Last American Hitch-Hiker - Tales of Wander by Mark Dean Kneeskern. Engelhart Printing. Written between 2006 and 2013. Published 2013. 259 pages. A number of full page black and white illustrations, presumably by Kneeskern. Paperback. One crease on the front cover, along the spine. ift inscription on title page, "Light & Laughter/are/eternal/Burning Man/2016/SL". Otherwise no previous owner markings. Other than mentioned, no creases to cover. Pages have no creeases, folds or dog-earing. Not ex-library, not remaindered, not a facsimile reprint. More photos available on request. For sale by Jon Wobber, bookseller since 1978. CD01a
"He was "the last American hitchhiker," born and raised in Iowa and without a car or cellphone for more than a decade. His closest thing to a permanent home was a parked, solar-powered school bus modified with adobe near the U.S.-Mexico border in Terlingua, Texas.
Sadly, he was killed Sunday in Fairfield by — of all things — a massive freight train that struck him just hours after what would be his final book reading.
The nomadic, unencumbered life of artist Mark Dean "Eyeball" Kneeskern, 42, is being mourned by the countless friends he met during his ramblings.
"None of this was a choice for me," Kneeskern said of his peripatetic ways in his final recorded interview (Aug. 28). "It was kind of just fate leaping in, telling me what to."
Kneeskern was hit by the train shortly after 4 a.m. Sunday on the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad that runs through Fairfield. Police continue to investigate the death and have struggled to flesh out the timeline of his final hours.
Kristian Day, owner-operator of the Orpheum Theater in Fairfield, where Kneeskern spoke Saturday evening in front of a couple dozen people, recorded Kneeskern's final interview for his own "Parallel Roads" podcast. Kneeskern left the Orpheum around 6:30 p.m. Saturday, according to Day, and attended a local cookout. He reportedly left that party shortly before 10 p.m. and went to the Arbor Bar, where he stayed until around closing time.
The missing chunk of Kneeskern's timeline is from 1:30 a.m. Sunday until he was discovered on the tracks, presumably en route to the house where he had planned to spend the night.
Nobody has raised the specter of suicide. Kneeskern, universally described as irrepressibly upbeat and lovably goofy, recently had published "The Last American Hitch-Hiker: Tales of Wander" and was writing a sequel based on his travels by bus. He had street smarts. He survived hundreds of hitchhikes by developing his own rules of thumb, and yet he said he had refused only three rides from suspicious characters in all his years on the road.
He liked to "puzzle together a living" by selling his book as well as sculptures and other artwork. He played the occasional band gig, sometimes with a homemade washtub bass.
He became a hitchhiker in Terlingua 11 years ago when both bike tires were flat and he needed to get to work. The "cute girl" who gave him his first lift turned out to be Shannon Carter, with whom he would spend the rest of his life. - From an on-line obituary of Kneeskern.