Washington adventure! (1 Viewer)

macks

Ballsy Adventurer
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Dec 3, 2007
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So I started out with my friend Kate in Eugene who is a good friend of a good friend. We decided to try to get a train out of Eugene, got a ride from the guitarist of my old band to the yard and waited about an hour and a half until four loud and drunk kids came and hung out. They were pretty nice and all but they were also pretty loud. After about an hour of them being there, boarding a gondola waiting off of the mainline then deboarding, then boarding again a SBD hotshot pulled in for a mainline crew change. The kids all got on the piggybacks and took off in about 15 minutes. Since we were going NBD I think we were in the wrong spot so we ended up waiting until morning and watching a few trains roll through without stopping. When it was about 6 or 7 we decided just to hitch HWY 99 to I-5 to Portland.

We walked up the highway a bit and got a ride to Junction City from a guy who was supposed to go to Portland later that day but called and backed out. So we got a quick ride to Harrisburg, about the same size as Junction City (~4000 people) and waited for a ride to I-5 for about 2 hours. After that a guy in an extremely modified rusting out VW beetle pulled over and gave us a ride to the interstate, where we were still in the middle of nowhere. The grass seed fields were all on fire so there were a ton of huuuuuge smoke clouds and a hazy tint to the air which was pretty surreal. The 4th or 5th car pulled over way down and backed up to pick us up. A nice young couple going all the way to Tualitin (just S of portland) who gave us fifteen bucks on dropping us off!

From there we caught a bus to portland and on to our friends' house where we drank a lot and went to Last Thursday and did a bit of busking. After a day of rest and more drinking we headed out Saturday afternoon with another member, Pip. We waited in North Portland for about an hour and a half until a train with a CN grainer pulled up and stopped right in front of us. We all three managed to cram in with bags and a banjo and a guitar. We rode straight through to Longview, WA where our cars got cut out. The grainer was pretty uncomfortable to wait indefinately in so we decided to make camp by the tracks in the bushes. After a hot meal we were in pretty good spirits. We had a few scares with cars we thought were looking for us but they were all false alarms.

The next day we woke up and walked about 3-4 miles OUT of town instead of IN to town and had to turn back. Walking into town we got picked up by someone who dropped us downtown and gave us advice on a good camping spot by the river. I had totally spaced that it was Sunday and no CAP bus was running so we decided not to split up and hitch but to just busk and camp a second night. (Extremely unsuccessful busking in crappy ass Longview on a Sunday).

We found a great spot to camp, made a fire when it got dark and drank some 40s and watched the trains go by on the other side of the river. All in all it was a pretty picturesque little camp out night and we had a great time.

In the morning we beat feet to the CAP station and made our bus. The bus took us to Olympia where we walked to downtown and set up shop busking outside of a coffee shop for 3 hours before moving to the front of a bar for about an hour. We did pretty well, made 27 bucks which bought us all bus fare to Seattle that night and some good dinner for the house we were crashing at.

We crashed a friends' house for a few nights just getting fed and rested and unsuccessfully trying to busk at pike's place market. Kate and I took a bus to Tacoma to try to get a train since it sounded 'busier and safer' than Seattle and bus fare was pretty cheap. Getting some directions to a catch out spot from a friend we set up and played a fairly epic session of hot dice waiting for about 4 and a half hours to get a SBD train. A DS IM pulled in for a CC but we didn't find any floors on the back third or so and didn't want to linger too long since we'd seen the bull drive in a loop around a few times. We decided to pass it up and go for a GM.

Right after we finished our game of hot dice to 20000 points a BNSF GM pulled in to do a mainline crew change and we got on a really really dirty gondola. About a half hour later we were on our way doing the loop around downtown Tacoma and heading south from there. The ride was nice, my first gondola. About 7 am we stopped but I'd never ridden into Vancouver before so we decided to stay on the train since I didn't quite know where we were.

We ended up starting up again after about 40 minutes waiting and rolled through the vancouver BNSF yard without stopping. We missed our exit when it slowed down and ended up going the extra 20 miles to Washougal, WA where it BARELY slowed down fast enough to get off and for only long enough for us to ditch. Right as I climbed over to the ladder I saw an old dude standing in the parking lot of his shop smoking a cigarette about 25 feet from the tracks. We made eye contact and I waved, not really knowing what else to do at that point. We both fell on our asses getting off and scurried up the onramp to a gas station where we asked how to get to Portland. The bus was reasonable so we did it, arriving in downtown not too long afterword.

We managed to score a free meal and play some more dice by the river until we met up with some friends at overlook park to catch up and watch some trains in the Albina yard. My pops works in Portland and commutes from Salem every day (where I was headed to celebrate a friends' birthday) so we were going to get a ride from him from the Beaverton transit center. We're riding the MAX by the Albina yard and I see this train pulling out so I trace a car. It's interchange traffic with P&W in Albany, the same train I rode a while back with veggieguy that stopped in salem to drop off cars too.

We decided to try to catch the train, so we hurredly got off the MAX and jogged to the break in the fence at about the same time the units passed. About 20-30 cars later an open boxcar rolled by and we were in. About 1 hour or so later (of beautiful Willamette Valley farmland views and 'bible' sunbeams shooting down from the sky) we pulled to a stop in the central Salem yard and we ditched. I immediately called my pops and it turns out we beat him to Salem! Hell yeah! I still can't believe our fortune and timing there, blows my mind.

So here we are after 36 hours of no sleep, hardly eating and 2 train rides happy as clams.

Alright this was a pretty quick overview and I left out a lot of details but there was my most recent trip in a nutshell, a pretty great one as far as I'm concerned!
 
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macks

macks

Ballsy Adventurer
Joined
Dec 3, 2007
Messages
484
Age
34
Website
macksemil.wordpress.com
Is there a return trip or do those cars come up to Portland loaded on different trains? I like that train because it's like 20% open boxcars.. and it stops right into my old hood in salem!
 

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