UFO Ride Wanted

Do you specialize in hauling intergalactic freight? Does your truck have a warp drive? Are you, in fact, an extraterrestrial? Then perhaps you can give Fred Cyote a lift.

Cyote, 61, a self-described “old hippie” from Arkoma, Okla., has been periodically hitchhiking across the United States since the mid-1950s. In May he set off on another adventure. And though he will accept rides in more mundane modes of transport, such as earth-bound trucks, this time his sign reads “UFO Ride Wanted.”

Speaking from a roadside in Carlinville, Ill., Cyote said the idea to hitch a UFO ride “started as a joke” in 1998 when he was seeking a ride from Berkeley, Calif., to Arkoma. A friend suggested that he create a sign reading “UFO Ride Needed to Arkoma.” Due in part to the interest created by the odd sign, Cyote was back in Arkoma seven weeks later.

Cyote decided to hit the road again this year after a three-year break. “I get unhealthy when I’m off the road too long,” he said. “I watch too much television, and it gets me down.”

He thought back to his ride from Berkeley, and more importantly to a 1993 encounter he had with a man named Tim Taylor, who Cyote believes was a “breed-down,” a half-alien/half-human being. “If I can locate him while I’m out here on my quest, I’m pretty sure he can give me the information I need to get the UFO ride,” Cyote said on his website.

That’s right: Cyote has a website dedicated to his journey, www.uforidewanted.com. The address is even on the sign he holds to seek rides. His cousin “Colonel” Bobby Goodwin maintains the site, posting daily updates and e-mails from those reporting Cyote sightings in their neck of the woods.

Goodwin’s father was a trucker, and in the 1960s took Fred on many of his cross-country trips, hauling cars out of Kansas City, Mo. “They would be out on the road two, four weeks at a time,” said Goodwin. “My dad enjoyed Fred’s company on the long trips, and Fred became tuned-in to the trucker’s way of life.”

Truckers have assisted Cyote in his current quest: One trucker’s family in Tuckerman, Ark., played host to Cyote in May while he sought help for his ailing traveling companion, a dog named Mother Tucker. Unfortunately, Mother Tucker died, and Cyote returned to Arkoma; but when he decided to resume his journey in June, the same trucker gave him a ride from Tuckerman to Lebanon, Tenn.

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