Soaked in the rain and bull paranoia on the highline (1 Viewer)



I deleted myself
It was warm and the air was full of mosquitoes in Milwaukee. We had journeyed some 2500 miles from Seattle for the 2008 crimthink convergence, only to miss it! Alls well that ends well; we met some cool peeps out there, Josh and Vince, and they had showed us to the yard the night before when they caught out.

Me and my friend (VeggieGuy) headed to the Milwaukee yard the next night to get back to Seattle. We met some old school hobo in the yard who had been hopping for decades it seemed. He was pretty cool and he knew everything there is to know about freight hopping. He liked schooling the "youngsters" and was glad to catch out with us.

Our train came in, backed up and connected to some auto racks it was connecting. My friend was grabbing some cardboard from a dumpster and the train started taking off. He ran alongside the train for awhile

"Throw it to me!" I said. He ran alongside it for awhile and yelled "FUCK!" and missed the boat. Shit happens. Well, I rolled my tarp and bag out and slept a much needed 9 hours.
I woke up somewhere and took a look around. Isn't it a strange feeling not knowing what state you're in? I eyed some road signs and figured out I was somewhere south of Minneapolis. Finished the four hours or so and terminated in St. Paul's Pigs Eye yard. I met with my friend later that night, him having caught the next eastbound about an hour after we parted ways.

We rested a day or so at a friends house in Minneapolis and headed to the jungle (shit I forget the yard name, by the fruit outlet place) There we met a group of 5 who were pretty drunk, with a dog, and one of 'em was wearing flip-flops. Maybe not the wisest way to jump freight trains in a heavily-surveilled yard... Waited a full 24 hours and decided to switch catch out spots.
We took the bus over to a junction downtown and saw our train passing when we got off the bus! Talk about good luck! We barely had time to take a leak before it got to uncatchable speeds, and then it would stop a couple times, but not for more than about 10 seconds, and it got right back up to high speed shortly after starting up from a full stop.
Hopped on a piggyback and hid as best I could before going through the upcoming yard. Decided to switch cars at the first siding.
Well, it was quite some time before the next siding and it was getting dark then and we were in North Dakota. The sun set and the stars came out. I don't remember the last time I saw such crystal clear views of the heavens. When you stray miles away from any sort of "civilization" nature presents itself in spectacular ways. Then we came to a siding and I decided to inspect some cars further down for a 48 well maybe. I decided to leave my stuff behind me.....

WELL, the train started up and I rushed back to find my car, but couldn't find it! I grabbed some other piggyback and we headed through the great flatness that is North Dakota.

It was getting quite cold indeed. I tucked my head into my shirt to keep warm and that helped a little bit. I hoped I would be spared some misery and come to another siding soon. We did and I started looking fo----wait---wha..?...where is my car? I couldn't even remember if it was in front or behind me. I found my friend, the train started and I got back on starting to panic somewhat.

Shit. I missed my sleeping bag and my water. Oh how the simplest things are valued so dearly when in need! Then I noticed the stars were gone....

The rain started and we were moving at 70+mph on the highline. And I was on a fucking piggyback of all rides. Well, its dark and I wasn't near anything and cold at that, so I got behind one of the wheels to block some of the wind. I was quite tired and layed down to sleep, figuring I'd stay dry behind the wheel.

Well, I woke up half soaked from the rain of course. Great, now I was wet and had to move to the windy point on the piggyback in the center to avoid the rain. I focused on the unbelievable lightning that lit up the whole landscape. It made the cold bearable at least, just barely.

We came to a siding eventually and I very quickly ran up to the furthest I thought I might have left my stuff. I found my car! My sleeping bag was a little wet, having left it between the wheels to be able to locate my car. What good that did, huh?

I curled up in my wet sleeping bag and fell asleep almost immediately, feeling infinitely warmer than I was before.

The next day we approached Havre, Montana. We got off here ahead of the yard to avoid the 1000 mile inspection. Walking very fast to make our train, we stopped at the first gas station and refilled our water bottles and got some snacks too. We dicked around too much thinking we had all the time in the world, which resulted in us watching our train pull away.

We went over to the McDonalds to find an outlet to charge our phones and this scumfuck looking kid (facial tatoos and buying a cheesburger at McD's, I'm weary...) came up to me and asked if we got kicked off the train. Confused he explained he heard on his scanner two kids were caught on the train and ran off. (wasn't us) We went with him back to this lady's trailer to wait for the next westbound, having been informed that it's "the catchout spot". These guys were a bunch of fuckin assholes. He said he was from Pittsburgh and I mentioned I was born there. "What part?"..."Squirrel Hill."..."What are you, Jewish? (condescending tone)...After offering me beer about 5 times and me refusing, he asked "Are you straight or something?".."Yeah, pretty much.".."Pssh, that's lame." Well FUCK THIS! I wasn't going to wait around for his comments on me being vegan. Too bad I missed the pork stew... Here I went with this other kid David who was there at the house who wanted to head west. My friend VeggieGuy headed to a different catchout spot, fearing security. I went with David to the spot those scumfucks recommended. Here's Veggie's account from this point on, as we parted ways:

"While this guy and his buddy pounded back beers and made sexist, racist jokes, we saw another IM pull up. I got ready to leave, then ridiculed for being "in a hurry" and sat down against my better judgment. 20 minutes later, that train began to depart, so I left, determined not to miss the next one.
The old man of this trailer home warned about a surveillance camera on a nearby pole, so I wanted to get E of that for catching out. But when I went up the hill and overlooked the yard, I noticed a bull sitting even further E of the camera! So I decided to go E of that fucker, so NickCofphee parted ways to return to a more center-yard spot. As I began to descend the 300-ft hill onto RR property, the train started to pull out, and since it wasn't yet dark, I cautiously waited for the times when the traincars were blocking the bull's potential view of me clambering down; by the time I made it to ground-level, the last car was just crossing before the bull, out of my reach. So I laid down there, and waited for the next thing coming through.
When I caught it - rolling just a lil' fast - I was elated to have beaten the two very attentive railcops who were patrolling the area, and pleased that my plan to get further east was not at all mistake.
23 hours later, I was in Seattle, jumping off at Interbay rather than ride to the full stop"

Me and David walked down the length of the yard on the main road parallel to it. The heat was on! Cops were cruising everywhere, in and out of the yard. Workers in trucks, workers in vans, bulls on ATVs, in golf carts were EVERYWHERE. There wasn't a damn spot to get in. We looked around and found the spot they mentioned earlier, having some difficulty IDing it earlier.

I talked to David, who was very inexperienced but confident nonetheless. He's never ridden piggyback, which looked like our only option: "Look, see that car with the JB Hunt on it? When the train starts moving, run your ass as fast as you can to it, jump up, stash your shit in the axle and hide anywhere you can. Be invisible! Don't get on that one, I'm getting on it. Good luck!" The train started and I ran, heart pounding to avoid the bull and supposed camera. 20 seconds past and the train stopped. Where? Right in front of the scumfucks house, in the light and view of the camera! I grabbed my stuff and ran as fast as I could, avoiding drunken shouts from the trailer that beer built. Hopping fences and crossing the road, I rested when I felt I was safe from the yard. I don't know what happened to David, but I never saw him after that.

It was time to find a different spot. I went further down to the end of the yard and hid under a bridge. Nothing passed until the following morning. I had some spare time once daylight came, so I made a bridge across the very thick mud to the other side of the bridge! Now I could catch the better and non exposed side of the train.

An IM passed soon enough and I eyed a 48 well. Couldn't see the ladder so scaled the side of it with my pack on. Not an easy task to do on the fly! I went to sleep immediately.

I woke up sometime that afternoon and ate some dumpstered bagels with peanut butter that I got from Minneapolis. Pretty soon I came to the Glacier Park area of central Montana. Took some good pics. This part of the country is gorgeous. Wide open green fields drifting into mountains.

After a nice ride, came into Seattle and got off right by the giant Starbucks headquarters. Just about 24 hours from Havre to Seattle.

If you've never ridden the highline before, it's a must. Don't forget your camera!
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Oct 23, 2006
Current Location
novosivirsk, russia
nice story, i know the trailer you're talking about
i can't stand scumfucks either, i would go so far as to say avoid highline in the summer just because of the neanderthal flinstone morons, luckily there's a handful of good people with brains. the lucky thing is that between november 1st and may 1st these dorks are holed up in portland shooting heroin and sniffing sharpies.


I deleted myself
That lady was nice as hell and her (husband?) too. Real friendly folks that love trainhoppers for some reason, made us coffee and offered dinner. Plus they had a scanner going 24/7.


The Captain
Nov 2, 2007
Current Location
around the USA
Since I caught that EBD IM on the fly at about 11pm local time - just as Macks was giving-up on the recommended catching spot (from which he may have been seen) - I couldn't take the time to look for a well, and spent the ride over 3 different porches of '53s, some with more stretching space and less cover, or more cover and more cramping. (I'm kinda lanky.)

Once, I was watching the distant scenery so intently that I lost track of our return to civilization, and though there was only a highway nearby, I didn't scramble to hide away. (Most drivers are forward-focused, anyway, and then what are the chances of them seeing a lil' blip of a person amidst 120 cars on a fast-moving train?) Well, this one passenger did see me!; though I didn't know when he first started reaching under his seat, I realized I'd been spotted when he pulled out a bulky camera and pointed right at me. By then I figured it'd be too late to duck out of sight, and if he wasn't intending to snitch on me, he may have found such an action suspicious, so I just looked his way with a contented smirk.
I'm hoping that this might be on his website about his travels (Yahoo!, Facebook, MySpace, whatever) somewhere in this vast internet, so I might get to see how I looked on that ride, from afar.


I deleted myself
haha bill and tenas trailer in havre is legendary.
i rolled through there in june? riding piggy back and there were like... 10? of us riding from minneapolis but we spit up into a 5 day period 2 groups of 2, 1 person, and a group of 5 i guess. everyone who rolled through before my friend and i had gotten pulled off there and some how we didnt get caught. 4 workers were standing right next to us and we watched the bull drive by and our train stopped there for like... 15 mins? then started haulin ass again... and it rained the whole time and we saw snow on the ground but i didnt ge out my sleeping bag for the whole trip because it was down and i didnt have a fucking tarp and it would have just gotten soaken and when it stopped raining i would still have to sleep in a wet bag so i was soaked and froze my ass off the whole ride from minn-> spokane. haha fuckin' trains and rains.


The Captain
Nov 2, 2007
Current Location
around the USA
Firstly, in my account quoted by NickCofphee and in my first post, I wrote E and EBD, but that makes no sense. I think all the references to east must mean west, and I somehow totally screwed that up.

Secondly, this guy's probably not gonna respond to this, but:
...i rolled through there in june? riding piggy back and there were like... 10? of us riding from minneapolis rained the whole time and we saw snow on the ground...
it makes no sense that there would be snow on the ground in Havre, MT in June. Am I wrong, is it gonna be freezing there at that time of year?


Jul 26, 2010
That's crazy. Im from Pittsburgh also and it seems like there are more and more ignorant people everyday.


May 4, 2010
good story, nickcophee... hope you get to see that pik veggieguy, thatd be awesome... oh yea, i hopped outta the chicken shit yard in jax with my boy, who was six eight n wearing flip flops haha, he got wasted and lost his SIZE EIGHTEEN boots in the woods of the appalachiacola gathering this march2010, haha... we found a few good grainers on a NBD junker. took 8 hours to go 79 miles to waycross...hopped out on the fly around 10mph before we got our asses humped (haha, i had to word it like that), yea, n he's still wearing flip flops...


Jul 17, 2009
Nice story!

Ive had similar experiences on the highline in the winter.

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