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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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I know the answer to my problem--GO NORTH IN THE SUMMER, SOUTH IN THE WINTER ---but like an idiot, I choose to have a regular job, to own a home and to suffer half the year in this horrible, hot-ass, humid, shit weather. I bet it has rained every other day for like three weeks. You barely have time for the ground to dry out enough to mow it and it rains AGAIN. Texas sucks a big one in the summer.

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i'll be trampfest, stupid might not make it, he's on the east coast right now cause i ent to jail just recently and my friend took him while i was in jail, im in minneapolis right now, about to hop out back to milwaukee and then back here...

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I'm going to Britt in about a week, but this may be the last time for me. There are probably hundreds of tramps who have never been to Britt and will never go to Britt. It has always been part hobo convention, part tourist attraction and part snake-oil show, even back in the very early days.

 

Years ago I saw a bumper sticker in California that said:

 

"Tourists Go Home!



But leave your money."

 

That's sort of the same situation that we are in at Britt. Like movie-lot western towns, "authentic" Indian dancing, canned hunts for exotic animals and tourist excursions of all kinds, the hobo gathering at Britt is artificial. People who have not been on a train or slept outdoors in fifty years show up "dressed in hobo costume." And trainhoppers who just crawled off a boxcar two days ago in Mason City also show up with twenty piercings and tattoos, dressed in "road clothes" that have a thousand patches, smell to high heaven, and are so artfully counter-cultural that it looks like every other youth-oriented rebellious-phase costume in the last fifty years. So how is it that the Road Kids see themselves as "authentic" but see the 70-year-old who rode the rails during the 1950's as "an RV-driving poseur"? Even the Hell's Angels have ditched the Filthy Few get-up.

 

The guys I broke in with in 1970 would have been envious of anybody with enough money to drive an RV. They didn't pick apples as part of any "trying to find America" bullshit. They picked apples because if they didn't pick apples they would probably have no money with which to rent a cabin for the winter in Montana. They didn't smoke tailor-mades because it was "cool." They smoked tailor-mades because you could get a pack of Bugler for 29 cents. Given a choice, they would have gladly moved in to senior-citizen housing and settled down to a nice, boozy "Golden Years" stretch of watching daytime TV and playing bingo down at the bingo parlor. This idea that they were some kind of rebels is total nonsense. They were middle-aged alcoholics who made a bunch of bad decisions and found themselves with few resources in their declining years. They rode trains because it was something that gave them some sort of identity, some sort of self-definition, a sort of belief that they were "special." And they were special, in the same way that old cowboys are special, or old soldiers are special, or old motorcycle riders are special. Somehow, against all odds and against their own expectations, they lived longer than they should have, longer than they thought they would and longer than their youth and strength and good health lasted.

 

Riding trains, living outdoors and cooking over an open fire is a big adventure when you are young. That prospect is considerably less attractive when you are sixty-five or seventy. Most of the former hobos who look back upon their train-riding days fondly are people who got off the rails, joined the Army or went to college or got a trade, or something else like that and became regular citizens.

 

The citizens of Britt, for the most part, have very little affection for tramps and tramp culture. Outside of the National Hobo Museum supporters, most of Britt really would not shed any tears if the hobos never set foot in Britt again. They like Hobo Days, because it brings in money and provides some diversion during the last days of summer, but they do not understand or appreciate hobo culture. A few years ago, there was a sincere proposal to ban the tramps from the National Hobo Convention and to hire actors to portray hobos. They just do not understand.

 

To some degree this is our fault, the fault of the people who continue to attend Britt, the people to whom an artificial hobo gathering is better than no gathering at all. Trampfest is a poor alternative. (Someone suggested that it should be re-named "Drunkfest.") There is a very good reason why Trampfest is never held in the same town twice ---because if the cops knew they were coming back, they would be ready and waiting for them.

 

So I'm going to Britt this year, but like many a tramp before me, I'm thinking "This is the LAST TIME I'm ever coming up here."

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To some degree this is our fault, the fault of the people who continue to attend Britt, the people to whom an artificial hobo gathering is better than no gathering at all. Trampfest is a poor alternative. (Someone suggested that it should be re-named "Drunkfest.") There is a very good reason why Trampfest is never held in the same town twice ---because if the cops knew they were coming back, they would be ready and waiting for them.

 

haha.

some of my associates are on their way up there right now.they wanted me to go but i declined. most train riders are boring as hell to me.

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i'll be trampfest, stupid might not make it, he's on the east coast right now cause i ent to jail just recently and my friend took him while i was in jail, im in minneapolis right now, about to hop out back to milwaukee and then back here...

 

We will be at tfest Saturday only, time is tight this year. Lunch and guth are gonna miss stuuups. happy bday in a few days too, muchacho.

-m

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Leaving for Britt on Sunday. I guess I'll see y'all up there, those of you who make the trip. Stretch is camped out in Mason City not far from the airport. The city will allow people to camp in the jungle starting Monday a.m.

 

K-Bar

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Somehow just discovered this thread 2 days ago and just got done reading the whole thing.

 

Kabar thanks for this thread and all the great posts hope you have fun this weekend and don't have to deal with a bunch of dumbshits ruining britt for you this year though it sounds like they ruined it for good after last year.

Rolling, Eatso, Stretch, Balthaazar, etc thanks for the flicks and contributing to the thread.

I wish more threads on 12oz were this good it would make me want to post and hang out on the site more. I used to hop but watching a couple close friends get pretty badly hurt made me take a break and then I lost a few good friends which made me decide I was extending my break. Haven't ridden anything since summer 03 or sometime around then minus a couple idiotic things like hopping on a ladder on the fly for a hundred feet at this drinking spot in eugene when the trains would pass by super slow over the years. I wish I had known about the hobo conventions when I was still riding though I was much younger and probably would have just gotten drunk and pissed a bunch of people off. I do have a few questions though.

I've never hopped the low line other then from tucson west and that was over 10 years ago, one of my best friends/old hopping buddies is about to have a kid and we were talking about hopping the low and riding from one coast to the other. I've hitched through the south a few times and driven through it a few more and while I'm not a big fan of it I do have a few reservations that might make us take another route. But how easy is it to take a leisurely trip from florida to the west coast via the low line? We were thinking about trying to set aside a month or longer to just take our time getting from one coast to another.

Also has anyone on here ever hopped trains in mexico? I've seen video of people hopping them to come to the US and it seems to be fairly easy but I am wondering if anyone has hopped in mexico? our out of country anywhere minus canada since I am banned from there since I seem to have this habit of writing on things everywhere I go. Especially talking about central and south america.

Kabar you posted a few pages back about becoming a member of TU63 by sending them in a few bucks. Can you elaborate on that a little bit if the offer is still good?

Thanks for the thread its fucking kick ass

 

EDIT: Also I watched part of that doc about the 2 kids who were riding cross country to get married. I still can't believe that shit it pissed me off and brought up some bad memories of watching a friend get hurt. I had to shut it off when the new kid was trying to hop on the fly and fell. I'm so thankful that in all the stupid shit I did when I was younger I was never as stupid as those shits

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My thing about being out on the road is the noticable lack of opportunities to take a real shower. I've bathed in rivers (ivory soap floats btw), public fountains, and washed up in gas station bathrooms. I hate looking like i'm traveling just because it limits your abilities to make honest money. i have no problem stealing food, or hell, whatever i think i need but i do like to make some honest money. i have found that many health clubs, particularly the ymca will let you have a free day to check out the facilities and that means a hot soap shower and a shave. just in case it ever comes up, my 2 cents. if you act like you belong, people will generally tend to accept it.

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My thing about being out on the road is the noticable lack of opportunities to take a real shower. I've bathed in rivers (ivory soap floats btw), public fountains, and washed up in gas station bathrooms. I hate looking like i'm traveling just because it limits your abilities to make honest money. i have no problem stealing food, or hell, whatever i think i need but i do like to make some honest money. i have found that many health clubs, particularly the ymca will let you have a free day to check out the facilities and that means a hot soap shower and a shave. just in case it ever comes up, my 2 cents. if you act like you belong, people will generally tend to accept it.

 

I've actually found that quite a few places have showers for bike commuters, along with bicycle lockers. I usually carry a day pack and a decent lock with me and will hit up one of those spots for showers and storage for my pack so I don't look the part of a traveler as much. I also am quite found of public pools during the summer as a place to shower. Hostels are great, as long as you're not to dirty you can usually hang out and be able to use the lockers to store your pack, the bathrooms to shower, and meet some cute foreign woman who want the dick. Over the years i've become big on finding a spot to lock up my pack while i'm in town and traveling with a day pack that allows me to draw less attention.

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i am probably the only one but after 3 whole hours on a train, i am VERY concerned about a bear attack. Stupid kids but i laughed my ass off. I thought it was going to be something like they got locked in a box car. This is why we can't have nice things.

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I got back from Britt yesterday--it was fun, as usual. A handfull of Road Kids showed up, but did not cause any problems. They helped around the jungle, settimng up stuff and getting ready for the Convention, but left the day before for Trampfest. We heard through the grapevine that Trampfest got raided by the police and some people got busted, but I have no way to know if that's true or not. Anybody know?

 

The convention went off with no problem this year. About ten people spent a lot of time in the grassy "back yard" behind a small building on the main drag because they had permission from the owner to camp there and to drink on the premises. It was pretty funny because the building is one house north from the Britt police station and two houses south from the Hobo Museum. The very place the town folks did not want the tramps to be was where they were drinking-- downtown and right in the middle of Hobo Days.

 

We did have one pretty good brawl. I talked to the police chief later (Sonny Brunn--a really nice guy) and he said the cops only made two arrests during the entire Hobo Days festival and the Hobo Convention, and neither one was a tramp. One was a local woman from Britt who had too much to drink at the Hob Nob and acted like an ass, the other was one of three local Britt boys who started some shit with a bizarrely dressed tramp in the Hob Nob. The tramp, Tan Man, was wearing cut off jeans, hiking boots and a brightly covered feather boa and bra top. Earlier in the evening he had been helping in a dance act during the entertainment in the jungle. These three corn-fed Iowa boys took offense at the feather boa, made some homophoblc remark, and Tan Man invited him to repeat that remark "outside" The big dumbass Iowa guys were under the spotlight. Once outside, Tan Man got pretty belligerant. The Iowa boys took a swing and the fight was on. Tan Man was winning so a couple of local guys jumped in. That led several tramps to jump in on Tan Man's behalf and what started out as a beef between two guys turned into a brief brawl.

 

There are several new graves in the Cemetary-- we lost quite a few old-timers this year.

 

Dante Fuchwa, a rider with 30-years on the rails, was elected King. A non-rider, Double B, was elected Queen. It was fun--"You shoulda been there." K-Bar

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