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kabar, earlier in the thread when you mention the railway guide...


"Okay. You need to READ THE WHOLE THREAD, but I'll make it easier for you. You can get a railroad atlas from Desk Map Systems, Inc., 3636 Executive Center Drive, Suite 150, Austin, TX 78731, or try 512-346-9330 or FAX 512-346-9332 or http://www.deskmap.com.

It's called the "Professional Railroad Atlas of North America, 2nd Edition." And it costs like $74.95 + shipping and handling."


just wondering, have you been to this place before or only oredered guides? just wondering if just anyone can walk in and purchase a guide?


also, catching out of central texas.. recommendations, tips. fyi ive read littlejohns book

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I've never actually been to the physical location of the DeskMap company. They do a lot of mail-order business, it's probably a pretty big outfit, but I have no first hand knowledge of them. Why not just do it online or by snail mail? If necessary, call 'em, get the total price with shipping & handling and send them a money order. I did it online with a debit card. The book is not very big. What you're paying for is all their research and shit. If you don't intend to ride "all over" you could probably get by with a couple of railroad maps from eBay. I got four or five pretty recent maps (like less than ten years old) off of eBay. Most of them cost five bucks or less. Stretch doesn't use the railroad atlas. He uses a regular Rand-McNally road atlas (which is a shitload cheaper) and carries a copy of the Crew Change Guide.


To give you any tips I'd need to know more about where you are, etc. Email me.


My friend Stray Cat Julie and her banjo-playing boyfriend were in town. They hitched up from Mexico with a big touristy sombrero (in day-glo colors) in tow. I picked them up and dropped them off at the jungle Friday night. They stayed until Sunday and then caught out. I think Julie is heading for Florida and her boyfriend was headed back up to Canada spend Christmas with his folks. He'd best haul ass or he ain't gonna make it. In fact, he might not make it anyway. Canada is a long ass ways north from Houston.


I'm changing jobs. I start a new gig on the 26th. More money, better hours, Monday through Friday---I feel like I've died and gone to heaven! YThe best part---no more psych nursing. I am burned out from twelve years of putting up with mentally ill adolescent bullshit. You can't do the job right if you're burned out, so it was most def time for a change of direction.


I hope all you guys have an excellent Christmas and a kick-ass New Year. Stay out of trouble!

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Righton Kbar!

took me 5 days to read the whole thread.

Quite a literary ride!

I live in DeKalb, Il. across the street from the UP superhighway and reading the last 3 or 4 years of your posts has really enlightend me on all sorts of railroad subculture I probobly wouldnt have gotten anywhere else in the condensed and colorfull form that you have here.

So, Thanks Kbar, Congrats on the new job, ive known a few nurses in my life, and i know (second hand) how crazy a gig it is and what kind of pressures it puts on you. Not to mention thoes around you...

I hope to read more and lear more from ya in the future!

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year,



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found a link...



Third Edition

Effective -April 10, 1994

These rules herein govern the operation of the railroads listed and must be complied with by all employees regardless of gender whose duties are in any way affected thereby.


They supersede all previous rules and instructions inconsistent therewith.




Another link to a simmilar site with more history http://www.du.edu/~jcalvert/railway/nkplate.htm


Another wealth of info might be the

US Navy - Railway Operating Handbook NAVFAC P-301.pdf

Check your favorite torrent site, or piratebay.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...


I can't say thay I disagree with anything you wrote. Busking is an honorable tradition, but still frowned upon by the Powers That Be. I don't believe Spellcheck is available unless you download ieSpell. Click on the "ABC (check)" icon directly above all the Smilies.


I talked to Stretch tonight. He's up in Chicago with Milwaukee Mike and Baloney Kid and Bloney's lady headed South to Houston, he says. Burl is getting kind of old and stove up, so Stretch left him up in Pennsylvania with his girl friend. Says he got "itchy feet" and needed to go ride some trains.



Nope, I never read Ironweed by William Kennedy. Didn't they make a movie out of that book, starring Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep? It had Tom Waits in it, too. Late '80s, if memory serves. Nicholson played a schizophrenic road dog. I saw it in Pasco, Washington about 1989 or so.


I definately do not carry a Ka-Bar knife on the road, they are illegal weapons in every state that I know of, because of the blade's length and the fact that it qualifies as a dagger, i.e. the blade is sharp on both sides. In Texas it is a Class B misdemeanor, I think. One may not carry a knife in Texas that has a blade longer than 5-1/2". Ka-Bar knives have a 7-1/2" blade, plus they are specifically "a Bowie knife" which is a class of prohibited weapon in Texas.


I do often carry a tramp knife I made out of a carbon steel butcher knife that has a 5-3/8" blade. Up in Iowa, I carry one that has a 4-3/8" blade because of the knife laws up there. If the cops want to jack with you, they can always haul you in and measure the knife downtown.


I pretty much agree with Boxcarro. Stay out of sight. Avoid trouble like the plague.---"Leave no trace. Do no damage. Make no disturbance."

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I'm afraid I never had the pleasure of meeting Brew Dog or any of that crew, sorry.


Here's the words to "Oh, I'm a Good Old Rebel"


http://www.contemplator.com/tunebook/america/rebel.htm the one I'm familar with


http://46thtn.homestead.com/SongPoems.html#anchor_13441 different version


"O, I'm A Good Old Rebel" (traditional Southern ballad, 1866)


O, I'm a good old Rebel }

Now that's just what I am }

For this fair land of freedom }

I do not care a damn. }

I'm glad I fought against it } Chorus

I only wish we'd won. }

And I don't want no pardon }

For anything I've done. }


I hate the Constitution

This great Republic too

I hates the Freedmen's Bureau

In uniforms of blue.

I hate the nasty eagle

With all his brag and fuss

But the lyin', thievin' Yankees

I hates' em worse and worse.




Three hundred thousand Yankees

Lie still in Southern dust

We got three hundred thousand

Before they conquered us

They died of Southern fever

And Southern steel and shot

I wish they was three million

Instead of what we got.




I can't take up my musket

And fight' em now no more

But I ain't a-goin'to love' em

Now that is certain sure

And I don't want no pardon

For what I was and am

And I won't be Reconstructed

And I do not give a damn.




(Rebel yell)


I heard this song sung at a family reunion picnic in north Texas when I was about nine (1959), accompanied by guitar and banjo. Everybody applauded. You know what Faulkner said about the South "The past is not only not forgotten down South, the past is not even the past."


Here's some more Southern songs, typical of the period.


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Heard from Stretch. He was in Arcadia, Mississippi, headed towards Shreveport. I guess he'll hit Houston sometime this week. He said Burl is getting pretty old, so he left him up in Pennsylvania with a lady friend.


Heree's a shotr of a tramp back during the Great Depression. 1933, or thereabouts.



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I'm changing jobs. I start a new gig on the 26th. More money, better hours, Monday through Friday---I feel like I've died and gone to heaven! YThe best part---no more psych nursing. I am burned out from twelve years of putting up with mentally ill adolescent bullshit. You can't do the job right if you're burned out, so it was most def time for a change of direction.





long time no talk to..



what job are you doin now?

and hows that been goin?

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I'm working a nursing job. It's kind of different from what I was doing before, but it's still basic RN stuff, passing medications, doing assessments, trying to figure out whether my patients are bullshitting me or whether they have really been coughing up blood.


Same old shit, LOL. Stretch should be down here in a few days. Last I heard he was in Shreveport, visiting with Ricky.

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Stretch hit town Saturday morning from Shreveport. We went down to the jungle and cleaned it up a little. One of our structures (what we call "the Carport") fell down, was blown down or got knocked down by some idiot. We're not too clear on exactly what happened. Anyway, it's down. So we disassembled it and stacked all the 2x4's, 4x4's and shit off to the side.

After we walked down the tracks to the Beer Store and got a half-rack of Busch tall boys and shot the shit with all the Mexican hangers-out, we went back to the jungle and produced a bunch of empty beer cans. Stretch came over to the house and got a shower and we sat around drinking Carlo Rossi red and watching "Flight 93." That's a very disturbing movie.


Sunday we ate breakfast and then kicked it until about 1800, then I drove him down to Galveston and dropped him off at the Yards. He wanted to go hang out at the beach for a while before he heads outs to Amory, Mississippi in April. He's camped out down in Galveston.


And I gotta go back to work.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have the north american professional railroad atlas third edition. It's Ok. there is some things I dont like about it. I've owned the SPV southern states and Texas(that's two different books) atlas's for a couple of years the are excellent. Now they do include dead lines marked in dotted lines. Some larger customer owned areas are included ,Big plus. I've been in to trains for years and didn't know about some of the spurs in my area till I got these atlas. I recomend them. http://www.karensbooks.com/ this site has lots of train books at good prices. That's not saying much Train books aren't cheap. Duffy littlejohns book is what got me started in hopping. Is he still living?


Hey KaBar I enjoy your tutorials even when there in chapters.

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Thanks for the compliment--I really write this stuff more for my own enjoyment than anything else.


Yes, Duffy Littlejohn is still among the living so far as I know. I met him up at Britt a couple of years ago. He was up there selling autographed copies of his books and just hanging out, but I don't think he spent much time in the jungle.


Britt has this large sort of open-air Flea Market on the main drag around the Library and near the Hobo House Restaurant during the Convention. You can rent a "table space" and sell whatever you want to. There are a lot of craftsmen and "antiques & junque" type sales there. Also a Farmer's Market where people sell produce, eggs and so on.


Anyway, that's where I met Littlejohn. He was a nice enough guy, but I got the feeling his book wasn't moving too well. I think most of the visitors to Britt would rather buy some little"hobo decoration" for their kitchen than a book about actually hopping trains, LOL. We tried to sell genuine gunboats used at the convention for a dollar "donation" apiece to raise money for the Hobo Museum. I think we sold one.


One of the big sellers at the Hobo Museum is a cookbook of hobo recipes (sounds ridiculous, but people love it---that book has raised thousands of dollars). Stretch and I have been talking about writing a companion book for it that is all recipes involving cooking in a gunboat over an open fire.


A professional railroad atlas is not necessary to hop trains, of course, but it sure adds a degree of understanding about the rail lines that would otherwise be lacking. I have several mid-20's railriding acquaintences that just learned the old way---by getting on trains and riding them to their destination, and then asking around and observing until they found out how to get back again. This is a very time-consuming way to do it, but it does work. Kind of hard to do unless you are footloose and fancy-free: no school schedule, no job to report to on Monday, no girlfriend who is going to get pissed at you for disappearing for a couple of weeks, no landlord that is going to evict you for not paying rent on time.


If you are unemployed and on the bum, that's the perfect time to go hop trains.

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