I believe it was in January of 2002 when I got dropped off at the Flying-J Truckstop on the east side of Billings, Montana. I began to walk east on I-90 and walked past the intersection of I-94 and I-90. I continued walking on I-90 up that big hill due south. I probably walked several miles and got into ranch country. By now it was close to sundown.
I noticed this big culvert that ran underneath the interstate, so I walked down into the ditch and put my backpack in the culvert. I found a water tank nearby and walked to the tank and there was a hydrant, so I filled up my water bottle.
I gathered some sticks and anything that would burn and made a fire in the culvert. By now it was dark, so the light of the fire could be seen by anyone driving by--and it threw off some good heat, too. I think it got down to 27 degrees F that night, so it was good to get warmed by the fire.
Within a half hour this pickup pulled off the gravel road a hundred yards away and drove down to the culvert. This man got out of the pickup and asked, "Hey, what's going on?"
"I'm just passing through. Heading south tomorrow," I replied.
"Sounds good." He walked back to his pickup and drove off.
A half hour later, that same pickup drove back down to the culvert. Two men climbed out of the pickup and walked to my fire; one man was holding a plate of food in his hand.
"We thought maybe you could use something to eat," the older man said.
"Hey, thanks," I said. I was very grateful.
We spoke for a while warming ourselves at the fire. I began eating my hot supper--it really hit the spot. The older man was the father of the younger man. They had a ranch up the road.
I then said, "The Lord really knows how to provide."
The older man just shook his head and smiled. They stayed for a few more minutes and then walked back to their pickup and drove off into the night.
After my meal, I found a piece of plastic styrofoam and laid it on the concrete and rolled out my sleeping bag on top of it. It is very difficult to sleep on a slab of cold concrete--there needs to be some insulation between your body and the cold concrete. I remember I tried to sleep under this bridge on I-90 east of Butte, Montana one March or April, but I didn't have any insulation on the ice-cold concrete: I didn't sleep at all that night. We learn through experience.
In that culvert, I had a fire and some insulation to sleep on and I had a hot supper, so I slept well that night.
The next day I headed south into Wyoming.
[Originally published by Digihitch.com]