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KaBar2

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Everything posted by KaBar2

  1. I sure wish I could go this year, but my wife has health issues that prevent it. I especially wish I could be there for the memorial service for Frog, Tuck and the other tramps who have caught the westbound. I sent Jewell a donation for Tuck's funeral expenses. The Convention starts in three days, but a lot of people are already up there getting the jungle ready.
  2. El Jefe Uno, good to hear from you. I don't always check 12 Oz. every day, mostly because there's been so little traffic on here. I think that this thread has been here so many years that most of the 12 Oz. regulars who cared to read it have already done so. I have a couple of Reddit threads that I frequent--/r/Vagabond and /r/Vandwellers. It's odd how the same issues that I was coping with in 1970, and that we were discussing on here in 2001 (31 years later), are *still* being discussed on these other tramp-hobo-trainhopper threads today (48 years later.) Tons of things have changed in those 48 years, but the basics of trainhopping remain more-or-less the same, and the skills necessary to survive as a tramp are still very similar. What sort of things didn't we have, in 1970? Cell phones. Satellite GPS. iPhones and the internet. The Crew Change Guide. Railroad Atlas map books and internet rail maps. Credit cards and ATM technology at banks. Advanced technology sleeping bags, bivys and cold weather gear. And so on. Catching out has changed so much, but at the same time, it's still basically the same. It's hard to believe this thread has been running since October of 2001. And I had other, older threads about tramping before this one, that were lost in the Great 12 Oz. Crash of 2001.
  3. Just checking in. Looks like this thread is pretty dead--not much traffic. I am thinking about heading to Salt Lake City. Anybody live out there?
  4. OMB---Sorry I didn't find your message sooner.  There's been so little traffic that I got lazy and haven't checked !2 Oz. in a while.  Tell mer again what it is you're asking about.

     

  5. I am leaving for the National Hobo Convention on August 5th. The Convention will be held August 9th through 12th , 2018 in Britt, Iowa. Free camping. Men's and women's restrooms with showers. A covered picnic pavilion building, and a cook shack. The jungle feeds two free meals a day during the Convention, mostly dumpster-dived food brought in by Collinwood Kid. Collinwood is a Zen-Master-level dumpster diver. He dumpsters perfectly good food from commercial suppliers, most of it in one-gallon "restaurant sized" cans which have an expiration date which will expire about a month after he finds it in the dumpster. The commercial suppliers can't take the risk of accidentally selling a customer a bunch of expired cans of beans or corn or whatever, so they cull their shelves of cans about thirty days before the cans' expiration dates. There are numerous activities during Britt's "Hobo Days" celebration. It's a lot like a small-town Fourth of July celebration. They have a parade on Saturday morning with fire engines, VFW color guard, Scout troops, 4-H kids on horseback, antique tractors, hot rods with local Harvest Princesses, high school marching bands and so on. It's great fun. The tramps always have a float, and we throw hard candy to the little kids along the parade route. If you come, bring candy to throw. There is always a carnival set up on the main street of town, with food booths, vendors, swap meet, etc., etc. There's too much going on to list everything, but Friday there is a Hobo Memorial Service at the cemetery for tramps that have passed away, and sometimes an internment or two. Following the Memorial Service there is the meeting of the Hobo Council of TU63, up on the hill in the cemetery. Saturday after the parade, the election of the King & Queen of Hobos is held at the city's gazebo, behind the Library. There's music in the jungle, and the kids keep the camp fire burning day and night during the Convention. If you've never been, you should go at least once. As Ted Conover said in his book, "Rollin' Nowhere," "It ain't real. But it's still fun."
  6. I'm planning on going to the NHC this year. I'm not going to be able to go early, though. I'll probably get there sometime on the 6th or 7th. You can never tell what the NHC is going to be like. One year it will be great, then the next year it may be a dud. You just have to show up and see how it goes.
  7. Just checking in. I'm up in Maryland, but the weather is still pretty warm--it hit 90 degrees today. I think I'll head over to the coast. It should be cooler, I hope. Ride safe!
  8. peterpopoff--Those are photos of two of my favorite people in the world----Stretch Wilson, Burlington Dog and Tattoo Slim. Slim was up at Amory earlier this April, with a buddy of his named Zig-Zag. I gave them a ride from Tupelo to Amory, and when the festival was cancelled because of a big-ass thunderstorm with tornado warnings, I gave them a ride back up to Tupelo and dropped them off at the Farmer's Market right down the tracks from the catch-out. We had eleven tramps down at Amory this year. It's too bad the city cancelled it, but I understood. Amory doesn't have enough tornado shelters to shelter 10,000 tourists, so they pulled the plug. After dropping Slim and Zig-Zag off in Tupelo, I headed west to Texas to get out of the weather. I put 3,250 miles on my van in March and April. It's been a lot of fun, but I need to stay in one spot for a while and recuperate financially. I'm trying to get some exercise, eat right and live healthy. More salads, less tequila.
  9. I've talked to a number of people who normally frequent the National Hobo Convention at Britt, Iowa every August who say they are definitely going to be at Amory this year. ( The NHC is held every August during the second full weekend. This year the "second full weekend in August" will be August 9-12, 2018, but people start straggling in about a week early.) April in Mississippi is pretty warm, so if you go, be prepared for hot weather. I got sunburned last year, wearing shorts and a t-shirt and running shoes with no socks. The NHC in Britt is designed to at least partially support those tramps who are truly broke, but Amory is not a "hobo" event, it's a railroad festival at which we just happen to show up. They do cut us some breaks, like free camping and public restrooms close by, and they let us park vans in the city parking lot south of Frisco Park, but that's about it. As usual, if you come you need to be prepared to support yourself. There are lots of churches involved in selling food though, and in times past we did score some awesome free chow, but it's not a sure thing. Showers are hard to come by, but there is an exterior spigot on the outside of the public restrooms. A piece of water hose and a "shower head" type of sprayer on the end would make getting a shower pretty easy.
  10. I haven't been on here in quite a while, it looks like the traffic has slowed to a stop. I just wanted to remind everyone that the annual Amory Railroad Festival is coming up on April 12--15, 2018, in Amory, Mississippi. Many tramps consider Amory to be the "spring opener" of the riding season. (The "closer" is usually considered to be the Arizona Combat Rail Fans' New Years Eve party at Shawmut Siding in Arizona. Bring your own booze. Bring your own *everything* it's twelve miles out in the desert from the nearest town. Don't forget EAR PLUGS, because ACRF blows up enough fireworks on New Years' Eve to re-enact the Battle of Stalingrad.) Anyway, back to Amory. Amory was a huge railroad town back in the day. The city's main park is right on the tracks. It's called Frisco Park. They have a huge steam locomotive on display in the park. Years ago there was a large jungle there (one year I went there were like 50 tramps) during the festival, but last year there were only 10. The town itself is a dry town in a dry county. No alcohol. Lots of food, though--there are tons of food booths, a carnival, live music and a bunch of cool people. Amory has a big railroad museum,. too. There are permanent restrooms about half a block from the "jungle." It's possible to ride a train in, but you would have to be very, very slick. Much better at night. The last leg of the catch to Amory is at Tupelo, and if the train doesn't stop at Amory, the next stop is at Birmingham or Mobile, Alabama; or Pensacola, Florida. We used to ride a train to Tupelo and then hitch to Amory. We rode the CN from Memphis to Fulton, KY, then switched to the short-line Tennessee RR north to Corinth, MS; then south to Tupelo. There are trains directly from Memphis to Amory on BNSF, but they don't always stop. You might wind up in Pensacola. The catch out in Memphis is under the Union Street bridge east of S. Hollywood Street. The bulls watch it, so keep it stealth.
  11. They usually have a little contest about "who traveled the longest distance to get here" contest at the opening ceremonies of the convention. Australia would definitely win, ha ha. This year I only came 1,025 miles. Pathetically short trip, I admit.
  12. Are you going to try to make it to Britt, protester? It ought to be fun. And aggravating. And full of pointless drama. What would the Hobo Convention be without some pointless drama, eh? Come on down!
  13. You're kind of late to the party. I wrote that SIXTEEN YEARS AGO, ha ha.
  14. National Hobo Convention coming up, the second full weekend in August, August 10-11-12-13 in Britt, Iowa. Britt is about 30 miles west of Mason City, Iowa, on Route 18. Free camping, and the jungle feeds two free meals a day (breakfast and dinner.) It ain't fancy, but it's free! Limited spots for RV's or vans. Limited shore power hook-ups. No blackwater pump out stations available. Britt has no Greyhound service, so if you are on a bus, the nearest terminal is in the Mason City airport, east of I-35 on Route 18. Both the Mason City cops and the railroad special agents increase surveillance of the Mason City yard for several days before and after the Convention. Riding in on a train is all but impossible (only one person that I know of has successfully done it in the last twelve or fifteen years, and that was Stray Cat Julie from Canada.) "It ain't real, but it's still fun."
  15. For those of you who have been to the National Hobo Convention in the last sixteen years, I have sad news. Minneapolis Jewell's and Tuck's college freshman granddaughter, Angie Dirty Feet, has passed away unexpectedly. Angie attended many Hobo Conventions in Britt over the years. She first started coming as a toddler and ran around bare-footed, which is when the tramps tagged her with "Angie Dirty Feet." She will be buried in the National Hobo Cemetery next to Charmin' Harmon, who was a mentally-challenged man who attended every Convention with Jewell and Tuck. He was a client of Jewell's and resided at Jewell's care home. Angie knew Harmon her whole life. Britt will not be the same without beautiful Angie Dirty Feet. She is mourned big time. Such a tragic loss. Her remains will be buried at the Convention this August, as is our custom. From the Hobo Grapevine: "Angelina Marie Bergstrom, known as "Angie Dirty Feet" of Northeast Minneapolis, passed away unexpectedly on Thursday, June 15, 2017. She was 16 years old. Angelina was a beautiful young woman who loved her pets and spending time at Logan Park. She was a junior counselor at Camp Bovey where she loved spending time with kids. She will be greatly missed. Angelina is survived by her mother, Sarah Porrazzo; father, Scott Bergstrom; brother , Zachary; sister, Brittany; grandmothers, Julianna (and Tuck) Porrazzo-Ray and Sandy Relyea; great-grandmother, Shirley (Earl) Porrazzo; favorite cat, "Six"; other loving family and friends. Memorial Gathering at 12:00 noon on Thursday, June 22nd at Billman~Hunt Funeral Chapel with visitation beginning at 11:00 a.m. 2701 Central Avenue NE Minneapolis, MN 55418
  16. I went back to the Amory Railroad Festival in Amory, Mississippi this year. It was held April 6,7,8 and 9, 2017. I'm rubber tramping these days--I've got a van built out with a bed made of 2x4's, a foam mattress and and a folding card table. What a drive! 1,025 miles each way. Seems like a long drive just to camp out in the parking lot of a police station, ha ha. Home town boy Trent Harmon, who won the American Idol competition last year, was the headliner on Friday night, and the Lone Star Band played country on Saturday night, There were some other groups as well, of course, and two stages in different areas of "downtown" Amory. The weather was surprisingly mild, almost chilly Tues, Weds and Thurs. Friday it started getting warm during the day and Sat and Sun were cloudless and blistering hot with almost no humidity in the day, and chilly at night. Amory had about twenty different churches cooking barbecue, burgers, hot dogs, catfish, ribs, etc., and of course, the famous Amory apple fritters. One lady told us she drove 60 miles just to buy some apple fritters. It's a huge event for that part of Mississippi, and four or five times as large as the National Hobo Convention in Britt, Iowa. Friday night after the "food court" area closed down for the night, a couple of guys from churches brought us a bag of apple fritters, some boiled potatoes and some ears of corn-on-the-cob, but no barbecue ribs or chicken, like in years past. Saturday night I guess they forgot all about us, but one church cut their prices to $2 for any sandwich and we tanked up on burgers, hot dogs and chicken sandwiches. I didn't go down to the amusement park rides area, but there was a large carnival in town, with all the usual stuff like a Ferris wheel, Tilt-A-Whirl, a "vomit comet" and so on. There were quite a few rides designed for smaller children. It was all lit up as carnivals usually are, with a zillion colored lights and the usual canned music. I don't think they had a midway, at least I didn't see one. In times past we've had as many as 60 tramps in Amory for the RR festival, but this year there were only ten--National Hobo King Ricardo, Virginia Slim and Cathy, Hobo SLC, Medicine Man and Daisy Sue, me, Fredy the German, another guy I didn't know and of course, Hobo Queen Miss Charlotte, who lives in Amory. Charlotte very graciously put up those who did not bring a vehicle in which they could sleep in her and the late Loco Larry's "hobo hotel" sheds. King Ricardo, Hobo SLC and I were vandwelling and got festival passes from the city so we could camp in a parking lot near the steam locomotive. Unfortunately our parking spots were right next to a police & sheriff disaster response trailer--good in a way, because we could tap into their shore power electric, but the radio chatter was kind of annoying late at night. The cops were very nice, though. Nobody was able to ride a train in, and nobody even pitched a tent or rolled out in the "jungle" next to the locomotive. BNSF had brought in several bulls and we had Amory city cops, Monroe County sheriff's deputies and BNSF railroad bulls all over the Amory yards. I don't think even that legendary rail ghost, Stretch Wilson, could have ridden a train in. There were plenty of gendarmes, although I saw no arrests, despite the size of the crowd--at least 10,000, I'd guess. The park was packed. SLC showed King Ricardo and me where the Amory City Water Department is, and Friday we hiked down to take a shower. They told us they told us they weren't allowing hobos to shower there any more, but when I asked them if they could spare a clean 5-gallon bucket for us to bathe in, and since we had already walked all the way down there, they let us shower anyway. SLC and Ricardo scrubbed up, but I passed, having already washed up in the brand-spankin' new city park bathrooms next to the Amory fire station. It was good to see everybody again, I hadn't seen anyone since last August at Britt. It was especially good to see Fredy the German, who flew into Miami from Germany and rented a car to get to Amory. (Now that's what I call a dedicated tramp.)
  17. We always called a guy living a regular life and staying in one place a "home guard." The term "homebum" came into use about twenty years ago to describe run-of-the-mill homeless people, but not tramps or people living a regular life. Homeguard isn't (or wasn't intended to be) a pejorative term. The term "homebum" seems like an insult to my ear, but I don't know. I know that among tramps with whom I've ridden, the term "bum" is fightin' words. Language changes. My whole life the place where people wait to board trains was called the "catch-out." Lately I see people referring to it as a "hop out." I don't know why, but it grates on my ear. We used to talk about "hopping freights" but that doesn't seem to be current usage any more. Things change. For some reason that escapes me, I hate to see that occurring. I prefer the Old School way.
  18. I just returned from the Amory Railroad Festival in Amory, Mississippi. It was held April 6,7,8 and 9, 2017. I'm rubber tramping these days--I've got a van built out with a bed made of 2x4's, a foam mattress and and a folding card table. What a drive! 1,025 miles each way. Seems like a long drive just to camp out in the parking lot of a police station, ha ha. Home town boy Trent Harmon, who won the American Idol competition last year, was the headliner on Friday night, and the Lone Star Band played country on Saturday night, There were some other groups as well, of course, and two stages in different areas of "downtown" Amory. The weather was surprisingly mild, almost chilly Tues, Weds and Thurs. Friday it started getting warm during the day and Sat and Sun were cloudless and blistering hot with almost no humidity in the day, and chilly at night. Amory had about twenty different churches cooking barbecue, burgers, hot dogs, catfish, ribs, etc., and of course, the famous Amory apple fritters. One lady told us she drove 60 miles just to buy some apple fritters. It's a huge event for that part of Mississippi, and four or five times as large as the National Hobo Convention in Britt, Iowa. Friday night after the "food court" area closed down for the night, a couple of guys from churches brought us a bag of apple fritters, some boiled potatoes and some ears of corn-on-the-cob, but no barbecue ribs or chicken, like in years past. Saturday night I guess they forgot all about us, but one church cut their prices to $2 for any sandwich and we tanked up on burgers, hot dogs and chicken sandwiches. I didn't go down to the amusement park rides area, but there was a large carnival in town, with all the usual stuff like a Ferris wheel, Tilt-A-Whirl, a "vomit comet" and so on. There were quite a few rides designed for smaller children. It was all lit up as carnivals usually are, with a zillion colored lights and the usual canned music. I don't think they had a midway, at least I didn't see one. In times past we've had as many as 60 tramps in Amory for the RR festival, but this year there were only ten--National Hobo King Ricardo, Virginia Slim and Cathy, Hobo SLC, Medicine Man and Daisy Sue, me, Fredy the German, another guy I didn't know and of course, Hobo Queen Miss Charlotte, who lives in Amory. Charlotte very graciously put up those who did not bring a vehicle in which they could sleep in her and the late Loco Larry's "hobo hotel" sheds. King Ricardo, Hobo SLC and I were vandwelling and got festival passes from the city so we could camp in a parking lot near the steam locomotive. Unfortunately our parking spots were right next to a police & sheriff disaster response trailer--good in a way, because we could tap into their shore power electric, but the radio chatter was kind of annoying late at night. The cops were very nice, though. Nobody was able to ride a train in, and nobody even pitched a tent or rolled out in the "jungle" next to the locomotive. BNSF had brought in several bulls and we had Amory city cops, Monroe County sheriff's deputies and BNSF railroad bulls all over the Amory yards. I don't think even that legendary rail ghost, Stretch Wilson, could have ridden a train in. There were plenty of gendarmes, although I saw no arrests, despite the size of the crowd--at least 10,000, I'd guess. The park was packed. SLC showed King Ricardo and me where the Amory City Water Department is, and Friday we hiked down to take a shower. They told us they told us they weren't allowing hobos to shower there any more, but when I asked them if they could spare a clean 5-gallon bucket for us to bathe in, and since we had already walked all the way down there, they let us shower anyway. SLC and Ricardo scrubbed up, but I passed, having already washed up in the brand-spankin' new city park bathrooms next to the Amory fire station. It was good to see everybody again, I hadn't seen anyone since last August at Britt. It was especially good to see Fredy the German, who flew into Miami from Germany and rented a car to get to Amory. (Now that's what I call a dedicated tramp.)
  19. I have heard from several tramps that I usually see up at the National Hobo Convention in Britt. They say they are going to go to Amory this year. So many of the old heads have passed away, it's kind of disheartening. I am encouraged that people are making an effort to make Amory. I've only attended once before and we had a good time, so I hope this year is a good one. Like at Britt, the railroad special agents and the local police and sheriff's deputies are generally out in force. Riding a train into Amory is very difficult to do without getting busted. Generally speaking, people who ride a train to Amory aim for Tupelo, then hitch that last 35 miles or so.
  20. I think I'm going to try to make the Amory Railroad Festival in Amory, Mississippi. It runs April 6,7,8 and 9. It's about 1,025 miles from where I am now. Like everything else in life, "It all depends."
  21. Just checking in. I'm in Maryland, close to Washington, D.C. It's cold, about 30 degrees today. Y'all stay warm.
  22. The Amory Railroad Festival is April 6,7,8 and 9 this year (2017.) Amory is a dry town in a dry county, so be very careful bringing alcohol in. The camp is in the middle of the largest city park in town, right inn front of a historic steam locomotive on display. This event is a huge deal for the city of Amory, so be careful to not do anything to upset the local people. Definitely do not do any graffiti in town, the local judge would probably throw the book at you. Tramps are treated very well in Amory during the railroad festival, just behave yourself. There are very, very few motel or hotel rooms in town or even within reasonable driving distance during the festival. The town is jammed with thousands of tourists. There are often fifty or sixty tramps in the jungle. Port-a-potties are available, but no public showers. There are many food booths, live music on the stage in the park, and a great railroad museum.
  23. Of the people featured in that clip, I knew Dog Man and New York Slim. I met New York Slim up at the National Hobo Convention one year. He had a little bitty dog that he called "Stewpot." Dog Man Tony was one of the original Boxcar Boys Ranch tramps. The "Ranch" was a house in Staples, Minnesota. It's still there but I don't think anybody is residing there at present. All of the original BBR tramps have passed away except for King Frog, Tuck and Dante Fuchwha. Preacher Steve, Space Man John, Shot Down Wills, Eight-Ball, Dog Man and several more that don't spring to mind are gone. Steve and Space Man pooled their money to buy the Ranch and all their brother tramps contributed to the operating expenses. They wintered there in Staples, on the High Line, for a lot of years. Dog Man was a hard case when he was young, but when he got older he retired from the rails. Those guys were not snowbirds. They rode the High Line winter and summer, and it is cold as a motherfucker in the winter. They lived a hard life--no quarter, no surrender.
  24. True. My wife and I used to joke that we "took our retirement years when we were young enough to enjoy them" by being adventurous and footloose when we were in our twenties. Life is definitely too short. The problem is that if you don't go to college or trade school or complete some sort of higher education when you are young, it negatively impacts your older adult years economically. I've said on here several times before: "Being poor is a big adventure when you're young, but being poor when you are old sucks bigtime." You only have so many years to earn money. I started working when I was sixteen, as a busboy in a Chinese restaurant, but I didn't get my first "real" job until I graduated from high school and went to work as an orderly in a hospital. (Hospitals don't have "orderlies" anymore. Back then, in the 1960's, nurses didn't do as much heavy lifting, they had young, strong orderlies and nurse's aides to do most of that.) I could have kept working, but I was burned out, kind of at the end of my rope. Sixty-six is too old to be doing the kind of nursing I was doing. Adolescent psych nursing is more of a young person's profession. Psychiatric staff members sort of play roles within the unit. As I got older and older, my role went from being the +"no-nonsense charge nurse" to being a grandfather figure, which was okay with me. Enforcing the unit rules was a pain in the ass and I got real tired of having to be "The Boss." I'm getting close to being free. I got a buyer on our house, the contract is signed, we're just waiting on the title company to finish closing. Once the house is done, I'm out of here. I have no furniture in the house but a card table, a straight-back chair and a bed on the floor. I'm hoboing in my living room, ha ha. It won't be long before I'm able to travel.
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