericanadventure, https://www.instagram.com/thegreatamericanadventure/, and on Facebook, The Great American Adventure, https://www.facebook.com/The-Great-American-Adventure-151667365472894/.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.