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Hoppin from Memphis: One of the most beautiful days of my life

I arrived at Norfolk Southern's Harris yard just before 9 pm to watch my train to Atlanta finish being built and hopefully find a sweet, cozy ride! I estimated that it would take about 20-24 hours til we arrived in the land of prissy housies, cracked out home bums, and Coca-Cola (these are pretty much the only things I've ever experienced in Atlanta).

My buddy dropped me at the yard and I scampered in to the shadows by some semi trailers, waited, and watched.

Not too long after, I see those charming pony-adorned units pulling up the first string of my train. Slowly but surely, the units pulled about 30 cars ahead of me and stopped. Being that one side of the yard is on a main road, I had only about 5 cars to scope where I'd be hidden in the shadows. Any further east and I'd be getting too close to the front of the train, west was where all the workers were, and on the other side cars whizzed past with less than seconds between each other- way too busy and well lit to be climbing around on that side.

Here we go! With a work truck parked and headlights pointing at the train less than 150 ft from me I decided to trust in the shadows to keep me a secret and started scoping cars.

FLAT CAR
FLAT CAR
FLAT CAR
SUICIDE MINI WELL
FLAT CAR
FUUUCK

There wasn't one safely rideable car infront of me. FUCK. With my heart pounding, half from running and half from adrenaline moshing through my scaley body, I sat back behind a tree and hoped.

Tssssss
Our good friend, the air brakes, told me my train was about to start moving again and MAYBE this means I'll have a better ride pull up infront of me. Sometimes crossing your fingers and muttering curse words to yourself pays off.

Sure enough, she pulled up enough for me to scope 3 new cars and one of them was a well with a floor! It was a tiny fella and full of breaks but these itchy feet were gettin the heck outta Memphis. Upon laying down in my well I was greeted with the tender smell of sweet, sweet shit. Great.

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Within a couple hours the kiddie pool deep well, the shit stench, my gear, cow, and I rolled out of the home of the delta blues n birthplace of rock n roll.

Fast-forward.
It's Saturday morning in Northern Alabama and I pop outta my sleeping bag groundhog style (it was groundhog day) and am greeted by prime golden hour. Sunshine flashing thru passing trees, casting shadows between amber light on the double stack infront of me. If the sky had told me she'd never heard of clouds that day, I'd believe her.

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Yesterday was one of the best days of my life. Since starting my medication about 2 years ago, I rarely cry tears of joy anymore but yesterday they came without hesitation. Rolling thru valleys, along multiple parts of the Tennessee River, passing decrepit barns, cows, cotton fields, school yards, creeks, swamps, old timey towns. Breathing fresh air. Laying on the grate in the sunlight. Taking cow out for short walks at side outs. Eating mandarins, pretzels and banana chips.

This is what I'm supposed to be doing with my life.

I cried and hugged myself and thanked myself for staying alive all these years.
Every trauma, every day spent screaming from the immeasurable pain of mental turmoil, every heartbreak and fuck up, everything wrong or bad melted away as I laid in the sun and breathed. These pains and memories will always be in me somewhere but yesterday solidified that life is truly beautiful and I'm truly free. It felt like the freedom and fresh air had filed down the corners of those pains. And everything is okay, even when it's not.

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Fast-forward.
It's around 7 pm and the train sides out just outside of Austell for about 2 hours. Then we high ball it thru Austell and much further into the Atl yard than I wanted.

"PLEASE SLOW DOWN, PLEASE SLOW DOWN"

We are way too close to the heart of this massive yard for comfort. But sure enough, we slow down and then come to a hault. Complete with knuckle bangin slack action.

There's only one track, about 15 feet of brush, and a fence between me (and cow) and the road running parallel to the yard. So after a sigh of relief, the thought of "man, that was easy!", and putting my pack back on, without hesitation I confidently took about 3 strides into the brush tO REALIZE IT WAS ALL FUCKING THORN VINES WHAT THE FUCK ARE U FUCKING SERIOUS?! Because nothing is ever THAT easy. But once you're about 1/3 of the way thru some thorn vines and they're surrounding u, it's time to finish what ur dumb ass started.

So I pushed thru the thorns, found a hole in the fence, and stepped off railyard property a free but sore man.

If you're having mental health issues, especially if u want to kill yourself, please know that it gets better. The first step for me was deciding it was time to make it better, get help, and change my habits.

If you're mentally ill and looking to travel, I recommend building some healthy habits before hitting the road as it's easy to fall into bad ones out here.

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Memphis

Rambler
Joined
Jul 21, 2017
Messages
24
Location
Vero Beach, Florida
Thanks for coming through. Safe travels. Everyone here is bummed you left. I got an earful at the bar tonight cuz you didn’t say bye... I promised them you’d be back.
 
OP
croc

croc

Wise Sage
Joined
Aug 24, 2017
Messages
333
Location
Roads n rails
Thanks for coming through. Safe travels. Everyone here is bummed you left. I got an earful at the bar tonight cuz you didn’t say bye... I promised them you’d be back.
Ain't no way I'd be able to say goodbye to all fuckin 20 regulars from mcg xD
Guess you're not the only one who Irish goodbyes these days (n u never changed ur user name). But please tell them I said bye. Esp Jen and Rodney, they're my favs.
Also, I'll def be back. Yall know how to make a stinky bum n his rat feel welcome. Sorry I used all ur toilet paper. N thanks for the quesadillas ;)
 

Coywolf

Mastering the Art of Houselessness
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Dec 12, 2014
Messages
2,200
Age
32
Location
PNW
Website
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Hell yes! I was struggling with hardcore depression when I stopped traveling, hopping that train outta Bend was the best thing for my mood and well being i could have ever done.

Life doesnt have to suck, get your mind off of life, hit the road like you just jumped out of a moving vehicle!!

Doing my YouTube channel has alot with improving my mood. Weird, but it helps.

Great post.
 
OP
croc

croc

Wise Sage
Joined
Aug 24, 2017
Messages
333
Location
Roads n rails
Hell yes! I was struggling with hardcore depression when I stopped traveling, hopping that train outta Bend was the best thing for my mood and well being i could have ever done.

Life doesnt have to suck, get your mind off of life, hit the road like you just jumped out of a moving vehicle!!

Doing my YouTube channel has alot with improving my mood. Weird, but it helps.

Great post.
Glad ur feelin better too! I feel the same about my Instagram so I feel ya. It's nice to document stuff in a creative way to look back at things you enjoyed
 

Koala

sleeps 22 hours a day, eats chutes and leaves
Joined
Nov 3, 2015
Messages
593
Age
24
Location
NY
Website
ciggybuttbrain.wordpress.com
Fuck yeah, Croc, I'm so fucking happy for you and proud of you <3

Beautifully written, so glad you had such an awesome ride, looks dreeaammy, can't wait to ride with you again soon

I LOVE THIS <3
If the sky had told me she'd never heard of clouds that day, I'd believe her.
 
OP
croc

croc

Wise Sage
Joined
Aug 24, 2017
Messages
333
Location
Roads n rails
Fuck yeah, Croc, I'm so fucking happy for you and proud of you <3

Beautifully written, so glad you had such an awesome ride, looks dreeaammy, can't wait to ride with you again soon

I LOVE THIS <3
I love and miss u endlessly. My train critter soul mate <3 and all my friends you've met ask about u bc you're so lovable and heaps (as you'd say) of fun!
Did u know that was my first route that I hadn't ridden with u! My others were ones u and I had already ridden or u were there for
 

Zbart1108

Rambler
Joined
Aug 28, 2017
Messages
61
Location
Just around the bend
Awesome write up bro, I have so much in my head I wish I could put down in ledgable reading, so many people tell me I should write a book. I think that's something all travelers get told by the people that haven't found the courage to brake free from the system.
 

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