Into the Wild

Describe Chris’s interaction with Crazy Ernie.


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At the end of July, Chris accepted a ride from a man who called himself Crazy Ernie and he offered McCandless a job on a ranch in northern California; photographs of the place show an un-painted, tumbledown house surrounded by goats and chickens, bedsprings, broken televisions, shopping carts, old appliances, and mounds and mounds of garbage. After working there eleven days with six other vagabonds, it became clear to McCandless that Ernie had no intention of ever paying him, so he stole a red ten-speed bicycle from the clutter in the yard, pedaled into Chico, and ditched the bike in a mall parking lot. Then he resumed a life of constant motion, riding his thumb north and west through Red Bluff, Weaverville, and Willow Creek.