One fantasy I’ve had for years, which I’ll never do now because I’m too old and didn’t do then because I was too young, was to walk — never hitchhike — from my home state of Maine to Beverly Hills, California.

I had the outfits all figured out: Cool shorts, cooler T-shirts, great cream-colored cowboy hat with a small feather,  very cool shades, fabulous hiking shoes with ditto socks, cool walking sticks, state of the art backpack with state of the art designer water, lightweight food, tent and toiletries, a huge, well behaved, adoring and wildly protective non-shedding dog at my side and some great music plugged into my ears with those yellow ear plug things. And about 30 grand in traveler’s checks hidden somewhere on the dog, whose name would be Harlow.

I’d push off in early spring, point my nose toward the Pacific Ocean and begin my great adventure. At night, I’d stop in some friendly farmer’s fields next to a clear, burbling stream and Harlow would rush about catching her dinner while I made mine. I’d wash out a few things in the stream and hang them to dry by moonlight from a branch, and the two of us would curl together inside our tent, where I’d read “The Prophet” by flashlight.

Not wanting to dip into my emergency funds stashed on Harlow, I’d stop in charming old towns as I progressed west and ask for work. And I’d always get hired by kindly fatherly or motherly employers, and it wouldn’t matter what kind of work it was, as long as I could continue to wear all those cool hiking clothes. I’d wash dishes in a diner or work as a chambermaid in a Motel Six or mow lawns or milk cows or take large groups of young, eager kids out on picnics to the beach to give their folks a day off. 

When I thought I’d made enough money to keep me going for another couple of weeks, I’d thank my employers, who’d come to dearly love me by then, and Harlow and I would move on, hearing their sobbing goodbyes behind me as we disappeared over the horizon.

And oh, the sights I would see as I walked to Beverly Hills. I’d try to stay out in the country and not walk through too many cities unless I had to. Harlow and I would never turn down the offer of a good, hot meal, a soft bed and hot shower from a neighborly person as we walked past their homes on the long, lonely highway. We’d make fast, lifetime friends of the kindly family.

Sometimes Harlow and I would sit with hoboes around a campfire by the railroad tracks on dark nights, singing the great old songs — Harlow would sometimes howl along if the notes got too high — eating beans from a can and swearing eternal friendship. And then at dawn, off we’d go, again on our way to Beverly Hills.

Why Beverly Hills? Well, in this fantasy, by the time Harlow and I would cross the border into California, we’d be in really great shape from all that walking and fresh air. Harlow would be more muscular, and I would be a lot taller, a whole lot thinner and the color of mahogany. My dark, now very long hair would be streaked with gold from my long days in the sun and my eyelashes would have grown thicker too. My hips would have narrowed, my chest enlarged and my legs would have grown much longer and shapelier. In short, I’d have become a very hot babe, and male drivers of BMWs and Lamborghinis in Beverly Hills would turn their heads to stare as I strolled along with Harlow.

And then a famous director would drive past us on his way home to his wife or not to his wife, and he’d see me and even though I’d be modestly looking away, I’d hear his breaks screech.

“Who ARE you?” he’d ask, his eyes on stalks. “What are you doing here, looking like that?” I’d tell him all about my trip to Beverly Hills and by now, he’d be overtly salivating. He’d tell me he wants to make a movie of my voyage, “Travels with LC and Harlow,” starring me, and I’d agree, and he’d do it, and I’d stay there forever and become very famous and very rich. Harlow would elope with a Welsh Corgi named Oliver.

LC Van Savage can be reached at [email protected] Her latest book, “Queenie,” is available on and in local bookstores.