TrampingAround - A collection of hobo stories and journals

Welcome to my dorky hobo page!

This is just a thrown together site as of yet... In the near future I'm gonna' add pictures and stories from my travels this past summer. But for now y'all will have to make due with my journal. This was a mass email journal that I updated whenever I could find a public computer. I hope to someday make this into a zine, but I've been somewhat less than proactive as of yet.

I apoligize for the shaddyness of the page. Soon I'll put some better xhtml together for all this so it looks better... Until then, this should do okay.

One last note: everything on here is verbatim from my emails... Sorry about spelling mistakes and grammatical errors and such.

David’s Journal #1 - April 15, 2003 - 10:01 am

Eeeek... I forgot a subject heading. I'll send this all to you again lest you think I was sending you spam. Sorry!

Howdy, hopefully this email finds you all safe and sound. Hopefully I have figured out how to use this hotmail CC stuff correctly... If not, I'll figure it out. Oh, and if there is anyone out there who does want to receive these messages, just let me know and I'll remove your name from the list. And if there's anyone that I forgot to include, well, you probably aren't gonna' see this anyway, but if you'd like to receive messages, just say so and I'll include you as well. Sorry about the mass emailing, but I only get so much time to use the libraries computers...

I headed out on Tuesday night. Axel drove me to the CP rail yard on Central in Minneapolis. We waited for just a few minutes to see what was going on. Like usual, the 6:30 train was being built up. We found a nice double-stack well car to ride and waited. We had some fun with the golfers that were playing nearby, but other than that little occuried until the train started out. Then Axel got off and I continued onward towards Chicago. It was a nice night, warm with little cloud cover. I got no rain for the entire trip. I stayed up watching the city and river go by as we headed out. After it got dark I got into my sleeping bag and promptly fell asleep. I woke when we (me and the train) went through La Crosse, but then quickly fell asleep again. It was kinda' fun seeing the BNSF yard in La Crosse from the perspective of the CP line... It cuts just past the yard. I had been there just a few weeks prior when Axel, Bart and I went down to La Crosse for the weekend. I slept some more, and then woke just before we got to Milwaukee. For some reason I got a little freaked out here and decided I should probably get my gear set lest I need to make a hasty exit should a bull patrol the train... But I fell back asleep before we got there, and I didn't wake until we were past the yard. Hehe... Yeah, silly me. I guess I didn't need to worry about it anyway. About seven in the morning the CP train arrived just outside Chicago O'Hare airport. The train slowed to a crawl to wait for clearance into the yard. That's when I jumped off and walked to the nearest gas station. I called Bart who promptly arrived two hours later (hehe...). I met Lindso, who we will be traveling with as well. She seems really nice. A little green, so to speak, but I was (and still am in many ways) that way once too. She'll learn about the road soon enough. We spent the day doing little more than just hanging out. Bart did drive us around to a few of the bigger train yards though... That was fun. Too bad it was raining most of the day so we couldn't really explore the yards much. We went to the BNSF Clyde yard in Cicero... I've been out of that yard half a dozen times already, but it was kinda' neat seeing the yard in daylight. Then we went to a NS yard, that you can go to the east coast from. The amount of trains that run in Chicago is amazing. You can hardly walk a block without stumbling across a train crossing. That evening we hung out with Joe for a little while. He's just putting the finishing touches on closing on a house. Good luck, Joe!

Last night, we couldn't find a place for me to stay, so I slept under a bridge. I've done so before, and this probably won't be the last time either. It was fine under there, away from the wind and rain, until about 1:30 in the morning... When I awoke at this time I realised that the bridge now had a double occupacy. I was a little freaked out about sharing my sleeping quarters with an unknown person, but he didn't seem to realise I was there, nor would he have cared much I imagine if he did. I secured my gear under my head so I'd know if anyone had gotten to nosy with my stuff in the night, and I also got my pepper spray in my right pocket... Just in case. But no need to worry... I awoke about 7:30 to find that he was still sleeping soundly and hadn't tried to rob me, so I decided to leave my new friend and go out to the library... Which brings me here.

The plan, as it stands now, is to get a ride to Champaign on Sunday morning, and from there get on the IC/CN mainline down to New Orleans. Wish me luck... You'll be hearing from me soon, I hope. ---David

David’s Journal #2 - April 16, 2003 - 1:50 pm

Yesturday we hung out most of the day with Joe. That was fun. We went to an old abandoned graveyard and explored in the woods some. I did something kinda' gross (sorry... I can't give away all my secrets... My father reads these emails too.) to earn me a free buritto. Bart, Lindso, and I played football some. Other than that, we pretty much just hung out. Last night I met up with my oldskool buddy, Dan Lamere. He and his wife now live on the 'South Side'... It was good to see them, and they let me stay at their place for the night. Today I have just been wandering around Pilsen neighborhood some. I'm starting to get a little anxious to get out of this city. I don't like Chicago a lot... It's just way too big for my mind to comprehend. Soon enough we'll be on our way to New Orleans.

Okay, yeah, I'm sorry for the short, uninteresting journal entry, but some days I do more than others. Besides, once we get 'on the road' it may be a few days, or more before you get updates from me... So I gotta' talk some now. Yeap, so, I hope all is well. ---David

David’s Journal #3 - April 17, 2003 - 11:18 am

Howdy all. Yesturday was a bit more of an adventure. I had spent the night at Dan and Melissa's place. When I got up, I went to the library and then explored Pilsen neighborhood. Dan told me that along with another nearby neighborhood, Pilsen has the largest concentration of Mexican/Chicano folks in the Midwest. It's a nice place. I know I'm playing my part of the suburban white kid, but I would have expected it to be a bit more ghetto. It's not. The people are nice, and the neighborhood is clean. After that I took a bus to "Boy's Town" - the gay district. That was kinda' fun too, although there really isn't anything to do there if you don't have any money. It's all stores and bars... So I decided to go and hang out by the lake... Lake Michigan of course. Yep, so I headed down the road a mile or so, but I couldn't figure out how to cross a free-way that someone decided to place just next to the lake. I talked to people who told me about tunnels that ran underneath the highway, but I couldn't find them. After about an hour of wandering around I stumbled across an underpass... It's not a tunnel! I was expecting one of those stairways that disappear into the sidewalk like the kind for the subway... Not so. Yeah, so I finally got to the lake. It wasn't long before I met up with some home-guard bums that were hanging out in the park. We hung out and talked for a while. They were pretty nice guys... Sexist, racist, and homophobic... but pretty nice. At least they look out for each other. So after that I took the bus back to Dan's place as I head no where else to stay. On the way back we passed through a Greek neighborhood. It's funny how all the neighborhoods are set up by ethnicities and such in Chicago. There's China-town, Boy's town, Pilsen, a Greek neighborhood, a Lithuanian (er, somewhere Eastern European anyway...) neighborhood, an art district, and probably a few dozen more that I don't know of. Tonight I'm gonna' meet Bart near the airport, and then we'll head over to the place of the guy we are getting a ride to Champaign with. I can't wait to take the IC now... I read some about the old IC line here at the library while I waited to use a computer. Okay, well, I hope all is well. ---David

David’s Journal #4 - April 21, 2003 - 12:07 pm

I'm in New Orleans. It was a crazy trip. I'll have to keep this email hella' short though as I have little time on the computer... The last day in Chicago I went downtown to a Hempfest that was going on. I couldn't find it though, so I just sat and watched folks play soccer instead. One guy did one of those crazy bicycle things, but he missed the goal. Nutty. Then I met up with Bart and Lindso, and a nice guy named Greg drove us to the Champaign yard about two hours south of Chicago. When we got there, I talked to a worker who scoffed at intermodal (IM) traffic coming through there, but was really nice and helpful. We ended up staying the night, and the next day decided on taking general manifest (GM) instead. We found a boxcar with two open doors and took that. IC/CN has a weird arrangement where on many of there trains, the first dozen cars with be IM, but the rest is GM. It sucks 'cause every time you think you've found the train you want, you get dissapointed. We rode the boxcar to Centralia, IL. Two workers managed to see us where we were hiding and helped us out. One of them said he envies us and wished that he could ride trains instead of working on them. We had to cross a bunch of lines to find the train we wanted, and then had to wait for hours. I jammed my index finger and it hurt like a sonofabitch for about a day, but it's alright now. We ended up waiting in a boxcar that had some how had the door broken off and left inside. We found an empty boxcar and took that to Fulton, KY. The workers in Fulton are really nice and helpful. I refilled my water bottle at the crew shack. We found another nice boxcar with cardboard in it and headed to Memphis, TN. There I encountered one of the very few not-so-nice workers. Still, he did tell me that our train was being built up and that we'd head out to Jackson, MS soon enough, which we did. At night we entered the ghetto of Jackson. I talked to two nice workers who told me that we were being built up and then we would head to Baton Rouge. After thinking about it some, we decided to take the train there, as the workers said that there wouldn't be anything leaving for New Orleans for a while... When we got into Baton Rouge we tried to talk to workers... Bart got lucky and found a nice one, but other than that, they aren't so nice there. This was the start of a bad day. We decided to escape the yard and wait in some tall grasses outside the yard. After waiting for a while a train started creeping out of the yard, and we ran to get on. We got on grainers, which aren't so good for hiding on. When the train backed up into the yard, I told Bart to stay on 'cause we were probably just adding on to the train before leaving. Wrong. They broke the train apart. Bart and Lindso got caught, but they somehow missed me. I had to escape the yard a second time now in broad daylight with the yard somewhat allerted to the fact there were tresspassers. I now did one of the craziest things of my life. Instead of walking through the yard, I decided I would walk around the yard through the rough brush. Rough brush in the south is different from the north... This was thorns, vines, and kudzu that sometimes was ten feet tall. It took me half an hour to go ten feet... Two hours later I had managed to get about two hundred yards down to where the scrub opened up and I escaped. My arms are totally hacked up. It sucked. I'll have to tell you more later... I got back to where we were waiting. I was exhausted and fell asleep. I awoke to hear some dude calling to his dog, only this wasn't "Here boy", it was all this kind of stuff that a real dog caller would do: whistles and gutteral yells and such. I was like, "Holy shit, they sent dogs after me." So I just waited and low and behold the dog appeared he came up and sniffed me, but then just walked off. It must have just been some dude and his dog. No IC's came through that day and I decided to walk into the city to see if Bart and Lindso were in jail. That night I was depressed 'cause I blamed my self for getting them caught. Baton Rouge is a shit-hole anyway. I tried hitch-hiking, but that didn't work. I walked to the Greyhound station and bought a ticket to New Orleans. For some odd reason I'll never know the reason to, I didn't get on the bus when it came. Instead, I contemplated getting a bus home. As I was thinking, I heard a train whistle and decided, 'What the hell'. I walked down the way. It was a KCS backing out of the yard... I knew KCS also headed to New Orleans. I got on, but we went back into the yard. I was about to get off when we cruised back out. I got on and off the damn thing at least three times while they built it up (at the time I thought they were breaking it up). I decided to walk the line to the units and ask them if they were called for anywhere. On my way there, a voice asked me where I was going. I thought I was caught. Turns out it was some other dude on the train already. He told me that it would go to New Orleans, so I got on and fell asleep. It did. That's an insane story I'll have to tell again for you all to understand just how unlucky it all was. I'm in New Orleans now. I'm gonna' try and meet up with my traveling partner today. I gotta' run though. I've got about two minutes left on this computer. Hope all is well. ---David

Dave’s Journal #6? - April 24, 2003 - 10:42 am

Shit! I totally don't have enough time to write my journal today. I'll have to keep this super short... I'll write more soon, as soon as I get a chance. First things first: I finally met up with my traveling partner. She's a 19 year-old girl from Florida. We met up in New Orleans. She's super cute, intelligent, interesting, mature, and has a personality similar to mine. Besides, she has this crazy Ari-luck that has saved our ass a couple times now... I'm starting to be a believer. Okay, we hung out in New Orleans for a few days, but the cops are insane there. We got picked up, and had our id's run one morning, but fortunately Atlanta didn't want to extradite me on my warrant so we were let go. I'll have to keep my nose a little cleaner here in Alabama where we are just a state over from Georgia. The street life in NO is crazy... Lots of crazy street performers running around, cops busting folks left and right, cool soup kitchens and fun punks to hang out with... But no wet t-shirt contests or anything like that, I'm afraid. We decided to get the hell out of NO as soon as possible. So two days ago we went to the NS train yard and waited... We found a nice place to catch out of, but nothing left all night long. In the morning, a construction team starting working about twenty feet from where we were sitting... So we hopped a fence into someone's backyard and left via that. We went to another part of the yard where we promptly caught two northbound grainers (one for me and one for her)... The train crossed this crazy ten-mile long bridge over some lake. And then we got to Birmingham early this morning. So, that's the recap... Sorry again I can't go into more detail. It will have to wait. Hope all is well. ---David

Dave’s Journal #5 - April 25, 2003 - 4:36 pm

Oops, I guess I skipped over journal number five before going on to six, so I'll have it here instead. A little out of order, but no matter. Yesturday was rather boring... We went to the 16th Street Baptist Church where a bomb killed four girls in the civil rights days of Birmingham. After that we went to 'Five Points' which is sorta' like an uptown area. We hung out at a park for a while and finally met a few rail bums... These guys are the real deal. One of them is 54 and has been riding for nearly forty years. Anyway, we hung out with them for a few hours, swapping stories and such. Later we spent the night at a friend of their's place. Really nice guys... Tonight we have an invatation to stay at a friend of their's camper trailer. We might hang out here for a couple more days and see if my buddy Bart and his girlfriend, Lindso, are going to come through... They've been sorta' following our trail the last few days... Otherwise, we might head up to the Carolinas. After that we don't really know. So we'll see what happens. Sorry about this being rather short, but nothing too crazy has happened in the last day or so. Hope all is well. ---David

Dave’s Journal #7 - April 27, 2003 - 9:58 am

Birmingham is a really nice city. The people are nice, the cops are fairly easy-going, there are plenty of roof-tops and parks to sleep in, and there's a few decent food kitchens too. Also, there is a nice scene of punks and such that take care of one another in the 'Five Points' area. There's a church that has told the cops that as long as homeless folks are on their property and not causing trouble, then they (the homeless folk) are free to stay as long as they like. Anyway, it's nice knowing there's a place I can hang out and not worry about getting harassed by the cops. I looks like Bart and Lindso are on their way home now... So, I'm not sure what Ari and I will do. Probably we will just continue onward to North Carolina. Let's see... A couple stories I don't want to tell right now, but I want to write down to remind myself of when I get home: the car tire & and the crazy ride home from the park. We hung out with a guy named Dave and his family some. He's a really nice guy. Yesturday we left their place and hung out at the park most of the day. We haven't seen Wolf or Pops (the two older tramps) around lately. They are probably still at Dave's place... Last night I slept on the roof of a bakery. It was a little cold, but I did alright. Cold for Alabama anyway... Oh, I almost forgot... I finally have a real tramp name. Ari and I both got named by Wolf. I now am known as Yankee, but I'll probably use the name Yankee Dave or something like that as there are probably other tramps that go by Yankee. Ari got the name Stick. I'm not really sure of the story there, but whatever... Obviously, I got the name Yankee due to the fact that I'm a northerner... These Southern bums thought it was rather hilarious to be from the north... Anyway, I'm almost out of time here. I hope ya'll are well. ---David

Dave’s Journal #8 - April 28, 2003 - 9:50 am

Hey ya'll. Not too much happening in the last few days... Bart and Lindso are indeed on their way home and therefor won't be traveling with us. That really sux. Bart is the best guy I've ever traveled with, so I was looking forward to meeting up with him. Also, I should clarify one little detail from one of my past journal entries: when I said that Bart and Lindso got caught in Baton Rouge, I was wrong. What happened was, a train was leaving the yard and I wanted to be on it. When it started back into the yard I figured that it was simply backing up to pick up another string. Bart asked me if we should get off. I told him that I was staying, at which point I went back to my grainer and got on. At this point I presumed that they were still onboard, but I guess they got off. When the train backed into the yard, they broke it up. At one point they stopped breaking it up and a car (as opposed to the usual worker's truck, special agents sometimes drive cars) drove past to the end of the train. I looked back and there were a bunch of workers and the car sitting by where Bart and Lindso's grainer was... So I presumed that they had gotten caught. They hadn't, of course, 'cause they weren't on the train. So, I was totally wrong. They had no troubles and we just managed to miss each other... I just wanted clarify. Um, hmmm... What else? Ari and I are thinking of maybe going up to North Carolina today or tonight... I slept last night near the train line we came in on... A ton of frieghts use these lines to enter and leave the Birmingham area. I saw NS, CSX, and BNSF (ex-Conrail) trains trafficing through... The volume is rather amazing too. A train passes by every half-hour or so all night long. So this might be a decent place to catch out of, considering the trains crawl through it, and it's in a deserted area of downtown. Anyway, I've got to meet up with Ari and decide what our plans are... Hope all is well. ---David

Dave’s Journal #9 - April 30, 2003 - 10:15 am

Hahaha... I'm so cool. I've now ridden all seven major lines. We rode CSX from Birmingham to Nashville last night. It was a beautiful ride. Too bad it was mostly at night and we slept most of the way after dark. We rode these crazy grainers that are almost like well cars... I've never seen them before. We met a tramp and he rode to Decatur with us. He was a really cool guy... Until he decided that he'd just break into a loaded boxcar and ride with the products... Hehehe... Um, yeah, we'll take a different train. Yeah, but other than that, he was nice. I gave him ten bucks and he promptly spent it all on alcohol. Oh well... In Birmingham we hung out with a couple cool tramps from the west coast... One of them continually said 'Loch Ness Monster' over and over again... Never could figure out why. Then there was some dude who claimed to be FTRA who sorta' freaked me out... He kept asking to buy my Carharts from me, and when he went to do a bunch of Meth, I decided it was time that he and I parted ways... So that night I slept down by the train yard again. When we left the 'Satanic Circle' park in Birmingham, the cops showed up not ten minutes later and preceeded to harrass and possibly arrest Pops and Wolfie and some of the other locals. That sucks. Ari thinks it's 'cause of the immediate effect of no longer being protected by 'Ari luck'. So, we are now in Nashville. The plan as it stands now, is to try and make it to Memphis and then continue out west. We'd like to make it Dunsmir for the annual trampfest there, but if we don't make it, it's not that big of a deal. So, we have two weeks to make it to Northern California... We should be able to do that. Bart and I have communicated a little... He may try and meet up with us at some point in our trip and start traveling with us. That would be rad. Hmmm... What am I forgetting? Last night we rode for a while on top of the grainers... It's a little bit dangerous (sorry Mom), but it's a hella' awesome way to see the country. We got a bunch of things we want to do this summer, and I'm not really sure if we'll get to do them all, but we're having a bunch of fun just tramping around as it is... Ari wrote up a list of all these crazy things she wants to do this summer... One of them is to try and not hitch-hike at all. If we want to go anywhere, we're gonna' try and do it by train only. Sounds crazy. Well, so far, we've had fairly good luck. It's taken us a while to get rides (14 hours to get out of New Orleans, and about 26 hours to get out of Birmingham), but other than that, it's been pretty easy. The weather has been pretty good, with only a little rain. Well, that's probably about all I can think of to write right now. I'm sure I'm forgeting stuff, and I'll remember it as soon as I sign off. Well, I hope all is well. ---David

Dave’s Journal #10 - April 31, 2003 - 10:26 am

Not much to add this time... We waited all night in a CSX yard, or rather just west of the yard. We were hoping to catch a train leaving the yard on the fly. Therefor we wouldn't have to deal with the yard security and workers and all that... Well, we were a little confused as to where the yard was... We got a ride with a woman who took us right to where we should be, but we sat around for about ten minutes or so to try and confirm that we were in the right spot before we walked up to the line... ...And just as we got up the embankment, a CSX train came rolling by... Unfortunately, we weren't on the best side of the train to try and get on... So we didn't get on it. That sucked. If we had gotten up the embankment just two minutes earlier or if we hadn't fucked around before going up, we might have caught it. Oh well... Several hours later another train came by. By now we had positioned ourselves in a better area to get on... Still the train was coming really fast, and besides, there wasn't anything ridable on it... Nothing but auto racks. Even later another train came by, but it was UP, not CSX, so we waited still longer... After waiting all night, we decided to ditch our gear and head into the city. After we get some food, we're gonna' head back out and try our luck some more... It should just be a matter of time though. Hopefully we will be in Memphis by sunset. By the way, for those of you who ride... I decided to look at www.mapquest.com to see if I could find the CSX yard... Well, not only does it show the yard, it shows the individual lines in the yard, and gives the name of the lines. This rules! That's how we figured out where to wait in the yard last night. I'm gonna' always check yards out in mapquest before I go to them now... Okay, that's just about all that's new here... We are gonna' hop to Memphis, and then (hopefully) to Denver, where we'll hang out with my old skool buddy, Jeff Knutsen. I haven't seen him in a about a year and a half (I think), so it will be good to hang out in his stomping grounds... Hope to see you soon, Jeff. Hope all is well. ---David

Dave’s Journal #11 - June 3, 2003 - 2:14 pm

Oh man... Lot's of stories to tell... Just after the last journal update we went back to our waiting spot in Nashville. Maybe an hour later we caught a CSX train on the fly heading westbound to Memphis. That ride was hella' crazy. Let's see if I can remember all the crazy things that happened... Ari had made a list of a bunch of things she wanted to do this summer, so we tried to knock as many off as possible. I think she accomplished four of them. While we were slowly rolling through a little town we came past a gas station. I commented to Ari that a friend of mine talked about jumping off trains that were in a siding and running across the street to get food and then running back before the train had left. That was in the 60's though... Anyway, as these things tend to be, she dared me to jump off the still-moving train, run across a grassy field, buy something at the gas station, and run back. The mind of the human male is really a weak and stupid thing. We find ourselves doing almost anything to impress a cute girl... By the time I pointed out that I had no money on me, I was already commited. She handed me a five and I jumped off. I bolted across the street, grabbed a bag of Fritos and ran to the counter. The lady working commented, "You look like you're trying to catch a train." She knew what was up. I grinned and paid for the chips, then bolted back across the street to the train line. The train was still moving, albeit very slowly. I easily caught up with our grainer and hopped back on. Mission accomplished. One more thing I've always wanted to do. Later, something really scary happened (I don't really want to talk about it right now... I'll tell ya' all after I get home.). Later that night, we stopped in a yard. The train sat doing nothing for at least five hours... I decided that I would walk up the way to the units and ask the crew what's up. I got there only find that we still had power, but no crew. I walked back and talked to Ari some. She was cold, and I wasn't exactly warm either, so we decided to go up and hop the third unit. We grabbed our gear and got into the third unit. We stashed our gear in the bathroom with the hopes that we would be able to run and hide there before the crew noticed us, once they arrived. Well, arrive they did, about half an hour later. I noticed a guy walking around in the unit ahead of us just before he started back our way. We piled into the bathroom just before he came into the unit. He moved around some, did some things and left, but he kept coming back periodically. We moved throughout the yard adding onto the string we had arrived with. They were building it up... Finally we left the yard with a string and then returned and added it to our original string. The engines were idling... We were waiting for clearance to leave the yard... It was then that I hear Ari's voice ask me to come to the bathroom for a second... She had managed to accidently flush the toilet, but it wouldn't stop filling with water. It finally stopped just a millimeter before overflowing, but didn't lose any water... Like the moron I am, I said we should try and flush it to see if the water would drain. It burped water and overflowed. We ran. Into the woods, we ran. Now, we had just minutes to run the train and find something to ride, but we managed to get a nice platform grainer before the engines aired up and we took off. We promptly fell asleep. The next morning we are awaked to a worker asking us where we are headed... We tell him Memphis and he tells us that's where we are going. He asks if we happened to be in one of the units the night before. We lied and said no... He said it must have been someone else and left it to that. Anyway, they cut a bunch of the train out in Jackson, and we got off. We thought we were in Memphis. We walked about half a mile down the road only to realise we were in Jackson. We ran back and got back on just before the units returned and we left. We got off in Memphis and walked all the way into town... Something like seven miles. Memphis wasn't that great so we decided to head out. We walked all over the place trying to find good dumpsters and a library. We slept under a boardwalk that night, after walking all over trying to find somewhere to sleep. The next day we walked all the way to (apparently) the only library in Memphis. Another five miles or so... I get there only to find Hotmail down... Fuckers.... Anyway, we take a bus back into the city and stock up with food. Instead of heading to the BNSF train yard, which is 12 miles south of the cities, we head to a signal light where BNSF and UP trains supposedly stop before crossing the river... No BN was heading the way we wanted so we holed up in a UP boxcar just before it started pouring. We decided we'd wait until it stopped raining... Well, we fell asleep, and when the train aired up and left, we decided, what the hell, we might as well just go where ever it's going.... It head west to Little Rock. That's where we are now. We are gonna' return to the UP yard shortly and head west to Tulsa. From there we are gonna' try and hop west along the Midline... Finally intermodal rides... Anyway, we are gonna' have to pass up Denver for now, but maybe we can pass that way later in the summer. We want to be in Dunsmuir, CA by the 13th for the Trampfest going on there... So we gotta' hurry a bit. It sux that we won't see Jeff, but again, maybe later in the summer.... Okay, I really gotta' get off the computer, but I know there are things I'm forgetting to tell ya'll. Oh, Memphis sucked, but Little Rock seems nice. We got picked up a couple hours ago by the cops and they ran our IDs, but my warrant didn't come up. They most have only looked locally... Okay, that's it. I gotta' go. Talk more later... Hope all is well. ---David

Dave’s Journal #11.5 - June 3, 2003 - 8:36 pm

Just a short update... We finally found the place where we will be waiting. While the spot looks like a great place to catch out from, it's a little sketchy... The CC guide fails to mention the fact that there is a police station about six blocks down from the spot, a cop-shop about a block away, and placed inside a fairly 'square' neighborhood. When we walked to it today, we were literally followed by a police cruiser. Suffice it to say, we didn't stop there to wait for trains. We did, however, find a spot in tall grass under some trees that looks like a good place to hide. So, now that it is dark out, we are gonna' try our luck at hopping to Tulsa... The next few hours will be interesting. We will either be in jail, on a train, or waiting at a truckstop, come morning... We've decided that the truckstop option might not be a bad idea if this spot looks too crazy. We passed a sign today espouting: "Warning, Union Pacific property, K-9 patrols in process." Or something to that effect... Sounds like fun. Well, hopefully we won't have to wait too long. There was a helluva' lot of traffic going through it this afternoon. Anyway, wish us luck. ---David

Dave’s Journal #12 - June 7, 2003 - 11:49 am

Well, we're not in Tulsa... We waited in the Little Rock UP yard all night. Nothing came through westbound except a coal train. Although we managed to get to the yard without a problem, we felt the yard was a little sketchy. So we decided to try our luck hitch-hiking. We hitched all the way to just south of Ft. Smith, Arkansas. We went to a truck stop and found a ride with a trucker who was going north, all the way to Minnesota. We figured that if we could get to Minneapolis, we could take the highline out to the coast. So that's the plan. Later this afternoon we are gonna' go to the Midway yard, and try to get a westbound intermodal to Seattle. Last night I hung out with a few buddies... It was good to see them. Later we are gonna' try and go to the Mall of America... Ari's never been. Then we'll hang out with Axel and head to the train yard. That's the plan anyway... I don't know if we'll have enough time to do everything. It looks like we might get a bunch of rain... That really sux. Anyway, I don't have much time to write right now, and besides, I'm using a shitty laptop... Sorry Brent. So, yeah, gotta' go. Wish us luck. Gotta' be in Dunsmuir in a week... We'll see if we make it or not. If not, at least we'll be on the west coast and can maybe hang out with some friends... Okay, hope all is well. ---David

Dave’s Journal #14? - June 10, 2003 - 4:36 pm

Well, Ari and I have split up. It was bound to happen sooner or later... Still, at least we left on good terms, so maybe one day we'll meet up again. Now I really don't know what to do with the rest of the summer. In all likelyhood, I will take the bus to Tacoma this afternoon and try my luck at catching down to Portland. Oh, a little background... Before we went to the Midway yard we hung out with Jason and went to the Mall of America. Not as much fun as it sounds, but Ari had never been. Anyway, we stopped by Hard Times Cafe just before going to the yard. There was a couple of tramps there planning a trip to New Orleans. Well, one thing led to another, and we managed to convince one of them, Nate, to take the highline with us out to Portland. We then went to the yard, and quickly a westbound train appeared. We ran to jump on a bunch of ridable wells, only to discover the bull had laid a trap for us. He was sitting with his headlights off waiting for likeminded tramps... We ran off. Shortly after though we started walking the train again, only to have a truck appear. We dashed into some tall grasses, and hung out while the bull and a few workers trucks perused their lost prey. Nate and I were all of less than ten yards away from them, but they didn't know that. In the time it took them to leave, our train left as well. Axel, who drove us to the yard (thanx Axel!), then left. We ended up waiting all night and part of the next day before we finally caught out. We took a doublestack well that was sitting on a pig train. The trip to Seattle was mostly uneventful... Upon arriving though, we were caught by the bull when we left the train... He called a couple of cops, and mostly they were rather nice. We told them the truth, that we'd been riding their train all the way from Minnesota. They just told us to get out of the yard. No ticket, no jail. Nice... So now I've been caught by BNSF three times... Later that day (today) we went to an onramp to spange. I'm not really down with 'flying signs' so I quickly decided that the time was right to talk to Ari about splitting up. She and Nate had become fast friends so I didn't think I was ditching her. Anyway, we talked about maybe meeting back up in Dunsmuir, if we all make it there. So anyway, that's where I'm at now. In a moment I'm gonna' check the bus schedules about getting a bus to Tacoma, and hopping BN down to Vancouver (Portland). From there I really have no idea what I'm gonna' do. Maybe I'll go to Dunsmuir, maybe I'll try to hang out with some friends, maybe I'll try to get a job and move in with John, maybe I'll go home... I really don't want to go home now though. I see that as mostly a deadend street. I'm old enough that I should be living my own life... Maybe Portland would be a good match for me. I dunno' though. In all likelyhood, it's probably more bullshit, and I'll fold as soon as the chips are down. Hahaha... Oh well... I don't really have enough money left for a Greyhound bus ticket either... So if I want to go home I'll have to catch the highline back east. Okay, well, that's pretty much where I'm at now. Wish me luck. ---David

Dave’s Journal #13 - June 19, 2003 - 6:24 pm

I guess I missed #13, so here it is. Sorry I haven't written in a while, but I've been doing some mad hard travelin'... I also gotta' keep this really short. I'm mostly gonna' focus on what has happened in the last 48 hours. The real update for the last week and a half will have to wait until later. Okay, to bring you up to speed: I caught down from Seattle to Portland, then down to Dunsmuir for Hobofest. It was fun. Afterward about eight of us (and one dog) hopped north. All was great until the Klamath Falls crew change. We got caught. We went to jail. We were charged with criminal tresspassing. We all plead guilty and were released. One of the stipulations of our release was a six month probationary period in which we were to not be arrested on a train. Hehehe... I got arrested again this morning. Long story short: we saw the rail cop and fled into the golf course (here in Portland). He caught us at gunpoint, but was nice enough not to charge us with fleeing an officer (that would have made me a felon... Hehehe... Life is fun.). Seeing as our probation paperwork hasn't even been filed yet, he didn't know we had just broken probation and he ticketed us and let us go. Hahaha... So, in less than forty-eight hours, I go from having a perfectly clean record, to having a misdeamenor conviction, a soon to be warrant in Oregon, and just missing becoming a felon by inches... The bull said that if we get caught on UP property again, it will be a felony. Hahaha... Oh yes, this is fun. I'm laughing at myself right now, but really I am terrified. I don't know if I should turn myself in and accept whatever I have coming or if I should get the fuck out of dodge and hope that the warrant is non-extridictable. The problem is that I love Oregon and I have hoped to move to Portland someday, so I have to take care of this eventually. Seeing as this is my first conviction (or stems from my first), I hope they will go easy on me. Even so, I might be facing 90 days in jail or a nice fine... Shit, I don't know. I'm no lawyer. And speaking of which... I went to see one today and they turned me away.... So, now I have no idea what to do. I'm gonna' try and find some Portland based friends to hang out with so I can think all this through. I am really thinking of turning myself in though. I figure it's what's best at this point. Fuck man, I'm in trouble. Hahaha... Riding trains really is a lot of fun until you start going to jail. Okay, sorry for the short email, but I gotta' search the net for legal advice now. Hope all is well, or better than I am anyway. The odd thing is that I'm really not that scared or freaked out yet... I'm sure I will be when I turn myself in. Hahaha... Stay in school kidz and eat yer' Wheaties and maybe you won't be such a fuckup like Dave. ---David

Dave’s Journal #15 - June 20, 2003 - 8:49 pm

Okay, I'm thinking a bit more rationally about all this now. I hung out with John yesturday and today. It's good to see old buds. Everyone I talk to seems to think I'm in less trouble than I'm making this out to be, so I'm starting to think so as well. One possibility would be to simply flee for now and come back and take care of this later, like when the weather gets shitty out. Or I could try and take care of this now and hope that it isn't too severe. Last night we went to a show and I met a cute girl from Oakland. We swapped information. She said that if I ever come through that area, I should look her up. Mos' def'... I'm still gonna' have to wait on giving the real journal update about all my recent travels, but I'll give that as soon as I can. Okay, I gotta' help John make some food. Hope ya'll are well. ---David

Dave’s Journal #16 - June 21, 2003 - 12:15 am

Hey ya'll. I'm gonna' try and make a start at giving what all has happened over the last few days, but I might have to stop half way through 'cause John and I might go to a show. John's place has an injured kitten... It's the most sad thing ever. It can't be two months old, but it's back was injured just after birth. She can't use her hind legs. She drags herself around by her front paws... It's so sad. But supposedly she's getting better, and one of the kidz here is trying to rehab her. Anyway, here's a bit of the story of the last week and a half...

The last real update was written shortly after Ari and I split up. I was a little upset and I had just gotten back from a lunch I treated myself to... I had had a beer, so I was perhaps a little more melodramatic than normal. Anyway, after lunch and email I decided I was gonna' go to Tacoma and catch south to Portland. I took the bus from Seattle to Tacoma (a suburb of Seattle) to the BNSF yard. I sat for a few hours in some bushes waiting for a BN ride south... But the only stuff coming through was Amtrack, CN, and UP trains. No BNSF rides, even though it was their fucking yard. So after a while I figured, fuck this, I'm gonna' take the next UP train that comes by and hope that it goes down to Portland. I know that UP and BN share trackage rights all over the place, so it seemed like a good bet. Well, it wasn't long 'til a southbound UP DS train came by. I caught a well car on the fly, only to discover that there was the BN DS train I was waiting for on the other side. They were both coming through at the same time. Even though I could have taken the BN train, I figured that I might as well take the UP train at this point and see where it goes. It headed south on BN trackage and left the city. This was right at dusk; the sunset in the harbor was amazing. At this point I felt amazingly liberated. I was traveling on my own, for myself and no other, and even if I ended up in the middle of nowhere, it would be on my terms. I promptly went to sleep... Little did I know that while I was headed for Portland, I was to end up in the middle of nowhere.

I woke sometime during the night to discover that I was in a huge city. I guessed that this must have been Portland. Due to the fact that I was trying to make it down the coast to Dunsmuir (northern California) and I knew that UP ran all the way down the coast, I decided to stay on and see if it kept on south. I noticed that I was now on UP trackage, so it seemed like a good bet. I went back to sleep. Hours later I woke to find that I was now cruising along next to a huge river in the middle of a beautiful gorge. As my senses returned to me I noticed that the sun was rising in front of me, not to left as it should have been. Oh shit! Where the hell am I going? I looked at my train maps and crew change guide. It wasn't long before I realised that I had managed to take the dreaded 'garbage train'. Suddenly the smelly odor of the train seemed a bit more comprehendable... I was headed east, not south. The train stopped about 120 miles east of Portland in a pissant town in the middle of nowhere named Arlington. The train went into a siding and they disconnected power. I walked the train and talked to the crew. They told me that the train was to be taken up the mountain and the garbage was going to be dumped... It would be about twenty hours before the train returned to go back to Portland. Even though I could have tried to hitch back, it seemed like I should just go with the sure-thing and wait for my train. I went into Arlington for a little breakfast to stock up on supplies. At one point a sherrif stopped me to ask what I was doing... I was headed to the train tracks. It must have been obvious to him that this was what I was doing as there was nothing but a lot of river in that direction other than the train tracks. He even gave me a way out: he said that I was probably hitch-hiking. I decided to tell him the truth and tell him was waiting on a train. He didn't really know how to respond. "You know that's illegal?" "Yep." After which he just asked me some questions about how I go about riding trains, and then he told me he didn't want to get a call from UP and that I should keep my head down. I told him that I had talked to the workers and they seemed cool, and besides there's no train yard there. It would be easy, I told him. He seemed taken aback that the workers would help me out, but just took down my name and told me I should get out of town as soon as possible. All things considered, he wasn't too much of a dick. Just after he left another truck pulled up... It was a city worker. He wanted to make sure I wasn't being harrassed by the cop. Weird. Anyway, I just basically repeated to him what I had told the cop. He seemed pretty down with it all. Arlington is a really pretty little town, with nice people. Whenever I get around to decided where I'm gonna' relocate to I will have to consider Arlington. The Columbia River Gourge is amazingly beautiful. I spent most of the day waiting in the hot sun hoping that a westbound train would pull into the siding and wait long enough for me to get on... No such luck. A couple eastbound trains stopped, but that did me little good unless I wanted to go to Hindle (I think that's the name). I even considered it, but decided I still wanted to try my luck at going to Dunsmuir. The shitty thing was that all day long I could see westbound BNSF trains passing by on the other side of the river. They all stopped before continuing on. I could have taken any one of them to Portland if I could only cross the damn gourge. It was only a two mile swim, but I decided that I shouldn't try with my gear and all (heh...). As night fell, I finally went to sleep. I hadn't been able to prior to this due to beating down of the sun. It was inescapable. You might think that all of Oregon is forests and grasslands. Not so. This was basically desert. No trees. Little vegetation. Just sand and rocks and shrub growth and hot sun. Sometime during the night I woke to find my train returning. I ran out to catch it only to discover that it didn't want to stop. I was waiting at the far end of the siding too. What the fuck? Isn't it going to stop? Finally as the units approached me, the train came to a rest... I started running again, even though I was already out of breath. I made it about half way down the train when it started back in the previous direction. At this point I was pissed. I called out to the night, "Where the fucking hell are you going?" It didn't make any sense. I knew they couldn't go back to Portland until they switched the units from one end to the other... So what was it doing headed backwards? I started running back the other way and finally tried to get on it. I rode the ladder back to about where I first started running. Finally the damn thing came to a rest. At some point in there I had tried to jump onto it on the fly and bailed, so now my leg and arm were cut up and bleeding. Here I am hobling along, totally exhausted from trying to find a fucking ridable well, running down the the side again for the third time. Finally when they cut power I decided that I had enough time to walk instead of run. I was halfway down the train when the units passed me. I started running again. Finally I found a couple ridable wells right in front of a workers truck. What the hell... They probably won't care. I got on and sat down and rested. It wasn't long before I realised that I was sitting in broken glass. The damn thing was filled with shards of glass... I ditched and got on the next ridable well. Same story. And the third as well. Finally I decided I would simply throw all the shards over the side... There wasn't really that many. It wasn't dangerous, only inconvenient and not really something I wanted to deal with at this point. The train started up and I slept for about an hour before waking up. I wanted to make sure I got off the damn thing in Portland and not end up back towards Seattle... I hadn't slept but about three hours in the last day at this point. While certainly not torture, this is important for the next part of the story... But that will have to wait until the next posting... I'm not going to the show with John, but I want to give my fingers a rest and send this one off. Maybe I'll even work more on this later tonight... Okay, hope all is well out there... ---David

Dave’s Journal #16, part 2 - June 21, 2003 - 1:11 am

After we arrived in Portland I got off and took the bus into town. This was just after sun up. I got into town and hung out for a while, reorganizing my pack and trying to track down a cafe called 'Sisters of The Road' I had heard about. After looking all over the place, I finally tracked it down only to discover that it didn't open for another hour. I sat and rested until then. A prostitute asked me if I wanted to go on a 'date'. New experiences abound. After the Sisters opened I realised that it was mostly a homeless clientelle and that I would be better off else where. I bought some food and headed to the Burnside skate park as it was just down the road from the train yard... I watched kids skate for a while, but it wasn't long before a GM train came by. I ran the six blocks to the first road the didn't have the tracks blocked. I got to the train just as the last ridable car passed me by... Shit. I walked back to the skate park. Just as I started to lay down my pack, I noticed another train headed southbound.... I ran back to the train and caught a grainer on the fly. I almost bailed, but I got on. I rode the train into the so-called 'golf course yard' 'cause it is right next to a large golf course. This is the same yard where a week later I would get caught at gunpoint by the bull. Anyway, this train stopped. Almost immediately I could hear a worker bleeding air out of the reservoirs on the cars. I knew this train wasn't headed anywhere for a long time. I waited for him to pass by before I stuck my head out... Well, well... There just happened to be a fully made up southbound pig train waiting right next to me. I found a nice ride and waited next to the train for it to air. When it did, I got on and shoved my gear under the semi truck's axels and slid in behind it. We left the yard no problem, but then stopped just outside the yard. I looked down the bull run and could see a truck headed my way. Fuck this. I bolted off the side and ran into some tall weeds. The truck passed by. I decided to wait where I was until the train aired up again. The bull patroled the train a couple times and then the train aired up... I ran and jumped on again. My gear and I sat under the axels. We headed out, no problem. Hahaha... Fuckers. I caught a pig train (it's pretty easy to see riders on pigs) in the middle of the day while the bull patroled the train. I felt pretty good. Maybe it was karma that I would be caught on a pig train a week later here... I stayed awake to the next crew change in Eugene. When we pulled in, it was late afternoon... I saw a guy at the northend of the yard waiting to try and catch on the fly. My train came to a rest on the mainline... I knew we wouldn't be here too long. I crawled out from under the axels... I had rigged my gear up so that it was hanging from the underside of the semi... I figured that it wouldn't be able to be seen there. If something came down the bull run, I would simply crawl off the side of the train and hang off the opposite side and hide behind the wheels. As I sat and watched the bull run, I heard a noise behind me. Six punks were crossing the highway to the train yard, not a hundred yards back. I ran back to talk to them. They were headed to Dunsmuir as well, but were unwilling to risk riding a pig train. Just as well, I didn't want extra heads to be seen on my train. The warned me about Klamath Falls and 'Roger the Dodger', the nearly mythical bull of K Falls. Shortly afterward my train aired up. I waved to them and we headed south again. I decided to stay up even though I was hella' tired at this point. I had had about three hours of sleep in the last thirty six hours. As the sun started to set, my eye lids started getting really heavy. I had decided to stay awake for K Falls so that I could hide from Roger... I managed to stay awake thanx to smoking a few cigarettes... I'm sure everyone out there will be thrilled to hear this, but I've taken up the ugly habit of smoking. I'm not addicted yet, nor do I plan to be, but I have started smoking occasionally when I need something to keep me awake or I am really pissed off or bored. I know it sucks, but whatever... I'm a big boy. I can make my own decisions. Anyway, we finally arrived in K Falls. I had my gear stowed away and I was ready for anything they had waiting for me. As we pulled into the yard, a worker was standing next to the train. Was this the dreaded Roger? I slid deeper under the axels. Finally the train came to rest... We were on the mainline again... We wouldn't be waiting for long. I just hoped that I could evade the security of the yard until then... I watched down the bull run for the empending spotlighting of the train... Nothing happened. I waited a full half hour longer. Still nothing. What's up? Finally, so little was going on that I drifted off to sleep.... I woke when the train aired and started moving. What a fucking joke... I had heard that this yard was hella' tough, but it seemed more like the opposite to me. Of course nearly a week later I would be caught here as well... As we headed over the road, I collapsed from exhaustion. I woke and we were in a siding. After about an hour of sitting I decided to walk up to the front of the train and ask the engineer what was up... Pig trains are intermodal and IM trains are supposed to have priority... Why were we waiting so long? I hung out by the lead unit for a moment, but no one was around. I walked inside and woke up the engineer... I must have scared the hell out of him. After appoligizing to him, he assured me that we would be moving soon and that we would be stopping in Dunsmuir. We were about twelve miles outside of town right now. I walked back to my car and got on and promptly went to sleep. I should have gotten off...

I woke when the train started moving again... I looked up and saw workers all over the place. If I didn't know any better, I would say I was in a yard. Then the sign, Dunsmuir, passed us by... What the fuck? I had slept through the train starting up again and stopping in Dunsmuir. I looked down, only to discover that we were going way to fucking fast for me to bail. FUCK! I had slept through the fucking crew change! We headed southbound towards Roseville... It was a mere two hundred miles south of Dunsmuir...

I think I will break for the night now... God, I'm not even half way done with this story yet. Probably closer to a third of the way. Okay, so ya'll will have full email boxes for the next few days while I try to pound out the rest of the story... Hope all is well. ---David

Dave’s Journal #16, part 3 - June 21, 2003 - 5:49 pm

Hey ya'll... After the train took off in Dunsmuir and I discovered that I had missed my crew change, I was hella' pissed. Here I had stayed up for most of the previous two days to try and make sure I make it to Dunsmuir in time for Hobofest. It was now Friday morning, the begining of the festival. I was going to have to go a good four hundred miles out of my way just to get back to Dunsmuir, never mind the fact that Roseville has a reputation of being a hot yard. Great... Suffice it to say, I was very angry for the better part of the next day. As the train rolled through the mountains of northern California, I was amazed by the beauty of the surrounding country, but it was little consolation to my loss. I decided I would get off the train the first time it slowed down and try to hitch back. At first I thought I might be able to just walk back to Dunsmuir as the train crawled through the mountain passes. Unfortunately, thirty miles an hour is still way too fast to get off, so I stayed on. When the train finally went into a siding, I was already forty miles south of Dunsmuir. I decided, fuck this, I'm gonna' try and hitch back. It's only forty miles. I got off of my pig and walked up to the onramp for the nearest interstate. No traffic. I waited about ten minutes and saw one car. I was gonna' be here a long time. I had considered even trying to hike the forty miles back to Dunsmuir (it would take me a little over a day at a good pace), but I was almost out of water and entirely out of food. I was in the middle of no where as well, so I couldn't find any place to get provisions. After a couple of hours of screwing around, I decided I would go back to the railroad and see if the train was still there. By all counts it shouldn't have been, but low and behold, it was. Pig trains are intermodal and should have priority over everything else (sans Amtrack). Why was this train sitting for so long? It had now been nearly two hours since it had stopped. As I later learned there was track maintenance occuring south of Redding and north of Klamath Falls, and this was slowing all traffic down considerably. I crawled back onto my pig train and went to sleep. Several hours later, after a total of five hours of waiting, a northbound train blew past us and we aired up. I had decided that even a trip to Roseville and back would be less inconvenient than trying to hitch-hike from the middle of nowhere. I hung out on the pig, hoping against all odds that we would slow down while passing a northbound train in a siding... This is somewhat unlikely as the train that stays on the mainline usually rockets past the other train. We passed through Redding. About fifty miles further south, thankfully the train slowed to pass a northbound GM train. As the train slowly crept up to the siding, I could see that the northbound was UP as well. It would be heading through Dunsmuir. I got my gear ready and waited for us to approach the train. Though we were going slow enough for me to safely get off the train at this point, we were still a good half mile away from the other train. If I got off now, I wouldn't be able to get to the other train before it took off. I hung off the side of the train, ready to toss my gear the moment the train sped up... It started to do so just before we reached the other train... I waited until we were going about as fast as I could safely get off. Even by the time I threw my gear we were going at a good clip. I jumped off just as we passed the lead unit of the other train. I bailed. I flipped over, but wasn't injured other than a couple scrapes and bruises. As I picked myself up, I realised that I wasn't alone. The engineer of the lead unit was standing no more than ten feet away. I picked up my gear and asked him if he minded me riding his train. He acted as if he saw hobos flip off of trains all the time and said that as long as I didn't ride the units, I was welcome to ride thr train. I started running down the side, hoping that I would have enough time to find something ridable. I came across a nice grainer, but it was just a couple cars behind the units... I wanted something further back. After running down about half the train, I came to an open boxcar. I looked inside only to discover that it was already inhabited. I asked the woman if she minded if I rode as well. She said I should climb aboard. As I got on I realised that there was another woman on board as well. Crazy... Anyway, they were on their way to Hobofest as well. Sasha and Virginia were from Los Angeles. They had taken Amtrack from LA to Roseville and then ridden this boxcar north. It had taken an incredibly long time, as they had been riding for nearly 15 hours and had yet to make it to Redding yet. Apparently the track repair was slowing everything down enormously. This was Sasha's first ride and she wasn't enjoying it very much. Virginia had ridden off and on for the last five years, and had learned from some of the 'VIP hobos' (for lack of a better term). There's a bunch of riders that help to put out the crew change guide and are known coast to coast as influential in modern train riding. She had ridden with Lee from Santa Cruz and was friend's with Brakeshoe. Anyway, after we got north of the track repair in Redding the train started to pick up speed. We passed back through the mountains and Sasha and Virginia started taking pictures from the boxcar. Sasha was a film student and Virginia was a photographer by trade. After a while we finally came to Dunsmuir again. It was fortunate that I was riding with people who knew where the camp was, 'cause I had no idea where to go once we got off the train. We walked into town and headed to a grocery store. We bought food and beer and readied ourselves for a weekend of partying. We bumped into some other riders... Then made our way to camp. Many hobos go by their real names, but some have 'rail names' as well... We met people with names like 'Red Red', 'Train Doc', 'Adman', and 'Brakeshoe'... Some of which I had already met. Arky and Butternut were there. It was good to see them. I was excited to tell them all the stories I had from the previous month, as they were ready to talk my ear off as well. About fifty dirty tramps were crowded around the campfire, all swapping stories and sipping beer, when the local sherrifs made an appearance. They came in to try and break up the camp... Little did they know that someone had secured a camping permit for the site months previous. They forced people to leash their dogs and put out the campfire (even though we had a fire permit as well). Finally they left after discovering that there was little more that they could do... This wasn't the last trouble we would have with them.

But I think I must break again for now... I will continue the story later (perhaps tonight?). I am doing well. I still haven't decided what I am going to do about my legal crap. Part of me wants to turn myself in, part of me wants to bail and go down south to meet up with Arky and Butternut, part of me wants to go home, and part of me wants to go to Oakland to hang out with the girl I met the other night... Regardless, I think I'm done riding UP trains for a while. Also, I'm giving serious thought to not riding with anyone else ever again, unless I am really good friends with them. I don't think we would have gotten caught in K Falls if there wasn't so many of us... And I know I wouldn't have gotten caught coming back into Portland if I were by myself. I wanted to get off the first time the train slowed down (several miles south of the yard) but Sam convinced me to stay on. Even when I saw a truck way down the line we could have bailed, but didn't. I like Sam... He's a good guy and I'm not trying to blame him, but I wouldn't be in this mess if I had done what my instincts told me to do. Anyway, ya'll have to wait until I can recap what all happened in both cases in more detail. Okay, hope all is well. ---David

Dave’s Journal #16, part 4 - June 22, 2003 - 4:54 pm

Hey ya'll. I just got email from my buddy Damien. He's gonna' come up here and rescue me from all this bullshit... Hahaha... Anyway, I don't know what his plans are, he doesn't know what his plans are, and I don't know what my plans are... It all adds up to a lot of possibilities. Maybe I'll just turn my ass in on Monday and see what happens... Maybe not. This update isn't quite in a linear order like the last updates... Dunsmuir exists as more of a collection of stories in my mind, and therefor that is the way I'm gonna' tell it. They may be somewhat out of order, but I'll try to keep them in a natural flow. That said...

The local town was too small to have their own police department, so they relied upon Sherrifs instead. The sherrifs were therefor not from Dunsmuir and are constantly at odds with the locals. Even though many of the locals are happy to have the hobos come every year, the sherrifs are not. Therefor, they did everything in their power to fuck with us. At one point, there was a parade through downtown Dunsmuir. We were not allowed to march in the parade, so we marched on the sidewalk instead. Finally, they agreed to allow us to march in the parade... Afterwards many of us hung out downtown for a few hours. It was only until we made it back to camp that we heard about the UP bull that came by. Aparently the sherrifs called UP to demand that they take some sort of action about us. Though we had a permit for the land we were staying on, we had to tresspass down UP tracks to get to it (it was a jungle, after all). UP sent the bull to our camp (all the way from Redding), but when he got there he told the sherrifs that there was nothing UP could do. Basically, he all but supported our camp. It was pretty funny. This, of course, infuriated the sherrifs more so... One of the local business owners asked Arky if we had had much harassment from the sherrifs this year... When Arky told him that we hadn't been harassed too badly, the guy said, "This town is a fucking police state." Hahaha... This was an old business owner. Crazy...

After Saturday people started to leave the camp. People were headed northbound and southbound, and the primary form of travel was trains. At one point someone commented that the amount of trains coming through didn't seem to be quite as regular as normal... Someone braved asking one of the workers what was up and the answer they got was surprising. There had been a derailment north of Klamath Falls. No traffic could go north of K Falls, and no traffic could go south of Eugene. Apparently seventeen cars had derailed in the middle of the mountains and UP was having a helluva' time cleaning it all up. We worried about punks like John and Maddy (sp?) who were supposed to be at the gathering, but weren't. Could they have been on the train that derailed? Probably not. They were probably just sitting somewhere in the piles of trains that were being backlogged on both sides of the derailment. As it turned out, both were okay, but the derailment did delay a lot of folks from getting to the camp. When Arky, Sam, and I were waiting to catch out on Monday, we ran into a bunch of folks that had finally made to Dunsmuir. They had waited for a southbound in Eugene for three days... That woulda' sucked.

After the parade we gathered downtown near the railroad tracks. At this point trains were still running. While we were hanging out a northbound train arrived... Suddenly a head peaked out of an open boxcar. Soon four people jumped out and were headed towards the crowd of hobos. We gave them a standing ovation. How much cooler an entrance can you make? There must have been about fifty of us there to watch them arrive... That was one of the best memories I have of Hobofest.

There were three major crowds at Hobofest. The leader was the Portland contengent, followed closely by a Santa Cruz group, and then finally by a strong showing from Minneapolis. How mpls happened to be represented so well, I don't know. Of the hundred or more hobos that showed up, probably over half were from one of the three mentioned places.

Well, that's a few of the Dunsmuir stories. I've gotta' go now, but maybe I'll tell more the next time I write. Or maybe that's enough for now... I've still got a lot of story left to tell even after Dunsmuir, so maybe I should call this the end. Dunsmuir was a lot of fun though, and I hope I'll go next year... If my legal crap is taken care of by then and I'm not working a job somewhere (grimaces)... Okay, hope all is well. ---David

Dave’s Journal #16, part 4? - June 24, 2003 - 1:02 pm

Hey ya'll. I don't remember if this will be part four or five... You'd think I'd learn to check before I write these things. Yesturday I went to a little cafe called 'Sisters of the Road'. It's in downtown Portland. If you ever come through and need cheap eats, you should check this place out. It's basically a mix of soup kitchen and resturant. A plate full of rice and beans or spaghetti for just a buck and a quarter... Anyway, a ton of folks from Hobofest were there. I hung out with Brakeshoe and Andrea, Lee, a guy named Paul from mpls, Nico, and about a dozen others. They were all on their way to the trainyard to catch north up to Seattle... I hope they all caught out okay. Brakeshoe seemed to think that legal issues I'm facing aren't so big a deal. That seems to be the concensus. Hopefully, at least... Anyway, after that I walked back to John's place (I'm almost completely out of money, and besides, it was only about sixty blocks... Heh.) I ran into Dave and his dog on my way home... I haven't gotten to this part of the story yet, but Dave and the dog were with us when we got caught in K Falls... Good to see that he got the dog out okay. Speaking of dogs... I'm writing this at John's place. There are two dogs here that are trying to kill each other... I really wish they'd hurry up and do it. God, how I hate dogs. What stupid creatures... I watched as one of them destroyed a coffee mug this morning, and they've upset the phone several times now... Anyway, I've got a couple more stories from Dunsmuir to tell before I continue onward...

After the parade many of us were wandering around downtown Dunsmuir rather aimlessly... Arky and I had decided we might as well (oh wonderful... One of the dogs just shit on the carpet. That's a lovely odor.) look around for food. We were going up to the trash bins and checking for food when we came across two clowns that had a kareoke machine set up... Well, it wasn't long before we were singing 'War Pigs' by Black Sabbath to the town of Dunsmuir... The clowns told us that they would be set up at a pizza place that night. So, later that night, a few of us descended on the pizza place for a little Hobo kareoke. As the ngiht continued we reached a size of about thirty or so tramps hanging out, belting out the lyrics to songs like YMCA and The Devil Went Down to Georgia... While it was fun to see kidz like Nico flamboyantly sing songs of yesturyear, perhaps the most fun was the clowns themselves. These weren't your grade-A Shrine Circus type clowns... These were small town, stoner clowns. The guy clown was particularly frightening what with the way his mouth hung slightly open and how he would just stare at nothing for ten minutes at a time. Then there was the song the female clown sung for the guy clown... It was to be sung at their wedding in a couple of weeks. Man, she was getting all teary eyed, but the guy clown... He was so stoned that a car bomb could have gone off and he still would have been sitting there staring with his mouth hanging open... A good time for sure.

Another unique thing about Hobofest was that the camp was right next to the train tracks... In fact it was the official catching out point for southbound trains. Because the jungle was right along the tracks, we got to see everone as they left Dunsmuir. About Saturday, as people started to leave, we would run up to the tracks everytime a train passed by to see if folks were on it... When the train went through the yard, the riders would hide, but when it got out, everyone would yell and chear as they passed by camp. It was a fun experience... In about two days time, I must have seen about fifty (or more) tramps on trains pass by.

Okay, that's about all the stories from Dunsmuir I have right now. I'm also gonna' keep this installment short and wrap this up about now. Oh, if you want to hear an entertaining story, ask Arky about my experience with 'crotch flies' (or ask me sometime when I'm drunk)... It's too embarrassing for me to tell everyone... Okay, I hope all is well. ---David

Dave’s Journal #16, part 6 - June 25, 2003 - 9:16 pm

Okay, the last entry was actually part five... Gotta' keep reminding myself to check and see what the last post was. For all that have asked, Trampfest will be the weekend of the 9th and 10th of August in Superior, WI (right across the street from Duluth, MN). It will be a weekend of drunken revilery, hobo stories, harassment by the cops, and generally a good time. The dates I mentioned above are as they are currently... These things have a tendency to change. If any of ya'll wanna' go and don't know how to get there, just come to mpls and I'm sure there will be groups of folks going up... For the record, I believe UP, BNSF, and CP will get you there, although not all of 'em may be leaving from mpls/st. paul. You'll have to check your cc guides to make sure... I worked a shift at Sisters of the Road today. Actually, it amounted to nothing more than wiping down the counters for half an hour, but it got me enough credit for half a dozen meals there. That place rocks! You'll all have to stop by if you ever make it through Portland. I'm thinking of maybe leaving tonight to head back to mpls... Either that or tomorrow, most likely. It will be good to get back on the rails. Plus I'll go back through the scenic Columbia River Gourge. Hopefully this time I'll manage to avoid the damn garbage train... I've spent about a week in Portland now, the most time I've spent in any one place for the last six weeks... I might even try to be back here at the end of July for my court, but I'm not sure yet. But that's about it for now... I'll have to save my stories for later... I gotta' use my internet time elsewhere tonight. Okay, hope all is well. ---David

Dave’s Journal #17 - June 30, 2003 - 11:55 am

Howdy y'all. Screw all that 'part whatever' stuff... I'm just gonna' keep on with the original numbering scheme. I'm back in Mpls. I caught the highline eastbound out of Portland. I got in about noon yesturday. It took about 57 hours... A little longer than some trips, but not too bad. The trip from Portland to Spokane took forever though. Why does the Spokane to Seattle/Portland leg of the trip take so long? It's not 'cause you are going through the mountains. You go through plenty of mountains in the Spokane to Havre leg and that usually seems rather fast. And besides, there aren't any mountains if you are going out of or into Portland. I dunno'... John was nice enough to put me up all last week at his place. Thanx John! I left and took the city bus to as far north as it would go. I then walked to a walkbridge that would take me across the Columbia river to Vancouver, Washington. It wasn't more than a couple miles. Once I got to the other side, I headed west to the railroad wye where trains coming northbound across the bridge either continued north or split to go east. Also, there are trains headed southbound that split to go east as well... So twice as many trains as I originally thought would be passing by. And there were lots... In the three hours or so that I waited, no less than six train passed by. There was one pig train and about four GM trains, plus the DS train that I got onto. Most of the traffic that came by was going fairly slow, but my train may have been going a little too fast. I grabbed the railing only to have it drag me along after it. This is nothing new. There's a trick to getting on the fly. Even if the train is going faster than you can run, you can still get on as long as it's not going much faster. Simply grab onto the first rung of the ladder and the train will drag you along, sorta' hopping along to keep up. Anyway, it was going faster than usual... Faster than I had thought. I was even a little surprised when I managed to hop up onto the ladder. But I did, and got into a nice well.

I had waited under the axels of a car... But before you freak out about how dangerous it is to be under a train and that you never know when it may move, let me tell you that these cars weren't gonna' go anywhere any time soon. The catch out point is right next to a little resturant where trains are the theme. Several old passenger cars sit on dedicated track and these make up the seating areas for the resturant. One of the cars is an old power car that has a nice little cuby-hole under it that I stuffed my gear and sat in. There is no way you can be seen under there at night unless someone were to come to that specific part of the car and shine a flashlight directly upon me. This is good, 'cause other than this little resturant you completely out in the open here. The area is mostly a warehouse industrial area. There's no vegatation to hide in and little in the way of places to hang out. When I first arrived in the area both a BNSF crew change van and a city cop passed me by before I had a chance to find a place to hang out. For the next couple hours, the patrol car would roll past where they had seen me. Fortunately, I had jumped under the passenger car just after they saw me for the first time, so they must have thought I had caught something earlier. That's another reason this site is kinda' cool... There's so many trains going by that if you miss one of them, there will be another coming along shortly. This isn't really so great a spot to catch out though 'cause it's so out in the open and the trains are going a little faster than I'd like, but I would still rather catch on the fly than have to hunt around for a train in a yard.

The trip over the mountains was fairly routine. No crazy (mis)adventures. I was a little freaked out about Havre though. I had talked to Brakeshoe at Hobofest about my trip on the highline westbound out of minneapolis earlier in the year. He had commented about whether I had had any trouble in Havre. I hadn't. Still, if Brakeshoe, someone who is usually in the know, asked about security there, maybe there was a reason to stay alert. I packed up all my gear when we rolled in. I didn't even know we were in Havre at first 'cause we were the only full length train in the yard and there's usually a lot of traffic in this yard. This is the halfway point for most trains on the highline. The trains refuel and have 1000 mile checks here besides getting a new crew before taking off again. As I waited to see what was going on, a westbound pig train pulled in next to me on the right side. This effectively cut off the bull run from that side of the train. Nice. It wasn't long before a number of GM trains arrived on my left side as well. Now the only folks that could get to my train were either folks on foot or workers on their little go-karts. And plenty of the go-karts raced by. I sat and tried to calm myself by smoking a rolled cigarette. Man, I can't roll them things worth a damn. Anyway, to keep this shorter, we had no problem and rolled out before much longer. When we got to Glaslow, Montana, I decided I needed to get more water. Actually, I wasn't out of water yet, but I was going to be before the end of the trip. I decided it would be smart of me to pile my gear next to the train, so that if it were to take off while I was gone, I wouldn't lose my gear. Besides, Glaslow seemed easy... I wouldn't have to wait long in this easy yard before something else came by headed east. So I jumped the string next to my train and ran across a small field to a baseball field. I ran along trying to find a drinking fountain or a spigot. Finally I found one and started filling my water bottle... The water was yellow. Yuck! I should have given the pipes a minute to clear, but I didn't want my train to leave without me, so I simply filled the bottle. I took a long pull from it... It wasn't too bad, but it wasn't pleasant either. I filled the bottle the rest of the way and ran back across the field and to my train. I got back on board with my gear and waited until we aired up and took off. When we pulled into the cities here, the train waited for clearance before entering north town. I've always hated that yard, so I got off where the train sat. Actually, it was just down the road about three miles from my folks place, so I walked back home. And here I am...

I'm not too sure what my plans are at this point. Originally I thought I might go to Superior for an Earth First! rendezvous that I had heard was going on there. Unfortunately, the rendezvous is going on in the Superior National Forest, not the town of Superior. It's about two hours away from Duluth and in the middle of no where. I don't really like hitch-hiking to begin with and there are no trains that go that way, so I probably won't be going either. Oh well... Axel and I have talked about trying to recruit Bart to make a weekend in La Crosse this next weekend. Bart might come back to the cities afterward as well. Or, if not, maybe I'll head with him to Chicago. Anyway, I'd rather be doing something and right now I'm kinda' at a loss for what to do for the next six weeks or so... I'm totally out of money, so I'd like to find a little work somewhere, but other than that... I don't know. Anyway, that's probably way too long an email anyway, so there's no sense to adding more BS to it. I hope all is well. ---David

Dave’s Journal #18 - July 5, 2003 - 11:42 am

Well, I got back last night from Kansas City. My buddy Mike has a weekly trucking route to KC. He invited me along, and I thought it would be fun and one more adventure for the summer, and besides, I wasn't doing anything better. So we went there and back without incident. It was kinda' cool though, hanging out and listening to old hardcore and metal tapes that we hadn't listened to for years. Tomorrow Axel and I are planning on hopping out to La Crosse in the mid-afternoon. There we will either meet Bart and Lindso or wait for them to arrive, and then catch back to Minneapolis. This next week we will mostly just hang out and fuck around in the city, maybe go urban exploring or caving or something of the like... Then next weekend we want to hop up to Superior (and Duluth) for the weekend. We're gonna' wait for the weekend 'cause we want Axel to be able to go with... The last few days of relaxation has been fun, but I'm starting to get itchy feet again, as they say. I'm so apathetic and lethargic here at my parent's place... Last night I walked home from the cities. Some kids either shot a paintball gun at me or fired something from a slingshot... I couldn't tell for sure. Whatever it was, I felt the projectile go past me, it was that close. The suburbs are such a weird place... I mean, I've traveled to inner city slums of Chicago, San Francisco, and Oakland. I've slept under bridges. I've been in some bad situations where I should fear for my life somewhat. Yet the only place I get personally attacked is in the suburbs of Minneapolis. Fucking white suburban kids that have nothing better to do than attack random people... As a society we vilify the minority areas of town as crime-ridden. We paint pictures of black and brown men as people that would rob and stab and kill you. White kids are considered the hope of the next generation... And who is that I fear more? Who is it that has repeatedly demonstrated that they are more dangerous? Who is it that won't be disciplined and prosecuted? It pisses me off... In all honesty, I fear white kids many times more than I fear the random black guy. Anyway, enough of that rant... Here is the final update about my westcoast trip... I wrote it a few days back:

Yesturday I decided I would sit down and write about all the rest of the updates following Dunsmuir that I haven't gotten around to. Heh... I guess I had forgotten that I have a bit of 'diarhia of the mouth' when it comes to typing stories out. Um, yeah, I guess I'm gonna' try and quickly go through all the rest of the updates now 'cause the update I was writing is currently about four pages long and I haven't even gotten out of Dunsmuir yet.... I'm almost thinking of sitting down sometime (whenever I settle down next... if I settle down at some point) and writing something of a book about all my travels. I'm not gonna' try and publish it or anything like that, but maybe put out a 'zine or something like that. Anyway, I've got so many stories and such at this point that I'm not joking when I think I could fairly easily write a hundred pages (seriously, this is about the low end... Maybe a few hundred, I dunno') about this trip alone. So, yeah, that's a little off in the future, so for now I'm gonna' try and leave the update to a fairly quick email. That having been said, here's what happend after Dunsmuir...

Butternut and Arky split up. She was gonna' go to the redwoods for a while while Arky and I headed up to Portland to hang out with John. In a few days he would catch back down south to Roseville to meet up with her. Anyway, Arky and I walked to the train yard and bumped into another tramp there named Sam. We waited all night before finally something came blasting through in the early morning. It didn't stop. We walked further down the way to find a better place to wait. Finally in the afternoon we got on a boxcar on a train that sat on the mainline for hours. They broke the train in half quite literally before we took off headed north. We stopped in Black Butte, which is about twenty miles north of Dunsmuir. We had seen another tramp on a boxcar ahead of ours. While they worked the train, adding another string onto it, I ran up to his boxcar and we talked for a few minutes. He and his dog walked back to our boxcar to hang out with us. Just a few minutes later a whole bunch of other tramps started coming out of the woodwork. A total of thirteen of us and one dog were partying on this boxcar for a few minutes. Then the train aired up... Some people got off 'cause they were gonna' hang out in Black Butte for a few days before heading out again. When the train left we had eight folks and a dog on board. As we passed out of the yard, we saw a bunch of naked tramps running around... Crazy SoCal kids, getting naked at every opportunity. We headed out over the mountain passes. Mount Shasta filled the view out of the side of the boxcar. Even in the middle of July, much of the peak is covered in snow. It's soooo beautiful. We hung out until we made to Klamath Falls.

K Falls had a bit of a reputation as a yard you didn't wanna' fuck around in back in the day... But the old bull, one by the name of Roger, had retired just a few weeks previous. We felt pretty comfortable about coming through... Most of us had gone through K Falls on our way down and we had no problem. We pulled in just as the sun was setting. We hid in the corners of the boxcar. As we pulled through slowly, a switchman happened to glance in our boxcar. He shined his flashlight inside and saw us, but we waved to him. In most yards, workers couldn't care less about tresspassers. So I didn't think we had been caught or anything by this. As it turns out, he called us in to the bull, and the bull called the cops for backup. We didn't know this... The train worked the yard for a few minutes. Arky got off and asked a worker if we were gonna' be cut out. Don't worry, he said. The train would be leaving shortly. After the train backed into the yard, our boxcar stopped right in front of the yard office. In a moment we could see flashlight beams on the walls of the car as the cops approached. We had one of those nanoseconds of fright before we saw the cops. Two stood on each side of the car (we had both doors open) with flashlights in one hand and guns drawn. They called out to us to show our hands, and when we did they said to grab our gear and get off. We sat down next to the yard office. They ran our ID's and lectured us a little, but mostly were fairly nice to us. The one exception would be when they ran Arky and my's ID and found warrants in Atlanta for the both of us... Then they came across a little more about Arky. The one cop was so upset he was shaking... Hahaha... Mostly they treated this as old hat to both them and us... Some of the folks riding with us had never been arrested before, so they were a little shaken up, but for the likes of Arky and I, we were all but bored with this. Anyway, they took our personal property and cuffed us and drove us to the local police station.

We spent the night in little booking cells as they ran us through the booking process of IDing and fingerprinting and the like... Arky and I were placed in the same cell. We entertained ourselves (and the other prisoners and jailers) for an hour or two by dressing up in costumes and performing... The cell had pads on the ground for us to sleep on and a blanket for each of them. We dressed in the blankets as Superman, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, a matador and bull, an old woman, and various others... At one point Arky put the blanket on as a hood and started screeching like an alien at another prisoner that happened to be walking by... He scared the shit out of the poor guy. The dude jumped away from the cell. Anyway, we had a good ole' time with trying to let the jailers let us go to the bathroom while we were dressed up. The food sucked, like usual. In the morning Sam got put in our cell as well... He didn't want to be there with us as we were both causing a little bit of trouble. He wanted to try to be as nice as possible to try and expedite his getting released. At one point he commented that he was praying that he was gonna' go before the judge before the two of us did, especially before Arky did. But he did eat well while he stayed with us... At every meal, almost nothing was vegetarian/vegan, so he got all of our leftovers. In the afternoon we went before the judge, or rather, before a video of the judge. The courthouse was on the other side of town and they didn't want to drive us over there, so they just video relayed the judge to us and us to him. They offered us a nice deal... Plead guilty to Criminal Tresspassing and they would give us time served and no fines, with the one stipulation being to stay off railroad property for six months. We all plead guilty and took the deal. A couple hours later we were all released. After hunting around some to get our personal property back, we had to make it over to UP to get our gear back. It was the afternoon and we wanted to get there before they closed so we wanted to get going... As we walked down the road from the jail a painted truck passed by. Arky stuck his thumb out and the guy did a U-turn. He said for us to all pile in the back and he would drive us wherever we needed to go. He dropped us off at the UP office. He was super nice... He drove us clear accross town, totally out of the way he was headed. The really funny thing was that when he picked us up we were standing in front of a sign that said 'Do not pick up hitch-hikers' as we were still in front of the jail...

We talked to some of the workers at UP while we got our gear back. The one guy causually mentioned that, "Oh, and by the way, the bull isn't here today. He's working in Eugene." This was a good thing for us to hear. It meant that, first, it would be alright if we caught out of K Falls, and second, that if we went through Eugene, we should stay low profile... Well, I decided I was gonna' do just that. After we hung out for a while, Arky and I went our seperate ways. He was gonna' hitch-hike south to make it back to Sacto to meet with Butternut. We had wasted too much time in the Dunsmuir yard and in jail and he was gonna' have to be headed south too soon to justify continuing up north. I walked down the line of cars only to see another train ready to pull into the yard. I bumped into Sam. He was waiting for a northbound as well. I left my gear with him while I ran up to the store to get supplies. When I got back we jumped on a northbound boxcar. It didn't leave for a while, but when it did we promptly fell asleep and slept the night away. The train pulled into Eugene early the next morning. Immediately it became apparent that our train wasn't gonna' be going anywhere for a long time. The train pulled into the middle of the yard, away from the mainline and departure tracks and cut power. We got off and walked over to the mainline side of the yard and walked off of their property. As we walked down towards the middle of the yard, we watched a northbound pig train pull in on the mainline. We knew that it would be waiting for only a little while and would be a fast ride. After some discussion (Sam had never ridden pigs before) we walked to the train and found a nice ride. We decided to hang out in the ditch next to the car until the train aired up as we didn't want to be seen on the car. Well, before long the train aired and we jumped on. We crammed ourselves and our gear under the axels of the semi and the train pulled out of the yard. We blasted along out of the yard and onward towards Portland.

After a couple hours we were nearing Portland. I was a little jumpy from getting caught in K Falls still, plus it was daytime, we were on a pig, and headed into a semi-hot yard. I wanted to get off the train the first chance we got. The train slowed to a crawl about two or three miles south of the Brooklyn yard... I readied my gear and was gonna' hop off when Sam said he didn't think we should get off until the train slowed down. We were going about five miles an hour! We couldn't get much slower... Anyway, he convinced me to stay on. I'm not trying to put blame on Sam here, but the truth is that we wouldn't have gotten caught if I had followed my instinct and gotten off... We finally started nearing the yard when I saw a vehicle driving the train. We stashed our gear under the semi and hung off the far side of the pig, hoping that we wouldn't be seen. Well, seen we were as the truck pulled alongside our car. There was no doubt that this wasn't a random worker either, seeing as they had nice red and blue lights flashing and the driver was saying something over the loud speaker. Fuck this... We bailed off the other side of the train. We grabbed our gear and ran into the golf course next to the tracks... We ran past people playing golf and hid under some trees. A few minutes later, we saw the driver running across the golf course, his gun drawn. He asked some golfers where we went, and they were nice enough to point to our trees... He yelled at us to come slowly out with our hands up. We complied. He asked us where we had warrants... We said that we didn't (other than my little one in Atlanta) and that the only reason we ran was because we had gotten caught in K Falls just the day before. After that he was a pretty nice guy, joking with us and asking us how Hobofest was. He was nice enough to not give us a Resisting Arrest charge or something similar to that. I think part of the reason he was cool with us was that he realised that neither of us were new to this. We both had prior arrests on railroad property... It's kinda' funny. When you first start riding, the bulls treat you like shit 'cause they want to scare you into not riding. But when you have a little bit of experience they sometimes kinda' respect what you're doing and just accept it. Anyway, he ticketed us and let us go.

Sam and I parted ways with the understanding that we should get the hell out of town ASAP 'cause we may have just broken our probation. He said he was gonna' try and be in the midwest for Trampfest. Anyway, I walked downtown and contacted an old friend, John. John was nice enough to put me up for most of the next week. I didn't really do much while I was in Portland though... But, I have brought myself up to date now. I think the updates I have written previously started again once I was in Portland.

Dave’s Journal #19 - July 7, 2003 - 1:40 pm

Axel and I headed La Crosse and back... It was fairly uneventful. We went to the BNSF Midway yard in St. Paul and had to wait all of about half an hour before an eastbound pig train pulled in. It kinda' blew past where we were, but we ran down to it and found a decent ride near the end of the train. We were a little weirded out by a vehicle we could see patrolling the end of the train, but it was probably just workers and, besides, we had no problem. We did end up waiting in the weeds by the train until it started moving as it was day and we wanted to stay low profile... It wasn't long. The train moved about a mile further down the track and waited again for a while... This seems to be the SOP for eastbound pig trains... Anyway, we hung out under different semis axels until the train took off again. Axel said he saw the bull when we left the yard, but I didn't see anyone. Anyway, we blasted through Pig's Eye and headed over the road. We got to La Crosse a couple hours later. The Mpls to LC crew change is such a joke... Trains have a maximum of ten hours to get to the next CC point before the crews must be switched. Why go only 130 miles before switching crews? I dunno'... Trains are weird. Trying to understand why trains operate the way they do is like a dog trying to understand why humans act like we do... It makes no sense sometimes... I've seen a number of unbreakable rules broken so far this summer: IM trains sitting in the hole for five hours at a time, GM trains blocking the mainline for hours, trains being broken in half instead of being cut apart, trains with multiple manifest types throughout the train, et al. Anyway, we got to LC, no problem. We wandered around for a few hours looking for a gas station that didn't exist. We dumpstered a Frito-Lay place without much luck: three small bags of chips. We tried to find the dumpsters at a Kwik-Trip compound (it's huge), but couldn't find them. Then we slept under a bridge right on the east side of the BN yard. It rained off and on most of the next day... In the early morning we got a message from Bart saying that he and Lindso had missed their train from Chicago. The plan had been to meet us in LC and then continue to Mpls with us. Oh well... We would head back home and hope they caught through later. We waited for a while to find something headed back to Mpls... Tons of traffic came through. It's a sea of pig trains out there compared to DS trains... We saw only about one stack train come by each way during the night, but a bunch of pig trains came by (and a few GM as well, including one Norfolk Southern GM train... Do they share trackage on the BN main?) After about six hours a westbound pig train pulled in. We ran back, but it did a hella' quick CC: it sat there for about two minutes before airing up and heading about two hundred feet towards the yard. Then it sat for another two minutes and then took off. We jumped on a pig on the fly (it wasn't going very fast yet). We headed back to Mpls, no problem. Soon the weather turned nice. By the time we got twenty miles out of LC there wasn't a cloud in the sky. Our train stopped for clearance before entering the Midway yard. We got off and walked back to Axel's van. All told, we were gone for less than a day, I believe. Talk about a quick trip... Anyway, last I heard, Bart and Lindso are gonna' try and hop here tonight. Have fun with the rain, heh... Hope you've got your bivy sacks... Yeah, I hope all is well out there... Oh, and by the way, I've been informed that Trampfest is going to be on the weekend of the 16th and 17th of August, not the 9th and 10th as I have previously stated... It will still be in Superior, WI and all that... I just had the dates wrong. Okay, peace out, yo. ---David

Dave’s Journal #20 - July 18, 2003 - 2:29 am

Howdy y'all. Sorry I don't have anything too crazy to report this time... I've been back home in Minneapolis for almost two weeks now. I'm ready to get out of dodge and start trampin' some more... If Bart would ever get his sorry ass up here (heh)... Yeah, so, Bart has had some trouble getting here from Chicago, but that's gonna' change now. He's coming up here and then next weekend Bart, Axel, and I are gonna' try to tramp to Superior (think Duluth) for the weekend. It will be a little bit of a scouting trip for Trampfest... In fact, we might try to meet up with Brakeshoe while we are there (he's supposedly gonna' be in town about the same time) and hang out with him. I called Portland and Klamath Falls the other day... No warrants for me in either place. That rocks, 'cause if ya' remember, I thought for sure I had one after the second time I got ticketed on UP property. Axel and I drove all over today checking out a few places to catch out... We went to 23rd and Jefferson, a spot that is supposed to be good for catching northbound (or westbound) trains entering the northtown BN yard... It's all of about a block away from a spot where I got caught by a special agent a few years back (that's a hella' long story... Suffice it to say, I'm so cool I managed to get caught by a CP SA on BN property. It sucked.) The trains usually stop about there for clearance before entering the yard. Then we went to St. Paul to check out the so called 'Diamond'... It's just a wye (think triangle where three different train lines meet). Anyway, we should be able to catch a UP train headed north out of the South St. Paul yard on the fly about here... The problem being that we would have to just hope that it goes to Superior... It should, I mean, I think that after the wye you are on the BN mainline and that all UP traffic should be going to Superior (I hope). We also checked out the South St. Paul UP yard as well... It's a bit bigger a yard than I remember. Hopefully we'll be able to enter the yard on the north end and just wait there for something to be built up, and then we'll jump on before it leaves the yard. It seems like trains sometimes get put on the north end of the yard for a while before they actually leave the yard. That's what happened last summer when Arky and I went up to Superior, and that's what Brakeshoe said happened to him earlier this summer. Hopefully we have a decent idea for a catch out spot now... Now if we can stay sane until our train shows up (the bugs are really bad there and it might be a while wait before something departs...), we should be good to go. After checking train yards, we spent the next several hours dumpstering all over the place. I've never seen so much junk food. Axel and I make a pretty good pair for dumpstering... He's vegan and I'm freegan, so anything that's vegan he gets and anything that's vegetarian I get. I got about fifty little bags of chips, a couple boxes of donuts, some candy bars, and some cookies... Ugh... Yeah! All junk-food diet! In the middle of the dumpstering marathon we went to Fizolies (sp?) to try Axel's dream of the bread stick scam... This fast food resturant chain serves breadsticks for free to their patrons as they dine. So we went in and got a couple plates out of the garbage and sat down and waited... Before too long the lady came by and asked if we wanted a couple more bread sticks... We did. We repeated this for a good hour or so before the lady just gave us a pile of them... Ugh... Anyway, we can safely say that the scam worked fairly well. I almost wonder if they knew what was up from the get go and just didn't care, but whatever... I did feel a little guilty, but whatever... We were hungry and the bread sticks that were in their dumpster had been burned to a crisp. I think that's about all that's new for now. I know, pretty lame update, but hopefully soon I'll have more adventures to report. After we get back from Superior, Bart and I are gonna' try and tramp around some before Trampfest. We haven't really decided where to go yet, but are thinkin' maybe the east coast. That would be new for me... Or maybe stay local to the midwest, or maybe the south again, or maybe Canada, or maybe Sturgis (if it hasn't happened yet...). All equally good possibilities... Okay, well, I hope all is well out there. ---David

Dave’s Journal #21 - July 21, 2003 - 6:14 pm

Okay, finally I have a real adventure to report. Bart, Axel, and I managed to hop up to Superior and back again... Last week Bart finally managed to make it to town. He had had outside 'difficulties' that were limiting his tramping abilities, but they have since been removed. So he caught the BN highline out of Chicago to minneapolis. We spent the next week doing very little of anything. One night the three of us were hanging out downtown. I ran into my old buddy Ivaylo, and while I was talking to him this woman walked up to us and asked if any of us were fans of hip-hop. She was selling albums of some new band. When I told her I was traveling around and had no money, she commented on my Public Enemy t-shirt. Anyway, she went away but came back a few minutes later with a free CD for me... Wow, the new "Diligence" CD, just what I wanted... The truly hilarious thing was the name of the album, "My Word and My Nuts from the Heart". Uh, okay... It's horrible.

Come Thursday night we packed up our gear and drove to the Lowry catchout spot. It's a couple of blocks south of the signals that many trains stop at before entering the Northtown BN yard. The thing is that we were waiting on CP and UP trains, not BN... So anything may happen. Considering they were reputed to have only one or two trains going north each day, and they may not even stop at the signals, we figured we may be waiting a long time. In fact, I figured it was wholy likely that we may not even sucessfully catchout from this point, but I thought it was still a good place to try. We needn't have worried. We waited all of about two hours before a UP train slowly rolled past us. After seeing an open boxcar roll past, we hopped on some cars ladders. We rode them 'til the train stopped and then ran down the train to our boxcar. The train was stopped at the signals. After getting comfortable and finding a spike for the door, I decided I would walk up to the units to ask the engineers if we were headed to Superior. They were super nice and offered me a ride on the last unit, but I figured they would change their story if I came up front with two other folks... Anyway, they confirmed we were going to Superior. I asked them about the fact that the units on this train were both UP and CP. They said that UP and CP have an agreement to share power, and that besides, they are probably going to merge soon enough anyway. After chatting for a minute, I ran back to our boxcar. We rode without incident all morning. At one point we passed a Norfolk Southern train... What the hell is NS doing this far north? It was a fairly quick trip: about six hours up to Superior. When we rolled in, we were all crashed out. I knew we were backing into a train yard, but I was too tired to care. We stayed rolled out for a moment. Bart decided to get up and check... And just then we cut power. We rolled up our gear and jumped off. We were not in the yard proper, but a holding area. We walked a ways down and saw a sign for 'Itasca yard'... Oh shit, we aren't in Superior! We sat down for a minute to try and figure out just where in hell we were... Before long we realised that the UP yard in Superior is known as the Itasca yard, and therefore we were in Superior. So we started walking towards the city.

We stood thumbing for a ride in front of the same gas station I stood in front of last summer with Arky. Before very long a nice, but slightly kooky, guy with a big head picked us up. We talked about Republicans and Democrats. He dropped us off on the other side of Superior. Now all we had to do was cross a bridge and we'd be in Duluth. He advised us that the only bridge with walk path was another two or three miles down the road and that it would put us way out of the city. We tried our luck hitching from a gas station. Axel managed to get us a ride across the bridge, but not before we enjoyed a continental breakfast at the hotel across the street. Our new ride drove us right up to in front of the Duluth rail museum, a place where would try unsuccessfully to get into for the next two days. The rest of the day we mostly wandered around Duluth, hung out at Canal Park, slept behind a parking garage, dumpstered food, and the like. That night we went to a show at a Christian skate park. It was lame. Were by far the oldest people there, not including parents. I felt like a pedaphile, heh. Anyway, we got out of there before long and went to a punk show down the street. As soon as we showed up a girl asked us if we had taken the train. Enthralled, we talked about freights for some time. She had never really ridden before, but had tried to hop out of Superior once and failed. I gave her my crew change guide so she could copy it and return it to me. I didn't see it again. I should have figured but I always act like an ass around girls. Turns out she was a lesbian anyway... Just my luck. Before long the cops showed up and asked us to leave. They were being really nice, as cops go, but the Duluth punk population acted like Hitler had arrived. They walked around yelling things about facism and the 'Duluth Police State' and the like. Punks (and most anarchists) are so funny... Anyway, the show got moved to a place way across town. We got a ride there with a girl named Rachel. It was a fun show. The first two bands were actually fairly good. The last band was horrible. After destroying their keyboard, they tried to make music out of power tools (a la Savage Aural Hotbed), but failed miserably. It was fun hanging out with folks there. A number of kidz had ridden trains before, including a guy named Tom who was really nice. About the time some kidz broke our kerosene and started spinning fire, we decided it was good time to be elsewhere. Drunk punks plus fire seemed like an easy way to watch someone get burned alive, or have the cops show up at the least. The kidz hosting the show offered their house to us to stay at, but it was something like sixty blocks out of downtown... Instead we got a ride back with Rachel and stayed at her place.

The next morning we woke up and walked into the city. We spent the day much as we had the day before: walking around Canal Park and dumpstering. I managed to convince Axel and Bart to stop by my favorite art store in the whole world. Axel and I went in and spent some time looking the place over... Nothing in the store is cheap, but it's all worth what they ask. Now if I only had some money... Maybe someday. If any of y'all ever go through Duluth, try to make it by the Sivertson Gallery. After wandering around some more, we thought we'd give the rail museum another shot. We had been told we couldn't get in for free twice already. I asked this time, but to no avail. Afterwards we walked downstairs to see if someone cool was working the door and maybe they would just look the other way when we entered. No luck there either. The museum also runs a shortline train that visitors can pay to ride. While we were hanging out, a conductor came up to us to ask if we were gonna' ride the train. We told him that we were hobos up from the cities and we plead our case. He said that we probably would be able to ride, but he would have to check. He ended up asking the museum director and got a thumbs up. The so-called Pizza Train runs about twenty miles out of the city and then comes back. It takes about two hours. While we rode we entertained folks with hobo stories and answered folks questions about trains. It was rather funny that we didn't have to introduce ourselves as hobos, most folks seemed to know what was up. They showered us with free pizza. At one point, I was walking down a car and a small boy asked his father, "Daddy, who's that guy?" while pointing to me. His father responded, "That's a hobo..." Awesome. After the train ride it was raining hard. We hung out under a bridge while getting out our rain gear and such... By the time we were ready, it had stopped raining. Figures... We walked down the way to a bowling alley Axel had found free tickets to. It was free to bowl but we had to rent shoes. We had no money so we sat around and watched Jackass instead. We walked up the way to Pizza Luce and hung out with the bar bouncer. He wouldn't let us in without three dollars cover (there was a show), but he did let us hang out in front and hit folks up for a ride to Superior. We made a little sign, but weren't particularly proactive about trying to get a ride. The bouncer was a nice guy though and let Axel go in and ask if they were throwing out any food. He got a pizza that Axel and Bart couldn't/wouldn't eat, but I could and did. After a while we wandered back to the bridge to spend the night. We climbed up some signs to get under the bridge support columns. We were probably about ten feet up, so if we rolled off in our sleep it would hurt. No problems though.

The next morning we spent a little while waking up and then walked to the onramp to get a ride to Superior. After only an hour or so, we got a ride with a super nice guy who said he had just gotten off a sixteen hour shift and had another one coming up in just another six hours or so... And here he was driving us out of his way. Really nice guy. He dropped us off right at the UP yard and wished us luck. The only activity was going on in front of the yard office. Being day and all, we didn't want to talk to workers right by the yard dick, so we walked to the other side of the yard and hung out to see what was going on. A decent amount of activity was going on for such a small yard. There was a train that seemed to be built up and waiting for power on or near the mainline. We walked the train to the southern end to see if it had a FRED on it. Nope. Cool. At one point, a car drove up to a crossing near where we were standing. The driver pulled over to us and asked if we were there to catch a train. He looked oddly familiar. We said yes, and realised that he was the dude with the big head who had picked us up hitching a couple days before. Weird. While we were here we saw a train leaving the yard further down. It had stacks on it (wtf?). We ran down to see that it was a Wisconsin Central train (now owned by Canadian National). The stack cars were only the first six cars or so. I asked where they were headed and the engineer sayed he was coming up from the cities and headed to the Pokegama CN yard, but would give us a ride to the BN yard if we wanted to. It seemed like a nice chance, so we rode the last unit. After swapping a few cars out we came under a bridge. The train stopped and the engineer came back to tell us we were here... Only here wasn't the BN yard. We were on some trackage a good six miles or so down from the BN yard (MP 10.2). He told us that it was a good place to catch trains southbound. We had our reservations, but got off. He told us coal trains and BN trains both came this way, and we could take either to the cities.

We waited there all day long. I did something kinda' gross (nothing new). We spent the day killing flies and throwing rocks at a string that was sitting by. There was an old BN crew shed that had fallen into disrepair. We hung out in the shade by it for a while. Later in the afternoon, a BN coal train came by us southbound. We ran out to it, but it wasn't loaded, and therefor unridable. Bart invented on the spot a good way to check and see if the hoppers are loaded: simply throw a rock over the side and if it isn't loaded, it will bang, if it is, you won't hear it land. The train was moving so it was a good way to check quickly to see if it was worth catching on the fly. I dropped my gear and jumped on three different cars to see if any of them had ladders or were partially filled. Nope. We watched the train leave... It was starting to get near dark and we considered walking up the way and trying to hitch back to a trainyard. Before long another coal train came by. This time when we ran down to meet it and tried the rock trick we found that it was loaded. We caught it on the fly and jumped on different cars. We peered inside... It was loaded, but not with coal, but with taconite. Taconite is an impure form of iron. Anyway, this was even better than coal, as it's not as messy. I made my way down to where Axel was and Bart crossed over a couple cars so that we were all in the same hopper. This was a new experience for me, as was riding taconite. Interesting thing about taconite: it's made of iron. And iron conducts heat rather well. This car had been sitting in the sun all day and now the tac was rather warm. As the sun set and the surrounding ambient air cooled as well, we stayed nice and warm on our bed of taconite. The train left and proceeded to be rather slow for the first few hours, stopping every ten miles or so. Finally they opened it up and the train blasted along at a good speed the rest of the night. About one in the morning we got into the Northtown BN yard. We waited until we were past the northern yard office, but then got off as the train crawled through the yard. We sprinted for the bushes and fence gate. I crashed into a pile of railroad ties and cut up my leg, but it's okay now. We got out alright and made our way back to Axel's van. He drove us to his place and we spent the night.

All things considered, it was a great trip. We had good luck finding trains and the rides were fast. We got quick rides with folks when hitching. And there were a bunch of cool folks that helped us with food or places to stay... Not too shabby. Unlike my gear... I believe every piece of gear is now either torn, falling apart, or is broken in some way. My pants are threadbare and need to be patched. My boots now have a hole in the side of them, and have numerous holes in the soles. My gloves are torn, as are every pair of hiking socks I have. My backpack is gonna' burst before long, and my duffle bag is covered in holes. I had to retire my Buffy the Vampire Slayer t-shirt as it is nearly torn apart. Ugh... Most of these things can be either patched or replaced rather easily, but I don't know what I'm gonna' do about my boots. I've been using 'em for nearly a decade now and I don't have the slightest idea how to replace them. Add to it that I have no money (this is a literal statement). Well, I'll make due somehow. I usually do. I'm not sure what my plans are before Trampfest now... I was gonna' tramp out east with Bart, but now I'm not so sure. I think I need to stop and rest and try to make some money and replace/fix gear before continuing on. Also, my Ma is having surgery later this week. I haven't even told him yet, but soon I'll have to as he gets these emails too... Okay, I hope all is well out there. ---David

Dave’s Journal #22 - July 23, 2003 - 5:50 pm

Just a quick update... I've decided to go to Chicago with Bart after all. From there I'm not sure if we'll go east or not, but I'll at least hang out for a couple days there. I'm down to quite literally my last dollar, but I did manage to find a pair of replacement boots. Axel and I dumpstered them from REI a few months back. They just happened to be my size, and at the time I didn't think they were in very good repair... But compared to my current pair they look rather nice. So I made some cardboard insoles for them today, and now they fit pretty good. I'm gonna' have to spend some time patching my gear when I'm in Chicago, but that should be alright. I'll get to hang out with my buddy Joe and see his new place. Axel's gonna' give Bart and I a ride to the CP yard in a few minutes... Hopefully this trip will go as easily as it has in the past. The 6:30pm CP train is amazingly acurate. Unlike nearly all other trains that seem to run at random times, this train always leaves at 6:30pm or shortly there after. But Axel just got here... So I gotta' go. Wish us luck. Hope all is well. ---David

Dave’s Journal #23 - July 23, 2003 - 11:06 pm

...Heh... Somebody do me a favor and stop me from ever saying anything train related is gauranteed. We got to the CP yard a little late at about 6:10pm. The train leaves usually right at 6:30, so we were kinda' pushing our luck. Anyway, when we got there nothing was going on in the yard except for a couple semi trucks and one container lifter driving around. There was no train built up the best we could see. We thought maybe the train had been early and we might have missed it, but we decided to wait and see what was going on. When we first got to the yard, we were gonna' enter from the golf course, as we usually do, but some golfer dude pulled up in a golf cart. I was already on CP property and fortunately the jackass didn't see me, but Axel and Bart got a bit of a talking to from the guy. He said stay off of their property. Anyway, we went back to the jungle area next to the tracks to look into the yard. We finally saw a little bit of action and decided that they were building a string, but being a little pokey about it and doing so away from where they usually do. So we waited by the gas station for an hour or so before venturing back to the yard. As we did the string started to move a little... I racked myself in the jewels when crossing a fence (my boys are still complaining a bit), but I figure it was my payment for saying this train was a sure thing. We figured that it wasn't taking off as it still had yard units attached to the other end. Even so, we ran out to the train to get on a few wells that looked ridable. They weren't... And there was a SUV sitting on the other side of the train directly across from where we were gonna' get on. Shit... We ran for the woods and waited to see what it was gonna' do. It stopped again and must have cut the wrong end units off, but we didn't realise it from our vantage point. The train aired and took off. The train left without us on it due to the fact there were no ridable cars on that end of it, and there was the bull on the other side of the train... Or so we thought. After the train left, a worker got out of the SUV and pulled a switch. It wasn't the bull after all. Shit... We had missed our train. Axel drove us down the line to see if the train was gonna' slow or stop for any signals, but it took off. He then drove us to the Midway BNSF yard... Right after he left we watched as the bull drove the yard. This time I'm sure it was the bull 'cause it was a white SUV with insignia up the wazoo all over the sides... This really sucks 'cause we've been really babied in the past with no real security in this yard. The last couple times I've been past the yard I've seen a bull patroling... Grrr... We decided to chock this all up to bad luck and try our luck at CP again tomorrow. The CP ride would be a lot nicer for us 'cause it drops us off right near where Bart's car is. The BN Clyde yard in Cicero is way the heck away from his place... Add that to the fact that with CP it seems to usually be stacks, while BN is usually pigs. And most of us greatly prefer stacks to pigs, myself included... Okay, so we'll try our luck tomorrow. Now, to try and appease the train gods that I must have pissed off with my arogance... Trains never run the way they are supposed to, and rarely run the way you expect them to. That having been said, I'm going to read some and go to sleep. Hope all is well. ---David

Dave’s Journal #24 - August 1, 2003 - 12:07 pm

Howdy all. Gotta' keep this hella' short... I don't have much time to type, I'm afraid. Bart and I are in Philadelphia right now. The short recap is something of the following... Axel let us stay at his place for two weeks (Thanx Axel!), then drove us to various different train yards over a course of two days (Thanx Axel!)... We finally managed to catch the 6:30pm CP train to Chicago. We hung out in Chicago for a few days... I stayed at Joe's new place (Thanx Joe!) and his cousin drove us to the NS yard. We waited there for 14 hours, but finally managed to catch an eastbound NS stack train. We took it all the way to Harrisburg, PA, where it was block swapped and sent out to parts unknown. We eventually figured out that it was headed to Norwalk, NJ (basically NYC). We wanted to go to Philly, so we jumped ship the next time the train pulled into a siding. We crash-landed in a pissant Jersey town near the NJ/PA border. We slept, then hitched and finally got a ride over the border to a little town called Easton, PA. Bart bought us $10 Greyhound tickets (Thanx Bart!) to Philly, and we got in a little while ago. We plan on heading to the CSX yard tonight to get a westbound train back to Chicago, or possibly sticking around for a day or two. I'm totally out of money though, so my resources are limited. Anyway, Bart has been good enough to lend me a little cash for buses and such. Anyway, I gotta' go. Hope all is well out there. ---David

Dave’s Journal #25 - August 12, 2003 - 8:10 pm

Howdy y'all. Well, we are finally back in Minneapolis. I don't have a lot of time to type this time either, so I've gotta' keep this fairly short... When we got into Philly we managed to bump into a rad kid named Dave, who put us up for the night. We hung out with a bunch of punks (including two that were at Dunsmuir) for a day or so and then went to the CSX yard. After a couple misadventures we caught a westbound stack train back to Chicago. We hung out there for a little less than a week... Joe was nice enough to put me up again (thanx Joe!). Last night Bart and I caught a westbound stack train out of the BNSF Clyde yard back to here. Next up is Trampfest, which we are planning on leaving for shortly. We would like to leave tonight, but I think we are gonna' try and wait one more day to see if Axel gets back to town. Then if he ain't back by midday tomorrow, we might just leave anyway (sorry dood)... Turns out that Trampfest starts on Thursday, not Friday, as we had thought. It sounds like fun. Oh, a bit of humor... I was thinking of heading west after TF to try and take care of my warrant. Heh... No warrant. When I missed my court date (I had tried to reschedule it) they just simply found me guilty of Criminal Tresspassing and assigned a nice reasonable fine of $700. Heh. Suffice it to say, I can't pay it. Hell, I couldn't pay it if it was one percent of that. I don't know what I'll do, but I'm starting to think that this might be the last leg of my journey for a while... After TF, I might try to settle down for a while and work some... Yuck. Okay, well, like I said, I gotta' keep this short. I hope all is well out there... ---David

Dave’s Journal #26 - August 22, 2003 - 10:43 am

Howdy y'all. I'm back in Minneapolis. I gotta' keep this email short, just like all the others... As my friend Ari just posted in her most recent journal update, it's getting to be rather ridiculous to even try to write all the things that have happened as of late. There may come a time when I stop doing these updates... So enjoy them while you can. Bart and I are headed back out to the west coast again tonight. We're gonna' take the highline out to Seattle, hang out there with a few cool kidz we know, and then hop down the coast to Santa Cruz. I might end up staying somewhere out there for the winter, but I don't really know yet. Anyway, quick update about Trampfest... Bart and I caught a UP/Soo train up to Superior with little problem. We waited by the signals on the south side of the North Town BNSF yard. A ton of folks waited at the South St. Paul UP yard though, and had all kinds of problems catching out. We made it up to TF by Thursday morning. The next four days were spent drinking, smoking, bullshiting, laughing, yelling, swimming, resting, and telling tramp stories. There were many drunk oogles (think gutter punks without brains) this year. Two folks were forcibly removed from camp for being disruptive. We had very little problems with the cops. The camp was on a peninsula on the edge of norther Superior. It was beautiful to say the least. Anyway, I could go on and on, but I don't have time for it... On the way back, Bart, Arky, a girl named Kirsten, and I all hopped a gondola from the UP Itasca yard. Heh... Wrong train. It was a UP running on the old Wisconsin Central (now CN) line to Milwaukee. We stopped in Marshfield and all got pulled off the train by the local cops. There were a grand total of 13 of us on it. Anyway, we were all cited tiny tickets and told not to come back. We all ended up hitch-hiking back to where-ever we were headed. Bart and I got a fairly quick ride the next morning back to the cities. Well, aparantly there wasn't much going on in Marshfield that day, 'cause we made the front page news the next day. We even heard it over the radio when we got a ride... Hehe...

http://www.wisinfo.com/newsherald/mnhlocal/288142655431015.shtml [The link doesn't work anymore... I'll put the text of it up as soon as I get a hold of it.]

Okay... I gotta' go. Wish me luck with my travels and deciding what I wanna' do with the rest of the year. Hope all is well. ---David

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