Early – and later – in his odyssey, Mr. Waters chanced upon Brett Bidle, 20, a town councilman from Myersville, Md., who was en route to Joplin, Mo., to help with tornado relief efforts there. Mr. Bidle first drove Mr. Waters from Myersville to Ohio, then reconnected with him in Denver, driving him another 1,000 miles to Reno, Nev.
“I drove for 22 straight hours with no sleep, whether that was a smart thing to do or not,” Mr. Bidle said on Friday, speaking by phone from Wichita, Kan. “I was on a mission to find John Waters again.”
Mr. Waters also made arrangements for Mr. Bidle to stay at his apartment in San Francisco, where Mr. Waters arrived on Tuesday after four more hitchhiked rides.
“I thought, you know what, he wanted an adventure, too,” Mr. Waters said of Mr. Bidle. “He’s the first Republican I’d ever vote for.”
Mr. Bidle said of Mr. Waters: “We are polar opposites when it comes to our politics, religious beliefs. But that’s what I loved about the whole trip. It was two people able to agree to disagree and still move on and have a great time. I think that’s what America’s all about.”
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