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National Hobo Convention, Aug 7-10, 2003--Britt, Iowa

Discussion in 'Metal Heads' started by KaBar2, Jul 12, 2003.

  1. KaBar2

    KaBar2 Senior Member

    Joined: Jun 27, 2003 Messages: 2,128 Likes Received: 66
    LET'S GO TO BRITT AGAIN THIS YEAR. The party kicks off on Thursday, August 7th. Free camping in the National Hobo Jungle. There is a pavillion, with showers and a big patio type area. Last year they served breakfast and dinner every day, and they had a pick-up truck load of free cookies, not to mention a ton of other kinds of chow donated.
    Somebody donated a dump truck full of wood remnants from a furniture shop for the fire (we kept it burning 24/7 for the whole Convention), and there was acoustic music at night. Also during the Britt Hobo Days is dirt-track racing (midget cars, I think---I didn't go to the track last year, but you can hear the noise half the night every night) and a draft horse show during the day, if you like REALLY BIG horses.
    There is also a huge carnival with carnival rides and a midway, set up in the middle of Britt's main downtown street.

    There is Greyhound service direct to Britt, or if you're really a risk-taker, you can ride into Mason City, about 35 miles to the east, and then hitch-hike into Britt (which is pretty easy, apparently, as several people hitched in last year.) The get-off in Mason City is a rolling get-off, and the Mason City cops and the railroad bulls are very active around the Convention, but if you're down for it, it's possible. Most of the 24/7 riders come in way early, and stay late, until the heat dies down a little.

    Bring your sleeping bag and plenty of insect dope. Leave the other kind at home--the jungle is too hot during the Convention for drinking and/or smoking. They did cut us some slack on beverages in an insulated cup, but if you get caught with a beer can in your hand, you get a ticket. Most people bring a pop-up backpacking tent, or sleep in their van or pick-up truck with a camper top.

    Lots of tourist girls who are bored to death (LOL) so young tramps might have a good time. In years past, somebody used to provide the Jungle with a borrowed pick-up, and the tramps used to drive down and swim in the quarry, but I think the State took it over and put an end to that.

    There will probably be from 100-150 hobos and tramps and general ne'er-do-wells in the jungle.

  2. parcheesey

    parcheesey New Jack

    Joined: Nov 11, 2002 Messages: 0 Likes Received: 2
  3. KaBar2

    KaBar2 Senior Member

    Joined: Jun 27, 2003 Messages: 2,128 Likes Received: 66
    What about the sixteen other guys that read it before you did? LOL.
  4. Kyuzo

    Kyuzo Banned

    Joined: Mar 13, 2003 Messages: 585 Likes Received: 0
    Sounds interesting, i'd go there only i'm not a hobo;)
  5. KaBar2

    KaBar2 Senior Member

    Joined: Jun 27, 2003 Messages: 2,128 Likes Received: 66
    So what? They are expecting 25,000 people. You think they're all hobos? Just get a ruck, a sleeping bag and lots of bug dope and get on a bus. See you in the jungle!
  6. ctrl+alt+del

    ctrl+alt+del Guest

    KBar is amped for this, haha. Your a weird old man, i hope ill turn out like you.
  7. type R

    type R Senior Member

    Joined: Sep 23, 2001 Messages: 2,456 Likes Received: 1
    might be worth it.
  8. test pattern

    test pattern Elite Member

    Joined: Jan 21, 2002 Messages: 3,975 Likes Received: 0
    it's what he's about, man

    just like any writer would get amped about a gnarly show

    kabar for president
  9. KaBar2

    KaBar2 Senior Member

    Joined: Jun 27, 2003 Messages: 2,128 Likes Received: 66
    Test Pattern---President? No way, bro, too much hassle. Now, Secretary of the Treasury, hell yeah. I always wanted to see the inside of Fort Knox.

    I wanted to ride trains up to Britt this year, but with my mother being very ill, it looks like I won't be able to do it. I don't want to be that far away from home and unable to quickly return. If I drive up, I'm like 24 hours from Houston. By train, who knows? It could take a week. It could take two weeks. There's no way to know.

    I definately want to do some riding this year though. My mom getting sick has really knocked a dent in my plans, but I guess that's life.

    Try again next year, eh? Meanwhile, start studying trainhopping. We'll go catch out one of these days.
  10. Big Bruno

    Big Bruno Senior Member

    Joined: Oct 8, 2001 Messages: 2,472 Likes Received: 70
    i swear that every year, i'm gonna be closer and closer to going to britt with you.
  11. KaBar2

    KaBar2 Senior Member

    Joined: Jun 27, 2003 Messages: 2,128 Likes Received: 66
    Yeah, it would sure be fun. Most everything except getting up there doesn't cost too much. The town of Britt is a very small town, and having all those people and a carnival and a hundred hobos in town all at the same time is kind of overwhelming for the locals, I think. There is a small hospital, amd a couple of grocery stores. The "downtown area" is about three blocks long and a couple of blocks wide. Last year they served two meals a day free in the jungle, usually breakfast and dinner. It wasn't gourmet cuisine, but if you can stand eating stuff like chili mac or rice and beans with hamburger meat, it was pretty good chow. Breakfast was usually stuff like oatmeal and sweet rolls, or pancakes. And, of course, people cooked their own food camping out around the jungle, too. They discourage people building fires all over the place, but there were a few small campfires besides the big one in the middle of the jungle.

    The main activities, from the tramps' point of view, are the cemetary clean-up, in which a bunch of volunteers go up and trim the grass around the hobo cemetary plots and scrub up the headstones; the Memorial Service, which happens the next day, when they lay to rest any new guys that have died, the Hobo Council meeting, which takes place in the cemetary on a shady little hill (or at least it did last year) and the selection of a new King of Hobos and Queen of Hobos, which happens at a bandstand/gazebo sort of place outside City Hall.

    At night there is acoustic music around the fire, plus the carnival is going full blast a few blocks away. There is also a huge flea-market kind of affair on the main drag during the day, and people come from all over the area. There's not that much to do in rural Iowa on the weekends, so a deal like Britt attracts hundreds of teenagers and young people to Britt from the surrounding communities, as well as thousands of tourists. It's quite a scene. There is also a rock concert of some sort at night. It costs money and I didn't go, but it sounded sort of like a mixture of rap and alternative music to me.

    I don't suppose a deal like Britt is attractive to everybody, but I enjoyed it. A certain amount of it is pretty hokey shit, but you just take the part you like, and pass on the stuff that's not appealing.

    The part I really liked was getting to meet tramps from all over the United States and Canada who travelled thousands of miles to attend. These days, very few people "ride in," because of the intense security on the rail siding in Britt and the railroad yard in Mason City during Britt's Hobo Days. But every year there is always a handfull that make it. They usually ride in to Mason City, detrain on the roll, and hitch-hike west to Britt. I got to meet Steamtrain Maury Graham and Backwoods Jack, and Tanner City Kid, and met up with Collinwood Kid and Redbird Express (who got elected King), Milwaukee Mike and a bunch of other people. It was a lot of fun, and it was also a bunch of nonsense, too. The whole deal is both serious and also tongue-in-cheek, sort of like a circus or rodeo clowns. While all the nominating for King and all that is going on, there is also meetings of the cemetary committee, people sending word that they got busted on a train and are sitting in jail in Ohio and worried about the cops putting their dog to sleep while they're in jail (in that sort of situation, they take up a collection and send somebody to get the dog out of the pound--the guy isn't asking for them to come get him out, he's asking for them to come rescue the dog.)

    Anyway, anybody that can come, I hope I see you at Britt. Next year, I'm going to try to ride trains up, by golly. Or that's the plan anyway.
  12. Southern kid

    Southern kid Elite Member

    Joined: Apr 19, 2000 Messages: 3,965 Likes Received: 0
    Ima make it one of these years. I can't move every August....or can I?
  13. TranceStoner

    TranceStoner Member

    Joined: May 30, 2002 Messages: 899 Likes Received: 0
    Sounds like a good time. I'd like to check it out some day.
  14. KaBar2

    KaBar2 Senior Member

    Joined: Jun 27, 2003 Messages: 2,128 Likes Received: 66
    Bad Scoop on the Dog

    I inadvertantly gave bad scoop on Greyhound service to Britt. Britt does NOT have direct service, it's too small. However, there IS direct service to the Mason City Airport, right on Highway 18, about thirty miles east of Britt. You could Ride the Dog to Mason City, then walk out to the highway (maybe 1/4 mile) and put your thumb out and hitch west to Britt.

    We stayed late this year (one day) to lock up and make sure the jungle was spotless before we left out. Grain Car George and I walked the jungle looking for trash, burned up the last of the wood and trash, secured all the old refrigerators and the propane stoves, etc. in the Pavillion lock-up and gathered up a working party to seal and lock the Boxcar. Hobo SLC, George, me and Papa Bear rolled the door shut and I went down to the Hobo House Restaurant and got the lock from Linda Hughes and locked it.

    SLC and his old lady and Papa Bear stayed there in the jungle at Britt, and my wife and I gave George a lift to the Mason City Airport so he could catch a bus west to Montana. We went down to the Mason City railroad yard, and I saw two bulls within thirty minutes, so they still had the heat on even the day after the Convention ended. Last time I saw George he was sitting in the seats in front of the bus depot part of the airport, with headphones on, listening to rock and roll, with his ruck, tent, bindle, boots and stuff scattered around him.
  15. The Former

    The Former Senior Member

    Joined: Mar 8, 2001 Messages: 1,080 Likes Received: 0
    Any word on an upcoming convention? They usually have one in Dunsmir or Black Butte CA I think.