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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?

Some crazy rando on the side of the tracks playing with his nipple piercings in 35 degree weather. 

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Here is a cool old railroad worker's safety film released by Union Pacific in 1972, probably made in 1968 or so from the looks of the cars.. It kind of reminds me of those horribly boring films we were required to watch in junior high school, with a funky, "jazzy" 1960 sound track and awful, outdated fashions and hair styles. You'll love the hair styles on the girls--major hair spray, and very bouffant. The way the railroad workers are dressed is almost EXACTLY the way they dressed in 1970 when I first started catching out, and many tramps imitated this style (overalls, steel-toed work boots, etc.) in an effort to blend in culturally with the car knockers and switchmen. The idea was if you dressed like they did, they were less likely to rat you out.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Is it possible to be a 40 mile rubber tramp? I got caught at an east bound BNSF eastbound coal train stopped in the middle of nowhere while country cruising and seriously considered parking the damn thing to climb on and see where it goes.

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There are a lot of stories pretty much just like that. Especially from people who can't stand the life they are living. I have considered it more than once! But I just have seventeen more months to go, so I am trying hard to hang with it until I turn 66.

 

Hey, I found a GREAT trainhopping resource.!

 

http://www.railfanguides.us/

 

It's freakin' awesome.

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  • 1 month later...

There's plenty of folding bikes to be got on the cheap, and I have no real life experience in this but as far as hiding, a gondola would be easiest to hide but I don't know a bout climbing that ladder. Boxcar would seem to make the most sense.

 

Tho bikes are easy to come up on the road depending on your finances and scruples.

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It's a road bike; single speed. I have been deliberating on whether or not I can climb a gondola with my bike. I can do it with my dog, but he's not nearly as large. I'm hoping for luck in catching 48s, as I don't really see open boxcars rolling the highline. I can pack all my gear into my messenger bag, including my U lock, tarp, and water. The reason I wish to take my bike is it will provide considerable convenience in getting to and from yards, as well as getting around towns I stop in. My concerns are lack of concealed rides and holes in fences; the latter of which I only recently considered. If there are any other difficulties one could foresee, I would appreciate the input.

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I'm disappointed that I'm not going to be able to go up to Britt this year for the Convention. I planned for it, and asked for the time off from work well in advance, but I can't get the time off that I need. (It's a conflict with another employee who asked for those same days off.) Back in the day, I would have just said, "Fuck it," and quit the job, but I'm fifteen months from retirement, and I can't do that, and they know I can't do that. It's tough getting a job past age fifty. It's practically impossible at age 64. If I take early retirement (before age 66) I lose about 25% of my Social Security income.

 

They've really got you over a barrel when you get close to retirement age.

 

None of you youngsters are worried about this shit yet, but you should be. Start planning for your retirement, investing money and saving money NOW. The time goes fast, really fast. And it speeds up once you have a kid to take care of. Forewarned is forearmed. Start preparing for retirement now!

 

Being poor when you're young is kind of a big adventure. Being poor when you're old sucks bigtime.

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2 things:

 

1. I went out the other day on my bike and came across a small encampment in the woods next to the highway. There was nobody there. I lit a fire because the mosquitoes were going crazy. Sat there for about 30 minutes drinking and smoking, waiting til it got dark. I was amazed at a hammock that someone with incredible skill wove from scratch and hung next to the encampment. Right as it got dark the guy showed up, kept a small bit of distance, just stood there, and was kinda perplexed- obviously wasn't looking to have a confrontation but he wasn't particularly thrilled I was there. I waved, stamped the fire out, packed up and biked off, and nodded on his way out. Guy turned very friendly when he realized we were respectful. Yea, respect goes a long way.

 

2. I'm actively looking for a job on the West Coast. The place I'm going is seemingly very well known for freights, and I'm very excited at the possibility of being able to catch out in the future. Unlike you Kabar, my job doesn't have me by the balls like you, or at least, I'm still young enough to be able to start anew without the stigma of age. When you do end up catching out though, how do you think you'll do it differently than in your youth, considering you are getting older? No catching out on the fly, bringing bought gear instead of making your own stuff on the side of the tracks?

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I am assuming there was no gear left in the camp, no pack, no bindle, no cook gear. If this is correct, then the camp could very well have been abandoned and the tramp who built it may have moved on. If, however, there was gear left in the camp, then it would be pretty disrespectful to go in and start checking things out. A tramp's camp is his home, just like your house is your home. Think about how you would feel to come home and find a stranger in the middle of your living room, say watching TV. You'd be pretty upset, I'm willing to bet.

 

In a big jungle, where several people are living, they usually make arrangements for somebody to stay and watch the camp. It's not unheard of for local kids to come in to a jungle that's unoccupied and wreck it. The jungle at Eureka is pretty much trashed now because of local kids using it as a shooting gallery and drinking spot. They throw trash everywhere and do vandalizing stuff like taking a shit in the hooch, etc. This kind of behavior is usually because the kids feel powerless in dealing with the adult world, and like people who are oppressed everywhere, they take advantage of a situation where they can oppress somebody else. They do it just "because we can, and the bums can't stop us." I think now that building a hooch at Eureka was a mistake. The first time I went there it was pretty much spotless. Trees, brush, very little trash. I found an old fire ring, so I decided to rebuild a jungle there. Stretch Wilson needed a place winter over, so we put up a big piece of railroad plastic in the trees and cleared a spot to roll out. That was about 2001. It worked so-so, but the next winter was really wet, so we built a raggedy hooch with a crappy flat roof, covered with railroad plastic. It leaked pretty bad. In 2003, twelve years ago, we built a real shack and later on we re-built it with shipping pallets for walls with a gable roof, decked over with plywood scraps and shingled with those big 4x8 corrugated plastic political signs. Lots of people have stayed there, but kids who probably were just babies when we first built it have grown up to be young teenagers, and they have trashed out the entire jungle. They don't have any respect, because they feel like nobody has any respect for them. The jungle is not permanently occupied, so they feel like "nobody" owns it. They feel entitled to trash it out, because they can. But they didn't build it, and they didn't contribute to it. They don't have any right to fuck it up.

 

Props to you for respecting the guy and the camp. He probably won't be there very long. If you guys decide to hang out there, treat the jungle with the same respect you want for yourself. Burn your trash. Collect aluminum cans in a specific area, don't just pitch them everywhere. Never break glass in the jungle. If you have to relieve yourselves, don't do it anywhere close to the jungle. It's just common sense behavior for a common-use area.

 

When I go back on the road, I'll be using the same gear I took last time. I've still got it all. But this time around, I will still have a place to come back to if I choose to come back. And I will have at least a small income, so I won't have to work as much or fly a sign, probably. I haven't caught on the fly since about 1972. I still get off rolling trains, but I don't hit 'em rolling any more. It's too dangerous. It was just as dangerous when I was 22, but I was too reckless and full of myself to admit it. Can it be done? Sure. But at what risk? Death? Dismemberment? It's definitely not worth it.

 

I enjoy making my own gear, the old school way. Not everybody likes doing things the Old School Way, but I do. But I buy stuff too. It just depends on how I'm feeling at the time. The old ways are dying out, being kicked to the curb by the younger riders. They refuse to bathe, some of them, refuse to have any respect for society, but they carry all kinds of electronic gadgets. Whatever. We have different goals. I ride trains to GET AWAY from all that shit. For some reason, they want to be wired in to the System. Not me. Each to his own, I guess. I'd be more impressed if they tried to maintain at least normal social standards. They don't respect society because they think society doesn't respect them, like the kids that wreck the jungle. A lot of the worst ones are essentially "throwaway kids." Kicked out by their parents. It's pretty sad.

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Just received word that the new King of Hobos crowned in Britt is Czech Hobo, and the Queen is Hobo Lump, a former Queen if I recall correctly. The Convention was reportedly a great success. Collinwood Kid brought in a van full of dumpster-dived beef (800 pounds? Can that be correct?)

Bummed out that I missed it this year. Maybe next year. Fifteen months to go before "Liberation Day."

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so it looks like a certain class 1 is in the process of putting locks on their units, is there a way to open the emergency roof hatch from the outside? does any body know on ge units? or how to gain access to a dpu that is locked.. i know there is only a couple of keys that you need and i am going to get my hands on them one day but until then..

 

please pm me this info, there is already way to much info on this tread.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Michael Grant-- I know very little about units, because I usually avoid them if at all possible. Getting caught while actually on a train pretty much guarantees you will go to jail (as opposed to getting a ticket or a lecture.) But getting caught in a unit, including a DPU, is going to give the railroad a strong desire to see you do some real jail time, therefore, I avoid units unless I have absolutely no choice. I don't have any idea about unlocking locked unit doors or escape hatches, but I'm willing to bet that if you get caught bypassing a locked unit door they will charge you with burglary of a motor vehicle, or possibly even interfering with railroad operations. Getting caught with keys sounds like a prison sentence waiting to happen. I definitely don't recommend any sort of theft or vandalism to any railroad property, and definitely not to any unit. Stealing a ride in a boxcar or on a grainer porch is one thing. Busting into a unit is something entirely different.

 

And as for there being too much information on this thread, you yourself have benefitted from information you obtained on here, as well as from IMs between the two of us, in which I provided you with considerable information about trainhopping. I hope you are not in turn adopting the attitude, now that you know how to catch out, that those of us who know about how to catch out safely should exclude newbies from learning how. If the old guys that taught me, forty-five years ago, had adopted that attitude, I probably would never have learned how, and would never have been able to tell you (and lots of other people,) what I know.

 

I have gotten considerable criticism from some trainhoppers for putting up this thread. They want trainhopping to be some sort of secret club that only the "cool people" can belong to. This thread, and a couple of others similar to it on 12 Oz. that were lost in server crashes, has probably given hundreds of young people who wanted to catch out at least the basics of trainhopping safety. Last time I looked it had thousands of hits, I forget how many (edit: 262,790 something . . .) I hope that those people who learned some safety tips from this thread who went on to catch out had the decency to share what they learned with others. The basics of Tramp Life are very simple. If we all followed Rufe's philosophy of being a stand-up tramp, the world would definitely be a better place.

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Maybe it has been mentioned here, maybe it hasn't. Either way I know it hasn't been mentioned enough but if you are touching down in 1 spot for more than 2 weeks, get a gym membership. The showers, pool, place to hang out, whatever is worth way more than the ~$20 you'll shell out. That was my biggest challenge on the road. Winter isn't so good for bathing outdoors.

 

The local YMCAs will often give a try it before you buy it deal so you can snag a free shower here and there. Jacksonville, FL let me shower for damn near 3 months on a free day pass. The coffee is free and awesome. Expect old man balls freely flapping while being engaged in conversation. YMMV.

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Joining a gym that is a nation-wide network is another good idea. Sometimes paying bills for things like cell phones, gym memberships, internet service, etc. can get to be a hassle, but the two things that seem to be the most worth it (to me) are pre-paid cell phones and a gym membership. I have some tramp friends that manage to scrape up $20 for a thirty-pack of Busch every day or two, but cannot seem to find the wherewithal to get a shower or wash their clothes. Going around being a "stinky train-riding gentleman," as Rollin Nowhere once so eloquently put it, is not such a good idea. The basics of civilized life should not be all that difficult to obtain for the average person. Wash your feet, your armpits and your privates every day. Brush your teeth and floss every day. Drink plenty of water. Try to get at least one decent meal every day. If you smoke, QUIT. If you drink, try to minimize your alcohol intake. (I know far more tramps that have died from smoking and drinking than were ever killed in railroad accidents.) Don't use addictive drugs. Don't share personal items like hats, clothing, bandanas, etc. If you have sex, USE A CONDOM and make sure it's safe sex. These are just basic, normal, common-sense things about living a normal life, but there are a lot of people out on the road that seem to have just tossed the "common sense" book out the window.

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Just found St. Louis Frank's Rat Pack website again. He has some good photos of the 2015 National Hobo Convention, including King Czech Hobo and Queen Hobo Lump. Czech Hobo has ridden quite a bit, but Hobo Lump is the real McCoy. She rode extensively when she was younger, and her son, Hobo Grump (a former hobo king) also rode extensively. Hobo Grump is buried in the National Hobo Cemetery in Britt.

 

http://ratpackstlouis.com/hobo-u63.htm

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