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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's a link to a story written about the Pennsylvania Kid in 1974. I never met the Pennsylvania Kid, but this story comes from the same period of time when I broke in on trains. Note the ideas that the story mentions: jungles were once full of tramps, the railroad workers tolerated tramps being in the yards and even helped us. They gave the tramps coffee and sandwiches. The jungles were CLEAN, and the tramps kept a clean camp. Pennsylvania Kid was greatly admired by Iowa Blackie, when Blackie was 25 years old. And now Blackie is gone too, but if you look at a picture of Blackie in his latter years, you can see traces of Pennsylvania Kid and his outlandish hat. Same thing is true about Adman. These men are definitely senior citizens now, but in 1974, we were all young and crazy and wanted to ride forever.

 

http://www.johnjlopinot.com/the-pennsylvania-kid-1974/

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Iowa Blackie, in his prime. http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=iowa blackie, hobo&view=detailv2&&id=3274BA3D3A0844258F8B7BA744FECF0D18A2C4EB&selectedIndex=0&ccid=Y53mSsAz&simid=608006806758557650&thid=JN.jC+5ETuIDjbCPHkDmi8Ung&ajaxhist=0

 

Iowa Blackie, about 2012. http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=iowa+blackie%2c+hobo&view=detailv2&&id=8D805BF08A78F949308CB8EC7378283A184C7460&selectedIndex=4&ccid=oHf1fLNs&simid=608025932250091418&thid=JN.3UWanKvmBDftDzR5lOjuIQ&ajaxhist=0

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I don't know, today must be "Cool Photograph Day" or something.

This is a link to a photograph of a bunch of young paratroopers about to jump into Normandy on D-Day, 1944, with a split screen to show them today, as elderly veterans. Looks like most of them made it through WWII alive, Thank God. Sometimes people don't feel it like they should, but we owe these men everything. They were just kids, but when the shit hit the fan, they stood up and did their duty. We should all hope we can be this brave when and if our turn comes to defend the civilized world. I love the guy with the Errol Flynn moustache. If you gotta go parachute into certain death, by golly, have a little style, you know?

 

http://i.imgur.com/W8i9ZEr.jpg

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Stinky train riding gentleman haha. I havent been on here in who knows how long... Been just about 2 years since Ive traveled on a train and this is the longest Ive lived in the same place in a decade but I just got a new pack and sleeping bag so ya know Ill probably have some pictures to post up shortly. THEY CALLIN ME...

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@rolling nowhere I hear you. Been about 2 years since I rode out as well and the old lady was not happy at all. Westbound BNSF coal to the Rose Lake Yard stop less than a quarter mile from me a couple of times a day and every time I say "I hear you girl. Just not today" I can feel the look from her. Only got 3 years left and this shack is mine free and clear. Who knows from there.
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Here's a booking picture of "Minneapolis Skinny" after he and Adman got arrested on a train, along with Adman's daughter, I think. Skinny was the other tramp who, along with Adman, went down to Dalhart, Texas to retrieve the remains of Lord Open Road, who had been murdered by a couple of fucking dirtbags, and buried by the County in a pauper's grave. The way the County does that is they dig one hole and put several inexpensive plywood coffins in it, stacked on top of one another. Lord Open Road was not the top coffin and he had been buried quite a while, so the coffins and the bodies in them had deteriorated quite a bit. The County dug up the grave with Open Road in it, unloaded the coffins above him and disinterred him. Then they cremated the remains, except there was quite a bit of dirt that got into the coffin during the disinterment. So when Adman and Skinny received Lord Open Road's remains, there were several heavy ass boxes weighing about forty or fifty pounds. They took the boxes, all their gear, packs, water jugs, etc. and set off, sweating profusely, down to the UP rail yard in Dalhart. When they got down there, they were exhausted. Both of them were probably thinking this job had turned into a lot more than they bargained for when Steam Train Maury Graham, the Grand Patriarch of Hobos, had dispatched them to go retrieve Lord Open Road's remains and bring them back up to Britt.

They definitely could not catch trains carrying 120 pounds of ashes and graveyard dirt. Then they had a revelation. A fitting tribute to Lord Open Road, who was a life-long hobo and tramp of the first order, would be to sprinkle some of his ashes on every boxcar they rode, so that Open Road could "ride the rails forever." So that's what they did. They sprinkled a little bit of Open Road on every train they caught, and on the UP rail bed, and everywhere else they could think of that seemed appropriate, so Open Road could rest in peace, scattered all over the Union Pacific railroad!

 

By the time they got Open Road back up to Britt he was a much more manageable twenty-five pounds of ashes in a plastic bag in one cardboard box. And he is buried in the National Hobo Cemetery at Evergreen Cemetery in Britt, Iowa. But he is also riding the Union Pacific until Judgment Day!

 

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=adman, hobo&view=detailv2&&id=2AEFF78914134DA8AE9C1FF23B0461C816471CB3&selectedIndex=67&ccid=MD6qNCR4&simid=608053196700910266&thid=JN.n9JzLztyh9kHcR/KOBuTMg&ajaxhist=0

 

This is a booking photo of Adman's daughter, I think. As you can see, she doesn't look too upset about being arrested on a freight train. Stalwart girl!

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=adman%2c+hobo&view=detailv2&id=2AEFF78914134DA8AE9C672B40EECF368E00889C&selectedindex=83&ccid=uDuFtZuA&simid=607999943406780492&thid=JN.pcsMahRk06qtSSO%2FE%2BlafQ&ajaxhist=0&first=1

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Thank you for finding this video, Xen. This is very much the way I remember it, back in 1970. I think that we may never see the likes of men like Steam Train Maury Graham, and the Hard Rock Kid, and Pennsylvania Kid, and Lord Open Road, and Fry Pan Jack, and Feather River John, and Connecticut Slim and all the rest of the bridgers ever again. Lord, I miss the old guys. When they died off, it like to killed the younger tramps. It was like having your father die. I miss old Rufe a lot, and I'd give anything to just be able to talk to him one more time. He was a mean old cuss, but he was a good tramp, and he treated me kindly back when I was a wet-behind-the-ears nineteen-year-old traveler, trying to learn how to catch out..

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Sad news to report. My father passed away yesterday at age 90. He and I had our differences, but we still loved each other. He was in the U.S. Army Air Corps during WWII, before it became the Air Force. He told me once he always wanted to go ride freight trains when he was young, but he never did it. He was born in 1924, and was a little boy during the worst of the Great Depression. He grew up in the north Texas Panhandle, in the town of Canyon, but lived in Houston most of his life. He was a commercial artist when I was a kid, and became a "fine artist" after he retired. RIP, Dad.

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art101--Sorry about the delay in responding, I've been busy and didn't check 12 Oz. for a few days. Thanks for the kind words. I've got about nine months or so until I can retire and I'm hoping to go back on the road at least for a while. Digihitch was shut down after the founder passed away and I didn't care for the new format they adopted. These kinds of forums come and go. Nothing good lasts forever, and neither does anything bad. It's all ephemeral. Enjoy the good stuff while it's here and ignore the bad shit. It will go away eventually. Best regards! See you down the road.

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It is my sad duty to report that my friend and rail-riding buddy, Stretch Wilson, passed away in Arizona on November 9, 2015.

 

I spoke with him on the phone sometime in late October or early November. He sounded good. He hadn't been drinking, but he told me he had a cold. He said that he was thinking of coming to Houston to winter over at Eureka JCT. It wasn't unusual for me to only hear from Stretch once a month or so, or sometimes even less.

 

He had been staying occasionally in a Motel 6 where he had made some friends. He had contracted a severe respiratory illness (MRSA, by one report) and had been sick all fall. Due to the weather turning cold, his friends at the motel offered him a room, but Stretch turned it down and went back down to his jungle. The next day, the Motel 6 manager was worried about him, and went down to Stretch's jungle to check on him, and found him dead in his tent.

 

Stretch was probably the most adept and skillful railroad tramp I ever met. He had his flaws and his weaknesses. He drank too much and would not accept any of the offers to help him get sober. He worked when he could and he flew a sign when he couldn't get work. He was a good campfire cook, and an excellent railroad navigator. Stretch probably rode well over a million miles in his thirty years on the rails. He was a good friend to me, and I'm sure going to miss him. RIP Stretch Wilson

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Hey KaBar,It's Dave i spoke to you on Reddit a few days ago and you mentioned this thread.

I read what you said about Bo Keely and i feel the same way about him...each to their own and all that but some people just rub us up the wrong way i guess? I was stupid enough to buy one of his book's a while ago..i couldnt even finish it....way too much ego and self aggrandizement imo.

Ok he rode some trains but as you said he ran with newbies thus making HIM look like a vet;) I'd love to have seen him try and hang with the type of guy's you rolled with....it would be the writing equivalent of king's vs toy's haha.

Keep the post's coming.

Respects.

PS.Everyone AVOID the Bo Keeley books.

PPS. An old BBC documentary that is well worth a watch.ENJOY!

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JUST WANTED TO TAKE TIME OUT TO THANK ALL GENUINE CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS THREAD - HUGE THUMBS UP, SPECIFICALLY KABAR. THERE IS AN ENDLESS SUPPLY OF KNOWLEDGE CONTAINED HEREIN AND IS JUST GENERALLY A GREAT READ FROM PAGE ONE ON. IT'S BEEN A FEW YEARS SINCE I'VE FREQUENTED THE OONTZ BUT IT'S GOOD TO KNOW THIS THREAD STILL EXISTS AND APPEARS AT TIMES TO STILL BE GOING STRONG. SOME OF THE INFORMATION DROPPED IN THESE PAGES IS PRICELESS AND PROVIDES A GREAT REFERENCE POINT FOR ANY LONG TIME OR ASPIRING TRAVELERS ALIKE. BUMP.

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