• Hey folks, I've gotten a bit burned out after running this site for over 20 years (geez) so I'm looking for anyone that wants to be an admin on StP and help run the technical side of things. If you're interested, contact me!

Unclaimed stories from the old site! Come get 'em!!!

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Matt Derrick

Permanent Wanderer
Staff member
Aug 4, 2006
Reaction score
Austin, TX
So I've been hard at work today trying to get everyone's old stories out of the database for the old StP site... i basically had to cut and paste them by hand, but at least i got them!

The only bad part is that I couldn't recover the username that went with the story, so you'll all just have to cruise through the stories below and claim which one is yours. The stories are listed in no particular order.

My suggestion would be to copy and paste it into a new thread here in the story section, so people can find your story easier.

This is going to be a huge post... so here we go!


Colorado to Frisco '06

It was January 2006, the snow had finally started "ploohmf"-ing down on the San Juans but I was ready to hit the skids. It had been a crazy few months in southwest Colorado, skiing around lunchtime and working in a ski shop the rest of the day. The weather had been cold, cold enough that spit froze before it could make it out the window of the gondola I rode to work every day. A week earlier, I'd been evicted from my adopted place of residence, a warm nook next to the town campground's showers. I'd FedExed a bunch of gear back east, put in my resignation at the ski shop and said my goodbyes to the unique cast of characters who inhabited Telluride, especially my buddy Roby. Now there was nothing left to do but stick out my thumb towards San Francisco.

My brother Miles had been in SF since October, training at restaurants and biking around the bay. The plan was to spend some time in the city and then take the cheapest flight I’d been able to find back to Vermont from Oakland Int'l Airport. I had almost two weeks before I flew out so there was plenty of time to get stuck. What didn’t appear was some agreeable weather to head out in. I went to church that morning at Telluride Christian Fellowship and ended up promising my friend Lenizi to help her move into her new apartment, closer to town.

We chased her house keys across town lines and finally we got all her possessions into place in her new digs. I gave her a hug; I thought the last hug I’d give until I reached the coast. Walking down the street from Lenizi’s I ran into a former crew leader of mine from youth crew. I’d known he frequented Telluride but hadn’t seen him since the previous summer in Vermont. There were a lot of unresolved feelings between him and I, and more so my fellow crew mates, and our crew leader. Seeing and conversing with him for a few minutes was like resolving an old dispute. It was just the kind of exit I like to make.

I got a ride from an older Swiss man and a guy my age from Ouray, just south of Telluride. That night I made it to Montrose, only 75 miles north. I slept in a Coldwell Banker Real Estate shed. Those signs with the happy puppy just begging you with his big brown eyes to please, come buy this house- they made my bed that night. I slept really well and the next morning there was half a foot of snow blown down from the mesa. I made it to Helper, Utah on the old Denver & Rio Grande line that noon with a coal miner, his skin the color of the earth he dug under. At the Utah line, we stopped at a rest area for coffee in little Styrofoam cups. I could feel the Utah air in my lungs and I knew whoever said state lines are just random boundaries on maps was wrong, at least about this one.

The air was by far warmer and, somehow sweeter. There was a mission in town and I checked in to meet some older veterans who said no more than a handful of words the whole day. The kindness of everybody there really touched me. I considering riding the freight trains out to Salt Lake, but it turned out it was lucky I didn’t. Union Pacific trains would have landed me in the Roper yards north of town after a frigid ride. Almost exactly a year later I would come a finger’s width from freezing to death riding the freights in Pennsylvania, but that’s another story for another time.

The next morning I stood up on the road and within 20 minutes a black Mustang growled to a stop, almost hitting me, the guardrail, and a few other vehicles as the driver reversed at 20 miles an hour. A friendly couple just older than me took me to Salt lake City at a breakneck pace, roaring through the canyons and making 100 miles an hour around the sandstone curves. It turned out the woman had failed to pay a court-ordered fine and now had a warrant out for her arrest. They were bound to the county courthouse to pay a mushrooming fine.

The Mustang stopped just long enough in downtown SLC for me to vault out the door and find the public transit system, which would take me west to Toelle. That night I spaced out on the bus and looked up to notice the bus driver ordering me off the bus. Apparently our country’s largest stockpile of chemical and biological weapons lies in an army base outside of Toelle in the desert. The bus was headed in to pick up employees and I could wait at the heavily guarded gates for its return. “If you go in there, they’ll shoot you!” the driver told me in a not unfriendly fashion.

Well after dark I made it the Flying J truck stop on I-80. After some cleaning up in the bathroom, I caught out with Brent, a balding Cherokee from Oklahoma and his cousin Billy. We drove through the night to Nevada and I had a dreamless sleep on the bunk before waking up to see a dream catcher swinging back and forth on the windshield.

Maybe it really had given me the peaceful sleep I’d been wanting.

The next morning saw us at a Petro truck stop in Sparks, Nevada. There were rumors of a massive storm system, trucks jackknifed all over Donner Pass, and even lane closings. Brent went to play more slot machines (we’d stopped for two hours in the middle of the night for him to win money) and Billy was watching him play.

I hoofed it over to an on ramp to get a ride from two girls headed for breakfast on the west edge of town. I instantly had a crush on the girl driving, and for a second I felt ashamed of my frozen shoes and stained bandanna in front of her beauty. They dropped me off at the Boomtown Casino, just miles from the California line, and I stepped out into the storm I ‘d been hearing about. I half expected to see downtown Reno come flying by, slot machines, small cocker spaniels, and house plants whistling past my head on the way to Truckee.

Incredibly, I met another traveler in the storm. An older man with a shaved head and frame backpack faced the wind on the ramp. A gruff security guard kicked the older hitchhiker, Tom and me off the Boomtown on ramp onto the interstate proper. Not long after, an International Eagle pulled over for us, and we met Diego, headed back home from Minneapolis with a truckload of pipes.

Diego didn’t speak much English and neither of us spoke much Spanish so we said only a few words but there was a decidedly happy atmosphere in the truck as headed for Sacramento at 30 miles an hour. The snow was falling at an impossible pace and no vehicles were allowed through without tire chains. In Sacramento, we all parted ways and I took the Greyhound to SF. I met up with my brother at his literally refrigerator-sized apartment in the Tenderloin (next to the best fucking taqueria north of LA)and I whooped for joy.

I'd made it.


Street Rant
sometimes words are the only thing that keep me alive

on this dead end street still spiting rhymes

hearing crows laughin at the ones with death in there eyes

surgically implant catastrophic smiles

sometimes it's hard to find the true feeling inside

with all the countless numbers in cars drivin by

it's makin me wonder will I go insane and die

just tryin to find a reason and it's no where to be found just a bunch of dead suicidal clowns in this twisted circus your on the carnival ride that makes

you wanna die ha.... there I said it again spitin the same fuckin rhyme the jokers flipped the shit

now goin insane this time how long can we play our little game

just make the connection open your doors of perception

to the window in your mind rainbow nightmares and dark sunshine with mathematical rhyme

lets make illusions reality contemplate who we are border line insanity it' all over now

something has spoken inside of me to ask the question are you truly free

wakin up every mornin nine to five just to stay alive wakin up with tired blood shot eyes

breakin all the clocks then it starts to rain how long can we maintain and stay sane all we need is

someone to blame is it fame or you name you want them to know or is the storm coming and there's

know where to go..

count the dead body's in the alleyway it's the latest t.v. reality what the fuck is profanity

I think it's vanity when the t.v.'s full of commercials that makes anorexics and stuck up chicks

what a lame stupid world full of macho dick's fuck all you critics I'd like to see you live it

not givin any credit to the one's that deserve it what about friends in the end

they'll probably transcend into demonic aliens witch is no fun coming strait from the asylum

lookin at the robot's playin there little rat race with there shield of anger on there pretty

product face in slaving themselves to technology here comes the trilogy tune in next week

or what comes naturally mutated victims of wars atrocity cause war has no morality

the masses spent artillery


Broken Squat

It was a chilly day in Dec standing outside with a burning smoke, looking back i grabbed my pack and kept walking...

Eventually I found a nice place to sit and Spange. soon enough I get a $20.00 spot and walk over to the Amtrak station an hour passes and i get on the lazy train. Sitting back the conductor asks for a ticket I look through my pack and pull it out. All the while people are giving disapproving stares. Looking out the window thinking today was going to be nice and slow. I prepare to disembark, only to see a few fimilar faces, with dark expressions.

"The Squat was raided while you were gone" one said.

"Fuck" I said with a disapproving sigh "What the fuck happened?"

"Cops took all our shit" another said.

Walking to the fountains we all try to figure out a game plan. To No avail we were all blank and speechless. We figured after a few beers we could think clearly, as we finished up we began walking back to the train station, only to see a few people who seemed like they were waiting for us. As we get closer the people (Christians as I later found out) approach us. They began to ask us how we were, our names, ages, what we needed. After about an hour or so, one disappears and grabs us lots of food and blankets. With a glimmer of hope by staying warm that night we ventured off into the darkness to find out raided squat. only to see broken glass and everything gone. Everyone laid out the blankets and sleeping bags, and got ready for bed. As we laid our heads down we all dreamed of the next day and better things to do. Everyone laid down I smoked one last cig and climbed into me sleeping bag and had a half ass grin, laughing to myself knowing I will survive another night...


Riding With the Crew

A friend and I ended up in Etawa, TN the other day (a really chillin' tiny, tiny town). As soon as we got there we hopped off the train not knowing where we were. An engineer from the train we were riding comes up to us and says "did i give you a rough ride?" So we just say "no." assuming that this guy is really chill. He tells us we're in Etawa and that the train is going to Knoxville. We tell him we don't have enough water to ride the rest of the ride, so he goes inside the little train house and comes out with eight bottles of water for us, leaves and comes back with food and tells us to hide in the bushes and to not be seen by the bulls. Adding, the train should leave in an hour or so.

So, we walk up to the gas station, and four or five people come up to us and tell us their own train hopping stories. We walk back to the train and talk to the workers and throw our packs into agrainer hole and wait in a nearby dumpster car. Three hours pass, and the train hasn't moved. All of a sudden, a man is shining a flash light on us and tells us to come over. So, we walk over to him. He says that they will give us a ride to Knoxville, but riding where we are is too dangerous, and that we need to walk around the yard house to the second engine. We're kinda sketched out, but we know that if the cops are coming they will know where we are anyway. So, we walk to the engine. When we get there, they put us in the second engine and the train starts moving and another crew member brings us a bag of ice and offers us more food. We leave the yard, surprised that they are actually letting two dirty kids ride with them.

40 minutes or so later, we stop for a layover and an engineer named Moses comes back and chills with us and notices I have a mandolin. He says he wishes he had known he was going to run into someone with a mandolin because he had one at home he hadn't played in 15 years. He says he would have just given it to me. We ask if we can smoke in the engine and he says he doesn't care what we smoke or where we smoke it, as long as we're on the car when we do it. He also turns on the radio so we can hear what they're saying. He hung out with us a little longer and then the train started up again so he went back to the first engine. Eventually, we end up in Knoxville and they make a special stop for us at good part of the yard where we can get off safely without being seen. We hung out in Knoxville for 12 hours or so before we realized it's a town full of frat-boys and super uptight cops before we got out of there. Never try to hitch out of that town, or you'll immediatly get arrested and get seven days in jail (according to both the locals and the cops). Overall, a really cool ride though: hanging in an engine with a chill crew that really liked us.


Roseville night workers fucking rule

Ok, so me and my six friends were trying to hop out of Roseville one night, so we decided to sit at a really open spot. It worked until a worker came up and said "I'll show you guys a spot that the bulls won't mess with you at and tell the other workers you guys are here." He pointed us to the rail office and said he'd be back. Like he said, he came back with a bag full of food and proceeded to show us to the spot. Just about as I was about to fall asleep, a pair of lights flashed on our group.

I was thinking- oh shit, the bull's here, but no, it was another worker who hailed us over saying "I got something for you guys". Me and my friend went over and met him. There in his truck were three boxes; one full of sandwich stuff, one full of fruit, and one full of big bags of beef jerky. Needless to say, we were grateful and thanked him a million times; but the day shift, on the other hand, called the bulls on us, so we ended up hitchhiking to Sparks.


Tall bike trouble and fun.

My weekend awhile back right after I first built my tallbike.

I woke up at my mom's house in Joliet, and went to get on the 9:24 from Joliet to LaSalle. Getting my tallbike there from across town wasn't so bad, aside of getting in my first bike accident. I didn't realize how steep the road was, and had to fall over to avoid getting pancaked in traffic. (Damn having no brakes...)

After answering about the dynamics of getting on and off the bike to every person I passed, I eventually made it to the station.
I started conversation with the girl next to me, who turned out to be very nice, but had no idea how to get around Chicago. I, of course, offered to show her to the art institute. We went to board the train and the Train Nazi stopped me, and told me that I was not getting on the train with my bike. After begging and conniving for 10 minutes he agreed to allow me on, but told me I would have to speak with the station manager when I got there.

I talked to my new friend to pass the time on the ride, and eventually we get to LaSalle street station. The station manager dude signalled me over and told me what horrible dangers I have put upon the poor travelers by bringing my death machine aboard his train. He led me into the bowels of the station (my new friend watching the bike) and brought me to his office. He wrote me a pass to bring my bike on the train one last time and it read,

"Please allow Madison Grainer to transport his bike from LSS - Joliet on SAT JAN 13, 2007 (ONLY ON THIS DATE , ONE TIME ONLY!" - H-Kongal(8993)"

Me and the young lady headed to the art institute and wished each other a fond farewell, then I was off to the El. I got off at Berwyn and rode down to Northeastern to meet Squeaky, John, and Nern. On the way there, an old man stopped me and told me he had a bike like that when he was a kid, but with a carwheel instead of handle bars. I finally got to Northeastern, when all the sudden I noticed my handlebars were askew. I stopped and tried to reposition them but they kept falling out of place. I realized that I broke the welding on the front of the bike after almost becoming a hood ornament. I found the statue of the people with birds on their heads (where I am meeting everyone), and sat angry and sad at the loss of my bike.

I was incredibly early. After 20 minutes or so someone approached and asked about the bike, I explain how I broke it, and that I have NO CLUE what to do now. It turns out the dude is in the art department, and sent me to the 3D design building. I took my bike down the halls, passed tons of doors and confused expressions to the 3D design room. I went in and an elderly man greeted me with a thick Asian accent. I begged for him to fix my bike, and he agreed reluctantly. He actually made me sign a waiver to make sure I don't take legal action on him if I die riding it. After watching him masterfully repair my beat-up bike, I thanked him and headed out to meet my friends.

After meeting with everyone, we played games and had a good fire.
I stayed at John's, then went to West Town the next day and overhauled my bike. I also took off some of the extra shit that was making it so heavy.

Getting back on the Metra, no one questioned me about the bike.
As easy as it was to get there, coming back was hard. I never realized how big Joliet really was until I tried to pedal it uphill.


3 days, 2 trains, 71 miles, Portland, OR to Batterson, OR

Day 1:

This trip of mine started out on a cold and wet Portland winter day. It was about 7:00am when I boarded the #17bus to Sauvies Island from downtown Portland. I was on my way to the Harbor Siding/Linnton to catch the local Portland & Western (PNWR) train called the Wanna Turn, which heads all the way out to the Wanna Pulp mill on the PNWR Astoria District… Riding the #17 bus out there is kind of nice since it skirts outside the BNSF Willbridge yard most the way.

When got out to the harbor siding I was pretty early for my train that was called for at 9:00am so I just sat down and killed sometime in the rain. After about one and half hours of waiting I see the headlights of my train (PNWR 2301 & PNWR 2317). I jump up and tossed my pack on and as the train starts to pass me going about 10mph I can see its almost nothing but loaded center-beam lumber cars. I spot one that has a little tiny porch on the end so I start running, I grab the grab irons, and I'm up on it. All I could think as we slowly pulled out of town was how wet I was going to on ride come the end of the day. After about two miles the train slows to a stop and starts some type of weird maneuver where they where backing up a few feet and pulling forward a few feet yet they never broke the air. After about twenty minutes or so of this we start moving and I can see the train curving to the left. It turned out that I wasn’t on the Wanna Turn after all but I was on the local interchange heading on to Banks to drop cars of for the Port of Tillamook Bay Railroad (POTB). As my car hit the curve of the United Jct. I could see a new Sanding Tower; I later learned that due to the steep grades ahead that all trains stopped to pick up sand…One of the highlights of this ride for me was riding over the Holcomb Creek Trestle which is huge.

It took about 5 hours to make it the 20 miles out to Banks where they dropped my car off at. There is really nothing much at all to do or see in Banks so I went to the free camp ground in town to set up my tarp tent and get out of the rain and cook up some rice. My plan was to now stay the night in Banks and try to catch the POTB to the coast. For those of you that don’t know anything about the POTB it is one of the most historical and beautiful freight railroads in the whole Northwest. The line started out life built and owned by the Pacific Railway and Navigation Railroad. Sometimes called the “Punk, Rotten and Nasty” by original crews due to the wet and muddy working conditions that were encountered in the coastal rainforest mountains east of Tillamook, Oregon. This railroad is my all time favorite line.

Day 2:

I woke up to a cold cold day in Banks, I got my stuff packed up by about 6:00am since the train to the coast leaves around 7:00am ish and I even had enough time to make up my coffee. I headed over to the small Banks train yard and I found the crew switching some cars around and I saw my ride… it was boxcar with one door open all the way and the other door open just a foot or two. I found a spike for the door and climbed on, after some more switching we were off. Riding the POTB from Banks to Batterson is so very pretty, your up in the mountains and you going a top speed of 10mph.

The way the POTB works is a WBD train leaves Banks and an EBD train leaves Tillamook and they meet up and swap cars and head back the way that they came but this was not the case for me on this trip. We made it into Batterson around 2:00 in the afternoon where they tied the train down and left it… and there I sat thinking about what I was going to do, since it was wintertime and the sun went down at 4:30pm I opted to camp in the woods and try for a train to the coast the next day… and this would be my downfall….

Day 3:

I woke up at 2:00am to an icy cocoon of death… What happened was sometime in the night there was a fair amount of freezing rain and when it froze to my teepee style tarp tent it made the walls of it sage in give me zero ventilation which made my moisture laded breath condense and freeze to me making covered in ice. All I could think to do was to build a fire and wait till morning came, so that’s just what I did…

When morning came I just hitched to HWY 101 and from there back to Portland… It wasn’t how I would of liked the trip to go but a shit a ride is a ride and a ride on the POTB is great no matter what!


Houston Railroad Yards

From where I sat under the bridge, I could see most of the freight yards before me. A concrete slope from the road below had allowed me to access a four foot shelf under the bridge. I could drink beer there unseen by passing police. I had to avoid the police- being a prime candidate for a stop and search. I carried a rolled sleeping bag, on which I sat, and a dirty torn rucksack. My beard was bushy and my skin was tanned. I looked like the classic railroad tramp, and I was waiting for a train.

I had arrived that morning at 4 o'clock with two others from Louisiana. They had opted to find another train and went on. I had decided to bed down in a nearby patch of trees and bushes. I have to have my beauty sleep.

When I had awakened later at 10 am they were nowhere to be seen. But they had been seen by the railroad security and had triggered a major security operation. Additional special agents had been positioned all over the railroad yards to catch my former partners. How did I know this? Well, I had listened to the security transmissions on my radio scanner.

I wasn't happy. My pals had queered the pitch. I could not now catch out that night with all the extra security about.

It was only 7 o'clock in the evening and I was wondering if there was a bar in the area, then I heard a noise. To my left I saw a figure duck under the bridge. He had come from the road above. He greeted me with the usual greeting. "Hey how yer doing?" I knew straight away he was Mexican. "You sleeping here?"

"No not here . . ." I replied. He was about 25, lean, and dark, with thick greasy hair. The standard migrant worker. Not a bad sort I decided. He offered me the bottle he held. It was a bottle of Night Train, some of the foulest rotgut in Texas, but cheap.

"Wanna drink?" he said.

"Nah, I have this can. You see two guys try to catch a train earlier?

"I seen three guys."

Three guys? "Had they come from Louisiana?"

"Yeah, un that's where I'm going."

"Well I wouldn't go tonight - big security in the yards tonight."

"Yeah these yards are hot."

"No, especially tonight they are hot"

"Yeah you have to be careful."

“Yeah especially tonight . . .”

I wasn't getting through to him. He was a bit drunk. ”There is a big security operation going on tonight!"

He gazed blankly at me. "Yeah. Where you going man?"

It was like talking to the bridge.

"San Antonio, but not tonight - too much security tonight."

I considered showing my scanner to convince him, but decided against it. He might have taken a fancy to it and robbed me later while I slept.

We talked of other things. He'd had his bedroll and stuff stolen from where he had hidden it. The other guy with my former comrades was from Arizona and not been very friendly towards him because he was Mexican. He could not find work in Texas and wanted to work in New Orleans. I told him not to bother, as there are thousands out of work in New Orleans.

Eventually he left to buy another bottle.

"Don't try to catch out tonight man." I called after him.

"Yeah I'll be careful."

Well, I thought, to hell with it I tried to stop him . . .

Later I was under another bridge on the other side of the yards. I wasn't stupid enough to sleep under that first bridge. At about 10 p.m. I was studying a railroad map with a flashlight. Suddenly off to my right sirens started, blue lights flashed, shouts went up, and shots were fired!

God they've got him, I realised. That poor Mexican. He just would not take any notice. The commotion seemed to come from the yards' perimeter road. They had probably caught the moron just as he had entered the yards. But why the shooting? Had he tried to run? He was stupid enough. Even sober he probably would have been stupid enough.

I should have shown him my scanner. That might have convinced him. I felt a bit bad about it, but not enough to stop me having a good night's rest under the bridge.

Next morning I bought a coffee and a doughnut in a nearby store. Outside four old timers sat on benches drinking their coffee. "They'll get twenty years for that." One said.

"I hear the cops were right on the spot and the railroad agents helped."

"Morning," said I, "What's that? What happened?"

"There was a robbery at the liqueur store by the yards. They caught them on the spot coming out of the store. They were two of them."

So it had not been the Mexican. Two liquor store bandits had picked the wrong night to go to work. The railroad agents there in force, might have seen them, called the local police and helped with the capture. It seemed likely because the robbers were caught on the spot.

I felt happier. The Mexican had probably gotten through, and maybe while the commotion was going on with the robbers. I finished the coffee, dumped the plastic cup in the trash, and turned to go. I had a train to catch.


Close Call

It all started out in Sea Side , Oregon. We were squatting on the beach and met this kid from Portland and he said he would give us a ride south to Tillamook but the driver got pulled over in Rockaway. They pulled us over for going 3 miles over the speed limit. The cop took the driver out and searched him. The kid had a butterfly knife and a pair of brass knuckles. Then while they were putting him in the back of the car, this hippie April in the car with us yells at the cops WHATS GOING ON BUCKO! He takes her out , IDs her and asks her "Do you guys have and white dope paper dope clear dope green dope liquid dope," names off a list like that and she says "I wish we had some." So then he takes Tinker out and searches him next and Bro his dog jumped out not being aggro or anything and the cop says the moment that dog shows teeth there's going to be one dead dog on the side of the road. So we put him back in the car and then I was asked to get out and I had forgotten that i had trim in my pocket so the cop searched me even thou he had no right n shit, he gives me a ticket for marijuana and says "You told me you didn't have any dope" and i said "You didn't ask me that" Then he took shitty Dave out and ran all our names and gave us all breath alizzers and gives Tinker a ticket for having a little beer on his breath when he wasn't even driving. But later we found out we didn't have to show up for any of it. On the tickets the court date said TBA. Then the cop pulled our packs out and Tinker had a .22 collapsible riffle and the cop asked about it and how you used it and just put it back and didn't even run the number on it. Then after they didn't find the drugs they wanted on us they told us to hit the road by this time it was past dark and walked down these twisted road you could get hit easily. Finally we got a ride in the back of a pickup and got the fuck out of there


Dumpster bust!

It's st.patty's day tonight and the cops are on the prowl and a fried of mine and I went to the wrong dumpster at the wrong time.


It's st.patty's night and a friend of mine and I are bored as fuck and just got off work and we decided to hit up the borders dumpster. We're walking back to the dumpster and theres a white SUV chillin on the corner around the back of the store and as soon as the guy driving it sees us hes drives off and we think nothing of it. We get to the dumpster and it's filled with boxes and boxes of coverless books so we start digging. All of a sudden I see head lights and a spot light comes on so yell to my friend to hide the cops are here and we dont need any confrontation from some pissed off cops who have had to deal with drunk drivers all night. Well they see us jump behing the dumpster and stop and jump out and pull out their guns and rush us. They have us put our hands up and get up next to a wall with their guns still pointed at us. They ask us if we have weapons or anything and my friend drops a straight razor outta his pocket which they ignor. They ask us what were doing and we tell them dumpstering for books and they ask why and we tell them because we like to read. They take our names and run us through there system and then search us. I had nothing on be and my friend has bud,reddawn,alcohol and ciggs (hes 17 and underage for all of them) and they find none of it except the ciggs! So they just keep giving us a hard time and tell us what they could charge us with but wont because theyre being nice and that whole deal. And they tell us to come back and get our shitty romance novels when its light outside and tell us to leave. It was exciting ive never had a gun pointed at me before . Yep thats that. exciting dumpstering night.



Me vs. The Taco Hell Franchise

[Open curtains. Spotlight. I'm on drive-through for the third or fourth time in my entire Taco Bell career. I don't know the register very well and people tend to be less patient/respectful at the drive-through because I'm not face-to-face. I am also taking orders from one car, receiving money and giving change to another car, and getting drinks ready for the orders ALONE. It's not like it even started out being a good day; I was told that I had to pay the 70 dollars Robert ended up charging to my phone when he stole it and I had ended a phone conversation with Chris on a very solemn note just a few hours before.]

"Hi, how are you?"


"I can take your order when you're ready..."

[muted bickering between husband and wife]

"We'll have a _____, two ______s, and a _____, and we want another order but on separate tabs."

"Okay, I have a ______, two _____s, and a ______."

[I cash the order over, meaning that order is officially done and I don't know how to edit it.]

Shrill woman's voice: "We also want a ____, but we want this all on one tab."

"Soooo, you don't want it on separate tabs?"


"The thing is, I already cashed it over. Um..."


[green jeep speeds forward]

I turn to the manager and say a bit too loudly: "Sherre, some BITCH wants you!"

Then I was attacked with a verbal cacophony from managers and employees alike. The head manager pulls me outside the restaurant and tells me that she has to inform the district manager of what I did, and he may or may not decide to let me go. But if the customer calls and complains, then I will definitely be fired.

I was promptly sent home.

[Close curtains. Spotlight's still on me.]

I realize what I did was unprofessional, so I'm not saying that being fired isn't justified. It is. And I am regretful to an extent... not because she didn't deserve to be called a bitch (because she was), or because another customer heard me, or because I'm tarnishing the SPARKLING Taco Bell reputation, or even because I'm going to get fired. I'm regretful because I know I am mature enough to handle a situation like that calmly and professionally, and I didn't.

I'm also pissed because I went through about 10 weeks of hell and can't even use Satan as a reference.

[lights out.]


Survival Supply Check List
Don't get caught with your pants down!


Heavy duty canvas ruck sack w/ frame (Military is best-- At least 60 liters and water resistant is recommended)

Sturdy quality knife w/ sharpening/ wet stone

Multitool / the higher quality one’s will last longer and actually get the job done/ don’t buy cheap imitations/ radio and headphones / flashlight w/ extra batteries and bulbs

Axe, hatchet or machete one or all of these tools are a must

Reliable, good condition and comfortable leather boots / dubin and or mink oil w/ weather protecting applied regularly to keep feet dry and prolong life of boots

Warm durable sleeping bag w/ stuff sack/ sturdy warm clothes / skives/ socks etc.

Fire starter – flint – safety matches – lighter fluid – paraffin wax

egg carton cups or cardboard – pack of back up lighters – magnifying glass –

High quality needles W/ dental floss and thread. Leather/ denim/ material for equipment repairs

Compass w/ all needed maps and atlases for navigating journey/ escape or battle

Fishhook w/ line – Salt- desired spices – Sugar – food previsions and rations

Water canteens and emergency back up water depending on the situation

Shelters can vary from tents/ tarps/ teepee’s/ huts/ squats/under bridges/ stair wells in parking garages/ couch surfing/ homeless shelters/ etc. Again, it depends on the situation

Nylon rope - have as much as you can handle (it’s a life saver)

Small propane cook stove should be reserved only for situations when your can’t have a fire pit

Medical kit - /pain relievers /diarrhea medication / water sterilizing tabs / band aids/ band aid wraps and tape/ surgical blades/ crazy glue for deep wounds/ benidine/ isopro alcohol / antibiotic cream/

Journals/ books/ sketch books/ pencils/ pen’s/ paint, spray paint, brushes /any kind of cameras/ musical instruments are always important


Runnin from rednecks

My bike has been under this guys house for awhile. Me and two friends of mine, and their BIG WHITE DOG go to get it...

Were a-walkin... and my friend decides to tag someone's SUV... She starts to write in marker:

"Thank you for contributing to global warming."

And then she hears some guy on this porch like 5 feet above her be like "Hey, what are you doing?"

We just start to walk away as quickly as possible. Its at this moment, I realize, if I need to run, I won't be able to. Because, I was wearing those fucking, stupid as shit UGGS boots you see all those prissy girls in all the time. I had gotten them for free along with some wool socks... and decided (THAT NIGHT) to wear them because my feet kept freezing in my usual boots that are full of holes.

So yeah were walking away... we hear screaming... We get to the house were my bike is. Instead of going in and hanging out, just to make sure everythings cool, we just keep walking to our next destination.

Up comes a fucking SUV with its redneck owner threataning to kick our ass... and then she calls 911 right infront of us. Again... We just walllk away briskly... she follows us untill we take a sharp turn into the getto.

We feel like it's possible she didnt call the cops, or that they wouldn't give a shit... But still we figure that if they did come looking, it would be pretty easy to spot three dirty white kids, there bike, and their big white dog. So I lock up my bike and we dart onto the train tracks where no cop cars can ride by...

Then make a quick dash to the tea house... There we call our friend... He comes to pick us up... and we go buy beer.


Exposure The west coast has shown me a lot of good times, and a lot of shitty times... this happens to be one of the times when I got a little bit of both.

My companion, my dog, and I headed south out of Eugene, OR trying to make our way down into Roseville, CA (outside Sacramento), and then start making our way over to Colorado. We ended up catching a ride in some kid's van that we met up with on the way to the train yard which worked out well considering that it was pouring rain, and quite chilly for March/April. They ended up taking us just past the OR/CA border to some shit hole town that I cannot quite remember the name of at this point in time.

We arrived there, said our goodbyes, and proceeded to the nearest wal-mart exit area where we proceeded to fly a sign for 2 hours, and only made about a dollar fifty which blew, but it was enough combined with the change we had to get a pouch of top. We ended up dumpstering some grub, and proceeded for the nearest onramp to start heading down Highway 5. We got a couple pretty straight rides, and then a way shitty one to a ramp completelly in the middle of nowhere... I kid you not... no gas station, restauraunt, no nothing. I was pretty pissed for the few hours we sat there trying to come up with some sort of relative plan.

Just when we had decided to start walking the freeway after already getting kicked off, two men in their late 40's pulled over in a piece of shit plymouth, and slurred some type of gibberish that I only assumed meant that they were going to give us a ride. We got in the vehicle, and proceeded to watch them drink beast ice out of mcdonalds cups while listening to whitesnake. It was an interesting uncomforatable ride to say the least, but 45 minutes later, and about 4 near death experiences, they dropped us off in Mt. Shasta, and gave us a pack of smokes.

As soon as I stepped outside of the vehicle I got a rush of freezing cold air, and hurried to get my coat out of my little alice pack. The hoodie, and vest was working out great an hour ago, but not so good now... "the mountains suck, and so does california" I half yelled to my companion who nodded... I only assumed he was thinking the same since neither of us ever have fun in cali, and question ourselves every time we go back.

It was cold outside, and getting dark... we decided that Dunsmir, although only a ride away would have to wait until morning. We headed towards town via the overpass, and almost immediately after seeing a cozy looking restaurant in the distance it started pour with a combination of snow and rain... It wasn't hail, but it was more of a wet slow falling mush that was getting us all very wet. We started booking it towards the restaurant doors, and although I felt bad for my dog, we found an overhang and set our gear, and the dog under it. We went inside, and sat for a while warming up, and drinking coffee after semi begging for it. The rest of the night was very cold, and miserable... but at least we had tobbacco.

We ended up wandering around for quite some time getting colder, and more wet until we finally spotted a suitable sleeping place. It was underneath the porch of some type of bar, and there was about 3 feet of head room, and one entrance where the semi wood gate was broken... I'd never been so excited to see such a shitty sleeping place. I laid out my tarp, and my bedroll, and almost immediately fell asleep with my wet dog pressed against me in my bedroll. I slept quite well considering the circumstances, but got a much too early awakening my the cold. I woke up quite cold, and before even poking my head out of my sleeping bag proceeded to roll a cigarette. When I popped my head and hands out to light my cigarette I was stopped by the sudden glimpse of white snow everywhere around our shitty porch nook.

"Damn it, I hate this," I said out loud as I lit the cigarette. My companion and my dog both got up before I was even done smoking, and looked almost as excited as I was. We packed up, and trugged down to the on ramp. When we made it down there I almost immediately got discouraged thinking to myself the no one is gonna wanna pick up two wet kids, and a wet dog... especially looking as dirty as we did. Luckily some middle aged hippie picked us up, and brought us all the way into Dunsmir, less than a mile from where I wanted to catch out. I thanked her, and she said no problem, and handed me a 10 dollar ducket...

"Maybe today might be alright," I thought to myself. When we made it to where I wanted to catch out at I was reminded of what train hopping is all about... waiting. We ended up waiting for almost 20 hours, and I was getting real pissed being so wet and cold. Also the damn train on seemed to be on some schedule that was different from what I had originally thought.

I was almost asleep again in my bedroll when I hear a whistle in the distance. I lifted my head, and listened again to be sure... again it blew. I hollered at my companion, and we immediately packed our shit up, and made our way down the super steep embankment trying to get to the other side near the river since I can catch easier on that side with my dog. After another moment, I saw a light coming around the bend, and immediately ducked down behind a shrub, and a rock. The units roared past, and after they were a ways up, we sprang up, and started looking for cars to ride.

I spotted a canadian grainer coming up on us, and we made the conscious decision to catch it on the fly in case it didn't stop. My companion climbed on first after running down towards it, and then immediately running with the train. He set his pack down, and then immediately reached out for my dogs harness. I handed it to him, ran a little, and got on... the train stopped about a minute after this whole fiasco, but I didn't want to miss it.

I fell asleep almost immediately, and didn't wake up until I was in Roseville... damn it! I missed some of the most beautiful scenery in the states. We got off in Roseville alright... luckily I woke up before we were in the yard, and we packed up, and got off. We walked for what seemed like forever until we got to the downtown area of Roseville where we had heard there was a food pantry. After some memory searching, we found the food bank, and loaded up on sweet bread, hummus, and a bunch of grade juice that we filled our cantenes with, haha. We fiddled around town for a while, and eventully decided to head out to the yard area... even though it runs right by where we were, we had a ways to walk to the decent catch out areas. I'm kind of skipping over alot here, but I feel that I'm rambling on for far too long... basically, we ended up getting sick of waiting since we'd been there 3 nights in a row, and our train still didn't come, so we decided to head back north the same way we'd came. haha. I can't quite remember now why exactly we took this plan of action because I still wanted to go to Colorado, but we did.

On the 4th day of Roseville at about 5 o'clock we caught a open boxcar out of Roseville heading back North up to Klamath Falls, and hopefully through to Eugene. At this point, after successfully getting out of there, we were in pretty good spirits, and sat out the door in t-shirts enjoying the weather, and the scenery. I ended up pacing a while, taking pictures, and smoking, and ended up deciding to try and get some sleep since the sun was down now. I passed out immediately and when I awoke I was unpleasently surprised. I woke up in Klamath Falls, Oregon on a cold boxcar floor shivering. When I finally poked my head out... "SHIT!!!" It's snowing again... "at least I'm out of California" I said to myself subconsciously trying to cheer myself up. My companion was up, and informed me that we'd been stopped for about 2 hours, and the sun had been up for almost an hour. We decided it was about 7:30am, and we both know where we were. It was cold, and we were both very unsure if our train would continue on at this point, and if it did, when.

It was Valentines day, and I didn't know if it would continue running that day. We were both somewhat scared of the famous bull in the area, so we decided to get off the train. We were both feeling quite cold, and even my thick coated akita mix looked unhappy. We ended up flying a sign, and getting a hotel since we both were feeling so crappy. It was the greatest decision I ever made. I cranked the heat up, took a shower, and blew my congested snot out, watched tv, and slept. As lame as it sounds, I'm convinced we would have died out there, and we were both ill.

We got up the next morning feeling super shitty, but rested. Neither of us could talk properly due to all the snot in our sinus's. We trudged to the on ramp none the less, and stuck our thumbs out trying to get back up to newport where my companion had relatives. We made it in two straight rides, and were diagnosed with exposure by a relative that is a retired doctor. Apparently numerous people used to die from this, and it's caused by rapid temperature/climate change....i.e. hot roseville to cold ass mountains. We were both laid up for days, and were nursed back to health luckily so ya'll could read this way too long story. I hate California.


Down with FREE TRADE!

OK, so I'm sure you all know about free trade and the troubles with it, and how starbucks corp. SUCKS EGGS, so I'm not going to take the time to explain it...

Me and my band companion booked a show at starbucks in February, but couldn't get in until yesterday (april 11, 2007). Now you may be asking why would we EVER agree to play a show at starbucks? Why, the grand opportunity to expose them, ofcourse!! We weren't exactly sure what we were going to do, but we knew it involved some free coffee and education (and yes, we were aware that we were most likely going to get booted out before the night was through).

We stopped at a friends who had a drink cooler, and filled it to the tippy top with our own delicious coffee along with some soy milk and sugar. We arrived around 8:00 with our gang of black flag and protest poster bearing friends and took our seats. I was glad to see the manager and his supervisor there looking the part with their polo shirts on and their mochy lattey lattes in hand.

So we sit. A friend bearing a blackflag stands proudly in front of the yuppy starbucks locals and gives his speech. They seemed shocked... Did they really not know where the coffee they sell everyday of their ignorant lives actually comes from? Did they not understand that they were supporting free trade and hurting innocent people? I guess not...

The last words of his speech are "So, we have some free coffee outside"

Immediately the smug manager stands up and shouts "hey! you're not welcome here! step outside with me!" We step outside with him and are immediately followed by our gang of kids applauding and giggling. I guess he didn't get that we were protesting THEM until we mentioned the coffee. Idiot.

Anyway, this manager... who buys new clothes and spends half an hour on his hair every morning stood in the back of his castle (coffe in hand) and let us know that we had "disrespected" his business and we could most definitely not perform in his cafe. WOOOO!!!! So we had a guerilla show in the park, which ended humbly with an anarchist parade in the middle of that commercialized yuppy town.

Moral of the story: Stand up for your beliefs!!!!!!!

Just wanted to share my best thursday ever with you :)


Hot Punx 06-The Adventure Never ends.

Summer 06 Travel Mayhem!

Tacoma Washington is never boring. There are always the usual crackheads and meth heads to keep it interesting at all times. I noted that the usual suspects were not to be found...maybe they had cleaned up, maybe they were dead, and Dave the "that aint yer train!" guy, who lived in the train yard, was also missing. I did however still have some random crack head lady pop up in the bushes behind me and start muttering some gibberish.

My team.

The 7 of us spent the night, huddled in the bushes of the train yard, after 3 squad cars pulled up and drew their guns on us. The cops figured we were all squatting behind the building shooting up, cause well, that's what people do in Tacoma. After getting all 7 of our ID's run we were let off the hook and continued our waiting for the train that would take us to the Highline. Train after train cruised by and all seemed to be headed to Portland or Seattle. At dawn, Ken, Danielle , and Dan, said their fare thee wells and headed back to Everett to try thier luck again. Once again, I had switched travelling partners and were now graced by the company of Lei, Lucas and Tate, the two boys who failed at crossing the Canadian border.

It was the first time since I left Philadelphia that Danielle and I would be really splitting up, however I did not go empty handed. I somehow aquired her weird tongue of speaking in abbreviations. BRB, ttyl, lol, and of course the CS (complicated situation).

Our patience was wearing thin, and we had gone through all the dead cop jokes we could think of. When the sun was good and high, we decided to hitch back to Everett but that turned out to be a complete failure on our part with 4 people in Tacoma Washington. As the heat of the day started to set in, we headed for the bus. Ironically enough the bus stop just happened to be right next\nto the yard office where a Tacoma originating train sat chilling in the\nyard. That was our fucking train. But fuck, we were right next to the\nyard office in broad daylight. We looked around at each other for\nsomeone to come up with an answere to our debacle, and i'm not sure\nwhose genius idea it was to just walk right in, but walk right in was\nexactly what we did.\u003cbr\> \u003cbr\> Oh wait..i think it was my idea. "Dude, we should totally just walk right in the yard and get on."\u003cbr\> \u003cbr\>\nThe one rideable 48 on our entire train just happened to be sitting\nright underneath the yard camera. With a "fuck a bunch of Tacoma," we\nhopped in the wells, with Lucas and Lei riding dirty face, and Tate and\nI taking the back end of the car.It took our train 12 hours just to get to\nthe Vancouver yard. We baked in the hot sun, split our cans of food,\nrationing what we had for an intended highline ride. Of course I only\nhad one can of food so I suppose you could say i was a little under\nprepared. As the sun was setting over the Columbia River, our train\ntook the turn and headed to the highline. Tate and I high fived and\nrolled out our sleeping bags. I layed out on the cold steel, gazed at\nthe stars above me, and promptly got myself some haggard train sleep.\nNext stop, Whitefish Montana. Or Bonners Ferry Idaho as it were.\u003cbr\> \u003cbr\>\nIt was a good way into the morning when I woke up to discover that we\nhad made our way succesfully past our first crew change of Pasco\nWashington. \u003cbr\> \u003cbr\> Ive in the past had the usual tendency to travel\nwith people I more or less knew previously. I had certainly picked up\nmy fair share of various road dogs on this trip, but sitting in a well\nfor 30 some odd hours with a guy I barely knew, was a new experience\nfor me. It was a different kind of bonding. We shared our one can of\nfood, rationed our water, and Tate was even kind enough to share his\none lonely granola bar with me as I layed sprawled out and napping in\nthe sun, only to awake to our train sided, and Lei joining us in the\nshady end with no pants on. Yeah, it was hotter the hell.",1] ); //-->
Ironically enough the bus stop just happened to be right next to the yard office where a Tacoma originating train sat chilling in the yard. That was our fucking train. But fuck, we were right next to the yard office in broad daylight. We looked around at each other for someone to come up with an answer to our debacle, and I'm not sure whose genius idea it was to just walk right in, but walk right in was exactly what we did.

Oh wait..i think it was my idea. "Dude, we should totally just walk right in the yard and get on."

The one rideable 48 on our entire train just happened to be sitting right underneath the yard camera. With a "fuck a bunch of Tacoma," we hopped in the wells, with Lucas and Lei riding dirty face, and Tate and I taking the back end of the car. It took our train 12 hours just to get to the Vancouver yard. We baked in the hot sun, split our cans of food, rationing what we had for an intended highline ride. Of course I only had one can of food so I suppose you could say I was a little under prepared. As the sun was setting over the Columbia River, our train took the turn and headed to the highline. Tate and I high fived and rolled out our sleeping bags. I layed out on the cold steel, gazed at the stars above me, and promptly got myself some haggard train sleep. Next stop, Whitefish Montana. Or Bonners Ferry, Idaho as it were.

It was a good way into the morning when I woke up to discover that we had made our way succesfully past our first crew change of Pasco, Washington.

I've in the past had the usual tendency to travel with people I more or less knew previously. I had certainly picked up my fair share of various road dogs on this trip, but sitting in a well for 30 some odd hours with a guy I barely knew, was a new experience for me. It was a different kind of bonding. We shared our one can of food, rationed our water, and Tate was even kind enough to share his one lonely granola bar with me as I layed sprawled out and napping in the sun, only to awake to our train sided, and Lei joining us in the shady end with no pants on. Yeah, it was hotter the hell. It was at\nthat moment that I totally had "friend crushes" on\nevery single one of my road dogs. Our train ruled! Until ILucas and and I got our asses\nseen by a worker, 10 miles past Bonners Ferry Idaho. Our train slowed\nto a stop and we made some hasty decisions on what we should do if we\ngot kicked off our train in the middle of fucking nowhere, Idaho. I was\nthe only one that had water at that point as Lucas and Lei had nearly\nspent thiers.\u003cbr\> \u003cbr\> FUCK. \u003cspan style\u003d\"font-style:italic\"\>Busted\u003c/span\>.\u003cbr\> \u003cbr\> \u003cspan style\u003d\"font-weight:bold\"\>\u003c/span\>The\nworkers spotted Tate and I first and pulled us off with the usual chit\nchat about the sherriff and how we shouldnt be riding the rails if we\ndidnt expect to get pulled off and deserted with no food or water.\nMaybe the guy had a point...wait no...the guy was a dick.With the\nconversation about cops and jail, Tate and I booked it into the trees.\nI wasnt sure if Lucas and Lei had gotten pulled off or if they had made\nit past without getting spotted, and it wasnt for another 24 hours\nlater were we able to find out.The masquitos were something fierce out\nthere in the forest. We made a desperate attempt to get back on our\nmoving train but it was too risky, so we opted to hang out and see if\nanother train sided. We were a few miles before the 8 mile tunnel, next\nto a siding, so it seemed likely that something would be stopping for\nclearance. We squatted in the woods for what seemed like forever when\nI discovered, to further our incomvenience, that I had lost my phone\nsomewhere in the woods. I retraced my steps, more out of boredom and\nto keep myself distracted from being lunch to the millions of\nmasquitos, then out of any real belief that I would find it. For all I\nknew i had left it on the train, but to my suprise, there it was, all\nsilver and shiney, nestled in the pine needles where we had laid low\nfrom both cops and workers.\u003cbr\> \u003cbr\> When life truly became unbearable,\nI convinced my new travel partner that trying to hitch into town before\nsundown would be optimal due to our lack of food and water. And dammit\nI was hungry. ",1]

I't was at that moment that I totally had "friend crushes" on every single one of my road dogs. Our train ruled! Until Lucas and I got our asses seen by a worker, 10 miles past Bonners Ferry, Idaho. Our train slowed to a stop and we made some hasty decisions on what we should do if we got kicked off our train in the middle of fucking nowhere, Idaho. I was the only one that had water at that point as Lucas and Lei had nearly spent thiers.

FUCK. Busted.

The workers spotted Tate and I first and pulled us off with the usual chit chat about the sherriff and how we shouldnt be riding the rails if we didn't expect to get pulled off and deserted with no food or water. Maybe the guy had a point... wait no... the guy was a dick. With the conversation about cops and jail, Tate and I booked it into the trees. I wasnt sure if Lucas and Lei had gotten pulled off or if they had made it past without getting spotted, and it wasnt for another 24 hours later were we able to find out. The mosquitos were something fierce out there in the forest. We made a desperate attempt to get back on our moving train but it was too risky, so we opted to hang out and see if another train sided. We were a few miles before the 8 mile tunnel, next to a siding, so it seemed likely that something would be stopping for clearance. We squatted in the woods for what seemed like forever when I discovered, to further our inconvenience, that I had lost my phone somewhere in the woods. I retraced my steps, more out of boredom and to keep myself distracted from being lunch to the millions of mosquitos, then out of any real belief that I would find it. For all I knew i had left it on the train, but to my suprise, there it was, all silver and shiney, nestled in the pine needles where we had laid low from both cops and workers. When life truly became unbearable, I convinced my new travel partner that trying to hitch into town before sundown would be optimal due to our lack of food and water. And dammit I was hungry.

I could see the inate hatred for hitching in\nTate's eyes, and maybe he's way more hardcore about trains then I am,\nbut I'm fairly certain he saw my inate hatred for being eaten alive, so\nwe headed to the access road that lead us to an empty country road that\nI later learned had only in recent years been paved over from it's\noriginal dirt road.\u003cbr\>\u003cbr\>Tate volunteered to head to the nearest farm to get water when an old man in a pickup cruised by. I threw out my thumb and he pulled over, looking terribly confused as to why a young lady was hitching a ride on a remote country road. I explained the situation, that we were stranded and didnt know where we were. \n\u003cbr\>\u003cbr\>"Well now, you don't know where you are? You're about 10 miles from Bonners Ferry".\u003cbr\>"Is that the nearest town? Oh, and what \u003cspan style\u003d\"font-style:italic\"\>state \u003c/span\>are we in?"\n\u003cbr\>\u003cbr\>The guy must have thought I was crazy as the scene was reminiscent of the beginnings of a bad horror movie, but I convinced him to pick up my friendly travelling partner down the road and take us to town.\u003cbr\> \u003cbr\>\n A soda, some crackers and several rides\nlater, we end up infront of the only bar/grocer/laundry/casino joint\nwithin miles. Hell, if we had to spend the night there we would be\nset. I could already see the several $1.25 being spent on draft beers\nto get us through the evening if such a scenario occurred. But as luck\nwould have it, or because Jesus brought her to us, Diane rolled up in\nher rig and offers us a ride. Turns out she is headed home to Libby\nMontana, with Kalispell being her morning destination. She offered up\nher couch for the evening and we didnt hesitate to politely accept her\ninvitation.\u003cbr\> The house was occupied by her one cat Reeses, and\nChristian Radio was blasting 24/7. Diane pulled out another sign that\nshe had kept from a previous hitcher she picked up that said, "Jesus\nwould pick me up"\u003cbr\> \u003cbr\> "Yes indeed he would!" she exclaimed.\u003cbr\> \u003cbr\>\nThe fact that her cat was named after a candy bar got me salivating for\nsome tall boys and sweets. With the stars out and the slight red of\nthe already set sun on the horizon, we drank our well deserved beers\nand munched on some candy in the grass of Diane's front yard.",1] ); I could see the inate hatred for hitching in Tate's eyes, and maybe he's way more hardcore about trains then I am, but I'm fairly certain he saw my inate hatred for being eaten alive, so we headed to the access road that lead us to an empty country road that I later learned had only in recent years been paved over from it's original dirt road.

Tate volunteered to head to the nearest farm to get water when an old man in a pickup cruised by. I threw out my thumb and he pulled over, looking terribly confused as to why a young lady was hitching a ride on a remote country road. I explained the situation, that we were stranded and didn't know where we were.

"Well now, you don't know where you are? You're about 10 miles from Bonners Ferry".

"Is that the nearest town? Oh, and what state are we in?"

The guy must have thought I was crazy as the scene was reminiscent of the beginnings of a bad horror movie, but I convinced him to pick up my friendly travelling partner down the road and take us to town.

A soda, some crackers and several rides later, we end up infront of the only bar/grocer/laundry/casino joint within miles. Hell, if we had to spend the night there we would be set. I could already see the several $1.25 being spent on draft beers to get us through the evening if such a scenario occurred. But as luck would have it, or because Jesus brought her to us, Diane rolled up in her rig and offers us a ride. Turns out she is headed home to Libby Montana, with Kalispell being her morning destination. She offered up her couch for the evening and we didnt hesitate to politely accept her invitation.

The house was occupied by her one cat Reeses, and Christian Radio was blasting 24/7. Diane pulled out another sign that she had kept from a previous hitcher she picked up that said, "Jesus would pick me up,"

"Yes indeed he would!" she exclaimed.

The fact that her cat was named after a candy bar got me salivating for some tall boys and sweets. With the stars out and the slight red of the already set sun on the horizon, we drank our well deserved beers and munched on some candy in the grass of Diane's front yard. "I guess the day didnt turn out half so bad", I casually said.\u003cbr\> \u003cbr\> "Nope, not so bad at all...but we \u003cspan style\u003d\"font-style:italic\"\>\ncould \u003c/span\>be on a train right now." was Tate's reply.\n",0] ); D(["ce"]); //-->

"I guess the day didn't turn out half so bad", I casually said.

"Nope, not so bad at all... but we could be on a train right now," was Tate's reply.


Broke but Still Biking

So I decided to do this whole trip fixed gear, which is a lot slower than touring with gears. I now realize that some of my time goals for this trip are unrealistic, but I have a very liberal time frame so I'm not that concerned about it.

Anyways, Matt and I landed in Amsterdam about a month ago, hung out there for a while, ate the fresh Amsterdam mushrooms, and peddled our way through the beautiful Holland landscape. After a few days of riding, Matt went to Paris by train where I told him I would meet him in a few days. During those few days, I rode hard, ate a lot, and saw a lot of beautiful places. After I went through Brussels, I began to hit the hills of France. Then I began to question my decision to ride fixed through Europe. Well it was too late now, but I did put a front brake on since I had significantly more momentum to stop than I had before.

I rode and rode and on the third day I came up a pretty big hill wondering how much further it was to Laon (pronounced lay-own). As I rolled to the top I looked ahead and it was flat for many kilometers. I also saw a mountain rising abruptly from the flatland. It was the beautiful city of Laon with a massive cathedral at the top. I could have kicked myself because I remembered that Matt had the camera. It was quite an epic view. As I rolled through, the city looked like it hadn't been touched in centuries (aside from some power lines and cars). After meeting some nice people who gave me food and showed me where to get free internet, I went just outside of town to set up camp, and get ready for the long ride to Paris.

Coming into Paris, I saw lots of really interesting graffiti under all the bridges, along the walls by the train tracks, on buildings, and signs. I couldn't really pay attention to everything because it was raining as I rode into the city, but it made for interesting scenery. The first place I went to was an internet shop, where I contacted Matt. We decided we were gonna meet under the Eiffel Tower and then go back to the hostel he was staying at. After riding around town for a few hours we met up and I was excited to head back to the hostel because I hadn't slept in a warm bed or had a shower in a while. We locked our bikes up and I went to the front desk to book a room. They were totally filled up. The hostel around the corner was totally filled up. All of the cheap hotels were filled up. So I hung out for a bit longer at the hostel with Matt. We had some beers, met some kids from other countries. Then I went off to find a place to stay for the night. After trying to find a dark corner of the city to hide away in, I noticed that their were tents all along the Seine river... I later found out that you can camp legally anywhere you want in Paris, so I found a patch of grass to set up shop for the night.

The next day I got up and went to the hostel to book a room early. Matt and I got a room together and I stashed my things in the basement. For about a week and a half Matt and I went to some museums, did some sight seeing and just kinda hung around Paris. When we were about to leave, Matt found out his friend Sara was living here so we decided to give her a visit. I wasn't planning on staying much longer than a few days, but my fork got bent while it was locked up. Sara said we could stay till the fork arrived...

So... I'm still in Paris, I don't want to be. But I'm out of money, in a rut, and Matt's gone to London. I've had a good time since I've been in Paris, and Sara has been great, but homesickness hit me pretty hard a few days ago. I've been drinking heavily over the last few days and, as it is right now, I don't even have enough money to go home, but I really just want to deal with it and move on to Greece, but it's going to be at least another month before I'm there.

Anyways I just got the part I needed for my bike, and all I have to do now is leave. A woman I met here said she might have some work for me so I might end up getting tied down for a few more weeks. I want to leave Paris but I also need the money pretty badly. I really need to straighten out my priorities, and re-think my goals for this trip. I know once I make some money, I'm gonna think about buying a plane ticket home. But I also feel like I'll regret it once I'm back. I don't know where I'm going from here, but I'm gonna have to make a decision pretty soon.


The Friendliest Little Bull

Here is the story of the nicest bull I have ever ran across.

I had just caught out of Eugene, Oregon on a northbound GM train going back up to Portland and I was riding one of them gainers with the really high lip around the porch and it was a really nice no thrill average ride that I have done many times in the past.

When we got near Oregon City (just a little bit south of Portland) we came to a slow stop on a siding and sure enough we stop with my grainer just about right in front of a Union Pacific police car. I was just trying to lay as flat as I could in hopes that I am not seen at all but sure enough I hear a voice saying "All right come on down from there" so I look up and there is a short little guy (under 5'5") standing there, so I climb down and the conversation went like this:

(Rail cop) All right come on down from there!
(Me) Ok.
(Rail cop) You got some I.D.?
(Me) Yeah, but the info on it isn't that current.
(Rail cop) That's fine. So just what do you think you're doing?
(Me) I'm just trying to get to Portland.
(Rail cop) Well I don't need to tell you that what your doing is illegal and you can get up to 5 years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
(Me) Yeah.
(Rail cop) Well tell you what I'm just going to give you a warning this time and keep your info on me so don't let me see you again ok! Grab your bag I'll give you a ride into town where there is a bus stop.
(Me) Ok thanks!
(He drives me into downtown Oregon City where there is a transit station that I get out at)
(Rail cop) Hey! Come back here a second... here take this.
(He hands me a little rubber bracelet like those yellow Live Strong bracelets except this one says "LOOK LISTEN LIVE" "OPERATION LIFESAVER + Union Pacific")
(Me) Ok... thanks.
(Rail cop) Hold on to that cause it might be worth something someday.
(Me) Sure.
(Rail cop) Don't ever say a cop never did anything nice for you ok.
(Me) I won't.

I guess it wasn't all that bad cause I still got where I had to go and I got a little rubber piece of junk!


Smelly Train

This is a story about an early trainhop of mine. All I’d really set out to do was learn stenciling. I’d gotten some stolen spray paint from a friend and made a cutout with my little design on it. I knew this area by some train tracks which had clear space and was out of the way. I had to cross over a large stream, so I chose the hard way, since I didn’t have sandals on and wasn’t about to hazard going across barefoot. I climbed along the pipes of a bridge that went about ten feet above the stream. It wasn’t easy with a thick coating of powdered rust that made the pipes slippery, so I got to the other side exhausted. After resting, it took a few tries to get the hang of stenciling. As I set the stencil down to dry and put the spray paint back in my bag, it started getting very noisy and the air grew rank. A smelly train was passing by very slowly. It stopped! Past the trash container cars, there were grainer cars on it with nice porches and cubbyholes!

A thing to know about the state of Virginia: it makes money by accepting other states’ trash, meaning that the train that stopped before me was most likely going to stop in Richmond, with all of its containers of putrid, rotting rubbish. I wasn’t really prepared for trainhopping, but I wasn’t as badly prepared as my first time, so I hopped in. I chose a nice cleanface cubbyhole of a grainer car. I was riding a very smelly train with most of the stench coming from the cars ahead of me, so I wouldn’t want that blowing right into my accommodations. Next to the cubbyhole was a sign which read "CAUTION CONFINED SPACE ENTER BY PERMIT ONLY."

The train was moving before I got too worried about cops searching it for me. After picking up some speed I saw some railfans doing their thing, blissfully oblivious of me. After some meandering around at 30 mph, I realized that I was going through a tunnel. It became bit dark, and the stink suddenly got a lot worse. As in, gagging-like-my-body-rejects-my-lungs kind of bad. There was a small hole in the floor of my cubby that was letting the foul air in. I tried stuffing it with my feet and backpack while I gasped through my bandanna. This felt more like a bad dumpster experience, but I finally made it through and the train took a hour to get out of DC, going at maybe 20 mph average and stinking up the entire town. I tried to take a photo of the Washington monument, but it was too dark and only red squiggles showed up in the pics. Going through the DC area isn’t much fun: not much scenery and hiding is very important since there are lights and people everywhere. To pass the time, I tried singing songs to myself, but wasn’t terribly successful.

It was freakishly cold that summer night. I assumed it was from being away from the city and from the train’s speed, but it really was colder than it should’ve been. I found myself on the porch of the grainer, just to get a good GPS reading to make sure I was headed south and not west. The GPS was something I'd lifted a while back and came in handy more often than I'd like to admit, but I couldn't think about that. The slack action was pretty bad, jerking me about, and it would’ve tossed me off the train if I wasn’t continuously holding on the railings. After I had gotten the direction I was headed, I looked up at the stars and memorized Orion’s position in relation to my direction, so I wouldn’t have to go out on the porch and expose myself to use the GPS again. I sat in the "V" at the entrance of the cubby as long as I could, since I could have my legs straight, but had to retreat into my cramped quarters. I was going about 40 mph average on a chilly and stinky train, unable to sleep for those two reasons and I’d left my stencil cutout behind.

The train stopped at a college and then moved on to Richmond. I’d been sighted by at least one driver at a crossroad, and was being paranoid again. I had two bandannas on, one over my hair and another over my face, black bloc style, for warmth. I was determined to avoid entering the yard in case the bulls had been alerted and would be looking for me. So, when the train slowed down to what I thought was, oh, 15 mph, right by the Amtrak station, I threw off my pack and then threw myself off. There was only one problem: train was going too fast.

15 mph my ass.

My feet disappeared below me in the blur of ground and I fell into a roll, immediately tumbling across the rocks between two pairs of rails. I felt something else, too: the suction from the moving train, pulling me towards it, changing my trajectory into a collision path. Not good, and from the look of it, my legs would be first to meet the churning wheels. I slammed my left palm down to rapidly turn away from the train and stopped abruptly afterwards with a bone bruise on my hand, just to see the train stop to a complete halt. Stupid me. Next time I'd wait a little before hopping off.

I didn’t realize how far away the Amtrak station is from the rest of Richmond. I followed my GPS device towards Carytown, which took me into an industrial park after a half hour. I had found some sprinklers, which I used to clean myself up as much as I could stand, since it was still cold out and then found some large evergreen trees in the front lawn of some company headquarters, where I decided to sleep until daylight, which would have come all too soon if I weren’t so cold. It was early morning, so I visited my friends’ houses as they slept and played with a cat who remembered me from a while ago who kept my lap warm for a half hour. I walked around a bit more and eventually warmed myself up in a house before going over to Food Not Bombs to help cook and serve.

By the time I came back to my impromptu catch-out spot, the stencil cutout I used was gone.


To Hell And Back

One day I was in SF and I decided to leave and go to Portland with this girl who called herself Havoc. Well, she said she was experienced in hopping trains and whatnot, so I was like, okay let's go to Emeryville and catch out tonight... She only wanted to hitchhike and take the bus.

Well, I needed to meet my road dogs in Portland, so I went with her. After HOURS of walking down I-5, we finally got a ride into Redding; where this girl promptly ate all of our food, drank all the booze and all of the water. Then she had the audacity to tell me that I'm a junkie and if I'm going to travel with her, I have to quit. It ain't as easy as she thought, you know. We decided to hop out of Redding and we ended up getting caught in K-falls. I went to jail and so did she.

We got caught, all because she didn't want to jump off of a moving train. So once we got out we decided to hitchike again because obviously she had no experience with trains and I wasn't willing to risk my life for her. SOOOO we finally got a ride into Eugene and that person gave us cigs and some money for food. This girl took off for the night and went and fucked some guy and used all our money on booze. So not only was I dope sick as fuck, I'm thirsty and hungry as well.

Needless to say, I ditched her in Eugene and hopped to Portland all by myself and got off by Albina/Mississippi max stop. Six days later, she showed up in Portland and said she was going to beat my ass for ditching her. I just told her that I'm not willing to risk my life or freedom for her and that I couldn't stand her. It pissed her off and she ended up leaving and going to San Diego to stalk a friend of mine because she said she loved him and shit.

This is a fair warning to everyone. No matter how desperate you are to leave a town, never leave with an oogle. You will regret that shit from day one.


Mother's Day
There's nothing like a sudden decision. You can plan a trip forever, and wait for everything to be just right, and it'll never work. At least, it never works for me.

I have decided to blame this trip on DirtyFeet, from this site. She said I could, so I am. We were talking the other night in the chat room of this website, and she said that she thinks, "A good tramp always goes north in summer, and south in winter." While this has been the pattern of my life for the past several years, it kind of struck me when she said it. I thought, "Yeah, she's onto something there...".

The next morning, which was the Friday before Mother's Day, I was about to put a card in the mail to my mother, who lives just northeast of Indianapolis, when I stopped short. It was about 8 in the morning, and I had just watched the sunrise over the woods at the farm in Kentucky, where I spend my slow, thoughtful winters.


The day practically shouted the word in my face. A thought began to form, and I held off mailing my little card for the moment. I walked back to my tent. I sleep outdoors as often as I can in the winter and spring, to keep myself in road condition. The weather has been turning quite fine the past few weeks, so I have had my pack mostly put together for almost two weeks, and haven't spent the night indoors since.

As I sat down to wait for water to boil I took out my pipe and had a slow reflective smoke, turning this new idea over in my mind. I looked at the card, which I had spent a couple of hours making, and then looked at my pack. In an instant my mind was made up, and in another the card was tucked in my pack with my other papers. I would hand deliver this Mother's Day card.

By ten o'clock my fire was out, my bag was packed, and my water jug was full. I took a piece of thin cardboard from a shoe box and made my sign. Large, readable print and block letters have never done me wrong. One side asks,” HOME 4 MOTHER'S DAY?!?", while the other brazenly declares, "SHE HOPES SO!". This was to be my charm, my ticket to plucking the heartstrings of the traveling hordes. After all, everyone's got a mom.

I decided to leave at nine a.m. on Friday morning, and was walking out of the driveway at half past ten. Oh! There's nothing like a sudden decision. These trips are always the best.

I hadn’t gone more than a mile, not even to a main road yet, when a small silver truck slides up along beside me. It’s my neighbor. I talk to him often as I walk these roads, and it’s not uncommon for him to see me with my pack. I usually carry it on my evening walks, to help keep my shoulders used to the weight. He rolls the window down as he keeps pace next to me.

“Headin’ out?” he asks. This is what he always says, so his eyebrows shoot up in surprise when my answer isn’t the standard, “Wherever this road goes…”

“Yeah, actually. I’m headin’ out for Indy today.” I said.

“I’m just headed to town,” he says. “But, I can drop you at the parkway if you want.”

“That’ll do for starters.” I said. “My knees say thanks!”

It’s still about 18 miles to the ramp, so I’m grateful. We shoot the shit about being safe, and all that jazz. He gets that faraway look in his eye and starts to tell me the story about when he hitched around the country after he got out of the army. I’ve heard it about ten times, so I just kind of tune him out, nodding and saying, “Yeah” at all the right places. But my mind is far away. I’m thinking about the ramp, the road, and wondering how long it will take to get up north. My heart is jumping in my chest, and my feet itch like fire. Man, oh man. Here comes that road.

He drops me at the east bound ramp of the Western Kentucky Parkway, which is the main artery for east/west travel through Kentucky. The parkway crosses I-65 at Elizabethtown. I’m thinking that this will probably be the longest wait of the trip, since 65 is a snap on a weekend like this. It’s a little after eleven in the morning, and I’m thinking I will probably have to wait for the afternoon commuter rush heading east before I get a ride. I walk thirty yards down the ramp and set my pack at my feet. I get out my sign and start playing the game.

“I’m not a serial killer”, I silently intone to the passing sheep. Just keep making eye contact and smiling. Try not to look angry. Don’t throw things. Wait for it… Wait for it…

Yes! A white company van pulls up, close enough I can reach out and touch the window.

“I can get you to E-town (Elizabethtown) if you want.”

“Thanks for stopping!” I remind myself to always thank the people that stop. It’s just a good way to start out. I throw my pack in the back of the van and climb in the front. We do the introduction thing, and head out on the road. He’s doing 80 within a mile of the ramp. This is going to be great. He’s a driver for the VA, taking veterans in wheelchairs to their doctor appointments. He tells me the sign got him. Says he’s real close to his mother. Yay for him. Thank God for sharpies and cardboard.

By the time we get to E-town, he’s admitted that he’s going on to Louisville after a pickup here. It’s agreed that I can go, since the patient won’t care. Rockin’. We pick up an old guy in a wheelchair, a WWII vet, and head up I-65 north towards Louisville. He says he drives this route all the time, and will be doing it again the next day, on Saturday. We talk for a while and he says that he has to be in Louisville again at seven in the morning.

“Man, I could get you farther than Louisville. What is it, about two hours to Indy from there?”

“Yeah, about that.” I said. “ Why? What are you thinking?”

“This is the company vehicle, and the company gas, and the bastards are already making me get up early and work on a Saturday. I could just get up a little earlier and drive you to Indy, then be back in time for my shift in Louisville.”

“Aw, man. I couldn’t ask you to do that.”

“I don’t care, man. It won’t cost me anything, and I’m gonna be in this van all day anyway.”

“Okay, cool.” I don’t actually know what to think. This guy is offering to spend several hours of his time to help me out. Sounds a little fishy, but what the hell, right? If it works out I’ll be in Indy by morning. If not, then I’ll head out again when he doesn’t show.

He drops me off in Shepherdsville, which is just a short distance south of Louisville. If I’m gonna spend the night, I know I’ll be better off in a smaller city. I hit town about 6 pm. We arranged to meet at a truck stop at 1:30 in the morning. I took off across town to look for something to do.

I found the CSX tracks that run to Louisville and walked them to the other side of town. I still had a few hours to kill so I stashed my pack in the woods next to a track signal and walked around a bit. There’s not a whole lot to do, but I found a cool little spot next to a watertower where I could kill some time. I went back and got my pack, and layed up in the shade for a few hours. I read a little bit, and played around with my camera. It really was a good spot, and if it hadn’t been several miles from the truck-stop I would have camped there. When it started to get a little darker I packed up again and walked the tracks back to the other side of town. I stopped at a little liquor store and bought a couple 40ouncers for the evening, then headed for the truckstop.

There was a nice big stand of trees between the highway and the truckstop that looked promising. I looked both ways on the road, saw no cops and booked it towards the woods. About 50 yards into the woods I saw something laying on the ground and went to see what it was. There, just off the road was a little jungle! A big foam rubber blanket was piled next to a broken Coleman lantern and some empty soldiers. I decided this would be a good place to settle in and wait.

It was starting to drizzle a light rain, so I strung up my poncho to keep the rain off and rolled out my sleep gear. It was turning out to be a fine evening, and as I stripped off my boots I cracked a beer and watched the traffic roll by on the interstate. There was no need for a fire, so I read a while and then tried to get some sleep. I had to be up at the truckstop at 1:30, so I slept for a while.

I packed up about 12:30 and walked up to the truckstop to see if the guy would show. Long story short, he never came. I watched the entrance for the van, but in vain. Oh well. It was still a ride. At dawn I filled my water back up and headed for the northbound ramp, since I knew the truckers would be waking up soon and rollin’ out on the road.

I set up my sign on my pack and started putting out my “not a killer” vibe. I stared at commuters and factory workers headed in for the Saturday shift and felt sorry for them. I’m sure they felt the same, but at least I was having fun.

I hadn’t been on the ramp half an hour when a semi pulled out of the truckstop and turned my way. Wait for it… Wait for it… Yes!

I grab my pack and run to the truck, pull open the door and look up.

“Where ya headed?” called the guy over the thrum of the diesel.

“Indy!” I yelled.

His face fell. “ I’m headed to Cincinnati.” he says.

Damn, I’m thinking. Cincy is hella outta the way, but it is still north…

I’m just about to say ‘thanks anyway, man’ when he says, “ Aw, what the hell. I’ll go through Indy.” Turns out the guy is headed to Canada, so it doesn’t really matter to him. I thank him as I climb into the cab and settle down inside. I love ridin in a big rig. If I could ever bring myself to hold a real job any length of time, that’s what I’d do.

So this guy changes his route for me, and we haul ass through Indiana, me helping him watch for cops so he can do 75. He drives the route from Canada to Texas and back once a week, hauling all kind of things. This time it’s a trailer full of brown gravy mix. We talk about all kinda stuff, covering prices in Canada ( $8 for a pack of smokes!), politics, economics, nascar, soccer, hurricane Katrina, and half a dozen other things. He balls the jack all the way and we’re in town in no time. He blows right through, heading up I-65 to I-69 and drops me at the Anderson exit. Awesome guy.

I take off walking out of town towards the house I grew up in. I have driven this road hundreds of times, and walked it more than a few when I would be too drunk or high to drive. About two miles out of town I hit the dead tracks that run between Anderson and this little grain elevator out in the country. This used to be my favorite way to walk home, and It really makes my heart jump to look down that track again. It’s the place I first caught a train, back in high school. Just a short hop on a grainer in to town. No more than twenty miles, but damn… that’s where it started.

It’s almost eleven and the sun has already baked the pavement, so turning aside onto the overgrown shady tracks is a welcome relief. I walk about a quarter mile from the road and sit down to rest. I sit right on the ties, staring at the rust on the tracks. They haven’t used it for anything but a parking lot in years. Stripping off my boots and socks I lay back and think about all the places this rail is connected to. I wonder who else is sitting there staring at a piece of track that joins this one, and what their story is.

After a little rest I walk the rest of the track, noticing the deterioration. I almost go back at one of the trestles. I’d crossed it plenty of times back in the day, but some of the ties are rotting from the inside and have grass growing in them. This wouldn’t be so disturbing if you couldn’t see the rocks and creek thirty feet below. But what the hell. Nothing ventured, and all that, right? It held. I walk past the old grain elevator and the gas station where I worked in high school, on to where the tracks dead end in someone’s back yard. This is it. I’m three miles from home.

Two hours later I am stepping out of the shower in my mother’s house. From decision to shower, 26 hours. Not bad. And the summer is just getting started.

She loved the card.

Thanks DirtyFeet. I needed the push out the door.

- Bendix


Pirate railway!

I was living at a camp in the woods just off highway 4 and just under the parksville-portalberni train line on vancouver island. One day two of my friends walked into camp. They had just walked the whole way up from victoria 175 km on the tracks, and when they got to a place called cooms on the previous day they discovered in the brush on the side, an old school rail push car, kinda like the pump cars only no pump just a bar on either side like a shopping cart. So they heaved this thing up on the tracks and took turns pushing eachother throughout the night till they got to camp. So, after a couple days we were all pretty anxious to give er a try.

Hiking up the steep hill to the tracks, we found it again right where it was left and we all hauled it back into place. "To PORT" was the mission. To seek out new dumpsters and civilizations. Four of us, two pushing and two on board we cruised. Pushing this thing was supper easy and only a few miles later we realized it was going faster than we were pushing. And a few miles more we were flying down hill as fast as any train would go. Some were laughing others were screaming, and all in all it was a fucking blast. But the thought occured to all of us soon that we were not going to stop till port and not very easily if at all.

Being scared to shit by a siding we thought we were going to bail into which was quite enough and me and my bud lowered ourselves down and began dragging our feet on the rails. A few minutes later, and some burning rubber shoes, we were stopped and decided to rig up some old tires to the loose chains hanging off the cart.

Away we were again flying through forest and swamp and scaring the shit out of the occasional hiker. The next time we decided to stop we threw the tire of and watched it bounce up in to the air come down again and bounce off the chain! O shit! and some more burning rubber and screaming/laughing histericaly And we were stopped right were we wanted to be. And we headed down the old, over grown powerline trail to the highway below. The rest of the night was spent scouring port for dumpsters to no avail (spare some crummy 7-11 sandwiches) pushing each other around in a baby carriage and getting razzed by a supper confused cop on our way back to the tracks who couldn't comprehend that we, a group of four people with only the clothes on our back were wandering nomads bound for nowhere. We saw that cop weeks later on the same highway one town over, walking down the highway with nothing, fortifying his confusion. So eventually we made it back, and I fell asleep on the star lite rail car, and woke up right back where our day had started...

Weeks later two of my friends, one dressed like a hillbilly prospector, suspenders, big beard, cowboy hat and all, and one dressed in bright a orange road workers uniform with a construction helmet reading E&N headed up for the new mission to vic. I was left with another to safe guard the camp. They flew down in the other direction flying through crossings and small towns, and got as far as Nanimo before passing out in the ditch. The next morning they woke to hear the radio of a worker and something about calling the police, so they ditched out and hitched the rest of the way. And that was the end of our pirate railway adventures. For now...


Pointless Disaster '06

Stars sparsly spotted the illuminated New York City skyline as we sat together on a rooftop somewhere in Brooklyn. Nick looked over to me as he put down his 40 of Balentine's. "This is perfect." He said. I couldn't have agreed more. However, this moment in time was in no way an indication of what was to come.

The next morning I woke up on Mike's floor with a hangover and dust bunnies and strands of hair stuck to my cheek. Everyone else was still asleep so I did my best to do the same. It was a slow morning, everyone waking up one by one then lighting cigarettes. Jesse, Nick, and Mike went into the bathroom to smoke some weed. I sat on Mike’s bed waiting with anticipation the day to come.

We finally got everything together and made our way down to Mike’s car. “I know a great place to get some food, but it’s a ways away, we might as well drive there," Mike said. We all piled into his car still not quite awake. It was a typical summer day in the city: people and traffic. After driving around for 10 minutes we began looking for a place to park I had to piss and everyone else was hungry. We had been sitting in the same spot for about 5 minutes or so, traffic moving extremely slow when I noticed flashing lights just up ahead. “I wonder what the hell’s going on up there,” I thought to myself. Unfortunately it didn’t take too much longer for me to figure out.

We moved with the traffic closer to the commotion ahead. Looking out the window I saw a large flatbed truck stopped, halfway through taking a right turn. “No fucking way.” I said as we came up to it. “Is that what I think it is?” We moved closer and I could see a mangled bicycle underneath the truck. My heart skipped a beat. As we drove by, to my horror I saw a body trapped underneath one of the gigantic truck wheels, massive amounts of blood soaking into the cement. I felt sick to my stomach. Perhaps most disturbing of all was the fact that the police were doing nothing to hide the body. People were lining the sidewalks pointing and staring at the corpse lying cold and stiff in the hot sun. I felt enraged at the disrespect that I felt was being shown to the unfortunate biker. For the rest of the day I couldn’t get the image out of my head, and I certainly couldn’t stop thinking about it. 2 hours ago that guy had plans for the day. Maybe he was going to meet up with some friends, or make one last delivery before going home. Maybe he was riding his bike today because he decided he needed to get in better shape, or maybe he was late for class or just trying to get home. Either way none of it mattered now. Such is life.

I was glad to see NYC become a bunch of buildings on the horizon. We were finally headed to Philly after what seemed like an eternity of waiting and doing nothing. Nick, Jesse, and Mike blazed a few bowls as we drove down the highway, and I cracked the window a bit to let some fresh air in. I quickly realized though that we were in New Jersey.

With New York and New Jersey finally behind us, we found ourselves in the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia. The sun was just setting as we found a parking spot a good ¾ of a mile away from the church where Pointless Fest (or whatever the hell they were calling it this year) was being held. The four of us walked briskly towards the show ready for the next few days of music and partying.

Nick quickly found some friends of his from New York and we all began talking. I suddenly noticed the pangs of hunger in my stomach and looking around and realized they were serving big cups of vegan chili for about $2.

I spent the rest of the night hanging around outside the venue talking with people, eating chili and drinking a few brews in the alley. After everything was over at the church we made our way to Clark Park where Lynched ( Lynched on MySpace Music - Free Streaming MP3s, Pictures & Music Downloads) was playing. They ended up putting on an awesome show. That night we decided to sleep in the park and we fell asleep listening to people playing GG Allin songs on acoustic guitars.

We woke up the next morning to the whirring sound of loud engines. Apparently the grass needed to be cut and so there were people driving around in riding mowers cutting the grass everywhere except where we were lying down. We all stretched, some lighting up cigarettes as we packed up our gear. We said bye to a couple of the NY kids we had camped out with, sure we would be seeing them that evening. We made our way back to downtown Philly where we spent the majority of the day in Love Park, dipping our feet in the water and soaking up the warm sun. Some car company was having a free giveaway, so we all got free ice cream and were able to use computers and the internet. Later in the afternoon we went to another park near the railroad tracks. We all rolled cigarettes and watched the dogs playing together in the dog park.

While there we ended up meeting up with a bunch of friends from back in RI. All together there were about 8 or 9 of us. We spent the early evening drinking and smoking in the park waiting for the show to start.

We finally made our way back to the church, just as things began to start up again. I got myself another cup of chili and stood outside the venue talking with different people. I ended up meeting some guy who was offered me a bunch of his wine. We sat in the alley together talking and drinking. The wine getting to my head I began to feel pretty generous and quickly ran to the nearest convenience store with my friend from back home, Tracy. I bought my first pack of cigarettes—Marlboro 100’s and ran back to where everyone else was. I gave away half the pack as I was still feeling quite benevolent. I settled myself back down again and drank a bit more wine only to be interrupted by a cop car driving up the alley. Since everyone had alcohol on them we all got up and dispersed. After about five minutes Jesse, Dylan, Tracy and I went back to where we had been previously sitting. As we were sitting there we saw two FSU security guards run past rather excited. They ran up to some bike cops and got them to follow. At this point most people who were outside knew something was up.

Screams of “Everyone get your cameras!” could be heard as a crowd gathered in a parking lot just outside the alley.

“Everyone get the fuck back.” the cops yelled at the crowd as people gathered to see what was happening. Someone was lying unconscious on the ground. I looked around to make sure my friends were nearby.

“Yo Mike, stay close” I yelled as he pushed his way closer to the front of the crowd. I heard more shouting from behind us. “Fucking shit,” I said under my breath. About ten cops were running around the corner, billy clubs drawn. “Everyone get the fuck outta here, I’m about to crack some skulls.”

I grabbed Dylan and Tracy. “Alright, let’s go and find everyone else.” As we were walking away a cop shoved Tracy and two different cops pushed me up against the wall, all the while verbally threatening to incapacitate us in a number of different ways. We walked out into the street where more cops were uttering more threats and hitting and arresting kids. We looked up and saw some helicopters with spotlights shining down on everything. We decided it would be best to get out of all the action and try and locate everyone. As we were crossing the street some guy came up to us looking around desperately.

“Any of you guys seen a puppy?” the guy asked.

“No, sorry man but we’ll keep a lookout," I replied. "What happened?”

“I was standing in the crowd and everyone got maced, they got my pup in the face. When they got me I accidentally let go of her leash and she took off.”

“Shit, well, we’ll see if we can find her. Good luck man.”

We rounded another corner and some girl was asking us what the hell was going on. “We have no idea, just lots of cops and chaos.”

“Well I just saw a puppy run out into the street and get hit by a car," said the girl.

We wandered around for a little bit longer, looking for everyone else. We found Jesse who said he was going to some fountain with the kids from NY. “Alright, well we’re heading back to the park we were at earlier today cause that’s probably where everyone else went.”

We walked back to the park and found everyone else there. I was glad to see everyone was in one piece. We wanted to get the hell out of sight so we walked around and eventually found what we thought would be a good hiding spot near the railroad tracks. As we walked through thick brush we heard voices. We called out to them and they called back to us. Apparently we had accidentally stumbled on a few freight riders camping out. They let us sit down with them and said they had seen the helicopters from a distance and were wondering if it was for Pointless. We told them the story, then brought out a few brews. I dozed on and off as people were talking. A few of us decided to spend the rest of the night there as it was pretty secluded. I ended up waking up around 4:30 in the morning shivering. I didn’t have my sweatshirt with me and so I did my best to keep warm by bringing my arms inside my t-shirt.

The next day, after finding out the festival was canceled we decided to head back home. In retrospect we made the decision a bit too early, as we later found out most of the bands played for the rest of the weekend. As we were driving away with the buildings of Philadelphia growing smaller on the skyline Nick turned to Jesse and I and said, “That was fucked up.” I couldn’t have agreed more. Such is life.



In the future, on the fly, I know I’ll be bored waiting. There is so much time to spare despite never feeling quite on schedule. So along with a great friend, books are my source of entertainment. When I have so much time to think, I like to feed the conversation in my head. It’s immobile exercise. At least then there are subjects to ponder and combine. (Creativity comes from the combination of two or more disparate elements.) There’s nothing like taking a trip deep into the text, so deep that my mind and the text before me are melding, blurring.

Today, I meandered with the company I had along for entertainment to some local book nerd’s lair. I had two goals:

To find a few atlases.

To find out if indeed they might be a steady source of anarchist theory.

I succeeded in the case of politics. They had a bountiful amount of controversial ideas bound into neat paper packages. Of course, along with any number of anarchist ideas come the wings of ideology (which they also had plenty of. A shelf of each broad perspective was available.) But it was the ideas I know little of that I sought. (I ran into a fellow who lived in an anarchist commune a couple of weeks previously. That sparked my interest mostly because I was confused.)

There are hundreds of books I should like to have, in memory or in hand. I came across a beat-up, rather large hardcover, which I suspect was based upon the style and subject of chess to be a sort of mystery. It was so matter-of-factly written. These are the facts; this is what-happened-kind-of-deal.

My financial position was such that even the mentioned literary piece (the title likened to The Devil’s Elbow) for only five dollars and ninety-nine cents was beyond my reach. It was silly to be disappointed with the absence of atlases considering I had nothing to spend. Fuck money. It’s a big disappointment whether I have it or not. It’s never quite enough, and the more you have, the closer you get to the massive corporate machine that makes it.

Since I hadn't seen any atlases I decided to ask. (I also asked about the D.I.Y. Guide. It’s a really awesome ‘zine. If you haven’t read it get your eyes on a copy.)

Upon the mention of hopping, I was led to the walls near the fire exit. It was a fairly inconvenient location for posters, unless you knew they were there. Two posters containing detailed information about local yards operations hung above adjacent couches. Switches and other intricacies did their best to make it into my foggy memory banks. (Why do I smoke pot right before there's something I need to remember?) It would be a lie to say that I recall that data not seven hours later.

Two volunteers sat down with my friend and I to discuss safety and generously guide our travels with context and purpose. I wish I could remember (again, the pot) their names and more of what we had discussed. He spoke of the basics that we may have missed along the way such as which cities the lines passed through. She suggested to herself to photocopy her atlases and stash them in the back to give to deserving people. The location of purchasable atlases was disclosed. (It’s in a city with a lot of related history.) He added, that now that he had his, he wasn’t sure how he got along without it before. When they parted, my friend and I thanked them kindly for their open handed exchange of information, much like an open book.

I just hope that my friend has a clearer memory than I do.


Birth Pangs!

Birth Pangs and Interference! The stunted first step out the door, and the first installment of a summer long journey. Having awoken one morning seized by an urge to take in rooted, traditional culture of the variety that only Southern cities seem to offer, and having been reminded constantly of the ease with which I could accomplish this by the presence of the dozens of travelers who seem to converge annually in Richmond on the same day in Mid-May, I leapt from bed and instantly began formulating dramatic escape plans. Romantic visions flashed before my eyes of the eccentric people and places I would encounter before returning home, like the neo-nazi who picked me up hitchhiking several years ago, rolling on ecstasy in a stolen car from Ohio 4 days after being released from prison for Mob Assault, or the man I had met in Charlottesville who had 45 personalities – roughly 30 of which were dogs. I stopped to catch my breath and regain my footing after having been visited by some rather staggering apparitions; omens of strange things to come. I met up with a girl from Washington and we decided to take a train South to New Orleans via Jacksonville approximately 6 hours before we found ourselves walking down the tracks from the Superwall, searching for anything but a closed boxcar.

Spying a promising gondola, I shouted “Hark! Our chariot awaits us!!!! We must hasten to her side!!!” It was up to specifications – it seemed sturdy, it had no cargo save for 2x4 planks of wood which we converted to makeshift cots, and it was black, a color to which I felt a momentary partiality. I decided to name it Rozinante, in honor of the steed before which all drudges kneel! Carly Washington, breaker of horses, climbed into Rozinante with a sort of determination I had never seen in her before, and we began the long deliberation period for the train to move; a sort of limbo during which we were locked in a stalemated staring contest with destiny. Hours, maybe days or weeks later, the train began to slouch forward just as the sun began to set.

AT LAST!!! We were overcome with excitement as the gathering speed emancipated us from the stillness of the wait, and we began to shed thoughts of our ties and obligations. Then the train slammed to a halt, and a man began screaming at us outside to exit in an orderly fashion, and subsequently to sit on the road and wait for the Henrico Police to arrive. With a shudder of horror, we looked to the west, where two squad cars approached in slow motion, set against the backdrop of a blood red sky. One of them exited and immediately began barking things at us in 3 word sentences through a heavy speech impediment.

What cruel trick fate had played on us! Was this how little we meant in the scheme of things – that the Henrico Police themselves could spare only a half-retarded patrolman with child molester bifocals and an incapacity to pronounce the letters “r” and “s”? It was as though we had died and been reincarnated into a 7-year old’s bizarre nightmare, were he perpetually dreaming about the TV show Scared Straight:




We had no response. Fortunately, the second car was manned by one Mr. Pace, who clearly took his partner as seriously as we did. He proceeded to begin undermining everything the first cop said. When Cop A said “YOU SHOULDN’T BE CAWWYING YOUW KNIFE IN THE OPEN LIKE THAT IT’TH NOT SAFE”, Pace laughed and said, “You’re carrying your knife like that lol”. When Cop A said that Philly yard had hungry Dobermans running wild, Pace simply replied, “Well, fortunately we’ve saved these guys from being lunch tomorrow”. Cop A looked grumpy. Things were clearly not working out as he had planned.

Pace arranged our free passage from the train yard and, upon exiting, gave us directions to the highway. Though we told him we had no cars, he winked and told us which roads would get us where we were going. He left us with the words, “Well, I only wish I were half as adventurous as you guys when I was your age”. With the Richmond AACA yard exhausted as a possible launching point for the journey, we walked home, regrouped, and began working out plans for hitchhiking south, in search of stranger circumstances.

To Be Continued.


Here's to you.

On May 1, 2006 the We/Us/Our House of Colorado Springs, CO held the first annual May Day. No school, no work; just Pabst, vegan food, punks, and drunken kickball. I had the time of my life that day at Blunt Park, but I also had reality and an angry mother to reckon with when the sun went down.

“What do you want to do with your life?”

“I want to hop empty box cars with the anarchists and squatters. I want to be surrounded by people that love and accept me while living life to the fullest and discovering who I am. That’s who I spent the day with, Mom, drinking PBR, playing kickball, and laughing. God, it felt great. I just want to feel like that for the rest of my life.”

Oh, the look on her face.

I wish I could just live in the May 1 square of the 2006 calendar for the rest of my life. I miss feeling like there were people within arm's reach that were walking, breathing testaments of a life worth living. I'm off to college in seven months and I feel like I can't stop myself from becoming another white collar drone just praying for cardiac arrest to break the vicious nine to five cycle, even if it's only for a moment. But here I am, October 2006: College-bound. Bound.

So here’s to you who refuse the nine to five life. Here’s to you who live it to the fullest, free from implications, social standards, routes on the map of your preprogrammed destiny. Here’s to you who live for self-fulfillment. It takes guts to want more than just the comfort of the American Dream.


Spokane to Seattle: My First Time Hopping and Hitching

On the eighth Thursday of my freshman year in college I finished a biology assignment, ate dinner, packed my bag, and by 7:00 began walking east toward the train yard. My ambition was to catch a freighter from Spokane to Seattle and be there in time for my high school’s homecoming game. The idea had captivated me for weeks. In class I was visited by wild train dreams and tingled with excitement. In my small stuffy dorm room of textbooks and pizza boxes I’d hear the blast of a train horn a quarter-mile away and smile with anticipation. I’d studied maps, read books, and e-mailed experts. The time had come.

For warmth: a puffy down jacket, a hat, and fingerless gloves. For sustenance: 4 Clif Bars, pumpkin seeds, an orange, an apple, beef jerky, and water. For orientation: a printout map of Burlington Northern’s rail system. For leisure: my school’s journal of student-submitted writings on travel. For posterity: a digital camera and a notebook.

I reached the yard around 8:00 PM but was briefly stricken with gas cramps that forced me to lie down until, to my relief, they blissfully subsided. I waited in the broken concrete of a demolished building, alternately sitting and pacing; not tired, running like always on nervous energy. It was quiet. Few trains passed. A meteor rolled across the sky. Once, the lights of the bullmobile sent me into the bushes. It was about 2 hours before I found the train I wanted – full of shipping containers; had to be headed for the Seattle port. It was moving so I sprinted across the tracks, scampered down a dirt berm, grabbed a ladder and swung myself onto the car. The train kept going for a minute before stopping, allowing me to get off and size up my ride. It was a long intermodal double-stacked with shipping containers. Both ends were lost to view where the track curved into darkness. My car had a cozy little well where I could lie down out of view, out of the wind, and under the stars. Then the air brakes hissed and the entire train shuddered forward. Soon it was accelerating through the light-speckled city with terrible squeals and groans. I was euphoric and flushed with excitement and disbelief, panting and grinning and screaming my triumph from the back of an iron dragon as we roared out of Spokane. The city lights disappeared before I stopped screaming. Then I pulled off my boots and just lay there and watched the world flicker past. Every so often we’d fly through a RR crossing. There’d be a flash of red and a rhythmic DING DING DING with solemn cars on either side. We cut the middle of nowhere in half.

After the most harrowing urination of my life (it goes downwind no matter where you point) I sought the warmth of my sleeping bag. At some point I dozed; woke up maybe 20 minutes later flying through a town I didn’t know - a laundromat and hardware-store kind of place. After miles of grassland and little farmhouses with swing sets out front we sidled up to the moonlit Columbia. Oh, how I felt like Woody Guthrie. Soon we were at the Wenatchee yard and the train slowed to a painful creep. I was paranoid in my inexperience; the suspense was terrible. Would I be caught? My car stopped underneath a floodlight. It was 2:00 AM. Down the tracks I heard car-knockers working in my direction. After 10 minutes I tugged on my shoes and ditched my car to explore the yard. I’d heard that yard-workers were friendly towards hobos but I played cat and mouse anyway out of uncertainty. For three hours I breathed steam and watched them hump cars around with tremendous racket. One train did leave but just as I decided to hop it, the last car rolled past and left me tired and frustrated in the shadow of a shipping container.

My decision to hitchhike accompanied a brilliant sunrise. The air was crisp and cold and as I followed the tracks to the edge of town the railroad ballast crunched under my boots. A twenty-year-old welder in a dilapidated Pontiac picked me up outside of Wenatchee. The Pontiac’s engine was louder than the train. He shouted that he was cruising for pot and commended me for being “pretty ballsy for someone from a Catholic school.” We parted ways in Leavenworth. I walked 30 minutes into the canyon before I got a ride from a gentleman and his 4-year-old son. For the first hour we talked about train hopping (which he had done to get to a Grateful Dead concert), rock climbing, music, and school. After that I slept upright and woke drooling with a delirious recollection of my situation. He dropped me off in Bothell (a Seattle suburb) where a bus driver gave me a free ride to another stop. From there I paid $2.00 for a $1.50 bus fare to Bellevue but was upset because they didn’t give change back. From the Bellevue transit center I walked home and surprised my family, who didn’t know I was coming. I went to the game; our team won 52-7. I was very tired. When I went to bed I had not slept for 38 hours not counting an hour of napping. I had traveled 300 miles on two dollars. My feet were sore and blistered. I was happy and satisfied and already planning my next adventure.


Welcome to Adulthood. Welcome to Pittsburgh.

My first summer of adulthood, I determined, would be worthwhile. I went across the country, completely alone. Funds were depleting quickly and my personal hygiene consisted of putting on underwear that had only been worn once (twice, at most) before. This story was originally a blog entry and has been edited for StP. It is a literary testament to my time spent in Pittsburgh with a certain Matt Pist and some awesome people at the Landslide squat. Yes, this was my first time, and yes, it was a brief experience; all those concerned with making those facts obvious, as well as making sure that I'm fully aware that I am not part of "one of us," bite your pointed tongues.

On to reminiscing...

We slept by the railroad tracks after a long ride on a Dirty Dog. The trains went by, one after another. I listened to Matt snore as the giant serpents rolled past and the traffic hummed on the street below us. The sun was beginning to rise, and I slept.

Cut to the pizza place downtown.

$3.99 lunch special: one slice of cheese pizza, french fries, medium drink, with no refills. Lemonade, no ice.
Matt was calling Kevin for directions to the squat. REI has a fantastic return policy, apparently, so we walked the supposed three miles to South Side and Matt exchanged his pack. He dumped out all his shit onto the floor next to the climbing wall and started loading it all into his new pack. I'm pretty sure this 27-year-old man had the same enthusiasm I did at the age of four, when I unwrapped a 100-piece accessory kit for my Barbies.

Cut to two sweaty travelers walking up and down Fifth Avenue for hours looking for some stupid Kirkpatrick Street.
Hot. Sore. Exhausted. Left on Kirkpatrick. Right on Allequipa. First squat on the right. Welcome to Landslide.

Claire and Johnny were on the sidewalk, and fifteen more on the porch with nachos, screwdrivers, and passively-observed discussions of philosophy. I spoke to Miles until I went to bed. The rest watched horror movies in honor of Friday the Thirteenth. They were loud, I was nauseous.

I woke up the next morning and went downstairs, through the kitchen onto the porch. Elijah, his mother, Tristan, "Deaf" Chad, and Johnny were there. We drank coffee and discussed the flaws of our public school education. Elijah's mother described her son when he was a child: uncontrollable, breaking the preschool teacher's arm, setting the house on fire, stealing his mother's boyfriend's coin collection to buy candy. I'm glad to see he harnessed his curiosity and independent nature. I laughed with sincere laughter for once since a great while.

The Pist show.

The crowd grew more rambunctious with each set and each round of beer. An amazing show. Fists pumping in unison, lyrics shouted in perfect synchronization when the mic went out. I felt lucky to be there. We piled back into the red and black pickup truck that ran on veggie oil. Laura was in tears. Some drunken local crust girl went apeshit after Laura's dog got stepped on. It went from a belligerent "you need to take better care of your dog," to elitist scenester rhetoric. "Scumfucks." "Locals only, bitch." It wasn't what was said that had her so upset, it was the fact that a vigilante punch to the face couldn't be served- due to the cops that night. I could relate, being a female and having been in a situation similar in nature. That night, I realized that music scenes are pure hierarchical bullshit. I spent my high school years trying to be a part of one, and all it did was let me down. I realized it when I watched it let Laura down. We bullshitted on the porch briefly until exhaustion caught up with us. Demi, Matt and I took our places on the wood floor on the second level of the squat to sleep.

The next day, I hiked up Allequipa to the Snuggle House. I was introduced to Laney and Ryan. I noticed a bright, multi-colored dresser stickered with some beautiful graffiti. We began to discuss street art and zines. She handed me one that she wrote- a written testament of her struggles with an abusive relationship and the road to maturity. From the house at the top of Allequipa, I could see the bridge, the river, the clusters of anonymous buildings. I sat on the porch reading attentively, tears brimming. This woman was my Pittsburgh counterpart; I was sure of it. That night had another show in the woods, a few Railbenders, and that same crust bitch. I retired to the squat, drunk and irritated.

Most mornings I woke early, coughing. Miles was always the second one up. We'd sit on the porch and talk. I asked him what it was like being transgender. I was happy to hear that his parents came to accept that he was no longer Emily and they hadn't disowned him, but I got the impression that it might have just created a whole new world of questions, identity crises, and further introversion in social settings. I asked a lot of questions, maybe too many, but there was one I didn't ask: was it worth it? (Miles, if you read this, maybe you'll be up to answering that one. I also want you to know that I found you to be a really beautiful individual.)

Another morning, I asked Miles what he did. He told me that he spent his days counseling kids with autism and other innate problems. He told me he loved spending time with kids and helping them, but he felt his efforts sometimes only served as a band-aid. He also said he found himself often reinforcing mainstream American values. That struck a chord in me, as I felt that was what I'd end up doing. Myself, Miles, and so many others: we're too afraid to completely abandon what we were raised to believe, and we work our fingers to the bone socializing others. It ties knots deep inside us, but it's what we're supposed to do, right?

I spent hours and hours on the porch, drinking dumpstered beer, just shooting the shit with Lisa, Britt, Chris, Nabih, and Matt. Elijah had left to California for a few days with his mother, and Tristan had left with Chad, so it was mostly just the six of us misbehaving. I analyzed all of your teeth, just so you know. Your faces were dirty, but cheerful. Your smiles were stained with nicotine, but genuine.

I left only a week after I had arrived. Miles drove me to the 28X stop, the airport bus. The fare was not the expected $1.75, but $2.25. I rode through the city, with my alice pack and sleeping bag occupying the seat next to me, gazing out the window. We drove by everything. The wretched Fifth Avenue, the corner we were asked to leave, the river, the prison, the woods I slept in that first night. I felt I had found that thing I was determined to find this summer, my first summer of adulthood. Whatever it was, I think I found it.


The Wrong Train?

I started out in Mendocino Village, CA, and the plan was for me and a friend to travel all the way out to NJ to visit his family. The first stretch was gettin to Sacramento to catch out due east. The kid I was traveling with ended up turning back the same day we left, but I was on a mission. Since he was gone, I had no reason to go to Jersey, so I figured I'd head south, down to Colton and cut east all the way out to Nola.

So when I was in the outskirts of Sacramento, a local guy picked me up. I asked him if he knew the whereabouts of the yard, or where trains creep slow enough to catch due south. He took me to the right place because wouldn't you know, parallel to the road we were on was an IM due south, or so it seemed. He left me off, and I hopped on. The train went south, for a little while. It was starting to get dark so I settled in for the night. I was riding a reefer, a bit loud, but spacious. I'm not sure how long I slept for, but when I woke up I wasn't headed south. I was riding through the mountains near Grass Valley parallel to 80 east- the wrong train. So it goes.

It was a great ride. It was still a little cold out, but still amazing. I pulled into Reno just after daybreak. I used my beginners luck with the slots and left town with a lot more than what I started with. I took a bus to Sparks, and caught a GM due east from there. The train stopped in Winnemucca for work that night and left a few hours later. The weather was still holding up.

The rides through Colorado, Kansas and Missouri were good and uneventful. I ran into a few friends and a previous roaddog in Columbia (a traveler-friendly town), got a few days rest and was on my way. In Indiana I talked to a conductor who let me ride the rear unit to Louisville, and helped me onto a train to Russell, KY. If you asked me why I went to Russell, I couldn't tell you. Riding from Louisville I hit a blizzard, riding dirtyface on a grainer porch, huddled in my sleeping bag under my tarp, trying to roll a cigarette. It was ridiculous. So it goes.

From Russell I made it to Grafton, WV, to Baltimore, and caught a ride to Frederick from one of my friends. I don't know why I came to Frederick, MD. And I don't know why I'm about to leave. This is one of my favorite towns, so many cool kids, hobo friendly, just all around badass. And I might never have come if I hadn't caught the wrong train.

I know this isn't the most exciting or inspiring story, but the point I'm trying to get across... is there any such thing as a wrong train?


The Gauntlet

This is the story of my first freighthopping trip, where the initiation was more like a hazing. I'd like to say that nothing was ever the same afterwards, but that wouldn't be honest. It started like a normal day, and ended like a normal day. The middle part was a little bit more memorable though...

We were scouting the rail yard on an early afternoon of a saturday in late September, setting our plans for the next day to jump on a freight train and get back to DC. Cricket was the experienced one, dressed in his brown overalls, & he’d recommended that we hitchhike back up if we really needed to get back by monday morning. We were in Greensboro, NC, and it had only took Jessica and I about 8 hours to hitchhike down from the further reaches of the DC subway system the previous day.

We wanted to trainhop but we wanted to get back in time for everything we needed to do. Jessica and I both felt a sense of inferiority whenever we read some story of trainhopping or heard about someone, especially if it were someone we knew, who had successfully gone trainhopping. It was as if we were missing out of a seminal experience, a rite of passage, an initiation of some sort. But all those notions are just stupid manifestations of elitism, and we all knew it, but it didn’t really lessen our desire to go trainhopping for the first time.

Another reason was that we didn’t like depending on drivers to pick us up. I really couldn’t get rides, as I had found out once, thumbing it in Canada. I ended up having to walk 2 days to the next town in order to buy a bus ticket. Cars would stop for Jessica, but she didn’t like having to act nice towards people whose worldview contradicted nearly everything she believed in. We had been picked up by quite a few right wingers on our way here, who had talked about hunting, eating meat, & the military. We wanted another way of travelling.

Cricket felt that he had found the right train. Jessica asked me if I’d be willing to get on it in a few minutes, because it seemed like our best chance to trainhop and to get back to DC on time. I said yes, and we biked away to get our backpacks, came back to the tracks and found Cricket and Aaron waving at us and pointing to a rideable train car they found for us. It was a pig- and we could hide under the axle, in between the tires.

Jessica and I got on, and Cricket reminded us, “if we stop at Roanoke, Virginia, get off, you’re on the wrong train.” He couldn’t come with us, he was going to be headed elsewhere soon, so we were going without any experienced trainhoppers for our first time. Before he stood back, he got Jessica to cover up her pink shirt with a plaid one to be more stealthy. Jessica and I were about 6 feet apart, under separate trailers which were back to back, in full view of each other, but relatively hidden from the world. We were excited, and even more so when the train started moving a few minutes later. It was about 3:30pm.

It was a beautiful day for trainhopping, warm, sunny, and dry. In our haste we hadn’t brought any cardboard to lie on, and we didn’t have much warm clothing, since we didn’t think we’d trainhop at all; but all that were forgiveable oversights in the favorable weather. Otherwise, we were pretty well prepared.

I had a shoplifted GPS navigator and a similarly purloined small road map with me, so I could tell where I was, though it’d take a few minutes for the device to get its bearings. I could also tell how fast I was headed and in what direction, and I’d check every half hour on our progress. We were going about 55 mph and all was good. I began checking each hour or so.

The crew change was at Lynchburg, as expected, and we moved on. The scenery soon turned breathtaking with grand vistas of trees and Virginia wilderness. The Shenandoah Valley in the blazing colors of autumn is a recommended view for anyone not color blind. It was like I was breathing in the sights, and the hues were flowing into my lungs and through my bloodstream.

When I had become pleasantly intoxicated by leaves and mountains, I decided to check my location using GPS, which required that I stick the device out so that it gets a clear view of the sky. Then I went blind, utterly and completely blind, I couldn't see the tip of my nose, and I thought to myself that I had become visually impaired at the worst possible moment. Was it possible that ones eyes could be that overstimulated as to shut down? Had I overwhelmed my sight with foliage? I waved my hand in front of my eyes, but I didn't even detect any movement- blindness confirmed. Then I had a second thought and turned on the backlight of my GPS. It lit up like a firefly.

Oops, I wasn't blind, it was just dark. We had entered a tunnel, so I turned off the GPS, turned on my flashlight to make sure the GPS was off and scrambled to my backpack. The danger with tunnels is that the diesel exhaust can accumulate in long stretches, so I needed to filter the air with a wet cloth, else I'd suffocate. I got to my backpack and reflexively shined my flashlight to where Jessica would have been.

There was only her backpack, but no Jessica.

At a time like this, she should have also been going for her waterbottle to soak her bandanna. This was bad. She wouldn’t have fallen off by herself, no way, it would’ve been more likely that someone or something pushed her off. Damn. We’d just become horror movie cliches-I imagined the train coming out from the other side, with only our backpacks where we once were. I went for my trusty U-lock, my lungs had to be put on hold, as I shone my flashlight a bit further past Jessica’s unattended backpack.

Just then, we came out of the tunnel. Jessica and I were both looking at each other. She had scooted down the train, a few feet past the wheels, in order to catch the scenery. We laughed. I really shouldn’t scare myself like this.

A half hour later, we slowed down to a stop in the middle of nowhere. We didn’t know why, but after a few hours it became dark at 7:30 or so, we stopped being paranoid & figured they weren’t searching for us. I moved under Jessica’s trailer with her, as we watched a electrical storm flash overhead. A cold front was approaching, and with it, would come rain. As if that weren’t enough, we would be going at over 50mph, open to the associated wind chill. I put on all my clothing except for my rainjacket- we would use that as a blanketing cover as we sped on the rails.

There really was no way around cuddling, and Jessica and I aren’t cuddlebuddies. But wet and cold does change things up. I was surprised at how quickly she agreed to it, but she told me later that she knew I wouldn't have asked that of her unless it was necessary. We tried lying side by side first, and then spooning, and finally draped over each other, hugging each other for dear life. This wasn’t for comfort. Separating from each other for any time over a few seconds meant a prolonged session of shivering.

Since I was more resistant to cold, I was on the bottom, insulating her from the wet metal floor, which had less than a foot wide strip of dry rusty steel. I would rest most of the weight of one of my buttocks, since that is where I have the most muscle and fat, and therefore insulation, on my entire body. This meant that it would become sore after a while, but I would prolong the misery as long as I could, since shifting meant a coordinating response from Jessica, in order to minimize the time that we would have to separate and become exposed to the cold. When I couldn't stand it anymore, I would declare to her, "I need to move," and I'd shift to my other buttock and we'd both shiver for a little bit less than a minute to regain our heat. Worst cuddling session ever. Then she went limp- Jessica had passed out from the cold. This wasn't good.

Occasionally she’d wake up to ask me if we were still alive, just because she felt a little warm, but it’d be because we slowed down and the wind chill was not so bad, but then the train would speed up again and she'd pass out again. The train stopped around Culpepper, 50 miles southwest of DC, and we contemplated jumping off, but decided against it, since it was possible that we’d be dropped off at our intended destination. Plus, it was already dark and wet and still in the middle of nowhere. We began moving again, so I laid myself down and she crawled on top of me. I wanted to cry.

I began listening to the noises of the train in order to occupy my mind, since I didn’t want to say anything discouraging. There were click-clacks and the screaming of metal against metal, groaning noises. It was the first time that I had been in a situation where my survival and another’s so depended on each other, where one struggle became indistinguishable from the other. We couldn’t fail each other or ourselves, else everything was lost. I really don’t like being in that situation. Jessica was drifting in and out of sleep. Me, I can have my core temperature down to 94 degrees and not feel drowsy, so I watched the scenery go by. Maybe my consciousness valued misery, I don't know why that is. We passed a trainyard at 50 mph, our trainyard, the one where this train was supposed to stop, the one where we were supposed to get off. Then it was gone, and I leaned my head against Jessica’s in despair. The adventure wasn’t over yet, not even close. The click-clacks continued, but it stopped raining.

When we slowed down again, I told Jessica that we passed our yard, that we were on the wrong train, so we’d have to get off at the next stop. We waited for the train to come to a stop, but it started speeding back up again. Jessica had already quickly changed taking off her 2nd pair of pants, I put on my rainjacket and my backpack, she threw her backpack out, leaned off the train and jumped. I was leaning off a few feet behind of her, and waited until she was clear before I jumped off backwards. The train was going about 15-20 mph, and I wanted all the cushioning I could get. I hit the ground and rolled away from the train, hit my head, and slowly got on my feet. My left elbow was hurt. Jessica landed much better, but slightly sprained an ankle. We walked between the rails back to a road we had seen earlier and spied some red lights flashing in the distance. During that time I figured we were in Hagerstown, 50 miles NW of DC. It was around 3am, so we’d spent about 12 hours on the train.

I didn’t have much inclination to lead at this point, having been conscious through so much misery, so I followed Jessica in her quest for the source of the flashing red lights in the distance. I would have liked staying on paved ground, since it was more appropriate a place to sulk over my situation. Sulking properly requires plainly featured artificial structures, but Jessica probably sensed this and persisted. We trudged miles through wet fields, wire fences, a knee-deep stream, barbed wire, and an electrified fence to find a cluster of 6 huge satellite dishes surrounded by perimeter fencing and no trespassing signs. The source of the red lights. All this in the middle of nowhere. Jessica had a bad feeling that we might get abducted by aliens if we lingered here too long, it was much too surreal. I could not even sulk in the vincinity of such oddness. Figuring that this facility must have an access road, we went along the fencing through waist-high grasses, until we were in view of asphalt. Normally, I am not that happy to see asphalt.

There were faint crashing sounds at this point, as if someone was rattling a chain-link fence really hard. As we approached pavement, we saw that fence, and we realized with alarm that the noise was steadily getting closer. We stopped because it looked like we could see the fence moving with the rattles. It was getting closer, and all we could see was the fence being bashed on, closer and closer to us. Fast. We froze in place, maybe thinking that we’d rather fight than run from the invisible threat. If we were going to be abducted by an invisible alien, we were not going down (or up) without a fight. At the speed it was going, running was not going to do much good. I wielded my U-lock and braced for action. It was a highly agitated deer which ran past us without a second glance. We walked away cautiously, still a bit freaked.

We reached a highway and walked along it, thumbing for an hour or two. Along the way, Jessica realized that she’d lost her 2nd pair of pants- either it was still on the train, or along the rails. I don’t think we’ll go back for them. Ever.

We were picked up by a postal worker who spoke slowly and methodically, in the way that a recording in his speakers was broadcasting. The voice was talking about a workplace, a socially dysfunctional one, one where all love was unrequited crushes, or of bereavement, or of some sick variety. It talked of a ghost of a worker’s wife who haunted the place, left phone messages and written comments in the complaint log and appeared on the monitor screen savers. It talked of how her voice would sound on the phone lines, full of static and mechanical chatter, with the wailing of her unborn baby in the background. What the fuck was this radio station, were we in the twilight zone?

It talked of a serial killer, who was the fastest typist, of how he chose and mutilated his victims, cutting them into pieces. It talked of his motivations, his murderous desires, his needs, his issues. He switched off the tape. He was creepy. We lied to most of his questions, answering in ways that would make us undesireable victims, already we both knew we’d come into the wrong car. My panic knife was where I thought it would be, a sleek sliver of metal with a honed edge on my belt. I felt if it came to me cutting him, something other than blood would flow from his veins. Jessica gave me a look which told me that if we fell asleep in this car, we would never wake up again. I really don't know how eyes could be that expressive.

I had planned out a defense strategy much earlier, one vicious but crudely effective, where Jessica would signal to begin my attack by releasing the driver's seatbelt. But we were just let off at Fredricksburg, 30 miles NW of DC, and he stared at us for a few minutes after we got off before moving off to work. Maybe he was thinking sinister thoughts. Sometimes I hate almost being part of a horror movie cliché, and we were having just a little bit too much of that on this trip back home.

Our next ride came just a few minutes after and took us straight into DC. He was a friendly pothead who worked as a stage manager or something to that effect in the television industry. After he let us off, we took the metrobus over to Jessica’s place,
& got there at around 7am. We both crashed to sleep. There was a thought that we were still on that train, that either we had died or were asleep on it, and everything afterward was imagined or some path to the afterlife. Of course, even if it were true, what could one do about it? Our adventure was over, finally.


At long last.

It was about 10:45 on a sunday night, t'was warm and everything was near perfect. We had just about gotten ready to pack it in for the night. I took out the sleeping bag and made a little nest, mainly comprised of two sleeping bags (my boyfriends and my own), my "world's famous" courier bag Youthlink had given me, and a hoodie or two (these would make up the pillows). Nearly 3 days had past. It would make it to 4 if we were to have woken up tomorrow with no train. My first train, I thought. Whenever it decides to show up..

I was so antsy. There had been so many close calls, so many 30-second pack ups and unpacks with disappointment. I fetched my glow in the dark, lightsaber-looking, flashlight and picked up where I left off in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. It's gotta come soon, I know it, it's been 3 days!

At 11pm on the dot, Hobbles jumped up and pressed his face against the fence. "Guys! .. guys, I think this is the one!"

The urgency in his voice was a repeat. We've all heard ourselves at least 5 times a day yell that same sentence. Could this be it?

Had salvation come at last?

It was too dark to see. A large mechanical snake edged its way toward us, gradually coming to a halt. After one last screech and a subtle "FZSSssssss" sound, the train had completely stopped. My heart started racing (like it usually did 5 times a day, haha), it was pulsing and slowly coming up through my esophagus into my throat. I hastily packed up the things around me. We were all rushing now; the dogs were getting excited. Mel's dog, Gypsie's first train too. When everything was packed up as well as possible, making sure there was no flailage, we lined up like some sort of instinct and slipped through the hole in the fence. Down the track we went, I was starting to shake. I ran fast out of habit, but cooled my jets to let Mel or Stringbean get ahead of me, since they knew the protocol. Their heads darted this way and that, scanning each car we passed.. Hobbles explained it to me, the rideables and not so rideables, but at that moment in time my mind drew a dumb blank and I was only on autopilot. Running, running, looking back, panting, running, TRIP over a track, run, RUN RUN RUN.

Then almost suddenly we all stopped. I could hear Hobbles behind us, he must have been 50+ ft behind us, yelling at King Kong (his dog) who at THE worst time needed to take a shit. That was the last I saw Hobbles. As we're climbing and throwing our bags into the first 48 we found, Hobbles jumps and hides in a suicide with King Kong. He knows what he's doing..

Safe and sound?

God I hoped, ..nothing could go wrong now. Still too dark to see, not a single light near by, there was but a faint glow from the highway not too far from us. As soon as my ass hit the steel bottom of the bucket, the train began airing up. It was almost surreal, the whole gravity of the situation. We were all panting and a little shocked that our train had ACTUALLY arrived. From about 3 days of throwing rocks at each other, pretending which galaxies we're from with the symptoms of ennui setting in (there was not a single beer store for kilometers), at long last, OUR TRAIN WAS FINALLY HERE!

Not only that, but I was ON the train, Josh was on the train. Life was good again! Hahah

Even on a June evening it was still chilly as the train picked up speed. I was wishing that it was brighter outside so that I could focus on my surroundings, but I had not yet even poked my head out- too afraid to mess things up. Best to wait until out of civilization's reach. I grabbed another hoodie out of my pack and pulled it on over the one I was already wearing, and grabbed my toque as well. I get horrible ear aches in windy situations. The sky was full of stars, like the entire universe had suddenly unveiled itself. I was surprised considering we were not very far from city limits, just on the outskirts, not even the light pollution could shun the cosmos away.

My god, it was the most amazing thing I have ever bear witness to. When it's totally dark, we can only reckon we're in the country or damn near it. The air smelled so fresh even still, as cold as it was. We started talking or rather shouting things over the noise to each other. I timidly lifted my head out only to see lights far off in the distance and the loud drowned chirping of a thousand insects over the wind. In the trees that lined the tracks, more fireflies than you could ever count perched on every single one of them. Some in midair got caught in the drafts and uncontrolably made their ways into the bucket with us. I remembered Mel and Stringbean beginning to make their own sleeping arrangments. I grabbed my sleeping bag and rolled it halfway up my body, trying for a smoke. I had to light in the corner of the bucket for the winds sake. I also somehow managed to make a cheese sandwich and when that was all taken care of, I stood up in my sleeping bag and wrapped my arms around a ... for lack of better word, amazed Josh clutching the edge of the bucket, eyes glued to the sky. We stood there, staring, for what seemed like hours... The moment too brilliant for words. Before deciding to try to sleep, I managed to spot a shooting star flail itself across the night sky. We all curled up sometime after that and called it a night.

It may have been about no later than 4am when I would awake to find myself alone, consciously speaking, and very, very cold. Bits of the wind had found it's way into my sleeping bag where it picked away at my bones, pulling me out of my dream. The steel bucket made its contribution as well. The thing I remembered most, however, was the loud ghostly screeching noise under my ear, which was pressed up against the floor. I had no pillow, couldn't use my bag, for it was too cramped to even stretch with the way we had been laying. The train sounded like a banshee, it was quite startling to wake up to, and for some odd reason left some eerie feeling in the pit of my spin, which was also being crushed by Josh's knee. ;P

I was only awake at this time for probably 5 or so minutes before I fell back asleep with no problem at all.

When I woke up once again, it was day light. The train had not slowed down at all, but when Mel and Stringbean poked their heads out, they informed us we were probably no more than 45 minutes out side of Montreal. A great wave of accomplishment fell over me. Mission, success. What we wanted to get done, had gotten done and in about an hour, we'd have been at our destination, full and secure. Now, the thought about getting OFF the train was something that then occupied my thoughts. I packed up my sleeping bag, and anything else that may have fallen out, they all did the same. I put my pack on and waited as the train shortly thereafter showed signs of getting ready to stop. Little squeaks and screeches rang from the wheels all around, as the tops of trees over us became more visible in the sense that they weren't going past us quite as fast anymore. Then they disappeard altogether. We all poked our heads up a little now, being very cautious.

We were now in a yard, with rows and rows of tracks.. as well as dozens of trains scattered throughout. We had arrived at last. When we all hopped off, we quickly made our way to the commuter train platform headed in the direction of the downtown Montreal Metro system. I wondered where Hobbles was, then figured we'd most likely be seeing him downtown sometime. I remember having to piss really badly too, so I squatted near the door way to the one of the underground tunnels, then we all waited for our next train to come. Lots of business looking types started emerging from the tunnels below us and other random people, no doubt on their ways to lead uneventful lives at the dawning of the working week.

No one questioned why four dirty kids and two dogs had mysteriously appeared on the platform out of nowhere (especially since dogs aren't allowed on the commuters OR Metro). Nonetheless, we got on, with the dogs and got to the Metro, hopped over the turnstiles and headed straight downtown and the drunken rest is history.


Nearly Got to Wear the Orange Coveralls

It had been a long wait, but I was finally on an intermodal heading south out of Colton yards. The train passed a bright light by the side of the track, up high. I thought at the time, "There could be a camera behind that light." There was. Moments later, I heard the dispatcher on my scanner instruct the engineers bluntly. "Stop the train."

“Is there a problem?” an engineer replied.
“Could be, we have to call Rambo.”

Rambo? Rambo! They were calling the bulls!!

I heaved my pack and bedroll up on to the side of the cradle. Even before the train halted, I had dropped them over the side--and jumped clear myself. Frantically, I hoisted the pack on my back. I had to get away from the train and out of the freight yards quickly. The problem was a six-foot fence that barred my escape. I could have climbed over but reckoned I just did not have the time. So I marched along the fence, praying there would be a hole or an easy way over it. Luckily there was. A part of fence had been pushed down to form a shelf only four feet off from the ground. Quickly, I laid my stuff on this fence, then looked both ways along the freight train.

No lights were yet in sight. Perhaps I was over-reacting, I thought. Maybe the train had stopped for another reason. Rambo could be car knockers. I clambered a freight car coupling, and checked the other side of the train. There was a vehicle parked next to the units, but maybe it was there for another reason--and not the police. I returned to the fence side, wondering whether to get back on the freight train. However, looking up along the train soon rid me of that notion. A vehicle was heading my way fast with headlights on full beam!

Backing off to one side under cover of trees, I made certain I was not in the headlights' beams and trotted along the side of the fence. I was over that fence like the leading horse in a race. I grabbed my pack and bed roll and ducked down behind some bushes. Sure enough, the vehicle was full of yard police--three of them. They went straight to the freight car I had occupied and jumped up the ladder holding powerful hand searchlights. They must have been surprised I was not there so they quickly climbed up on the next freight car. Delighted, I watched them from the safety of the other side of the fence, as the three of them ran around like idiots trying to find me.

I was hidden on the side of the freeway near two parked trucks. I was now a hitch-hiker if anyone asked. Eventually the freight train eased forward. I thought about jumping back on, but the yard bulls were still scurrying around shining their flashlights in bushes near the track.

I moved away up the road giggling to myself. Union Pacific’s finest started searching the freight train parked on the next track. I had missed the freight train but what fun it had been to miss it! The time was 9:30 PM. I did not want to ruin a good night by trying for another train and being caught. I wanted to go to sleep with a smile on my face. I bought a small bottle of brandy in a liquour store nearby, and bedded down on spare land among trees and bushes. The scanner had saved me. Without it I would have been caught for sure, and those aggressive yard bulls would probably have jailed me.
I sipped the brandy, recalling the scene in the freight yards as the bulls ran around like the Keystone Cops.

I caught out next morning carefully without being seen. And without a trace.



Chattanooga Choo Choo

I got off work around 5:00 on Friday and headed home to rearrange my pack and stock up on food and other essentials.

I made a quick stop by the liquor store for a forty of King Cobra and a 5th of Whiskey which also falls into the "essentials" category. When I got home and checked the mail my issues of the Yard Times zine had arrived which I had been waiting on for a couple of weeks. Things were already off to a good start knowing that I had ample and fresh reading material for whatever waiting I might end up needing to do.

I finally got my pack rearranged and fresh batteries in the scanner, all the while slowly drinking my forty and going over a mental check list of my gear. It was only about 7:00 pm and my train wasn't called for until about 2:00 in the morning so I figured I would lay down and take a nap until 12:30 or so because I thought if I didn't I would end up feeling drowsy and miserable if I tried to stay awake for a six or so hour wait in the yard after being up since dawn.

I woke up right on time feeling pretty refreshed, changed into my train clothes, boots and made my way down to the street. Just as I hit the sidewalk two of my best friends turned my corner on their way back from the bar, saw me toting my pack and made the best/lamest rail bum jokes they could. I asked them for a ride to the yard but they were on their way to partake in some of the "greener" things in life but would be willing to after that.

I figured I better get my walking legs limbered up anyway so I declined and started the three and a half mile walk to the yard. I made my way through downtown and on into the industrial part of the city. I had recently bought some hiking socks as opposed to the cotton or wool I usually wear and on top of making efforts to really lighten my pack as of late I was feeling great and had some bounce in my step.

I was still about a mile from the yard and I stopped to break out my scanner so I could begin listening to yard chatter to get a heads up on what was going down. Just as I got it turned on I heard a whistle blow and saw the gates drop on the crossing a few hundred yards back at the mainline I had been paralleling. I figured I'd stop and check to see if it was my train and if not it would still be an easy ride to the yard.

Sure enough it was my train. This was nice because I could scan the entire train and not have to move a muscle. The head end passed and about half way back the train a string of forty eights came by. A little too quick to catch but I made a mental note of their position and started counting cars. The train began to slow and a couple piggy backs came into view with ladders and after missing one I caught the second and made my way up onto the grated platform. I was pretty visible so I laid low and planned on hopping off before the yard limit.

The train started picking up speed so I bailed early making exaggerated strides until I could bring it down to a jog and eventually stop. I hiked the rest of the way to the yard, found my train on the number one main and quickly found my forty eight. I settled in and the train began moving shortly after a fairly quick crew change. It moved closer to the other end of the yard and stopped. I poked my head up and there not 15 feet from me was a yard worker looking in my general direction.

"SHIT!" I cursed in my head and ducked down. "Great I've ended this trip before it even started." I said to myself. I figured I would slightly peek up to see if he was coming over or if he saw me. I moved slowly and lifted my head up just far enough to look under the grating of the forty eight and he was still standing in his original position. I got out my scanner and put in my ear piece to listen and see what he was saying on the radio. Ends up he was just radioing in the pressure on the FRED he had just placed on the north bound next to my train.

Just as I found that out the tower called my train number and told the crew to have a nice trip south. The slack came down the line and we where off. I stayed up for a while, making my way over the bridge and on into Kentucky. I finally started to get a little chilly and sleepy after having a few pulls of whiskey and broke out some sweat pants a fleece jacket and put them on over my other clothes. Feeling more comfortable I got out my mat and blanket, had a couple more pulls off the bottle and bedded down.

I woke up in Tennessee around dawn and we were making good time. As we crossed the Cumberland River I knew we would be heading into Kayne Ave. Yard to swap crews soon so I packed up so I could lay a little lower or bail if need be. The crew change went off without a hitch and soon we were out of Kayne Yard and heading through Nashville at a decent clip. We headed south through Murfreesboro and on into more rural parts of Tennessee.

The closer I got to Chattanooga the landscape became nicer and nicer. We stopped for about 20 minutes in a small yard to either add helper units or wait for a couple of helpers to get off the hill and clear the main. I couldn't tell quite what was going on over the scanner. We crossed Nickajack Lake in which the train crosses a mile or so long causeway which was one of the sights I was looking forward to on this trip. It was neat looking at all the boats, families, and fisherman as I blasted passed them and not even noticing this tiny speck of a head on this giant train.

We started winding up inclines into the hills outside Chattanooga. About an hour later my train had come to a stop on the bypass line outside Wauhatchee Yard a few miles outside of Chattanooga. I hopped off and made my way down the ballast to the highway.

I walked a couple miles into Wauhatchee, TN and found a little bar with a few locals in it. I went down a couple of buildings and stashed my pack then made my way back inside. The predominant conversation centered around NASCAR and me being less than a fan I pretty much kept to myself and enjoyed the cold air and even colder beer. I sat there for a while until I got a good beer buzz and headed out. The humidity hit me like a truck but felt good at the same time.

There was a bridge I could see down the road a little ways so I started making my way towards it. Looking over the side of it I saw a nice deep creek and decided to go for a swim. I made my way to the creek and stripped down to my boxers and dove in. The water was pretty much perfect and I spent the next half an hour or so just floating around on my back and relaxing. I got out and dried off so I could put my clothes on and head back to Wauhatchee to get some train beer and something to eat.

I found a little grocery store that sold beer and had a deli in it. I picked up a few tall boys and a cheese sandwich and made my way back to find a place to jungle for the night and wait for my train due early next morning. I slept restlessly all night being awakened by about every train that came through. My train finally came in around dawn but it was hauling. I thought it was going to blow right through on into Nashville or at least stop too far up the line for me to catch in time and it damn near did.

Every forty eight I saw was going way too fast, then came the piggy backs, still too fast. Once the train slowed down enough for me to catch something on the fly it was COFC as far as I could see. I was losing hope fast on catching this ride. The train came to a halt finally with still nothing but COFC in front of me. I looked down towards the end of the train and saw or rather heard a 53 with two generators in it and a container on top of them.

I figured it would probably have a grate in the bottom so I beat feet down to it and hopped in. One of the generators was running and it was loud and smelly as all hell. I wedged myself down into a little crevice next to the rear generator which was not running and put some ear plugs in. It seemed like it would provide pretty good cover and did. The trip back was pretty uneventful and I did a lot of sleeping and had a couple beers.

I pulled into the yard in my home town about 9 hours later and hopped off the train and made my way up to the road. I passed a guy on his bike that was using his cell phone and looking down at the train I just came in on. I said hello to the guy and just kept walking and didn't think too much about it other than a thought in the back of my mind that he reminded me of an off duty cop.

After making my way off the bridge and down the road about a hundred yards I hear a car coming so I turn around and I'll be damned if it's not a sheriff pulling to the opposite side of the road towards me with his lights blazing. He makes me take my pack off and gives me the pat down and informs me someone saw me get off the train and that in the state of Indiana... blah blah blah, but that he's not going to make a big deal out of it. Just the words I wanted to hear so I relaxed. He runs my info, gives it back to me, tells me to have a nice day and I start my walk home.

Close to 600 miles and only two trains made out for a pretty nice Memorial Day weekend.


Bad Luck Since Friday the 13th

My whole summer has been bad luck, but from about Friday the 13th...things have gotten pretty fucking crazy. It was Friday the 13th when I was helping a few of my friends lighten their load, because, although they're homeless, they still manage to collect tons of useless crap... They are talking forever, and asking me for tons of bullshit favors, when all the sudden my soda wanted to drink the whiskey I was holding for a friend, he got totally pissed when I wouldn't let him and promptly donated my journal, which means everything to me, to the salvation army.

I didn't realize what he had done until later that day. When I went to talk to the salvation army they tell me they dumped it in a giant dumpster that was packed with stuff, and that I couldn't even go in for insurance reasons. So that night me and my partner go to search the dumpster at night after the business was closed. We hop the fence, and it promptly scratches the hell out of me... search in the dumpster... no luck... and besides, there is a prostitute with long purple hair screaming at us from out side the fence... we decide to bail. But the Friday the 13th luck follows us.

It was the next day that I got the shit scared out of me. Me and my partner and my dog are walking across a Train tressel (bridge) to find a place to sleep that night. My dogs feet kept falling through the little gaps in-between the tracks, so she starts to walk on the wooden foot path while I walk on the tracks. The problem with the foot path is it has a lot of big holes and its a far drop. We get to a big hole, and although she can't see much I think she must have stopped to sniff the difference in air where the boards were gone, she was right on the edge, and she must have lost her balance, because she falls right into the hole. I freak out and dive into my shins catching her leash and holding on as tight as I can. It was one of the scariest moments of my life, because if I can't pull her up fast enough she's likely to get hung, and if i let go, she will probably be killed from the fall. So I scream and my partner turns around, I forgot he was there in the panic, but he was really strong. With in seconds he has pulled her onto the tracks... and we freeze for a second both on top of her, keeping everything still for a moment to process what had just happened. We walked all the way across the bridge that night and made our campfire like usual... but I still couldn't believe that I almost lost my dog...

That night she slept in between us on the sleeping bag.

After that we decide to do things a little different and decide to go south by way of the road. I had been drinking all day, right about the time we arrive near Virginia Beach... but slowly... and wasn't very drunk. We were just on the outskirts of town, and ready to find a place to sleep... when a cop finds me peeing on the side of the road. I get so pissed that hes bothering me for peeing that I instantly start giving him a hard time. "Dude, I was PEEING!! I had to PEE....Commmmoooonnn!!!" He gets pissed gives me a breathalyzer, I'm under age, and yes, have been drinking. He's even more pissed. He asks me if I have anything in my pockets he should know about, I keep fucking with him and telling him I have a tiny golden fiddle in my pocket... after him being confused for a while, he realizes he being fucked with and takes me to jail.

Jail was fucking cold... and the janitor kept looking in the cell and touching himself. The end of my stay some other girls were arrested, and we all ended up cuddling with each other in our cell to stay warm.

I highly recommend Virginia Beach as a fun vacation spot to take your family.


Cross country and to the right

So I suppose the start of all this was after we got to Seattle. It was the 4th of July with all the drunkenness, debauchery, and hangovers. My friends, Bryan and Gus were already in Missoula, so we decided to hitch on over there to meet up. Instead of trying to catch out of Seattle and having our train take the high line (thus being nowhere near Missoula), we decided to hitch the 90 over. We scammed the bus east over to Issiquah (oh, how I love Seattle's bus system) and hopped on the exit there. Four hours later, no luck, and it was dark. We woke up bright and early to try again.

Before we even got our sign up some dude in a brand new SUV pulled over- a cool guy. He was from Brazil. He dropped us off just past the Gorge in a little town called George. (no rhyme intended) We hitched under an overpass by the exit because it was blistering hot. Eastern Washington ain't no joke in the summer. An hour later, this weird woman picked us up and said she could take us 20 miles down the road to Moses Lake. It turned out she was an ex-hitchhiker. She was also a security guard. Bleh. She dropped us off at a desolate trfuck stop.

Moses Lake sucked. Nowhere really to pull over on the exit, no shade. So we decided to say fuck it and get on the highway. It was just as bleak looking there, too. One car passed every 15 minutes. Then a tractor trailer pulled over for us. This hasn't happened to me in years. It almost seems like truckers barely pick up hitchhikers anymore. We were stoked. We walked up and this little hiphop kid poked his head out the window and asked us where we were headed.

"Montana," I told him. He said hop in, they're going the same way. His uncle, who was driving, said "Y'alls best not be no serial killer mutha fuckers or we gonna shoot yo ass," It was cool, though. They were from Oakland taking a load to Billings. We listened to gangster rap the whole way and played some playstation. When we got to Missoula we passed it by 6 miles, because the truck stop he was stopping at was in East Missoula. I got out, thanked him, and got some food.

Some kid who overheard us talking about how we needed to get back into Missoula, said he'd just gotten out of jail east of where we were and needed to get back to Missoula, too. I hooked him up with a doobie as a freedom present and he said he'd get us a ride in with him. His friends came but there wasn't enough room, so we just ended up sleeping next to the highway. The next day, we stuck out our thumb for 2 seconds and some lady picked us up.

In Missoula, we found Bryan and Gus living at this college chick's house getting a little too comfy. We stayed about a week ourselves. We went tubing down the Clark Fork River, had lots of beer drinking, skated the new skate park. At their building, we made mass amounts of poppy tea, and left to continue our journey. Me and Kayla started out first. Before we even got on the highway, this college dude picked us up. He already had another hitchhiker with him. He dropped us at the junction to 93. We waited in the hot ass sun for about an hour and then these two brothers picked us up. The one had just gotten back from picking up the other in Casper, WY. They were on the last leg of their trip. They had a case of beer pre-cracked and offered us some. They dropped us in St. Ignatius.

We got burritos at this little mom and pop store and then started walking down the highway. There was lots of construction going on, so there wasn't many good places for people to pull over. We found a side road and hitched off that. This older hippyish dude from the Bay area gave us a lift to Polson. He gave me the usual "I used to hitchhike stories" where gay truckers trying to hit on him and of his Alaskan adventures. In Polson, the highway split to go around the lake and we didn't know this, so we started walking into town along the highway. Some little old lady pulled over just to tell us we were going the wrong way to get to Whitefish. She told us the short way was 3 miles back from where we had just come from. So we walked all the way back. After an hour we got picked up by a tweaker dude who had just come back from court in Missoula. He smoked us out and dropped us off in Kalispell (the white trash answer to Whitefish).

Five minutes later, this guy pulls over into this huge ditch. He's at a 45 degree angle. We hop in the back of his truck and his wife hands us a couple twisted iced teas. They only took us a couple miles but we got dropped off at a place with a shoulder. Then right after, we started walking, another dude pulls over. He seemed kind of sketchy at first, but later on it turned out he was a BNSF worker who was on his way to work up in Whitefish. He told us all about his job grinding track and gave us the low down on the hop out spot. He dropped us off right at the station.

We were beat so we chilled out in Credit Union park and watched the yards. Then we met these two other kids waiting on a train. One from Texas and one from Delaware. We all threw in and got a bunch of tall boys. 89 cents a piece! It was getting dark and we were about half way through our beer when Gus and Bryan finally showed up. We all killed off the booze and went up town.

It was a hopping night in Whitefish. Somehow Bryan got a bunch of promotional shots of Jager off some dudes. We raged it up, etc. We found a decent spot to crash out in the woods near the tracks and passed out. Next day, we found a bunch of tortillas in the Safeway dumpster. We were nearing our goal of having enough train food. We ended up meeting this couple who had just hopped in from Minneapolis. We got a bunch of booze and went swimming in the pristine Whitefish Lake. Next day was hop out day.

We got all our shit together in the park and while this was going on, this old hippie dude pulled up with 3 hitchhikers in his van. He came and hung out and gave us some beer and the kids immediately went and hopped on a train to Seattle. Then these Christians came up and gave us 2 large pizzas and some tampico. We lugged our shit to the spot and waited, and waited, but never got anything that day.

Next day we hopped on a 48, and within a couple hours, we were on our way. When we got to about West Glacier National Park, some mean clouds started forming. It started raining on us and thundering as we entered the first tunnel. It was awesome! The park was frickin pristine! Crystal clear teal rivers and the storm were making everything more intense. We'd get ahead of the storm and it would stop raining, our bucket would drain and be dry again, and then we'd go into a hole and the storm would catch back up with us. This happened throughout all of Glacier. At one point we rounded a curve and there was a crazy bright double rainbow going into the head end of the train. Afterwards, the scenery started getting more bland and flat and we slept and woke up outside of North Dakota.

It was mostly nothingness until we got farther into eastern ND. There were lots of ghost towns and shit. We pulled into Minots yards about midday and sat for a couple hours and then rolled on along. We fell asleep and woke up in Northtown, Minneapolis' yards. We got out made a long ass walk into the outskirts of town and caught a bus to city center. We found an awesome bridge camp spot with a kick ass fire pit and furniture, right on the Mississippi River.

Next couple of days was spent mostly getting drunk, sweating our asses off, bickering, flying signs, digging in the Mall of America's trash, and preparing to exodus Minneapolis. We went to the old Union yards where, apparently, they leave strings for a day and pick them up en-route to Chicago. We waited all day. Nothing. So we ended up taking a bus all the way back to the confusing-ass Northtown yards. We stayed up most of the night watching the bulls race around the yards as stuff started coming in, but no double stacks came in all night. At 4 am, I decided to take a walk and found this awesome ass abandoned warehouse with electricity and unlocked doors! We crashed out at 5 am, and woke up at 6 am to a double stack creeping into the yards. We scrambled and found a nice evergreen bucket. We waited. The air came up. We moved 2 inches and stopped. This continued for the next 30 hours!

After 12 hours of waiting in the hot ass 100 degree humidity, we finally started moving more than a couple feet. We got just outside the yards and stopped again. This time when I looked up, I saw there was someone else riding with us on this train. He introduced himself as JustDave. He claimed he was FTRA. We chatted a bit and then the train aired up again. We went about 2 miles and stopped outside the CP yards. He ran out to some deserted units and got a bunch of desperately-needed water and by the time he got back, we started moving again. We made it all the way to the old Union yards where we were waiting in the first place and the units detached and left us sitting there like suckers!

Me and Dave went to the McDonalds and dumpstered some shit and got more water. We came back and slept on the train. At about 12 o'clock, it started raining on us and thundering. Gus got soaked to the bone, because he tried to sleep through it. We found an old boxcar and slept till the morning. Got up, climbed on, and still nothing. About midday another stack pulled up and stopped. Then, miraculously the units to our train came back and we started up again!!

As we were rolling along, it started misting, which later turned into rain. We got to the intermodal yards and stopped. This should have been our first clue. They backed us up and pulled us forward back and forth for awhile. Then we pulled up onto a track on the furthest side of the yard (next to the container unloaders) and the power dynamited. Just then it started pouring harder then I had seen in years. We got out and had no choice but to walk right through the center of the yards where everything was going on. We got some smiles and some disapproving glances but we got out with no problem and found a awning in a park to dry our shit in. So the next day it cleared up and we decided to walk (5 miles we were told) to the St. Paul yards. We ended up walking about 10 miles or so and when we finally got there (pigs eye yard) we realized we were out of water.

There was no water source for a couple miles and the yard was ridiculous. So since we were right next to highway 61 (parallels the Mississippi the whole way down) we hitched it. Me and Kayla got dibbs on first again. And within minutes this ZZ-Top looking dude picked us up and dropped us 2 miles outside of Hastings. We walked into town and slept at a community center on the outskirts. Got a ride the next morning from this dude from Washington. He dropped us off in Red Wing where this kid picked us up and took us to his 1800's log cabin out in the sticks and showed me his pot plants. I gave him a bunch of good Mendocino seeds and he dropped us off in Lake City (the birthplace of water skiing). We stunk, so we took baths in the lake and after walking up to the highway instantly this old black dude picked us up. Cool dude. He dropped us in Wabasha and gave us all the change in his ash tray despite us telling him we didn't need it.

Here we waited a good stretch of time; had a couple fake outs. You know where fuckos pull over and wait till you get up to their cars and then pull away. They didn't even do it right! Finally, this cool chick pulls over and takes us to Winona. She took us up on this 500-foot cliff that overlooked Winona and told us we had just missed the Crimethinc gathering deal that just happened there, but that that weekend was creamed corn wrestling with free food and beer. It sucked though, because we were on a stupid schedule, so we continued on hitching. She left us at a Quick Trip. And there we learned firsthand the joys of a Quick Trip dumpster. Some kid picked us up and smoked us out and dropped us in La Crosse, our final destination.

We met this dude with a house boat, and he and his wife were on there way to New Orleans. We were supposed to go hang out with them but we ran into Gus and Bryan instead. They had got a ride the whole way straight shot style. We drank and slept and later on went to the yards. We got on a string that looked like it had just been made up and took off. We flew!!!! We probably went 70 some miles per hour the whole way to the Illinois state line where we had our first siding. I felt like we were gonna jump right off the tracks. Then we trucked down to Savannah, IL where our train went into the yard and stayed a couple hours. We went to sleep and woke up outside Chicago in the town of Aurora. Bryan and Gus jumped off while we were still drifting, and Gus ate shit (had to throw that in Gus).

We caught the METRA into downtown where we learned Lallapolooza was starting. But we had to get on our way once again, so we caught the south shore commuter train (for a nominal fee) to South Bend, Indiana. Once there we took a bus into Osceola. Then we started our walk 10 miles into Elkhart. Along the way this guy pulled into the gas station where we were getting water. He gave us a ride to the Elkhart Walmart and told us about how Elkhart was the R.V. manufacturing capital of the world. Woooooo! We made bank and some lady bought us about $90 worth of food. We walked (in the wrong direction) towards what we thought was the yards. Then after a couple miles we realized we were a good 7 miles away.

While we were walking back, this pimped-out custom van with a husky sticking out the window pulled over. We weren't even hitchhiking. The guy dropped us off right at the yards. He said he used to ride freights, so he knew right where it was. We found a nice waiting spot and right before it started to get dark, we heard a train in the distance. Sure enough, a black Norfolk Southern unit pulled right in double stacked to the brim. We found adjoining 48's and pulled out right after. We hauled ass all the way to Toledo. It stopped in the yards there for about 15 minutes and continued on.

Somewhere about 20 miles out from Toledo, we were moving along at about 50 or 60 mph and all the sudden we hear a "sssssssssss," like the units disconnecting. Then we smelled burning plastic or oil or something as the brakes locked up. Apparently our train had broke in half. It took them 3 hours to get us rolling again. All the while, we were right next to a marshy swamp rife with mosquitoes. We got going again and made it to Pittsburgh's Conway yards by noon. We were on one of the mains there but we hadn't moved for hours. Then a unit came by and the engineer gave us a shitty look. And this was right after the bull had driven by. So we jumped off and hightailed it out of the yards. We took a bus into Pittsburgh.

We were supposed to meet up with some friends that lived in Somerset but we couldn't get out there, so we ended up wandering around downtown. We caught a bag lunch, and retired in Triangle Point Park, under a little pedestrian bridge. Next day, we caught a bus after waiting hours on the east side of Pittsburgh so we could hitch I-70. There were signs proclaiming hitchhiking to be illegal in PA, plus we had warrants, so we gave up. Then we noticed a Conrail intermodal sign that said 3.8 miles for trucks. We followed the signs and took a break at this gas station where this punk rock kid that was working gave us free hot dogs and shit.

We realized the signs were taking us to Wall, PA. We found the spot and waited. All day, and the next day nothing rideable came. We got a 30-pack and got a bit loud and the town cops came and ran our names and told us to not be on the property. Just after they left a train pulled in going the opposite way we were trying to go. We talked to a brakeman and he told us that nothing going east stops in Wall and that the train he was on was going to Kansas City via Conway. So we hopped on a piggy and went back to the yards in Conway. We slept on a grainer that had a freddy on it facing east. We woke up still in the yards, waited all day. Nothing.

One crew change all day and we missed it, because me and Gus were messing around further down in the yards. We ran out of water and gave up. We found an old set of steps that went over the mains and out to a plaza with a grocery store. We got a fatty dinner and refilled our water and as night fell, we slipped back into the yards to see what we could see. We waited in a field of empty boxcars right off the mains from the crew change. All the sudden, as if someone opened a valve, trains left and right started pulling up and crew changing, one right after the other. We let some go and then decided on a nice single stack that pulled up. We jumped in, fell asleep and woke up in Harrisburg. Then we fell back asleep and woke up tracing our way down the Susquehanna River on our way to Baltimore. Damn it! (You see, we are all from Maryland and have retarded warrants there and aren't allowed back in the state.)

We got out in North West Baltimore, luckily only 3 miles or so from Gus' brother Luke's house. We spent a week there doing various bad things and then caught a ride with our friend Lauren down to Stafford, VA. Hung out there at some other friend's house and then hitched out 3 days later. A sheriff kicked us off the exit, first thing. We decided to stay anyways and a hippy dude from L.A. picked us up, gave us cheeseburgers and ice water and dropped us in Fredericksburg. While we were hitching there, some dude from across the street wanted to know which way we were heading on 95. We told him Richmond and he offered to give us a ride down there, but the stipulation was we had to stop at every Waffle House along the way. He was a caretaker for them and he was on the clock. I offered to help him mow the lawns and shit and when we got to Richmond he gave us $20.

In Richmond, we got dropped off a mile from the yard and couldn't quite make sense of the yards at first. They were really hard as fuck to access. We found an empty unlocked truck trailer to sleep in for the night. In the morning, we walked into town and stocked up on food and water and cigarettes. We found a decent covered area in a dry river bed near the mains and waited. Q131 and Q137 both pulled up right on time and left without us because they were crew changing in the middle of the yards buried 4 strings deep. After the next day, we kind of figured things out and luckily, while we were deep in the yard, a piggy pulled up on the outside this time, and we jumped on it. We fell asleep somewhere after Rocky Mount, NC and then woke up in Savannah, GA. We cruised into Jacksonville an hour later.

Done and done! Till next time!


Hopping through Canada in the Winter...

It's a wonderful idea, but take my advice and do not go through the prairies unprepared. This is the story of my first time train hopping.

We started off in Oakland, planning to take the high line across the states and go to New York. We stopped in Portland, Oregon for a minute and camped in the woods of Washington Park. We caught a train out of Portland heading north, and after we kept heading north we started to get excited. "Hell yeah," I thought to myself. We were going to Canada. It was a lovely ride up. We stopped right before Blain, Washington, where we sat in a boxcar with junk piled up on top of us so in case someone was looking, we would look like a pile of junk. Someone did come eventually come looking for us, and whoever it was threw a rock at us. Doug popped his head up.

"Alright, get outta there," said a worker. So we did. It was a good thing the guy got us out because they close up all the box cars at this point. We were walking away down the highway next to the train planning to get on a canadian grainer once we were out of sight. But no more than 2 minutes down the way the border patrol comes in and hassels us. They tell us not to walk the 2 miles to Blain, but to walk the 12 miles to another town that I can't remember the name of. I guess Blain isn't 'transient friendly'. By the time they were gone, the train had we wanted had left so we walked off into some shrubbery and laid down a tarp, sat on it, and pulled out the awesome tiny primus stove I had stolen from the REI in Portland and made some oatmeal and tea. We didn't wait very long but it was dark by the time a new train came. We ran and got on a grainer, one of the ones with the high walls around the porch. Seeing workers coming our way on both sides of the train, flashlights in hand, searching cars, we jumped off and hid in some bushes right next to the train and tried to lay low and still. They searched our grainer and then searched the bushes we were in. Their flashlights were right on us, but they didnt see us! It was fun. We waited until they got way down the line and the train started to move and we hopped on and by 5 am or so we were in Delta, British Columbia. I'm not sure where the train ended up, we jumped off while it was rolling slowly because we were worried about where it was going. Fortuneately Delta isn't far from Vancouver and you can take a 1.75 bus there. Vancouver is a big place, and no one knew what "downtown" meant. Having no clue as where to go, we asked some home bum about feedings and he sent us to a place near Hastings street. We ate as we walked down hastings street.

"Holy fucking shit," I thought to myself, there were so many drugs and so many drugged people. Dirty needles on the ground, eight or nine people huddled around sharing a crack pipe, people all over had crazy craters on their face. Dirty as fuck. Bad place for us to be in. Temptation got the better of us eventually and we had some really sleazy ass nights where we rented a crack head's apartment for ten bucks. But he ended up coming home at around midnight instead of 10 am. It was a gross night. We also ran into some kids Doug knew and stayed at the ALF house for a couple nights, but I was too shy to talk to anyone... and too stoned. We smoked a lot of hash there. We went to a bar that I can't remember the name of, but served dollar pints of some tasty beer and served to almost anyone (I wasnt even 19 at the time so i was underage even in Canada) which was damn good considering the prices of beer in Canada... it's crazy expensive if you didn't know. We eventually wanted to move on.

Talking to some more kids we met, they told us that Vancouver is too confusing to get out of, and we should hitchhike to North Bend. We ended up getting a ride from this really awesome guy who worked on this team that invented a new kind of greenhouse. Apparently their greenhouse used the plants energy to run it instead of the air conditioner (I wish I could have talked with him more, but he got me stoned, and I just should never get stoned, ya know?) and we were in North Bend, or what we thought was North Bend. There were two tiny little cities, one was North Bend and the other... was another city I forgot the name of (I'm not a very good story teller, eh?) but they look very simular and theres a river in between them and a bridge that connects the two. In North Bend only east bound trains go through, on the other side only west bound. So we get on a unit and ride pretty comfortably... and eventually fall asleep... and woke up in Vancouver! That really sucked, so we walked to the highway again. This time it took us 2 or 3 days to get to North Bend, although one really nice french canadian guy took us to his house and let us shower and clean our clothes and cooked us a vegetarian dinner, and smoked a cigar with Doug.

Once we got to North Bend Doug had gotten really sick and he was not a very nice boy at all. We got on a double stack train and I was so happy and excited! Doug was curled up in his sleeping bag, head and all. It was an amazing ride. From North Bend to Kamloops we followed the Fraiser River, and it was all icy. Also, in the tunnels there were huge icicles as big as I was, hanging from pipes. The mountains were snowy and the air was cold, but it was the most beautiful things I had ever seen, and I really wish I had brought a camera with me. I drew pictures of the scenery instead. But I think I've lost those by now.

We got to Kamloops and took Doug to the hospital, as by this point he was really sick. He gave them a fake name and a fake mailing address, said he was homeless and got free treatment. It was awesome, and after a while he felt better and I could actually talk and move without being scoulded at. We mostly hung out at this "drop-in" that was open all day and some of the night. There was free coffee and tea all day and sometimes donuts. That's all it seemed to be, a coffee and tea house for the homeless. There were some really interesting characters there. We slept in the back of a U-Haul moving truck. A lot of the homeless had a U-Haul to themselves, and across the street from the drop-in was a U-Haul center where all the backs of the trucks were open. Right in front of the backs of each U-Haul truck was... yep, the train tracks, and not only that, but the train yard's crew change spot. It was an awesome set up.

We stayed in Kamloops for three days and then hopped out again. We were riding a canadian grainer when we got to Calgary in the middle of the night. We should have gotten off but we were too cold and too lazy to get out of our sleeping bags. Both of us onlyhad 40 degree sleeping bags and a fleece blanket we got from a drop in, and it was getting reallly cold. We kept riding, and once we got past the mountains and into the prairies it was really cold. We couldnt get off anywhere because there was no place for us to get off for a long time. For three days we were on that train, making lots of tea to try to stay warm, and we had to drink it really fast once it was done boiling because it would get cold very quickly. We started running out of water, so our solution was to jump off the train whenever it stopped to collect snow and boil that up.

One morning at about 6 am we woke up to a stopped train. We jumped out and fuck, we were dropped off at a grain facility. It was fucking freezing outside, I hardly had any warm clothes and was really stressing out. We're looking around in the middle of the prairie, and we see some buildings far off in the distance. Hoping that it was a town, we start walking until we come upon some workers and asked them what was the best way to get there. They said along the tracks, so thats what we did. After following it for about 5 miles, I was so cold I was crying like a little wuss. I had the fleece blanket wrapped around my head and my sleeping bag wrapped around my hand yet I was still freezing all over. We finally got to the town, but there was a ditch with ice in between the throat of the yard and the town. Doug tried crossing it in a lot of places but the ice kept breaking and he kept falling through. It was so cold that once the top layer broke the layer underneath froze, so he didnt get very wet. Then... cop cars pull up.

I was happy to be warm. That's all I could think about. We tried to tell them we came in legally, they were very nice cops, and they took us to the station, let us have hot showers, and gave us food. Then they started asking questions. They were sending for the immigration officer, but it would be about two hours. We had time to think of a story so when he questioned us seperately we would have the same story. Doug thought I'd give in but I said I wouldn't give in as long as he didn't. He was questioned first and eventually gave in. We were thrown in jail for a week. Later we were picked up in Moosejaw and thrown into a jail in Regina, and since I was a young female and all the jails in Regina were prisions, tough ones at that, they put me in a place where I had a cell all to my myself. It drove me crazy. All they gave me to read was romance novels, Stephen King thrillers, and medical thrillers. Doug got slapped around by the abiriginols in prision, and he was one of the very, very, few white people there.

We eventually got deported and banned from canada for one year. They took us to Portal, North Dakota, where luckily for us there was a crew change spot right there, but it was still so cold we couldn't sleep outside. We got on the train and ended up in Minot, North Dakota (North Dakota is so weird) and stayed with a really odd couple who cooked us "cabbage soup" the ingredients of which were cabbage, bacon fat, peaches, and cinnamon roles (no joke) in the morning they cooked an omlette with the left over cabbage soup and cut up pieces of personal pan pizza. The lady made me go to court with her. They pulled in a couch from the trash can for us to sleep on and gave us lots of weird stuff like a candle"for atmosphere", sanitizing hand wipes "two flavors" a flashlight "just in case" and some candy, which I ate. We left in the morning the next day while they were still passed out. We caught a unit heading to chicago but were pulled off by some asshole rail cop in Minneapolis. He almost arrested us but didnt want to because it would mean hed have to be in court on monday, which he would have off otherwise. Despite not arresting us, he treated us pretty badly. After that I was so worn out and tired and cold that warm sunny Florida sounded pretty nice. I still had some money left over and so did Doug, so I went home to Florida and he went to New York. I was welcomed by Florida's warm sun. He was arrested.


Bring Back the Sun

Welcome to the mall of America

the great myopic hall of America

They just build wall after wall

build them so tall

That they put a Ferris wheel inside

Drifting up and up and side to side

Gliding into this graveyard for the sky

Never even wondering why

They'd rather be mind, heart and temperature controlled

consoled by images of so called perfection

Using consumption for an excuse for downright dereliction

Can't you feel the constriction

In this place that represents the freedom of restriction

It's this place like every place

It's this face and that face shrouded, emotion free

Their bags so full, their hearts so empty

We've been cleaning up their messes with dirty dishwater

watching every complimentary gaze fail to falter

and we've been standing in the corner

with the serving trey just waiting on the coroner

looking at these stupid shops

killing or simply drilling another oil well

to keep us all wet with blood from the things they sell

they'll just pay us to mop it away

Since it was ours anyway

and that's the price we pay

for their kind of redemption

another sign of our exemption

from every rule

bleeding to death daily just to drool

over some new toy

never realizing that it was all just a ploy

To get us here

ride the Ferris wheel to assuage your fear

again and again around another time

never seeing the sky for the crime

committed against it

omitted and fenced, it just wanted a chance

Just wanted to dance

wanted to be considered equal

despite altitude

despite attitudes about the whether

and whether that unsightly stain

was caused by acid rain

or just acid wash, down the drain

so many changes that it all just stayed the same

In this place where fame is the name of the game

and the roll calls of "what up y'alls?"

seem almost as surreal to me

as a naturally growing tree here

It costs more then you can imagine

But we've finally blotted out the sun

Gone inside to trade for a little fun

of someone else’s creation

Because consumerism has consumed the nation

and no matter how many times you change the station

they'll still sell you a bright brand new you

a simple, vivid hue of our future, unless we fight it

clear the path, commence to light it

with a defiance so bright it

will bring back the sun.


Ain't Goin' Home
There's a girl sittin' somewhere tonight

Waitin' on a whistle, waitin' on a light

From a cold unforgiving freight train

'Cuz it's better then the cold of the midnight rain

And maybe you'll see her maybe you won't

If you've got thoughts of bring her home, don't

Because she's bound for California, it's there she's bound to roam

Yeah she's bound for California, she ain't never comin home

Oh there's a man waitin' by that ol' CORP line

Tryin' to run away, tryin' to beat time

What he's runnin' from I really can't say

Just that he always starts to cryin' when that train rolls his way

All ragged and tired he's bound to roam

Runnin' on to California 'cuz he ain't goin' home

Well those old timer cars and that old timer track

Sometimes they'll swing ya 'till you damn near break your back

But that's how it goes when you're just along for the ride

It is what it is and you take it in stride

When you're broken down dirty and lookin to roam

When you're broken down dirty 'cuz you just won't go home

Hell, I'd give you a lesson if I had one to give

But sometimes in life, the lesson is live

And I don't have the time now to write it all down

'Cuz that damn ol' train's comin' and I've gotta get to town

Because I'm dirty, I stink, and it's my lot to roam

And I swear, I swear, I swear, i'll never make it home


Too stoned to hop, or how to hitch hike a freight train

This is the story of three people that were just too damn stoned to get on the train.

Well, we decided to leave Too Stoned Arid Zone and go up the coast to Portland, Seatac to see what was going on. I had met some of the traveling kids from seattle and portland, this was about 7 years ago, and we decided to see what was up with them and have some fun. Well there's certian times in Tucson where you just can't get away from pot there no matter how hard you try. Fortunately we had more than enough for ourselves and for everyone that we met on our trip and still had some left when we eventually got there.

Started the trip, hopped out of the west side of the Tucson yards in to a rear unit. I think it was numbear 5 unit. We wanted the refrigerator so our beer and wine would stay cold for the duration. Well, 3 or 4 minutes after jumping on this fucking unit alarm bells go off. The conductor comes back and essentally tells us that the unit that we're on keeps coming out of the control circuit and this is going to be one slow fucking train and we're going to be sided continually.

So we say "fuck it we'll jump off in Yuma and catch another ride." Well, after taking 18 hours to get to Yuma we bail. So, we're in Yuma, go to the safeway and space bags are on sale. Picked up a few of them, walked up to the old depot, and kicked back and started waiting for the train. Well, wouldn't you know it everytime a fucking train went by we were in teh middle of rolling a joint. This went on for a day and a half, til finally everybody was like, "we've just gotta get the fuck outta here." So me and my devious stoned mind concieved a plan, "we'll hitchhike the fucking train."

One of my friends that was with me has a nice set of pierced jugs. My other friend was a really good artist. SO I asked Huck the artist to make up about a 3-5 foot sign that said "Please slow down." I asked Jess to flash the unit when it came by. I stood out there with my thumb out hitchhikin. Well, low and behold the train stopped. We got on a rear unit once again, had our chilled beer in one and another unit was a B unit which had everything but the engineers seat by the console pulled out of it, so we had a great place to kick back and enjoy the ride.


Just out side of ashville

Yeah, so me and three friends grabbed out instruments and hopped into a car. Drove for 6 hours and found the road in NC we were looking for: Rabbit Den Road. Only problem: My friend Andrew is liveing in a shack on this mountain, there may not even be a road going to it, its 2AM...we have no idea where he is. We discover with dismay, that there are over a dozen houses on the mountain. So, we start at the bottom...Theres a light on in ONE house...I knock on the door, a drunk man answers.

"Um do you know where Andrew lives on this mountain??"

"Yea...He's up the hill, on that road." He says pointing.

"umm....but, what road? What dose his shack look like?"

"It's up the road, its a house, go that way you'll find it."

Okay thanks.

We head up the mountain...the car gets stuck on ice, and we are on foot...

It's pretty cold, and this mountain is steeeeep, but luckily my pack is light, and it was a full moon. We wondered up and down the path mountin for an hour or two...the snow was all sparkly, my friends were kinda pissed, but I was haveing fun. At one point we get to this little path.

"Guys, lets go up this path...."

"Nooooo Liz, your fucking crazy, he dose not live up there."

After a minute of hesitation, I give in, we go back down the mountain, to eather try to unstick our car, or try and crash on drunk mans floor.

An old woman sees us and comes out of her little-itty-bitty house in her nightgown (dude...its like 15 degrees out) I see her sillowett, and her breath as she gives us directions to Andrews.

Her speach is broken when she says, "Oh... I... know where... you kids got... stuck... I've... lived... on this mount... tain... my... whole... life."

This made it impossable to understand her directions. Soooo... back up the mountain. We get to one house. The boys think this is it... I start to knock on the door.

"No, wait, he dosent live here." I say, "these are the punks that live below him. I swear, he's up that little path."

I walk up the path, and there it is... Made completely out of dumpstered material, and the size of a tool shed. Knock on the door... walked on in.

The rest of the party was fucking sweet. SOOOO much good food (All starting with the letter P)
I met alot of good ol' mountain punks, lots of good music... the mountain side was beautiful.... la la la la... Ya know the usual.


Probably the unslickest train hopping excursion ever

[mattpist] i changed the owner of the article from yolo to mosquito. feel free to publish and edit this message out when it's ready to go on the site (08-17-07). [I contacted Mosquito to post something in the correct place, so don't publish this or delete this until she responds back (you can help edit, though, I figure everything should be present tense) - finn]

This is an entry of my travels, one of many. It is unfortunate that I can't scan these for they are riddled with drawings that coincide with writing; drawings of surroundings, etc. All taken word for word, unchanged, straight from my decrepit journal. This was a desperate moment for me and without reading the preface or the whole other 30 or so pages before, you will not understand why. But here, read if you like.. a little chunk of my life I rather enjoyed.

It's late, no clue what time though. "Right here,.." says Dan, "right here, this is where we stayed last time..." I walk up and out of the ditch on the other side and look at my surroundings. I notice a small patch of matted grass, even in the dark, I can spot a photograph, a metro map (exactly like that one I had found) and a canned chickpeas wrapper.
"Hey guys, I think THIS is the spot.." I curl up on my pack, not bothering to unroll my bag..
I'm all set on my cheap, dollar store poncho from Lachine. I miss so much having Josh around. I spoon my bag. Later on I wake up, still dark, hours have passed though because the highway has grown a lot quieter. No sign of our train, others though, all going east bound. I'm freezing, everyone's asleep. Out comes the bag finally (a sign of defeat, no train a comin'? Time for rest at last). I wake up the next day and here I am. Looks like it's going to rain. It ALWAYS rains here..
Now I can see the photograph. It looks like a B.C forest. Ancient forest..

[In the journal I have the photo taped inside]

[Next page, at the top, is a drawing I have done of the bridge we stayed under.. I took a picture of it and have it in my profile picture thing, if you care to look] [as of 8/17, I do not see any such picture? -finn]

Train hopping tags are scarce here, makes me wonder. Only two that are actually right at this spot. Two I've seen before, somewhere else, I plant mine near 'em. Looks for sure now like it's gunna rain. Haven't actually talked to mum in awhile..
The rain starts to fall in small droplets, then larger bullet sized ones. Good thing, even in the bush, we have rain cover.
"I wanna buy a 2-4, is there a Dep near by?" asks Dan.
I snigger. "What, you got somethin' against 2-4s?" he shoots me a strange glare.
"Haha.. naah.. I'm just a 40oz kinda girl!" I'm killin' time, wondering when they shipped Josh out. I insist on camping outside of the CPI until tomorrow, but Jamie said they're more than likely to ship him off bright and early and we better go get started on that train. It's thunderstorming now, still wondering if there's a Dep. We retreat to the ditch to avoid the rain... it works.
I see now an abandoned factory, two actually, on both sides. For some reason I remember the Curator... and am trying to remember the sketchy things he said...

I got to get to Detroit. He'll probably be there tomorrow, or tonight depending on when they boot him out. I feel like I'm wasting time here, but this could be my last chance on a train.. who knows what Detroit could hold. The train could take days though!
I haven't eaten since Pops yesterday morning. There's no where to really car pan, middle of a desolate highway, no where to purchase food, even if we DID manage to make money.....
Seriously, butt-fucking-nowhere on the highway. Trains aint lookin' good.
This means, even if I waved my white flag and took a greyhound to Toronto, I couldn't cause I'm no where near civilization. Finally STRAND'D for good. Sooooooo hungry.....

Well, they went to go find food/Dep/beer. About 2-3 hours have passed. I'm alone cause I'm exhausted/lazy and it's a perfect time to be alone for once from them two boys. I rummage through Dan's pack and take out his cheap ass mp3 player... FUCK YES! TUNES!
And suddenly, storm clears, blue skies, sun..
If they get some good trash scores and beer, I'll be the happiest kid on Earth.
Sweet he's got Leftover Crack..
If this train ever comes it's gunna be an awesome ride. The reeds here keep ruffling around like someone's near by..
I've seen rats and big ass spiders. Well, it's time to sew... "Here come's the sun.. doodood doodooododoo" Beatles...
[drawing here of the bridge, looking the opposite way]

The Beatles album is just about over and the battery dies... tis a sad for us all. I've heard the bull drive by three times today. I have much doubt in the success of this expedition. Especially with it being Friday the 13th and all. Sittin' in the ditch, they're still out trying to find beer and stuff. I is bored. Finally, pretty much fixed these shorts, just the ass needs tending to. Which I won't do now cause I've changed out of jeans. Dunno why I wore them so long since I woke up in the hospital, they're tightness is fucking with my bunged up tailbone.

I hear a train!!!
Lift my sorry ass halfway up, listen closer... naaah, that's a Viarail or commuter train for sure. I can tell by the sound of it. Getting very attuned with train sounds...
I hear one now, close by.. I hope it's not ours for their sake. Going to poke my head out...
Strange, I can't see anything...
It's hard to see though, there's a bend to ther left. To the right is the crew change shack, about 100ft down the track. No workers. I think I see a camera on the light post, but I've suspected that once before at another hopout spot. The #2 hopout spot try in Charny (Total disaster). Looks the same though. This hopout spots HUGE!
At least 10 sets of tracks.. you gotta run outta the ditch, across about 4 sets, under the highway overpass... across two more in an open area.. then on the seventh one is our supposed train. I read the crew change though.. it DID mention a camera somewhere near by..
Where the FUCK are those douches, it's been a long ass time...

They HAVE returned with a random bag of jokes. I take from the nearly empty bag of white bread: 3 slices... some P-nut butter from Dan's pack (peanut butter never dies!!) and half a slightly bruised banana I split with Dan. They managed to purchase a 40 of gin. How? I have no idea.. who cares. We uncap it and begin spinning. Train comin' soon supposedly.. according to Dan, who's hopped out of here before. Readin' the newspaper, one of the first anglo papers I've read in awhile. Slowly, inevitably gaining intoxication..
but trying to slow down, waiting on the train.. it will be a long ride.
I want my own bucket!!
Cleanfaced! They can ride dirty.. I want cleanfaced for once.. I've gotten stuck dirty this whole time.. I think I deserve it haha..
I climb over for a booze refill.

[picture here for power lines with crows resting and flying around, bushes, etc]

30 more pages of Cuckoo's Nest... savouring it. Crows on power lines..
I still fantasize about a crow companion. One whom can rest on my shoulder, steal shiney objects from unsuspecting hooligans. Beercan. I guess I should start thinking what I'm going to do when I reach Toronto. Mum will want me to stay as long as I can, but I'd rather not stay in town more than a day. One night and day in that room/house alone will make me go insane. I'll call Josh's mum and ask if I can hang around there until Josh arrives. I'll have to "clean up" and maybe clean my bags out to avoid hassle at the border. Fuck man, I just wanna see Josh and go to sleep, ... then maybe get drunk.. but SAFE drunk.. careful.. "k, lets not scrap in the middle of the street and get arrested, drunk"..
I mean, what did we all learn from last thursday?
Jamie and Dan are talking about the caveman days..
"Hey, you know how much easier it was back then..??" -Jamie.

[this page is drunkenly scrawled and barely legible]

FRANTIC IN PEN SEARCH!!! Inspired to write yet again!
DRUNNKDISH off gin and orange soda. Leftover Crack in my brain. Thinking all animated-like. - disconnected from conversation. They speak of manly things like relationships with opposite sexes, pussies - haha - no thanks guys... maybe another day. I listen to instead the noises coming from the earplug devices inserted into my listening orifices...indulge, musical orgasms. Expressions, discussions with no words coming out. Look at the faces. So intriguing, how human expression is. I bite my lip in anticipation.. train draws near, I feel it in my bones. FRIDAY THE FUCKING THIRTEENTH!
Luckiest day of my life. Pass that fucking gin motherfucker.. Lethbridge, Victoria, TImmons, Nelson, Saskatoon.. all across the fucking map. -SOUND SILENCE-
"none of this train hopping bullshit" -Jamie
Heroin or SUI---- [illegible]
heroin of suicide.. orange flavored poisons WHERES MY TRAIN!
It passes to me, damn I write fast. EH! JOSH! I rolled you 3 smokes and they denied me babe.. HEADS WILL ROLL. I'll see you soon.

Heroin or suicide. 2 wheels good, 4 wheels bad. I'm going to pack my bag incase the train arrives, which should be within the hour. I'll WRITE BACK WHEN I'M ON THE TRAIN!

Well, Jaela falls off the train. Jaela doesn't die though, but I fall on already injured ass. ABANDON SHIP!!

I am so fucking pissed. Dan got on, Jamie didn't. I got on and fell off. Of course, twas friday the 13th, should've expected things wouldn't go well. Totally luck wise too. A fast as hell crew change, faster than I've ever seen..
1 ridable (48) out of about 50+ suicides we ran past.. I was NOT prepared. Being drunk was no good for the situation. I was breathless and I could hear the train airing up. "IT'S AIRING UP!!" I yelled, too drunk to care for heatscoring... (my bad)
"I'M NOT GUNNA MAKE IT!!" They were both at least 40ft ahead of me.. I was flailing things left and right.. dropped a water bottle.. and some other shit.
Train starts to move, Dan switches directions now, heading right for and chasing the only 48 down the track..
I'm getting on this fucking train.. I remember thinking I've never had to ride suicide before.. but I sure as hell ain't missin' this train. I'm bolting it back now, running back the way Ive come.. sides burning!
I jump on the first suicide I can grab. I slip and afraid to lose a limb, I ABANDON SHIP!!!

Dan looks back at me. "STAY ON!" I yell, my throat parched, and my insides dematerializing. He hops as it's picking up speed and lands the same way I do.. pulled to the Earth by the weight of a 40 pound or so pack, feet in the air. Jamie didn't even bother. My injured tailbone already in shock as it is, gets round 2. I throw my pack down angrily, feeling like I just might cry. I kick the dirt, clenching my fists with anger only a drunk person could display.. or someone with anger problems. I stare now at our ride, vastly picking up speed and disappearing around the bend, through the underpass... I'm kind of dumbfounded that we hadn't have been discovered.
Fucking christ almighty. We go back down the tracks to the bridge, across the ditch, onto the highway from where we came from.. to the nearest gas station, looking for cardboard.
If I didn't have a desperate agenda, I'd have waited for another train, but really, by this point, by all I've been through.. I JUST WANT TO GET THE FUCK OUT OF MONTREAL. Time to hitchhike.

Thats it for now. I'll continue writing the rest another day. There's too much to write.
My first time actually FALLING OFF the train. Left me very disappointed. Disappointed that I could not ride one last time until I hit the states. Don't drink a shitload of gin before hopping on the fly, kiddies..
No, I'm jokin' but seriously, play it safe, wrap up your tool.
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