A Delayed, More In-Depth Introduction (1 Viewer)

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Deleted member 23824

I closed my account
Almost immediately upon returning from riding with Lupo in June, I began planning on another ride, one that had been in the back of my mind to do since a cautionary post by Brodiesel on StP, regarding catching out of Whitefish, that he made towards the end of March. Since the idea of riding has gotten ahold of me, seems I can hardly think of anything else. I blame my grandsons, age 3 and 5. Let me explain.
I am now 59 years old.Starting about two years ago, the loves of my life, my grandkids, started spending Grandpa time on my lap, in my recliner, in front of a woodstove, watching hours of steamtrain videos. Nearly every time they came over, which is often.Connor, the older one, had been fixated on trains, seemingly since birth. I had a fair interest in trains as a boy, but nothing like his. Since I do not watch TV, YouTube ,which has anything in the world you could ever want to know, so it seems, became my main form of entertainment. And, since my grandsons love trains, how could I not be interested? In fact, I became somewhat addicted myself.
After awhile, I began getting “suggestions” based on algorythms of my viewing habits, and up started popping vids about trainhopping, which I did not know was a thing. I thought that was from the past, depression era stuff, surely over and done with,by the time I was a boy in the 60’s/70’s. At first I ignored the occasional suggestion, but finally looked briefly at one, only to see a group of riders - what I was later to learn are called dirty kids, crusty kids, crust punks, scum-fucks - quite irresponsibly surfing atop a train car through a downtown metropolitan area, laughing, clinging to whisky bottles, and even jumping car to car. I was appalled, and shut it down. Idiots.
Eventually, I would begin to regularly glance at these suggested videos, till my interest became piqued by seeing a guy that looked like me riding freight trains. By that , I mean he was a grayhaired, middle aged man, a bit paunchy, and I thought, he has no business doing that, it’s for stupid ass, drug fueled kids - he ought to know better. But he (can’t recall him now, sadly) did not do all the stupid stuff the punks did: he rode solo, remained hidden, and did not get on/off moving trains. I thought, wish I had known this was a thing when I was a teen, or in my early 20’s, I’d love to have done this for a period of time in my youth, before becoming the responsible adult I now am. Ahem.
I began to find videos by guys I could somewhat identify with, and watched and commented on their semi-regularly released YouTube videos, in fact, I began waiting for their next vids with anticipation. There was something about being in the middle of the most beautiful scenery this country offers, on a train, enduring hard steel and sometimes harsh weather. The stealth aspect of it all, knowing that most of the world’s never going to see what those guys get to see, since there’s no passenger service on the majority of those lines, was appealing to me. Tammy, my wife, does not understand the allure, but accepts that is important to me.
When I say I could somewhat identify with these videographers, let me explain. They weren’t destitute, penniless addicts/alcoholics/social misfits that are always going to find it difficult to fit into the wider society. Rather, they had jobs, mostly seasonal, like Forestry workers, Wildland Firefighters, etc. When they travelled, they had funds, places to stay, friends along the way. They stealth camped along the way to save funds and make their money hopefully last till their regular gigs start back up in the spring.
I by now had got it in my mind that I wanted to try this, a one-off ride, a bucket-list item I’d do, and, having gotten it out of my system, forget about. As I said, I would regularly watch, and comment or ask questions when this handful of guys I followed would release a new video. Finally getting the balls to ask if they would ever consider helping an old guy fulfill a dream, I was politely referred to Squat the Planet. There were plenty of riders there, and if I was respectful and hung out long enough, I’d probably eventually find someone to school me , and maybe go for a ride.
I was an unregistered viewer on STP for but a short while, but since I could not access the trainhopping section I joined, in late 2018. After reading some posts, I p.m’d a guy I thought knew his shit, just the kind of person I would want to learn things from, and do them right. That was Engineer J Lupo. Of course he was skeptical, encouraged me to first make an intro post and make myself known. And since he had lived for a time in the small mountain town where I reside, we were able to connect. Several other of the riders whose vids I regularly was watching also hung out on StP, and I more or less met them here via the P.M. function.
I have gotten so much help from Lupo, and other riders, I am still amazed. I know that the people who’ve helped me, have occasionally gotten some shit for helping me and others like me. Regardless, they felt that someone who is obviously going to ride, one way or another, ought to know how to do it safely, with respect for the traditions of the “trade”, and not blow things up for others. After all, riding trains is not the sole domain of any one one group, or the lifestyle they espouse, to the exclusion of all other lifestyles.
I plan on doing this 3-4 times a year for as long as I am able. So, I am a recreational rider. Not a hobo, or a tramp. In nearly every other way, I live a conventional lifestyle -not that there’s anything wrong with that, you scumfucks!
Except for my first ride, my wife is fully aware of what I’m up to. She might as well (somewhat) support me, because she knows I’m going to do it, anyway. Been that way for the last 38 years - when I set my mind to do something, chances are I’m going to do it.
In few days, I am heading to Montana. I’m going to ride a small portion of the HiLine, with a friend who is about my age, who has been riding since the 90’s, but now just recreationally, like me, 3-4 times a year. We got cheap flights, he from Reno, me from the Bay Area .
We’re riding “around the block”, through that Flathead tunnel, along the Columbia River to Portland, back south through Eugene, Klamath Falls, Dunsmuir, and ending in Roseville. We will stealth camp along the way, but also, Kjell likes to get a motel room about every 2nd or 3rd day, have a nice hot shower and eat a steak dinner. I ‘d rather not spend the money, but will. We’ll spend some time off the rails too, exploring, likely in Portland, Dunsmuir, or wherever. I’m in no hurry, I’m fucking retired.
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Aug 9, 2018
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What part of the bay are you at? I'm in the greater el dorado/sacramento/placer county area and my situation is opening me up to go be a vagrant somewhere soon or move into my house up north.

I've been on a few trains but have spent the past decade working up my commercial license resume. Im thinking i might be a bum during the winter and drive in the summer once my shoulder injury is fully healed.

Dunsmuir has some amazing waterfalls I hopped up to with about 20 friends when I first got out of the army 10 years ago.


Aug 9, 2018
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You should definitely check out the waterfalls while your there. Good fishing as well at the beginning of the Sacramento river.

About a half mile through the woods north of the waterfalls there's an artisan mineral spring that we used to pour gin and tonics with. Tasted like crap but did the trick.

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