Three freezing travelers stood at the median at the Lorton exit off Interstate 95 on Tuesday morning. Clothed in layers, the trio held signs that read: "Travelers in Trouble - HELP" and "Art for sale! $5-$10."
The temperature Tuesday afternoon was about 25 degrees in Lorton, and the three stood at the median with their dogs for more than three hours.
"We started from Oregon about a month ago, and I was helping a friend of mine repair a sailboat that he can take to Hawaii," said Bill Turner, 24, who was accompanied by his girlfriend Annabelle Von-Hoit, 21, and Joshua Madard, 20. "We picked up Joshua and his girlfriend in Oregon. They were hitchhiking on the side of the road and we had to drop her off in Quebec, because her visa was about to expire."
The troupe's car broke down along the way in South Dakota. Their final destination is Turner's family home in St. Mary's, Georgia.
"We had to beg for cash and we talked a guy down to sell us a car for $800," said Madard. "The randomness of meeting these people was not actually random. Some people would say it was by chance, but I believe it was meant to be. I trust these people with my life now."
Von-Hoit is the artist of the group, and sold copies of her pen-and-ink drawings on the roadside. The picture purchased by a passerby is called "It's all about the journey," and depicts a winged angel caressing a fallen bird.
"It's been an adventure," said Von-Hoit. "We've got some stories. People are unbelievable. Some will open their homes to us, and we've seen indoor pools and packed fridges."
And what about Madard's girlfriend? "I'm going to get back to Canada someday and marry her and become a Canadian citizen," he said.