View Full Version : Hobos, Tramps and Homeless Bums
10-13-2001, 09:38 PM
I'm not sure if this topic is cool here or not, but when I'm in the yards, I see tramps occasionally. I see graff artists occasionally. Usually, I don't see ANYBODY, not even yard workers. There is a big difference between Hobos and Tramps. There are really very few hobos left. Modern tramps consider hobos to be the old timers from the steam train days of the Great Depression. There are a few of them still alive. Steam Train Maury Graham in Napoleon, Ohio, is one of the best known hobos in America. (He rode back in the late 1940s and '50s. He's in his eighties now, but he still goes to hobo conventions once in a while. The best known convention is the second weekend in August every year, in Britt, Iowa. It's on Route 18, 35 miles west of Mason City, Iowa.)
Hobos travel to work. Tramps travel to not work. Bums can't work or travel, they just get high and drink. And "homeless" people have an attitude problem. I lived outdoors for months at a time, and I never once felt like I was "homeless." Wherever I was, that was "home." I treated it with respect. I saw a hand-lettered sign in a jungle that said, "Serious Tramps Keep A Clean Camp." I believe that, too. The guy that taught me to hop freights, Rufe, said it many times. "You ain't no bum. We keep a clean camp here. Pick that trash up off the ground and burn it." Rufe called that having a "straight-up tramp attitude." All business, no sloppy behavior. Being homeless is not about being POOR. It's about being WHIPPED DOWN and NO-ACCOUNT. There's no reason to go around all filthy and dirty. I lived outside with everything I owned in a ruck sack. I still took a spit bath every day and cleaned up and washed my clothes. The people that do that sort of shit (go for days without bathing or cleaning themselves up) are mentally ill, for real. I don't believe in panhandling. Working like a squeegee tramp is okay, but no begging, and no stealing. That sort of shit lacks dignity. (Gotta go. Be back later.)
10-14-2001, 12:58 AM
Very good, post more stuff. I like what you have to say.
10-14-2001, 03:16 AM
i dont think beggin or stealing lacks dignity.. esp stealing.
10-14-2001, 06:50 AM
Vanity---I debated with myself for a while about how to respond to your statement about theft. You certainly have a right to whatever opinions you hold, and if you genuinely believe that living by ripping off from people is okay, then anything I have to say ain't going to influence you very much. I've known quite a few thieves in my life. Mostly, they treated other people with a lack of respect because they lacked respect for themselves. I can't say that I never took anything that didn't belong to me. Just riding freight trains at all is considered by the law to be a form of theft ("Theft of transportation", a Class C misdemeanor, on a par with littering or jumping turnstiles on the subway) and like any violation of law, if you get caught, there are consequences. Pretty slight consequences in this case, maybe a $75 ticket. But there is a big difference between riding an empty rbox, or a pig, or camping out on a 48 behind the container, and busting into cargo. Or ripping off somebody's gear. Or shoplifting from a store. That's all theft, and in my opinion, it is not okay. Property is owned by somebody by it's very definition. They have the right to own it, and control it, and to buy or sell it, and to limit it's use by others, unless the other person is willing to satisfy the owner with a purchase price, or rent or lease or some other exchange of value. Nobody understands the concept of property better than someone who has very little of it. I own more now than I used to, and it's still not much. But it is MINE, and pitiful little as it is, I will defend it against people who try to jack me up for it. In Montana, if someone is convicted of robbing a tramp of his bedroll, he can be sentenced to as much as twenty years in prison. Some rich rancher has his thousands of acres and his ranch house. All a transient has is his ruck and his bindle, but it's home. Out in the boondocks, one's ruck and bindle may be the difference between surviving the weather or death by exposure. Montana juries don't take robbing tramps lightly.
I chose to ride trains, I chose tramp life and during the parts of my life when I lived outdoors, I accepted the consequences of my decisions. I jumped freights knowing I was breaking rules. I've never been caught, and I've never been punished for it, but in the back of my mind, I know what I was doing was against the law, and I had already decided I was willing to accept the consequences of my actions. Maybe, if the consequences had been more severe, I would have been less willing to accept them. But I never thought, and still don't think, that I have a RIGHT to ride freight trains. The trains don't belong to me. If I get popped, well, then I guess I pay. I know three young guys that carjacked somebody with pellet pistols, and got arrested and convicted. One got ten years deferred adjudication. If he even gets so much as a MIP charge, he goes to prison. The other two got eight years apiece in the Texas Youth Commission. If they do all their time, they won't get out until they are about 25 years old.
Society is US. And WE, all of us together, collectively say, through the law, that taking anything that doesn't belong to you is wrong, and will be punished one way or another. Obviously, there are some people both rich and poor that try to get over by ripping people off. Ripping off with a fountain pen instead of a revolver doesn't make it right, and if they get caught, they get punished, or at least they are supposed to get punished. Justice is imperfect.
If I come face-to-face with somebody trying to rip ME off, I won't need any cop, judge or jury to settle it. Ultimately, that old line by Bob Dylan is true--"To live outside the law, you must be honest." I don't steal from other people because I don't want them stealing from me. Stores, restaurants, etc. all are owned by somebody. I know a few older tramps who are retired and receive a check from stocks or mutual funds that they own in companies. Essentially, they own part of the company. If you steal from the company, you are stealing from the stockholders, i.e. from thousands of people who have put up money to capitalize the company. You can buy stock too, anybody can. If you choose to spend your money on stuff you want instead of stocks, that's okay, but don't snivel that the company is some conspiracy to mistreat people. ANYBODY can buy stock. And most big corporations are now owned or controlled by worker retirement funds, essentially making American WORKERS the owners of AMERICAN COMPANIES. In other words, it's thousands of little people (and a few rich folks) who own virtually every large corporation.
I have, on occasion, GIVEN people half of whatever I had in my pocket. But how often can one afford to do that? It is the responsibility of each of us to take care of ourselves, unless we cannot do so. I might be willing to GIVE somebody five bucks, if I thought the situation warranted it. But if he tried to TAKE it from me, I would fight and use whatever force is necessary to keep it. That five dollars is mine. No sonofabitch has a right to it without my permission, not by theft, and not by robbery. So. Let criminals take heed, I guess. One lives by crime at a serious risk. The poorer the victim, the greater the crime.
10-14-2001, 02:56 PM
Kabar do you write? if so, how do you justify that?
10-15-2001, 07:44 AM
Fox Mulder---Good point. Obviously, putting up graff on somebody else's property is use of it without that person's permission, unless, of course, the owner grants permission, which I think would be pretty damn cool. But I've met people who said that if they were given permission that they wouldn't bother to write there. To those guys, the whole point was to be pissing off some property owner, especially a large corporation or a government facility. I don't agree. I think tagging on personal property like some guy's wooden fence or the side of his house is totally, completely lame. Writing on the side of a grocery chain store is still messing with property, but at least it's not an individual. Writing on railcars, and places like freeway overpasses, and other big, ugly, industrial type spots seems a lot more acceptable to me. I used to live near a school in Los Angeles that had a "tag wall" where anybody could tag anything but threats of violence. Part of it was a "big piece" wall, where writers had to get prior approval by a committee, and then the school would "feature" the piece for a month at a time, then another writer got selected. There's also a serious difference between a large fill-in (which is definately in the category of art) and some idiot that scrawls "Los XVII Avenues xxx187 Snoopy" and then disses a bunch of other ignorant tags, who then diss his stuff---it's just STUPID. Not to mention dangerous. These people that kill one another over gang tags are just beyond ignorant low-self-esteem losers. They might as well be in the Klan. Certain areas of Houston are just plagued with this kind of stupid vandalism. It's not attractive, it's not creative, it's just--ugly. In my neighborhood, patrols of volunteers regularly buff everything on every wall they see, with paint given to them by the city. The industrial-railcar-freeway overpass spots are just about the only spots where good writing stays up for any length of time. Writers with some talent are pretty rare around here, and it's been a while since I saw anything obviously put up by a crew with a plan and a color scheme. Most of it is some no-talent 13-year old kid trying to make his bones with a gang. What can I say? I guess I am a hypocrite, because I don't see decent graff and dummy vandalism in the same light, and definately not in the same light as ripping stuff off.
10-15-2001, 08:19 AM
i probably shouldn't write this cuz i'm tired and not thinking too much... but i disagree about the stealing issue with you KABAR... to me part of graffiti is racking paint and other stuff... and you are a bit hypocritical about writing graffiti and yet talking about how stealing is bad.... the way i see it is that big places (non-mom and pop stores) rip off the american workers and american people by pushing small business out of the way... especially because most big places don't hire union workers... also if i rack a can of rusto it's not going to make the stores stock drop that much... if at all... the act of graffiti is rebellion and by painting graffiti you are basically challenging the concept of property ownership... personally i disaggree with a society run by money, and property and i guess that is why i feel that racking isn't bad... companies steal from workers and consumers everyday, i'm not going to lose sleep over stealing afew cans...
secondly... graffiti is graffiti... seen said it best "just a kid telling his story" if a kid does some gang graff that you deem ignorant it's still telling his story... even if it is ignorant... i usually don't take the time to care what other people do anyways... i do agree that bombing houses and stuff is not very cool... but most people that do that stuff are laughable... but in the same heart beat i'll bomb apartment buildings and buildings with apartments above them... and again the whole issue of challenging the concept of property ownership... it just seems silly to me that someone owns a bit of land and says it's ok for you to use it for a fee... i mean... what right does anyone have to own a piece of land that was here long before the human race and will be here long after? it just seems silly to me...
i mean no offense but i felt i should give you my take on the issue...
10-15-2001, 08:24 AM
The morals issue aside, I wanted to ask if any of you folks have discovered any hobo jungles in your forays into and around rail yards. I have discovered several. A couple of them were obviously still in use, but I've also discovered a couple that have been abandoned or forgotten. They were all overgrown, but I found old bottles, blue plastic UP water bottles, a metal cooking grill buried under leaves, old campfire rings and so forth. Just for something to do, I cleaned a couple of them up and left firewood (what is called "squaw wood" down here--dry branches you can break off of trees and bushes), newspaper, toilet paper, etc. in the jungles I cleaned up.
When I was a young kid (maybe eight or nine) I lived near the famous T&NO Junction here in Houston. There was a large jungle near there, and we saw hobos all the time in our neighborhood. I didn't realize, back then, that we lived so close to a major Texas rail junction, or that New South Yards was so close to us. (I'm not sure when NSY was built, it might not have been there back then.) (Edit 3/12/02--I talked with my father, and he says NSY was already there when we moved there in 1949-1950.) The tramps back then cooked in one-gallon cans with a bail handle made of coat-hanger wire. The tramps call them "gunboats." I probably saw fifty of them when I was a kid, because they would make one, use it to cook, then wash it out and leave it for the next guy, upside down on a stick driven into the ground near the fire ring. Usually, they would find three straight branches about four feet long, lash them together and make a tripod above the fire, and suspend the gunboat can with a piece of "dog chain" and an s-hook made out of coat hanger wire or out of a nail. They could raise or lower the can on the chain, depending on how hot the fire was. Have any of you seen anything like this? I found one, so I decided to make a few gunboats and leave them in jungles that I cleaned up. When I go back, I see that the cans are black on the bottom from a fire, but they are still there on the stick where I left them. Look for jungles near where you go to check trains. I've met a couple of young tramps, in their twenties and early thirties. But mostly, they are older guys.
10-15-2001, 08:34 AM
I've probably wandered into 15 or so full on Hobo camps in my life, it's always interesting to analyze the 'garbage' a big thing around the gulf coast that I've noticed it a huge abundance of 5 gallon buckets, it rains all summer and the ground is foul so there are usually scads of buckets around for seating and such, plus I've seen some pretty ingenious lean-to's
10-15-2001, 08:51 AM
I have noticed the same thing. When I was a kid, the buckets were gray-painted steel cans with a handle for carrying, but now they are mostly plastic 5-gallon paint buckets. I find small trees with several nails driven in them about five feet off the ground, too. The tramps swing hammocks if there are any trees. Sometimes you'll find two sets of nails, one above the other--I guess they are swinging two hammocks off the same two trees, one above the other. I find clean tin cans to use for cups, lots of wine bottles and beer cans and those silver mylar bags that go inside 5-liter boxes of wine. They call them "space bags." They drink straight from the spout, without touching it, and pass it around. I usually build a fire and burn all the trash. Once I clean one up, it stays pretty clean for quite a while.
10-15-2001, 04:12 PM
in the cn yard in milwaukee there used to be a big one... the one that's under the interstates by the harbor... it was almost like a city inside a city back in the day... but things have changed...
catching out in that place isn't hard... there's always a train leaving... you probably wouldn't want to paint there though because of the traffic...
10-15-2001, 06:22 PM
kabar i was just asking because you seemed to have a problem with stealing from a large corporation but not a problem with painting on them. both things cause the business to lose money. i personally don't see anything wrong with writing or stealing from large companies.
10-15-2001, 07:31 PM
Fox Mulder---Like I said before, you certainly have a right to your opinions, I just disagree, that's all. I can't say that I've never taken anything that wasn't mine, because I have. I feel bad about it now, of course, but there's no way to compensate the person I stole from (like twenty years ago) because I don't know who the person is. What I can do, is decide for myself what is the right way to live for me, and be true to my feelings and beliefs. I suppose one could say that my beliefs about stealing are irrational. But I would never steal from a bro, and I'd never steal from a fellow rider, so that philosophy seems like it ought to extend to the rest of the world. I guess I irrationally don't see writing as destructive to industrial property, even though, as you say, it does cost money to remove it, if the owner of the spot doesn't want it there. I have left my streak on quite a few railcars, but I always tagged in chalk or soapstone, so it didn't stay there too long. The places I ever painted were so messed up already, I think my stuff improved things rather than detracted from them. Like I said, maybe it's irrational. I still don't rip people off. Even people who shoplift usually draw the line at ripping off individuals, but some don't.
People who ride trains without any gear, without any money, without any way to take care of their own business are called "streamliners." This is not an affectionate term. Usually streamliners steal from other tramps, or rob freight, or do petty crimes in neighborhoods along the rail lines. Of course, this brings down the cops on everybody in sight, so most straight-up tramps hate streamliners. There are a lot of people running from the law trying to ride trains, and if they will rob some guy running a convenience store, they will rob you and me sitting around a campfire brewing coffee in a gunboat. I have seen tramps give a streamliner a beating (well, not a very effective beating, but he got the message.) He tried to snag somebody's bindle.
There is a thing called the "Rule of the Match". It's an old tradition, and I've never actually seen anybody give anybody else a kitchen match (a lot of you younger guys may have never even seen a kitchen match in your life, LOL) but the idea is "Beat it, you're not welcome here, go start your own fire, you jerk." If anybody ever gives you a match, LEAVE IMMEDIATELY. It's a serious message that you are not welcome. You could get hurt, or worse. But hardly anybody today even has ever heard of the Rule of the Match.
When I was in the Marines, a barracks thief was considered the lowest of the low. It was okay to snag gear for the platoon, or "kipe" stuff somewhere else, but Marines NEVER steal from their own. The worst thing you can call a Marine, worse than "coward," is "buddy fucker." It means back stabber and those words are not heard very often. They are fightin' words, for real. I just don't steal, that's all.
There is a funny saying in the Marines about theft. It goes like this:
"There is only one thief in the Marine Corps. Everybody else is just trying to get their gear back."
10-16-2001, 08:58 AM
Re-reading some of this, it occurred to me that some readers might not understand that true tramps often made their own gear from trash and stuff they scavenged from dumpsters. Rufe, the guy from whom I learned to hop trains, wouldn't even use an Army surplus pack, which were available very cheaply back then from Army-Navy stores. They might cost a dollar or two. I saw a lot of tramps carrying a military surplus combat pack when I was a kid. Rufe carried all his gear in a homemade ruck, made from a "tater sack", which was a burlap bag that potatoes came in at the store (today, they come in plastic bags--Booo!) He tied a length of cotton rope to the two bottom corners of the sack, put a small cardboard box inside, and loaded the cardboard box with his stuff. When the bag was full, he tied the top shut by throwing two half hitches around the open end of the bag, and the rope then formed his "pack straps." He carried an old type one-gallon Clorox bottle as a water bottle. They were made of much tougher and thicker plastic back then than they are today. Today, I use empty, clean 2-liter Coke bottles for water.
Gunboats are made from two-pound coffee cans, or those big restaurant-sized cans that vegetables or beans or whatever come in. They hold about a gallon or so. Punch a couple of holes for a handle and bend a piece of coat-hanger wire to fit the can, so that the handle can be folded underneath the can to make it easy to stow in your ruck. I carry a piece of dog chain about four feet long with a snap hook on one end, so I can loop it around the tripod of branches and leave the chain dangling down in the fire. Then, you take an "S-hook" made of coat-hanger wire or maybe a nail or a piece of welding rod, and suspend the gunboat however high over the fire you want, depending on how hot the fire is. I carry a pair of needle-nose pliers around that I found on the tracks, and I look for scrap wire and nails, and just make S-hooks out of all kinds of stuff and leave them in the jungle, usually hooked over a branch near the fire ring. If you want to cook coffee and stew or something at the same time, just hook another gunboat to the chain. As long as the tripod is well-made, you could probably put three or four on there, no problem.
I never buy expensive equipment. Expensive gear just attracts streamliners and rip-off artists. I can usually find stuff I need at Salvation Army thrift stores, or scavenge it for free. A lot of stuff I just make myself.
Besides a durable pack and water bottles, I bring a couple of blankets rolled up in a bindle, with a shoulder strap made from a piece of nylon webbing I picked up off the ballast. Among other things, I carry a gunboat, a few cans of food, a spoon and a tin pie plate (NOT aluminum, it's worthless) a plastic cup (I love canteen cups, but they get hot and burn your lip), a rolled-up newspaper in it's plastic sleeve, toilet paper, a military rain poncho, bottle of Louisiana Tabasco Sauce, an old Army field jacket with liner, a balaclava, extra socks, a long-sleeved shirt, leather trucker's gloves, a small flashlight, lots of matches, extra AA batteries for my scanner, and a ratty old baseball cap I've been abusing. It sounds like a lot of crap, but it really ain't all that much.
10-16-2001, 10:03 PM
Kabar, just a question. Are you talking as you used to be a tramp/train hopper/whatever you want to be called or are you still one? if you are, do you carry a computer around ro something? Sorry for such a stupid question.
10-16-2001, 10:46 PM
Unit---No question is a stupid question, unless it goes unasked. How else is one supposed to learn things he doesn't know? Yes, I used to be a full-time tramp, years ago. My favorite line was the old Burlington Northern Hi-Line, especially in spring and summer, but I rode all over. Since then, I've done a whole lot of things, among them serving the Marines and going to college (at kind of an advanced age, really.) I have a regular job, a family and a house now. So I used to be a tramp, but now I'm a homeguard and a part-time trainhopper. Just like the yuppie thrill seekers, I ride for fun, not as a lifestyle. Rufe used to get pissed at me when I would do something stupid (like waving at pretty girls when we passed a grade crossing) and he'd yell "Get your head out of your ass! This ain't no hobby!" That was his attitude. He was a pro. All business. Rufe considered riding trains, collecting food stamps in several counties, petty scams with the Welfare people to be a sort of vocation. I never did that, but I shared in the food he bought with the Food Stamps, so I guess I was as guilty as he was. I preferred working, and when I finally ran out of money, I split up with old Rufe and went to work. He was not a very sentimental guy, kind of a gruff old redneck. The young riders with train radio scanners and GPS gear would just floor a guy like Rufe. He was old school.
I never saw Rufe turn anybody down for something to eat. He had plenty of food, because of the food stamps, and he shared out with just about anybody and everybody, but he hated streamliners. I was pretty green when I met him, and his first lesson was about "deadmanning" the doors on a boxcar. Ever since then, I always carry a deadman 2x4 in the middle of my bindle. Rufe smoked cigarettes, and I started smoking tailor-mades because he did, and also because they were cheaper. Store-bought cigarettes were a "waste of good money" to Rufe. He couldn't buy tobacco with food stamps, so I became his source of tobacco while we rode together, because I had cash money. "Never, ever, show your bankroll," Rufe would caution me. "Keep your money in your boots, and your knife in your pocket." Of course, Bugler and Kite were dirt cheap back in those days. I think a blue pack of Bugler was thirty-nine cents, and it lasted us a long time, several days, or more.
Today, tramps and trainhoppers are young and computer-literate, so they keep up with friends and family on the net, by going to public libraries or Internet cafes in the towns they stop in. I would too, if I ever went out for an extended trip. Just about all tramps have a cell phone these days it seems like---or at least, a lot of the young ones do. The older, heavy drinking tramps usually don't.
10-16-2001, 10:50 PM
I see. Thanks for the info Kabar, i was kinda curious. :)
10-17-2001, 04:18 AM
im glad kabar lives near me. :D
10-17-2001, 07:16 AM
Back before the military went to MRE's (that's Meal-Ready-to-Eat for those of you who don't watch TV, listen to the radio or read newspapers lately) they used a kind of ration called a "C-Ration." I thought it meant "combat ration," but when I was in the Marines, I found out that there are three types of military food. "A-rations" are hot food, freshly prepared, from a chow hall. "B-Rations" are large-portion containers of field rations, but prepared by the cooks, and served hot, usually out of insulated Melmac containers in a make-shift, field-expedient chow line--the troops file past with open mess kits, and the cooks serve it up with ladles and ice cream scoopers. Last of all, and least desireable, is "C-Rations." They came in a dull brown, cardboard box, and had cans of stuff inside like beef and potatoes, spaghetti and meatballs, bacon and eggs (yuck) and so forth. They also had a can of hard, round crackers, sometimes a "shit disk" (a chocolate disk kind of like a Nestle's Crunch bar--rumor had it that the shit disk was actually a laxative, so some Marines wouldn't eat them, and traded them for other stuff) and usually a can of fruit. Best canned fruit of all were canned peaches. They were delicious, and almost as good as cash money. Along with a case of "rats" came these cool little can openers, called either "John Waynes" or "P-38's." The P-38 name has a story. During World War Two, there was a kind of pursuit aircraft called a P-38 Lightning. It had twin fusilage booms, twin engines and a separate pod with the pilot, automatic 20mm cannons, .50 cal machine guns, etc. They used these planes mainly against tanks and military trains, and the troops called them "Can Openers" because they were very effective against tanks. Conversely, they called the little USGI can openers "P-38's." Cool, eh? You can buy one for a dollar or so at a Army-Navy surplus store. Get one for your key ring, and you'll never be without a can opener.
10-17-2001, 07:22 AM
good topic.but although i only read your first paragraph i'd like to add to bums being mentally ill.it's true.supposedly 40% are mentally ill.but when you said that begging shouldn't be allowed, you should blame the system not the bums.these mentally ill bums chose to live on the strrets over the institutions that treat bums like prisoners.as long as that's not fixed bums will keep begging, and that's how they survive.
10-17-2001, 07:26 AM
the reason why most of them are as fucked up as they are is because of liver poisoning...it takes about half a tallboy to fuck these homeless people up because their liver is so bad, the alcohol takes a completely different effect, thus the stumbling arund, limp arms/legs, talking to themselves, etc...therefore just as you should blame the system, you should blame alcohol as well.
10-17-2001, 07:42 AM
Spoter---WHOA, buddy, hold up. Please don't put words in my mouth, I screw up plenty often enough on my own. I didn't say begging shouldn't be allowed. I said that panhandling lacks dignity. And it does, at least it does in my opinion. I know plenty about mental illness as well, and to tell you the truth, there are a lot more mentally ill people out walking around loose than there are inside of any psychiatric facility. There is no law against being mentally ill, any more than there are laws against having a broken leg. If somebody is mentally ill, and they don't want treatment, and they are over 18 years old, that is A-OK with me, and legal, as long as they are not a threat to themselves or others. It is perfectly legal to be crazy as hell, as long as you're not dangerous. People older than 16, but younger than 18, have a certain amount of control over their treatment. In Texas, they can refuse medications, request discharge from the hospital, refuse to attend therapeutic groups, and so forth. Younger than 16, they are "legally" children, and their parents have control over their medical (and psychiatric) care, unless a Court steps in and takes over. But here's the catch. If the doctor disagrees, he can seek a Court order for legal committment for Court-ordered psychiatric treatment. You can still refuse everything, but the hospital does not have to let you out. If you go berserk, they can medicate you, on an emergency basis, against your will, and if the situation warrants it, the doctor can seek Court-ordered medications, too. They usually don't do that unless the patients is WAY PSYCHOTIC and the doctor figures it's the only way they guy will ever have a chance to not be mentally ill. Of course, once the patient gets out (and they usually do, unless they are violent) he can throw the medication away, and ditch the follow-up care, and just return to being as sick as he pleases.
Psychiatric patients often panhandle. If it ain't against the law in that town, everything is great. But I'm not obligated to give them any money, and I generally don't. If they want money, they need to go through the channels necessary to get Welfare or SSDI, which usually means taking their medications. Or go to work. That's cool with me.
10-17-2001, 08:36 AM
well it seems you know more than me about that problem and its laws.but i do admit that the bums need to take responibility for their actions too.i just think some of them are incable of making decisions and need to be treated under a better system.scallawag is on point too.
10-17-2001, 06:58 PM
Look, guys, there are LOTS of people who panhandle. Some are mentally ill people, but some are just folks down on their luck, and some are professionals who make big bucks pretending to be pitiful and poor. I met a teenaged girl once who hated her father because when she was little, he would make his girls dress in raggedly clothes and go with him to scam motorists on a busy street corner in Houston. Here they are out on the corner, looking pitiful, and Dad is there with a sign saying "HOMELESS, CANCER, Please HELP! God Bless You." And around the corner is Dad's car, fresh from the detail shop. Sure the girls looked pitiful, they were crying and humiliated and embarrassed. Whatever else the Dad did, his cynical behavior produced a daughter who was a tough-as-nails trainhopper who wouldn't take anything from anybody. She had nothing but contempt for people who beg, and she carried a .38 revolver to defend herself against predators.
Mental illness, for 90% of the people who suffer from it, is a choice. There are drugs today that can help a person deal with it, and they are pretty effective. But if somebody prefers to treat his depression with Jack Daniels instead of Prozac, how is that my fault? Some guy who has what is called "ego-syntonic symptoms" (the flip side is ego-dystonic symptoms) thinks that there is nothing wrong with him and that it's everybody else that won't leave him alone, that are constantly fucking with him, belittling him, dissing him, etc. These are the nut cases that you see who are in gangs, teen-aged oppositional and defiant disorder types who constantly fight with their parents, destroy property, use drugs, etc., etc. They go on to a career in prison, usually, if they don't (or won't) accept treatment. They cannot understand that it is THEM who have a problem, and not the rest of the world. How this differs from your typical teenaged rebel is the duration and the degree. When I was sixteen, I hated school too. But I didn't attack teachers. And when I grew up, I realized that I needed the education that society was offering me for free. Mentally ill people who remain untreated never get a clue. They rave and rant against all manner of imagined injustice long after their turbulent adolescent years. There's all kinds of mental illness, and all degrees of it. (Personally, I've got to wonder about people who seek out a job as an enforcer of rules and law. It's such a thankless job.) Just for general info, ego-dystonic symptoms are when the patient is all upset and distressed and comes in trying to get help, "I feel so bad, and it's not going away, I can't sleep, I can't eat, I hate myself, I think about suicide---Can't you help me, give me medicene or something?" They see everything as their fault, and can't see that there are extenuating circumstances that have contributed to their feelings. "Ever since my dog died, I've just been acting like a crybaby weakling." So. Don't get the idea that I have no sympathy for people who are mentally ill. I do. But I still think that begging lacks dignity, and that no matter how wealthy or poor a person is, there is virtually no good excuse for stealing. Whether a bum or a banker, one should be honest. That's my opinion, anyway.
10-18-2001, 05:58 AM
i don't mean to be a dick but this guy kabar is just far too informative for me.i just paint freights,and i have ridden them occasionally to get back to my car.i guess it's oppinionated of me;but i couldn't help but voice this...you guys should let this guy take over the site,he is the man.hahahahaha
10-18-2001, 08:30 AM
It's kind of difficult for me to tell if you are being sarcastic or not. Kind of seems like "yes." Sorry if you don't like my stuff, guy. What can I say? Don't read my posts and it won't bother you. The thread is clearly marked so I guess if it's a topic you don't care for, what the hell---just pass it on by.
10-18-2001, 08:52 AM
Originally posted by elpecador
iyou guys should let this guy take over the site,he is the man.hahahahaha
perhaps we will... but until then, maybe we could implore him to giva brief explanation of whistle calls and signal lights..
10-18-2001, 09:35 AM
Well, I have a fairly limited knowledge of signals. These days, trains use radios for about 80% of all communication. There is a system called the block system, in which a moving train can tell whether or not the next block of track is occupied or not by the signal lights. Littlejohn says the blocks are about two miles in length, but out in the boondocks, a block is a lot bigger than two miles. Engineers look out the right side of trains, so the signals to the right are the ones telling him what to do. If the signal is red, it means stop, and stand. If the train gets a "stop but proceed slowly" signal, it will be red with a smaller signal light off to the side and lower. Yellow means "Proceed with caution". Green means "Go ahead." The signals change according to what the trains are doing on the track. If there is a train in the block behind you, he will be getting a yellow "proceed with caution" while you will be getting a "green--clear track ahead" signal. When it comes to signals, I'm in over my head. It's a very complicated system. Back in the days of railroad semaphores, it was even more complicated.
Trains are required to sound their horn whenever they approach a grade crossing, marked or unmarked. Years ago, they used a system of whistle blasts to signal the brakemen and switchmen on the ground what they were preparing to do in the engine. Today, they use radio. The operations manual for railroads is online, but believe me, it is very dry reading. It's like reading a military manual. I wish I knew more about this subject myself. If somebody knows about this, please enlighten me.
10-19-2001, 06:14 AM
Originally posted by elpecador
i don't mean to be a dick but this guy kabar is just far too informative for me.i just paint freights,and i have ridden them occasionally to get back to my car.i guess it's oppinionated of me;but i couldn't help but voice this...you guys should let this guy take over the site,he is the man.hahahahaha
i honestly would have to agree.i like fr8s cause they travel and their appealing...but besides that i give a fuck about most of the detailed fr8 posts here.i mean i know enough to get me by but al lot of the info in the third rail is unneccesary to me.it seems like some of you are more into fr8s themselves rather than graffiti.i'm not saying that's bad in any way, it's just not my thing.
as far as this topic goes i like it since it's not about the latest co. merger and all that other common sense about yards et.
in general i do believe that there's no dignity in begging.shit i've never even stolen in my life either.a lot of "bums" do seem to take advantage of it.i rarely spare change.....rarely.
10-19-2001, 06:49 AM
trains are just interesting in general. you all should be greatful that you get to read this shit. dude lived it, dont turn around and bite the hand thats tryign to feed you.
much respect bro, i'll read anything you want to post...
10-19-2001, 07:44 AM
Well, I do run way too long on my posts. It's like a personal shortcoming, I guess. I know that not everybody wants to hear what I want to say, so I try to keep my opinions out of posts about straight graffitti action. This isn't the only place I post stuff about trains. I have gotten booted off of the train-hopper list serve (at [email protected]
) because I posted a flame about some liberal female journalist who wanted to write about hopping after riding about three trains. It was my own fault, I was drinking paisano and lemon juice and got a little carried away. But, boy, you'd think all those adventuresome, liberal, yuppie wanks over at Train-hoppers would have a little more tolerance for a out-of-the-mainstream opinion. Huh. I guess not.
One of the best receptions I ever got is on a survivalist-militia-patriot board. You'd think they'd be pretty uptight, but they liked the train-hopper stuff real well. I was glad it got accepted. People were posting questions like "How would you conceal an AR-15?" Amazing. BTW, the address for the railroad operations manual is http://www.ntl.bts.gov/DOCS/rmo.html
10-19-2001, 07:49 AM
well, I like what you have to say, and you start your own threads to fill with what I consider usefull and interesting, so you're welcome here... also, around here, a well reasoned flame, no matter how drunk the author is still considered valid, we just ask that you concede the points you miss... and as far as drunken rambling, well, I certainly would be a hypocrite if I didn't say that I look upon it with a knowing and wistful eye...
actually though, this is just sober rambling, I only had 2 beers at work and I'm finally home, ahhh...
10-19-2001, 08:37 AM
I lurk on a lot of these threads that are directly related to graff, but seeing as how I'm much more an appreciator of graffitti and graff writers, rather than a writer of any great experience or talent, I try to keep my mouth shut. Hard to believe, I know.
I wanted to write about hammocks. They are really, really fuckin' GREAT. I tramped for years without a hammock, and I got used to sleeping on the ground. There's ways to make it less uncomfortable. For one, I always scooped out a "pit" for my shoulders and my hips, and covered my bed site with several layers of cardboard. Years later, I got with the program and started carrying a closed-cell foam camping ground mat. That improved things a lot. I always used a military mummy bag. Take my word for it, there are better sleeping bags. I always used a cheap-ass bag though. If you have a girlfriend, buy TWO BAGS THAT ZIP TOGETHER. Sleeping solo with a girlfriend definately sucks bigtime.
Once I bought a hammock, I was hooked. Man, you talk about a serious lifestyle change! Sleeping in a hammock takes a lot of the pain and hassle out of tramping. Of course, you do need appropriate trees, but here on the Gulf Coast of Texas, we got trees aplenty. (We also got mosquitoes OUT THE ASS, so if you come down here, BRING A MOSQUITO NET, and I'm not joking.) I carry nylon strap tubing to use as hammock points on trees that lack a branch at the right height. I picked up a tip from other tramps--drive two or three 16d nails into the tree at the right height (sitting astride the hammock, your feet should touch the ground) and rig nylon tubing around the tree and stopping on the nails. The nails keep the nylon tubing from sliding down the tree. My hammock is called a "double" hammock (as if two people could sleep in it) but that just means "big enough to be right." Don't buy a hammock with spreader bars. They are a serious pain in the butt to pack around. I just roll my hammock up and stow it in a plastic sack in my ruck. I paid about $10 for my hammock, but you can find them at all prices. Or if you were a really serious tramp, you'd make your own equipment, including your own hammock.
10-19-2001, 09:09 AM
where I come from you can't sleep on the ground, we had hammocks of several sorts in different places around our house all my life basically, I wholeheartedly agree, they rock... and those military mummies, oh god, I used to sleep in one of the korean era down feather models, freakin dust trap, the dirtiest... I actually know several sailor ways to make a 'hammok' out of planks and rope, or just rope...
10-26-2001, 08:50 AM
When I was a kid (1958), I never realized that the big attraction for the tramps at T & NO Junction in Houston was the water faucet behind the Fed-Mart store. There was a liquor store down a ways at the Palm Center on Griggs, and I always figured that the reason the jungle was there at T & NO Junction was the liquor store. Foolish kid!
The junction itself was in poor condition back then. The rails were beat and I can recall seeing "overflow" shards hanging off the rails in the curve of the wye. Because the wye was in shitty condition, trains went around the curves very slowly, probably at walking speed or no more than 5 or 10 mph. This made getting on or off trains a cinch. I can only recall a tramp getting off a train there once. It was in the late afternoon. He waited for his boxcar to clear the switches, then, sitting in the boxcar door, jumped down and hit the ground at a brisk walk for a few paces. He had a bindle, but no pack. He looked around, and headed straight for the jungle. A regular, had to be.
The water faucet provided the tramps with drinking water, and late at night, a place to take a bath. They would strip down to their underwear and bathe out of a bucket, back behind the Fed-Mart. They would carry clean water from the faucet to the jungle in a 5-gallon bucket to use as dishwashing water.
A source of nearby (or relatively nearby) water is essential to any serious jungle. If it is a "dry" jungle, it won't last for long.If people must travel a long way to look for water, they'd rather move the jungle itself.
10-29-2001, 06:46 AM
The other day I ran into three guys and a young woman, all in their twenties I think, at Englewood Yards in Houston. Englewood is a big place, several miles long, and it sees a lot of tramps and trainhoppers. It's the biggest yard in town. Second biggest is probably Settegast Yards, and then Congress Yards, I guess. Englewood is a major point of origin for trains headed east to New Orleans. These trainhoppers were headed to the Big Easy and they looked pretty beat. The weather is still almost like summer down here, in the 80's, and they looked like they were hot, dirty and skeeter-bit. I was impressed with their gear, though. Despite the fact that they looked a little road weary, every one of their crew (the girl, too) was wearing outdoor work boots, blue jeans or camouflage trousers, had a good coat or a field jacket, gloves and a hat, and they were all four carrying good rucks. The girl and two of the guys had military surplus medium ALICE packs with no frame, the third guy was carrying a dark-colored mountain rucksack. They were not carrying bindles, however. I wonder what they were using to sleep in? Maybe sleeping bags that can be "stuffed" into a much smaller bag. I met them on the east end of Englewood, trying to figure out which track led to New Orleans. They had no map, and I didn't notice any water containers except for a military canteen on one guy's pack. I dug out my maps and showed them which track led to New Orleans, and then they saddled up and started trudging east down Liberty Road. It kind of reminded me of a group of soldiers or Marines. They had that same sort of I-am-so-fucking-tired-I-could-fall-asleep-right-here look. I noticed that when we were talking the men always kept themselves between me and the girl. It sort of amused me (I'm no threat) , but it was tactically sound. When they decided they wanted to talk to me, everybody grounded their gear, and they sent one guy over to talk. Once it was clear that I was okay, the rest came over. What they really needed was a shower, a meal, and a decent night's sleep. Trainhopping ain't for the faint of heart, I guess.
10-30-2001, 08:48 PM
There are as many different opinions about what constitutes "good" boots as there are people who have a need for them. Everybody is different, and what suits me may not suit somebody else. But, I have a studied opinion about boots, having been tramping and living on the bum, and been a Marine Corps infantryman, and an industrial worker for years (I was once a shipyard welder.)
I believe in stout boots. I don't think these lightweight boots that are sort of like rough-out leather tennis shoes are up to a railyard environment. When I was tramping in my teens and early twenties I wore "hunting boots" that had a square edge around the top of the foot that was stitched--they looked kind of like old-time Boy Scout boots. They were comfortable but provided very poor protection to your foot, and had what I call a "pussy heel." The sole of the boot was a molded, cream-colored rubber of some kind, and the heel was not sharp and defined, but had a sort of ramp effect with a ripple or waffle sole, similar to a modern tennis shoe. THEY SLIP on wet rocks or on wet steel railcar ladder rungs.
In the Marines, I wore military issue leather combat boots, of course. They are really a good compromise between the heavy, steel-toed industrial boots, and the light-weight hiking boots. They used to be cheap, but are pretty expensive these days. I paid $65 for the last pair of combat boots I bought. Their one great asset is DURABILITY. Boy, they are tough boots. Choose a good mil-spec boot, with either a Panama sole (for jungle mud) or the standard military tread sole. For the rainy, humid South, the jungle boots are okay, but don't buy the cheap $19 Korean-made jungle boots. They don't fit well and are a WASTE OF MONEY.
Last of all is the steel-toed industrial safety boots. I always bought Red Wing boots. They will continue to re-sole them until the boots just fall to pieces. I have a pair of beat-up, slag-pocked, steel-toed Red Wing boots that I have had re-soled three or four times at the Red Wing factory. I bought them in 1984. They are HEAVY. But they are TOUGH. Those steel toes saved my feet many a time. When you are buying boots you get what you pay for. No reason to spend $150 on steel-toed boots if you will never wear them, But kicking around rail yards in tennis shoes is a bad idea--it's just a matter of time till you injure a foot.
10-31-2001, 03:36 AM
Kabar, when sleeping on the ground do you ever worry about animals? Snakes(would be attracted by heat) and bears/coyotes(being attracked by the smell of food)?
10-31-2001, 09:32 AM
Fox Mulder---I have spent a lot of time sleeping outdoors in all parts of the country, and the only animals brave enough to actually come up into camp with us were raccoons. Raccoons are extremely intelligent, and they can open containers and will boldly rattle around in your cook gear, trying to get into leftovers or into your garbage. Even raccoons would not approach us if the fire was still burning. I did wake up once in the middle of a herd of cows. Cattle are not the slightest bit intimidated by sleeping trainhoppers in sleeping bags.
That business about snakes being attracted to warmth sounds kind of like a sea story--I've been hearing that old saw about the BoyScout/young Marine/yuppie trainhopper who woke up with a rattlesnake in his sleeping bag for about forty years. Maybe it has actually happened (anything is possible) but I doubt it.
Once when I was in 29 Palms on a live-fire training exercise (called a Fire-X) in the Marines, we were in what is called an administrative stand-down, where we were allowed to build fires, cook chow and drink a couple of beers. There were two platoons of us at several fires (about eighty guys.) One of the kids (most Marines are about 17 or 18 years old--I was 26) went out into the dark, away from the fire to take a piss, and suddenly we heard this anguished scream "SNAAAKE!" To a man, every guy at our fire whipped out a bayonet or a (here's my namesake) Ka-Bar knife and rushed into the dark with a resounding 'HOO-rah!" Ten minutes later we were all barbecueing rattlesnake, seasoned with Louisiana hot sauce. That sucker was huge, at least four feet long, and big around as my forearm in the middle, but he was no match for twenty Marines. They attacked him as a group with knives. It was awesome--no fear whatsoever, they just went for it. It was a miracle nobody but the snake got stabbed.
I've seen deer and a few elk cows or calves when I was camping up north, but no predators, like a bobcat or a cougar. Dogs can be a problem. The last dog attack I had, I knocked his ass cold with my deadman. I would have killed him, but he was wearing a collar and tags--probably some kid's pet.
Lots of trainhoppers travel with a small dog, maybe twenty-five pounds. They make good watch dogs for the camp while you're asleep. I used to tie my dog's leash to my pack--he would defend it just like a house dog defends your back yard. Very few wild animals will approach human beings, and virtually none will approach a camp with a dog. I've never seen a bear except in Yellowstone National Park and zoos. If I did, I'd probably shit myself--they are extremely fast. You cannot outrun a bear.
10-31-2001, 10:06 AM
HOLY SHIT KABAR YOU GOT HELLA GOOD IDEAS/POINTS , YOU SHOULD WRITE A BOOK OR SOMETHINGS THANX FOR THE INFO...
10-31-2001, 11:02 PM
damn pretty informative thread man
good looking out
u dont come around this kinda shit much often
11-01-2001, 06:58 PM
I started reading the thread but god damn my man you can go on for ever... maybe if i find myself stuck in bed for a week or so i'll give it another shot, you got good shit to say but take to damn long to say it... or maybe i need to get one of thoses books on how to speed read?
11-01-2001, 07:10 PM
Big T--Sorry 'bout that. Refer to "Can't Please Everybody." It's here somewhere, LOL.
11-01-2001, 07:48 PM
not a problem... im printing all the pages out and then i read them next time i find myself stuck with nothing to look at while benching... it is good shit your typing though...
11-01-2001, 08:06 PM
yea for real don't shorten your shit. i have nothing to do all afternoon so i enjoy reading it.
11-02-2001, 07:33 AM
it's like each post is a chapter of a book
11-02-2001, 08:03 AM
Aw, come on, guys! I'm long-winded, but they're not that long, LOL. I guess I oughta pace myself. I figure I've got enough obscure knowledge for about a week and then I won't have shit to say!
11-02-2001, 11:10 AM
hey kabar i have been reading this board for a couple years now and i have yet to fall upon anything as thought provokeing as this..your post read like a good novel.each one provides me with a glimpse of a great world that most of us will never be able to live in. everything you have had to say has been well worth my time and im sure others.keep the information comming and how bout some personal stories from your train riding days im sure you have some good ones....
keep the posts coming
11-02-2001, 11:22 AM
i just wanted to say, those cask wine bags are called goon bags! as in "go get us a gooney, love". you drink them in your local park, pass out, wake up, blow them up and use them as pillows. good teenage fun. anyway...
11-02-2001, 08:51 PM
I've always been a wanderer. I got whupped by my parents for trying to run away from home when I was only about seven. I had gotten a little pack, Scout mess kit and canteen, and I decided I'd take off and try living on my own for a while. Some neighbor spotted me headed for the brush and my Dad caught me before I got very far from our block.
I got popped in Abilene, Texas when I was 13, trying to run away from my uncle's house. That time I almost made it out of town. I had made the mistake of trying to say goodbye to a girl I had a crush on (she was a cousin "on the other side of the family" of my own cousin.) Anyway, I got a trip to jail, and my poor uncle came flying down there with his comb-over all flopping down, dressed in his pajama shirt and a pair of slacks. Lord, was I glad to see him. I was fighting back tears, and he got pretty mad when he saw that the cop had hand-cuffed me to the ready bench. I guess the cop figured I was a flight risk.
My first trainhop was to Galveston. A couple of other boys my age had done it before. We lived pretty close to Mykawa Road in Houston, which is right on the line leaving out of New South Yards to Galveston. We went down on our bicycles several nights in a row, watching trains and "double-dog-daring" one another to get on one. Finally, a train stopped and we got on a boxcar, and it rolled down to Galveston in about two hours. We got off, and about ten minutes later another slow boat to China came by, rolling north very slowly. We got right back on and rode back home, getting off about a block from our bicycles in the weeds along Mykawa Road.
I don't consider that a "real" hop though. We didn't intend to stay gone long, we didn't take any equipment or supplies. It was a joyride.
My first "real" hop was after I had been hitch-hiking and bumming around for quite a while. I knew some guys in Chicago and we started talking about going to California. They suggested jumping a freight, because hitching in Chicago wasn't the greatest. Again, I didn't know that much about it. They knew where the rail yards were, so off we went. When we got down to the yards, we just asked a switchman what train was going west. He pointed to a train, we got on a boxcar and about an hour later, she aired up and started rolling. It turned out that our train was headed to St. Paul, MN, and it was a consist of "bad order" cars. Our rbox had a flat wheel, and it bam-bam-bammed us all the way to St. Paul. There, they started humping our train to break it up and sent it's cars to different places. Our rbox was headed to the RIP track (repair, inspect, paint) so we started looking around and found another friendly yard hand, who directed us to the only train headed west--to Butte, MT. This train turned out to be a low-priority train shuttling boxcars back west. It stopped every few hundred miles, much to our frustration, and let every other train in the world go past. In one of our many trips "into the hole" we met Rufe. I took a real shine to Rufe, and I was fascinated by his knowledge of tramping. I knew about gunboats and so on, but Rufe had a vast stock of knowledge about railroad operations, etc. that I couldn't get enough of. When we got to Butte, I bid goodbye to my friends from Chicago, and took off with Rufe. Lucky for me, he was an okay guy. He didn't talk much about his personal life, but I found out he had left his wife after a big argument, and just walked out of his mobile home, left his welding truck and all his tools and equipment sitting in the driveway, walked across a field and caught a train on the fly. He didn't even have a blanket. I was amazed. He had been on the bum about ten years when I met him, in 1970. By then, of course, he had some gear, LOL.
11-04-2001, 08:54 PM
I was looking over some of these posts again, and I got to thinking about the meaning of the phrase "Keep A Clean Camp". Obviously, it means to not throw trash and garbage on the ground. This sort of rule is far from generally recognized and accepted. There are plenty of people tramping and riding trains that have a very nearly completely unconcious attitude about how they live their lives. They just stumble through it, drinking, taking various kinds of drugs and spreading chaos and discontent wherever they wind up. These are the kinds of people who take a dump in boxcars. They not only don't care that some minimum-wage warehouseman is going to have to clean up their nasty mess, they actually get a sort of sick satisfaction at knowing that this is true. They have a "I don't give a fuck" attitude about everything, and everybody. They are not connected to the rest of the world. Like very small children, they have the idea that the only thing that matters is whatever their spoiled little heart desires at that particular moment.
These are the people that go dumpster-diving and THROW ALL THE GARBAGE ON THE GROUND AND LEAVE IT THERE. What do you suppose happens when the store owner or restaurant owner comes out there and sees garbage all over the place? He starts hating tramps, and he LOCKS THE DUMPSTER. These are the guys who go into a restaurant, ask to use the bathroom, and then make a huge fucking mess in there, taking a bath in the sink, splashing water all over everywhere, stinking the place up, and THEN LEAVE THE BATHROOM ALL FUCKED UP. Obviously, as soon as the manager sees this disaster, he says "No more bathroom use for transients. Let them do it outdoors."
"Keeping a clean camp" means more than just "don't throw trash on the ground." It means living your life in a way calculated to have dignity and respect. It means to grant these things to others, and to firmly, but politely, insist upon them for yourself. A crude, simplistic way of looking at this is the phrase "Don't shit where you eat." What that means is don't do things to gratify an immediate need that will screw you up in the future. But the DSWYE (pronounced "diss-wye") philosophy is strictly a self-serving, pragmatic measure. Keeping a clean camp encompasses an understanding that one has a moral obligation to live life in a certain way. All behavior is not equal. Just doing whatever is not okay. Life has rules, even for tramps and hobos.
I have, on occasion, found myself out of money and hungry. It was rare, but it happened a few times. I went to a restaurant, asked to speak to the owner or manager, and waited politely in the entranceway. When the man came out, I asked him for a meal, and offered to sweep the parking lot or wash dishes in return. I got turned down several times, but I also got hired, right on the spot, as a dishwasher. It was no great shakes as a job (washing dishes in a truck stop in Wyoming is not exactly a career path I'd willingly choose) but it had more dignity than begging. The restaurant owner realized that I was trying to do the right thing, and he didn't disrespect me by just offering me a hamburger to "go away." I washed dishes, and got more food in return than I could possibly eat, plus a few bucks travelling money. But more than that, I still had my self respect. When you don't have your self-respect, you don't have anything, even if you are a millionaire.
Keeping a clean camp includes keeping yourself squared away, as well. The filthy, stinking homeless wretches that one sees living under bridges or sleeping in dirt-encrusted rags on downtown streets are usually untreated schizophrenics. I'm talking about tramping with a little class. I always owned enough garments so that I could wash one set while wearing another. You can still do this, even if you don't have money for the laundomat. I carried a wooden-handled scrub brush (like one might scrub floors with) and would buy a small packet of laundry detergent at a Laundomat. Fill a plastic 5-gallon bucket with water, then add some detergent and immerse the over-alls or blue jeans in there, then scrub them on a clean piece of sidewalk or a flatbed deck, then rinse them under a faucet. I would wear clean, wet, over-alls and unlaced boots while I scrubbed the rest of my clothes, rinsed them under a faucet. One time I washed clothes at a car wash, just using the high-pressure hose to blast them. Only cost 50 cents.
I got haircuts at barber colleges. Once or twice, I met another tramp (or a tramp's old lady) who knew how to cut hair. I took a spit bath out of a bucket or in a gas station bathroom sink every day. Just because you aren't rich doesn't mean that you should go around with ragged clothes. I know how to sew well enough to do my own repairs. I kept my clothes in good order, no rips, no tears, no holes worn through.
And, in camp, I observed the normal, common-sense rules about fires. I cut my tripod sticks about four feet long (I eyeball the first stick, then use it to measure the other two) and I CLEAR A SPARK RADIUS AROUND THE FIRE RING THE LENGTH OF THE STICK. I clear the ground down to the dirt the length of the stick in every direction. I usually do it by laying the stick down and scuffing the leaves and trash away from the fire with my boots in a circle, but I pull up little weeds and branches if I can't scuff them, and use my saw if I can't pull them up. If I can find rocks, I build a fire ring. If I can't find rocks, I try to scoop out a hole or depression. (I am very careful about fire---if you accidentally set the woods on fire, you will be in DEEP SHIT, not to mention that the animals that live in the forest will be displaced or killed.)
I never heed the call of nature where I am camping. If I wake up and need to piss, I don't do it there. I put on my boots and walk a ways off into the trees. I dig a little cat-hole a good distance from camp, to shit in, and cover my business. ("Don't shit where you eat.")
I like creating jungles, in fact, it is one of my very favorite things in life. I enjoy all the various aspects of it--finding a good location, clearing a little living area, building a fire ring, setting up a tripod, finding another suitable can for a gunboat and making it. Once I get it all set up, and I'm enjoying living in it, I feel that same sense of satisfaction one gets from moving in to a new apartment.
I stockpile wood for fires. I wash out 1-gallon wine jugs or 2-liter Coke bottles and fill them with water. I scrounge 5-gallon paint buckets for seats. I look for good "hammock trees." I gather cardboard and fold it so I can roll it up and put it in a 5-gallon bucket, then turn the bucket upside down so that the cardboard will stay dry if it rains. I scrounge newspapers, roll them into tight tubes and tie them with string, and put them under 5-gallon buckets, too. I dumpster-dive for useful stuff. I have found chairs and end-tables and footstools. Sometimes I find big sheets of plastic that I can make a "tent" with.
And when I leave the jungle, I mark it on my map and in my memory so I can find it again. I leave it clean and squared away. I burn all my trash, then I make sure my fire is out--"Dead Out." I leave the tripod in a bush close by the fire ring. I fill the jugs with water. I sometimes leave a note or a little change for the next guy. I keep a Clean Camp. I think everybody ought to. Doing so has dignity, and respect.
11-05-2001, 01:53 AM
The "clean camp" mentality and penalties for not keeping one are strikingly similar to the philosophy I have for keeping painting spots chill. The basic reasoning is, what can we do to avoid pissing people off and/or attracting attention to the spot?
There are easy, common sense rules, and then some more subtle stuff. I've outlined this before but I'm game to rehash it all because it can't be stressed enough.
The obvious stuff: don't leave empty paint cans behind (even if the workers don't trip on them, while engaged in an already dangerous enough job, they'll instantly know it's a painting spot). Don't hit the walls or signal or electrical boxes, or storage trailers or other STATIONARY RR property right where trains park, that's another giveaway and seems more disrespectful than just hitting the trains. Clean up paint that gushed or dripped onto the rocks - just take the handfuls of colored ballast and bury them out of sight. Don't paint over the reporting marks, load limits, hazmat info, or black box containing lubrication information. That doesn't necessarily give the spot away - but if something else does, the workers will be less likely to take action (like reporting the painting job to RR police) if it's plain that you avoided the numbers on purpose. Another respect issue. But it's also a cost issue for the railroads, because they need that info displayed on every car by federal law, and it will be restamped at the earliest convenience of the car handlers. (I'm also still amazed at the number of heads who won't even avoid the numbers for self-serving reasons: your piece will run longer, maybe by many years, so why not dodge them even if you don't give a shit about anyone else?) Don't bomb whole lines or paint the same shit on several cars in a row, all it takes is one observant worker who knows that lines get broken up and reshuffled too often for the same artist to be up on every car, unless it was all done right there.
There are also some subtle things you can do if you really want to keep a spot chill to a high degree. Those wooden boards covered with staples (that everyone hates to paint) sometimes bear paper signs, most commonly "unload this side" or "unload other side". They were probably attached when the car was last loaded, i.e. very recently, so if you get paint on them an alert worker will know that the car was painted between his location and wherever it was last loaded (which could be the same spot). The same is true for the car seal on boxcars, a little metal strip threaded through the door latch, which must be broken to open the door. It indicates whether the car contents were tampered with. If the seals are intact, the load got there without tampering. But the seals are put on when the car is loaded, so if your paint gets on the seal it also gives away how recent the painting is. Another temporary attachment to avoid is the DANGER: PHOSPHOTOXIN sign, usually taped to the door of boxcars that were fumigated with aluminum phosphide to kill bugs and germs. That will usually be a recent attachment (how recent? Check the date, which should be handwritten in the blanks). If I need to paint through one of those, I peel it off, paint my piece, and stick it back on over the piece. (It will be ripped down, or fall off in the weather, not long after, so no worries about obscuring a square foot of your handiwork.)
At layups (or for other reasons) you might want to know whether the car is loaded or empty. If it's at a layup to unload, and is still loaded, workers at the warehouse will be looking at the car for sure, and might notice a painted sign or seal. If it's already been emptied, the workers at the building are less likely to notice that stuff, and the rail workers become your only concern. (I wind up checking to see if cars are loaded for logistics purposes, like if it's empty today I might want to look for it in the yard the next day for better flicks, but if it's loaded I have a couple of days, etc.) To tell if a boxcar is loaded, look for the seals on both sides - or, more simply, look at the wheel trucks/suspension and notice whether the springs are heavily compressed or squashed (the car is loaded) or taller and not compressed (the car is empty).
The rewards for observing the chillness rules are twofold: first, it's less likely anyone will notice that people paint trains at your spot. And if a worker does figure it out, he's a LOT less likely to care if you avoided the numbers, took your trash away with you, and otherwise respected the spot even if you don't quite have enough respect to abstain from painting trains in the first place. The people who bomb everything in sight, leave their cans, and obliterate the numbers are like the tramp who makes a big mess in the store bathroom closest to the jungle, and incurs the wrath of the manager who then bans transients from his facilities. Only with train painting, that ban comes in the form of raids and jail time, so all the more reason to be careful and neat.
11-07-2001, 08:28 AM
Cracked---I've seen several good looking pieces lately where it was pretty obvious that the graff artist had masked off the numbers and boxes with newspaper and masking tape, cut the numbers in with an X-Acto knife, peeled the scrap, then painted the piece right over the masked numbers, then pulled the masking tape and newspaper off again, leaving the car numbers intact and undamaged, and cut in with a professional, artistic fashion. This way, you wouldn't be inhibited by worrying about trying not to hit the numbers or car information boxes, and you also wouldn't have to worry about some RIP track worker stenciling some ugly shit over the piece. As complicated as some of the stuff I see here in Houston is, the artist must be masking parts of them off already in order to achieve the complicated and fine-line work. Either that, or the guy must have been one helluva graffitti maestro.
11-08-2001, 02:30 AM
Kabar, a lot of times numbers are taped off. But some writers will do full peice around it and be able to avoid the numbers withought tapeing them off, it doesnt look as neat but it does the job.
11-08-2001, 02:52 AM
I just use can control to dodge the numbers. I tried masking one time and it was too time-consuming, even at a chill dayspot. I wonder how many writers bother to mask. It's a fine idea if you have the time and patience. But I have seen suspiciously kind stamping jobs before, and I wondered if there aren't some RIP track workers out there who like the art and choose to restencil the numbers on there without carving out that big square of background first. I know High does these Happy Holidays e2es, and I'm pretty sure he wipes out the numbers, yet I've seen one of those e2es with the numbers restenciled with no background, so it had to be a worker who liked the car.
11-08-2001, 03:03 AM
This may sound really stupid but if the numbers are fixed (type and size)
you could make stencils of your own for all numbers, go to the spot, paint the piece over the numbers and repaint them using your stencils.
It sound more economical than masking the numbers everytime.
But then again dodging sounds better.
11-08-2001, 09:38 AM
I like to build a campfire in the jungle. I know that it's often not the smartest thing to do, and if the jungle is anywhere near the Yard, it will attract the bulls, but I don't care. I like to have a cup of hot coffee and lay in my hammock and watch trains roll through my local Yard.
We need to be careful about the way in which we build fires. I try to always use dry wood (wet wood smokes really badly) and I build a fire ring out of chunks of concrete or local rocks. I start off by trying to find some dry grass or little bunches of dry twigs for tinder. I gather up a good quantity of "squaw wood" (dry, dead branches that can be easily broken off of trees) and pick a few suitable, dry sticks to whittle up into good firestarter sticks. There's a variety of ways to build a campfire--you can drive a stake in the ground and build a "teepee" of sticks around that, leaning on the "pole." You can build a sort of log-cabin looking arrangement, and place your tinder in the middle. The most important thing is for the fire to be able to "breathe." So a pile of sticks all in a heap will usually not burn as well or as hot, or as low-smoke as a fire built to "burn hot."
If I have newspaper, I'm not opposed to using a chunk of wadded-up newspaper to get things rolling, especially if the weather is wet, and all the wood is soaked. I do not believe in using flammable liquids like gasoline. They are dangerous to be around and you cannot trust anybody else to be careful with them.
A good, hot fire made from dry wood means a good, clean fire with very little smoke. Green wood, leaves or wet wood means a smokey, fitfull fire than cannot be relied upon to burn well or without going out.
11-10-2001, 08:00 PM
First off i gotta say I've been visiting a couple of "hobo sites" recently and they haven't been nearly as informative on hopping as you've been, thank you. Now I got just a couple of questions. first question, Whats the longest time frame you've spent trainhopping? and its pretty obvious how you feel about stealing and theft, but is there any other way to get by as far as food and drink is goes or I guess the better question is How did you eat when Rufe wasn't bagging food stamps?
11-10-2001, 08:24 PM
Modern tramps usually carry their shit in a ruck. Frame packs are not popular, because the packs get thrown on and off cars, shoved through grainer holes, used as field expedient furniture to sit on, etc., and a pack frame is just in the way. If the frame of a packframe ruck breaks, you are fucked. The frames are usually aluminum, and you aren't going to be able to repair it trackside in some rinky-dink town. Following the trainhopper's adage "If it can break, it will break," I do not carry a framed ruck. I use an old Korean War M1952 mountain Army rucksack as my standard tramping ruck. They originally came with a tubular steel frame, and the frame SUCKED. The most annoying thing was that when I was hunting, etc., the frame banged and rattled against the stock of a slung rifle. I ditched the frame, and modified the pack straps so that the ruck is frameless--a true ruck sack.
My second favorite ruck is a medium ALICE pack, also rigged without the frame. (ALICE stands for All-purpose, Lightweight, Individual Carrying Equipment. Snappy, eh? The new military packs are called MOLLE--pronounced "Mollie.") The ALICE pack technology dated from the early '60s. Internal frames are much more practical for military purposes these days, but the ALICE pack technology was extremely tough and durable. The only drawback is that a medium ALICE has limited capacity, which is not a bad thing for a trainhopper anyway. Take ONLY THE NECESSITIES.
Third favorite is a large ALICE pack, rigged without the frame. On a large ALICE pack, the Army required the design to include the frame, due to the larger weight capacity. The top tube of an ALICE pack frame fits into a padded pocket at the top of the pack body, where the pad would fit against the soldier's upper back and shoulder blades. The packstraps attach to this frame tube. Standard ALICE pack packstraps can be rigged to work on an ALICE large, without the frame, by cutting a piece of wooden broomstick or other dowel-like material and inserting it crosswise up into the pocket. This provides a solid crossbar, similar to the top tube of the packframe, to which one can then rig packstraps. It's comfortable to carry with light to medium loads (up to thirty-five or forty pounds) but heavier loads are going to demand a frame unless you are built like Arnold Schwarznegger.
There are many civilian packs available, and many surplus military foreign packs that are excellent and cheaper (and often heavier) than ALICE packs. You can obtain excellent Swiss Army and East German Army packs these days in the $30 range. I do not care for Italian Army packs or equipment (even cheaper) or Spanish Army equipment, but the occasional bargain will show up. Hard to pass up a well-used French Army mountain rucksack for $12, regardless of how much I prefer American-made equipment. In many cases, especially if one considers the price, former Soviet or East German equipment may be preferable. But in my opinion, the ALICE pack is still the Caddillac.
There is a lot to be said for the military way of doing things. It is easy to add on equipment to your pack (the fasteners are military standard LBE clips, of course (Load-Bearing Equipment) so you can add canteens, First Aid kits, shovels, etc., etc. to your heart's content. Carrying all that excess shit is a real job, though.
Resist the temptation to buy bayonets, machetes, etc. Bayonets are a "prohibited weapon" in Texas, and in most states (they constitute a "dagger or poinard"--i.e. a knife longer than 5-1/2" that has a "false edge" i.e. sharp on both upper and lower edges of the blade. Carrying a prohibited weapon is a felony. If you are going to carry a dagger, you might as well just carry a pistol.) A good military shovel (an "entrenching tool") is heavy and not too useful to a trainhopper, but would be a HELL OF A GOOD WEAPON in a fight. I like the E-tools from WWII and Korea, with a wooden handle. The new aluminum shovels are worthless and cheap-ass. You can't dig well with them, and they are not tough enough to be very useful in a fight.
Don't forget--the fancier the equipment, the more it attracts streamliners and jackrollers. BE ALERT. The rip-off artists would much rather just steal your equipment instead of getting their own.
11-10-2001, 09:28 PM
Risky---It's hard to condemn someone who is genuinely hungry from doing something illegal (like stealing) to eat, but in most of those cases, it was a matter of the hungry guy neglecting to prepare for the inevitable occurrance of the end of his bankroll. The worse thing about stealing is that it brings down the heat on everybody else. I do have a thing about harming others to provide for myself (i.e. stealing) but things that do not harm others, while not very dignified, still are not outside of what I consider to be acceptable.
My first choice is working for wages, because it requires very little preparation and usually no tools or equipment. I have worked (while tramping) as a laborer out of day labor pools (job sharking, we called it---the day labor business being the sharks) and just regular short-term minimum wage type jobs. I unloaded boxcars for cash, "swamped" on tractor-trailers (unloaded the cargo at a warehouse), worked as a nail driver on construction sites, as a welder, and so forth. Especially during the '60s and early '70s, jobs were easy to get, especially minimum-wage labor jobs. I worked as a laborer on foundation-repair crews (pick and shovel work), pouring concrete and as a concrete laborer, drove trucks in Texas, and once got hired to work as a roughneck on a jack-up oil rig in Wyoming. I eventually settled into arc welding as a trade, because I could make more money welding than doing anything else, but I don't recommend it. It is hard, dirty and not a very healthy profession. I breathed a ton of nickel-cadmium over the years, and it causes cancer.
I also worked in restaurants, usually as a bus boy or dishwasher. This is a good job for a young tramp in good health (you'll need a Health Card.) You always used to get at least one meal. Often, if the boss liked me, he'd give me a meal "to go" that I took to Rufe, or whomever I was travelling with. Also, restaurants always have uniforms for the scullery workers (the guys in the back who wash dishes, cut up vegetables, etc.) so you don't need "nice" work clothes. A lot of times I could wash up in the janitor sink, or something like that after work. If I was bussing tables, and I kept a particular waitress' tables squared away, sometimes she would give a share of her tips. Since we weren't paying rent (living at Sally Ann or somewhere like that) and got breakfast free, I could eat lunch at the restaurant and carry a meal out, my savings for "road money" built up pretty quickly. A couple of weeks of working and I'd be ready for several months of tramping.
When we were actually on the road, I was not adverse to dumpster-diving at all. Many times pizza joint workers will toss out pizza "by-the-piece" after it has been on the line for so many minutes (a hour or so--it's a Health regulation.) I found perfectly edible vegetables in dumpsters behind large grocery stores. If you offer to sweep up out back, the produce manager or assistant manager (or more likely, the produce boy, who is supposed to do the sweeping up) will set out boxes of bruised fruit, scrawny potatoes, etc. for you. Technically they are "in the garbage" (fair game) but they are boxed up in a clean cardboard box. You need to be careful, though, because other tramps or homeless people will rip off "your" vegetables if you aren't careful.
I have gone door-to-door offering to mow lawns or weed gardens as well. You would be surprised how generous people are if you seem down on your luck, but trying to find real work.
Stealing is bad for your self-esteem. So is doing things like dealing drugs. People who are poor who resort to breaking the law to eat simply have very little imagination or judgement. I'd rather dumpster-dive than eat jail food. Or worse, have to know that I ripped off some decent person because I was too lazy to work for my own food.
I never did it, but many counties will give a homeless person a small amount of "emergency money" if you are genuinely hungry, and especially if you have children. But they expect a parent to check into a shelter and start trying to get a regular, suitable place for the kid to live. I don't recommend tramping at all if you have a kid to care for, but I have met a few tramps with a child in tow, and once, two old geezers who had taken in a runaway. He called them by their first names, like"Mr. Smitty," and"Mr. John." When he answered them, it was "Yes, sir," and "No, sir." He obeyed them just like he would have obeyed a parent. Better to be loved and cared for by two old tramps than to be beaten and mistreated by your own kin, I guess.
Of course, many tramps panhandle. I've done it. It made me feel like shit. I prefer working.
Quite a few tramps "work a set-up" or "work a scam"--an easy way to make money without actually working too hard. This would include things like washing car windows or business windows (a "squeegee tramp") or selling something (newspapers, flowers, little American flags, etc.) The best set-up I ever saw was a "free" windshield deal. The tramps cleaned EVERY WINDSHIELD THEY COULD REACH when the light was red, FOR FREE. Of course, the next morning, those same people would take that same route to work. Eventually, they would give the guys something. Sometimes money, or food, or coffee, or clothing. This deal only works if you hit the same corner every day, day after day. This particular deal was featured in a movie, as well, that had Matt Dillon and Danny Glover. A good example of art imitating real life.
True tramps are not "pitiful." I never considered myself disadvantaged, or homeless or any of that weak-sister shit. But I don't consider the rest of the world fair game, either. I took care of myself.
The longest period I rode trains or hitched was five months. But in general, I stayed out about 18 months at a time, sometimes crashing with a friend for a couple of weeks, or stopping to work for a while. Especially if I met a girl, I would wind up "going homeguard" for a while. Rufe never did this. He was older and had a sort of low opinion of women in general, and didn't normally seek out their companionship, while I kept falling in love at every opportunity. Rufe would just roll his eyes whenever I'd meet a new girl. "What are you, pussy whipped? This ain't no hobby!" I think the hoppers of today are a lot less oriented to the lifestyle, and a lot more oriented to hopping as a thrilling "sport." That's cool. Tramping ain't for everybody.
11-11-2001, 05:19 AM
hit me up with site that all this shit is on i want to see it. hit me up on aim. look at the profile thingy
11-13-2001, 07:50 PM
There are a few sites dedicated to tramping and trainhopping. It seems sort of odd to me that we have internet sites dedicated to an activity where the actual participants usually don't even own two pairs of shoes, much less a house or a computer. I think tramping captures the imagination of young people. It certainly captured my imagination, when I was young. Some trainhoppers use computers at Public Libraries or internet cafes to keep in touch with their trainhopping buddies. There are chat rooms and message boards that are secret, for the most part, that only people who are "part of the crew" have access to. Many of the most well-known and active trainhoppers have "gone online," been subjected to a lot of heat, and then "gone offline again." Guys like North Bank Fred, Collinwood Kid, the Texas Mad Man and others were famous among their trainhopping friends, and became famous in the cyber-trainhopping world, then got a lot of heat focused on them (especially Collinwood, who published great stories about hopping, very detailed and precise about who, what, when and where.) A well-known trainhopping/hobo woman, Gypsy Moon, went hopping with Collinwood and wrote a book about hopping. ("Been and Done"--it's a colection of old hobos' recollections about tramping and riding freights.)
North Bank Fred publishes beautiful photographs of his experiences hopping. He also has a large collection of tramp streaks on his web site.
There are actually two or three levels of trainhoppers. You've got your full-time rail tramps who live on the road 24/7. This is the kind of tramp that Rufe was, and the sort of people that started the FTRA. You've got your part-timers, or former tramps who sometimes quit riding trains and become "rubber tramps"--they buy a car or a van and travel around the country living out of their car. A lot of these guys have some kind of little business that they run out of their car, like going to flea markets and selling pocket knives or something like that. You have your "hobo musicians," which would include guys like Fran DeLorenzo, the Hobo Minstrel; or U. Utah Phillips, people who have used their background as a trainhopper to make the jump into the entertainment world. Utah Phillips has been a professional entertainer for over twenty years, and plays "the college circuit" on the West Coast. He has a bunch of CD's out. He has also been a member of the IWW for a long time. There used to be a country & western singer named "Boxcar Willie" but he was never a true tramp. He just adopted that image as part of his act. Utah Phillips, however, is the real McCoy, and so is Fran DeLorenzo. They are both getting too old to hop freights any more, but they were full-time tramps back in the day.
There is a guy named Eric Jackson, also known as "Jaks", who is a trainhopper who got so angry at the media lies and distortions about the FTRA that he started an unofficial FTRA website. He also put up the DeadTrainBums.com website, because he was concerned about all the young kids back in the late '80s and during the '90s going out to ride trains without understanding anything about the risks. He was (and is) trying to discourage kids from riding trains. He's got a point, too. Every time some teenager gets killed or crippled riding a freight train, it brings down the heat on the hundreds of riders (maybe thousands) who know how to ride safely and DO NOT get hurt. Graff artists that bomb railcars need to understand the same safety information that trainhoppers do, so they won't get hurt. If a graff artist heats up a yard, it's hot for everybody--tramps, trainhoppers, homeless bums AND graffitti artists. The same rules apply to graff artists as apply to trainhoppers. DON'T SKYLINE IN A RAIL YARD. Follow the safety rules. Don't vandalize shit. Don't steal. Treat rail workers with respect (remember the attitude test.) It's simple, and if you do it right, you won't get popped, you won't get hurt, and you will get a chance to put up your stuff. If you make bad choices, you will get bad consequences. Know the rules, use good judgement, and always put SAFETY FIRST.
12-07-2001, 08:14 PM
Hate to see these posts roll off the site--I guess I need top make a hard copy.
12-10-2001, 04:41 AM
Yeah, bump this is some valuable information, thanks a lot man. And what exactly is a Ka-bar knife? Also, how did you keep enough money around to buy food when you went hopiing, cause obviously you dont want to carry large amounts around. Thanks.
12-10-2001, 04:54 AM
Suburbian Bum--"Ka-Bar" is the registered treademark of a knife company. They make great pocket knives, and have for years. I have a real old one that belonged to my grandfather. The "Kabar" name is an acronym--it refers to an old tale about Daniel Boone (who?) who allegedly killed a bar (a bear) with nothing but a large fighting knife. Ka-Bar= "Kill-A-Bar."
The "Ka-Bar" I'm talking about, and the name which I took as my handle, is the USMC KaBar knives that are issued to Marines. It is pronounced "KAY-bar." Back during WWII, there was a Marine Corps unit called "Marine Raiders." They were disbanded after the war was over, the idea being every Marine is a Marine Raider, the Marine Corps didn't need any special unit of extra-crispy Marines. This special unit of Marine Raiders were issued special knives, produced by the Ka-Bar Company. It looks mostly like a Bowie knife. Today, the KaBar knife is issued to any Marine whose "duty" weapon is an M-9 pistol. This would include officers, machinegunners, some mortarmen and air crew. Regular Marine grunts, whose "duty weapon" is an M-16A2 rifle, or an M-4 rifle, are issued bayonets. However, most young Marines buy a Marine KaBar knife from the Post Exchange or out of a catalog, and if they ever get sent to a combat zone, nobody is going to tell them "You can't carry it", as long as they carry their bayonet also.
In civilian life, Marine Ka-Bar knives are "prohibited weapons," at least they are in Texas. The blade is 7" long, and any knife with a blade longer than 5-1/2" is a prohibited weapon in Texas. KaBars also have a "false" edge, i.e., the TOP of the blade is sharpened back about 2-1/2" from the point. This makes it a "poinard", or dagger, which is also a prohibited weapon. You can own it, but you cannot carry it off of your own property.
Today, Marine Corps "KaBars" are produced on a U.S. Government mil-spec contract by the Camillus Cutlery Company. They are stamped "U.S.-Camillus." Real genuine WWII KaBars are worth a small fortune as collector's knives. Most were lost or destroyed in combat. A few made in back home and most of the Marines that were issued one stole it and took it home with them after the war.
I carry a knife that I cut down from a butcher knife. It has a 5-3/8" blade, so it is legal to carry in Texas.
I carried upwards of $200 on me all the time back in the day. Way back when there were laws called "vagrancy laws." It was illegal to be broke, more or less. In California the minimum legal limit for vagrancy was $5. If you didn't have $5 on you all the time, you could be arrested and charged with vagrancy and "no visable means of support. There was an old hippie song that went to the tune of "Carolina in the Morning":
Nothing could be finer
than five bucks in your vagina,
in the m-o-o-rning;
Nothing could be sweeter,
than five bucks wrapped 'round your peter,
in the m-o-o-rning!
Anybody wanted my money had better be ready to fight for it. I wasn't inclined to give it up easy.
I Luv Roo
12-10-2001, 04:18 PM
I just spent two hours at work reading all your posts, Kabar, and I am enchanted! You make it seem so easy, while also impressing upon people that you have to take it seriously too. It draws so many parallels to graff, it's unreal! I really appreciate the integrity and honesty you bring to this thread, and I commend you for sticking to your beliefs on stealing. There really is no way to justify stealing - from anyone - however, I rack my paint and stickers - even though I still feel that I will pay someday in Karma.
Panhandling does take away a lot of dignity, and that's why I feel like it's my job to bring compassion and kindness to people who are out there doing it, because I'm sure a very lot of them feel like shit the way you did the one time you tried - and I'd rather give most people the benefit of the doubt, even though I'm no do-gooder myself.
Gosh, I always have lots to say, but it's 7:00 am and I am off work now - YAY! sleep...
12-11-2001, 12:39 AM
Thanks a lot kabar, is there an internet site you know of that sells those?
12-11-2001, 02:47 AM
Suburbian Bum---You can purchase all manner of military gear, including military knives and various things like backpackable saws, surplus military entrenching tool (shovels) and so forth, from a variety of sources. There are fighting knives available at a variety of grades of quality and price. The G.I. issue Marine Corps Ka-Bar is not a very expensive knife, selling for around $35 with leather sheath. There are many different versions of it, by various manufacturers, and various degrees of quality.
Brigade Quartermasters email at [email protected]
Greene Military & Police 1-800-521-7977, 24-hr FAX 1-865-588-1426
Cabela's Hunting, Fishing and Outdoor Gear 1-800-237-4444 or online at www.cabelas.com (http://www.cabelas.com)
Just about any decent military surplus store ought to carry Ka-Bar knives, they're a "military staple." Again, I want to caution you---KNOW YOUR STATE AND LOCAL LAWS--THESE KNIVES ARE OFTEN A FELONY TO CARRY AROUND WITH YOU. You could go to prison just for having it on you, under the right circumstances. FIND OUT WHAT THE LAW SAYS ABOUT PROHIBITED WEAPONS IN YOUR STATE, and
don't trust some rumor from some know-it-all kid at school or somewhere. You want to read it for yourself in black and white, straight from the State Criminal Code. Enjoy!
12-11-2001, 09:26 PM
i was wondering about the railroad workers. because ive seen on some websites about hopping that most of them are pretty cool about telling you where to catch out and which trains are going which direction. i was wondering if you have encountered this same kindness.
12-12-2001, 10:11 AM
Big Bruno---The "simple" answer is "Yes, I have." But there's more than one level to it. Railroad workers aren't uniformly approving of tramps and trainhoppers. Some of them just don't like us, often without any good reason. But, there is good reason to be pissed off at the minority of trainhoppers who break all the rules, have a shitbird attitude, diss the rail workers, steal shit, vandalize shit and just generally act like shit-for-brains losers.
If you act like somebody with a brain in his head, you'll probably be treated with respect. But here's the paradox---EVEN IF YOU AREN'T TREATED WITH DECENCY AND RESPECT, you react with a straight-up tramp attitude, and strive to pass the attitude test.
If some dickhead railroad worker turns you in to the bulls, be a stand-up guy. NEVER, EVER rat off a railroad guy, even if it means you go to jail. If the guy said straight to your face, "Oh, yeah, go ahead and ride, no problem," and then his buddy turned you in, NEVER RAT OFF THE FIRST GUY. If the bull asks "Did you have permission? Did one of these guys tell you it was okay?" you always say "Nobody saw me. I never talked to anybody. Nobody said "yes" or "no," I just decided to hop on my own." PROTECT THE RAIL WORKERS. Be a stand-up, straight-up tramp. Never snitch, unless it involves somebody who is harming or ripping off tramps. We know that hopping is against the law. If you break the law, you can expect to get nailed eventually, and to have to "pay the price." That's all part of the deal. If you can't handle getting busted, then don't hop trains.
12-13-2001, 08:17 AM
I have really enjoyed reading your posts up to this point. I really appreciate the fact that you can take enough time to shed some light on some of these subjects for me. I have been a train enthusiast for a few years now, and lately have been getting way more into the history of it all. Been reading up on ALOT of books. Any good ones that you recommend? Ive read most all of the hoboing books Ive been able to track down, but what Im really interested in is books on the old timers. The old engineers and their stories etc. Just a thought..
Thanks alot for all the knowledge.
12-13-2001, 09:10 AM
Kinkosnerd---Try to find a "train shop" in Louisville. Almost every city has a couple of railroad hobby shops, where they sell model railroading stuff, track, engines and cars, houses, trees, etc. for model railroaders. There is a convergance of interest between railfans, model railroaders, trainhoppers, tramps and railcar graff writers. To be sure, there is a certain amount of animosity towards trainhoppers and graffitti commandos, but I've also seen model railroad set-ups that had hand-painted e2e pieces carefully painted on model railroad boxcars. I know a couple of railfans that tramped and hopped trains in their youth.
My local train shop (called TrainSource Texas, at 3264 South Loop West, Houston, Texas 77025 near the corner of South Main and I-610 for any of you Greater Houston Area guys who might want to check it out) carries all manner of cool railroad stuff like Union Pacific and BNSF coffee cups and stuff like that. The people who work in shops like Trainsource Texas really know their shit about trains and the local railroading scene, local history, etc.
Every city and large town has a few crews of trainhoppers and graff writers who hang out and have a "favorite" yard, or a favorite catch out. If you have a friend who is also interested in trains-hopping-graff-etc. you have the nucleus of a crew.
I got back into trains and hopping because of my interest in railfanning. I found a couple of jungles, then ran into a crew of railfans down at Englewood Yards. Then I cleaned up an old jungle and made it my "home jungle." After a while, I started getting obvious signs that other tramps had stayed there, like graffitti carved into one of the jungle's trees ("IWW," "NHA" and "ftra".) IWW="Industrial Workers of the World." That's an old revolutionary labor union. They have a website. http://www.iww.org/ NHA= National Hobo Association. I don't think it actually exists any more. There were some guys who said they were NHA at Britt a few years ago. And "FTRA" is Freight Train Riders of America. I have heard rumors that the Wrecking Crew operate on old SP routes (now UP) across the southwest and up the west coast. If you see tramps wearing a bandana rolled "cowboy style" and fastened with a silver concho, be very cautious. Black bandanas are the OG's from the old Burlington Northern Hi-Line. Blue bandanas are the Goonie Squad from the old Frisco line that goes across the central U.S. Red bandanas are the Wrecking Crew from the west coast and the South and Southwest. I met a couple of FTRA guys that seemed okay, but I've heard some pretty bizarre stories as well. The WC (red bandanas) are dangerous. Be careful around them. So far as I know, none of them are hooked up with any regular gangs like the Crips or the Bloods.
The IWW guys (they are called "Wobblies", I don't know why) and the NHA guys are pretty much harmless. The Wobblies are usually anarchists or socialists, if that's a problem. They will bore you shitless talking about their plans to revolutionize society and save the working class, but other than that, they're cool. NHA people come in all shapes and sizes. Lots of musicians--banjo and fiddle players, guitarists, etc.
The FTRA started in a bar in Libby, Montana in 1982. The OG's were just tramps, not thugs and not criminals. It started as a sort of self-protection, brotherhood thing for tramps and hobos. One guy told me that the whole thing about "FTRA" was wrong, that it really stood for "Fuck the Reagan Administration." I don't know. Anything is possible, I guess. One of the founding members is now a born-again Christian minister in Montana, but some of the old-timers are still riding trains and still Tramp4Life, but most have retired. The new, younger members have an entirely different attitude than the OG's. They talk about the "new FTRA."
Find yourself a jungle at a good junction or rail yard. If you look long enough, you might discover a jungle that's already there. Be careful. Remember---safety in numbers.
To see a couple of photographs of the FTRA, check out the FTRA website or North Bank Fred. The FTRA website has a pic of members posing with beers, standing in a boxcar door, looking wasted. One of them is a girl. They appear to be members and prospects of the OG's from the Burlington Northern Hi-Line (black bandanas with silver concho,) probably up in the Northwest somewhere. I bet North Bank Fred could tell us exactly where he shot the pic. Try this site
The pic is pretty cool--several years old by now, but the story below is crap.
12-14-2001, 04:06 PM
I appreciate the responce, and yes, I have found the local model shops etc. There is a really nice one that is just called the L&N store that has alot of nice stuff, pins, shirts, coffe mugs, model everything, etc. but the question was more of me just wondering if you had any personal favorites. Just got a really nice book on the History of the Chessie System, and a video on the Streetcars Of Early Louisville. But, more or less, I was just wondering if you had any personal favorites.
The old timer that works down at the aforementioned L&N store talks on and on for a while, hes a wealth of information on everything you could want to know about trains. For anyone that hasnt tried, talking to these guys is the best. (this guy has an eye patch too, makes him all the more interesting).
I found out everything I could ever have wanted to know about trains coming in, or going out of my city. What yards are good to watch at, and what yards you will get your ass in trouble for getting near.
If anyone is interested I just got a nice book from www.deskmap.com (http://www.deskmap.com) called the Professional Railroad Atlas of North America thats pretty nice. It has all the lines across the US, Canada and Mexico broken down by what companies run them etc. Lots of good info on writing to some of the older companies too.
12-17-2001, 01:39 AM
why would you post that.. the thread is about hobos, not you going to college.
12-17-2001, 01:52 AM
optimo, money is not the point. i'm sure if someone handed these people a million dollars they would take it, some might not. but this is what these people choose to do.
12-17-2001, 06:32 AM
Truthfully, most tramps are poorly educated. Without question, 99% of the people who consider themselves "homeless" either dropped out of high school, or never had a genuine chance at getting an education. But I'm not really talking about "homeless people", that is, people who have sort of made a career out of being down-and-out. I'm really more concerned with tramps. The real hobos, that is, the guys who rode trains back in the '30s, '40s and '50s, often were unable to go to school because of the Depression or World War II or the Korean War.
This weekend I was down looking to catch out, but it started raining and for some reason the trains were all runnning pretty fast. My first three or four good possibilities were all rolling between 21 and 23 mph. That's way too fast to catch a rolling train. I can run about 7 mph, more like 5 or 6 mph with a pack or any gear. If the train is rolling faster than walking speed, I don't even consider it.
Anyway, I retired to my favorite jungle, built a fire, cooked some chow and made coffee, and sat there on my bucket under my tarp shelter watching the wye get rained on. The tarp leaks, so every time the rain picked up, I would be trying to dodge three or four spots where the tarp was leaking.
After a while the rain slacked off, so I struck the tarp, doused the fire and hiked to another, nearby jungle where there are some permenant residents. We bought a couple of six packs of Busch and stood around under an overpass drinking beer, listening to the Cowboys get thumped and rolling cigarettes out of Top and Bugler.
Including myself, there were three guys standing there who had at least some college experience. Two of us had some kind of college degree.
The statement above about college doesn't really apply to trainhoppers. Most of them hop because they want to. But it does apply to down-and-out "homeless types." Oddly enough, many homeless panhandlers never hop trains. They often consider it to be too dangerous. One guy there today described his day thusly: "Some days I work--I go hold up a sign for four or five hours. But If I have enough money, I just take it easy. Sometimes my Mom helps me out--gives me money or takes me out to eat. I don't know. Life just kind of goes on, you know? I used too watch a lot of TV when I lived at home. Now it's just "Whatever." I listen to the radio a lot."
This guy is 29 years old and had been living under that overpass bridge for three years. He had a year of college, but dropped out.
12-17-2001, 10:41 PM
the last person you described scares me.
12-17-2001, 11:46 PM
when i was younger i would constantly be reading survival books and that type of thing. this thread is right up my alley.
12-20-2001, 05:48 PM
First off- Thanks Kabar, for the insight on what I thought was a forgotten era. I work in the summer at a place sitting right beside a line. This line went right between two sets of houses. The line was simple, it just curved in between. You couldn't see anything looking down one side of the line, but out of the corner of my eye one day i saw a blue tarp. I went to check it out, due to the fact that it is a dead-line, and there hasn't been activity on it for years. Well i went into what i thought was jsut a tarp, and found a large town, well anyway... I would have never thought anything of it until i read this forum. I would just like to ask you one questoin tho....What do you think about ignorance? I am trying to write a book on this topic as we speak. Well keep up the positive thinking.
Trase_ Writer2 Against Retaliation
PS. Have you ever met any Canadian Traps, Hobo's etc.?
12-20-2001, 07:00 PM
Tee Rase---Well, to be blunt, I'm against ignorance. But unfortunately, there are a lot of people who insist on inventing buzzwords and newspeak to describe things, so it somewhat depends on exactly what you mean by "ignorance."
If what you mean is ignorance in terms of "destitute of knowledge or education", why I am very much against it. I am a strong believer in every person getting an opportunity to study and learn and become a literate, sophisticated, well-educated person. This is a very lofty goal. In my state, Texas, nearly 40% of high-school students drop out before graduating. Essentially, a decision to drop out of school is a decision to be impoverished and excluded from the more rewarding sectors of economic life.
However, if what you mean by "ignorance" is a difference of opinion about public policy or personal preferences as regards the subjects of culture, nationality, language, race or behavior, then I cannot subscribe to being uniformly in opposition. It's like that old conundrum--"Have you stopped beating your wife?" If you say "yes," then that means that you admit to doing so. If you say "no," that indicates you are still engaged in so doing. There is a great injustice in degrading language. Such practices as coining buzzwords like "Social Justice," or "gender equality," errode the ability to communicate and foster opposition and resentment on all sides. One that really amused me when I was young and radical was "Industrial Democracy." I think that we should "call a spade a spade." Who could reasonably be in favor of ignorance? Since being in favor of ignorance is unreasonable and inappropriate, if one loads the word up with a lot of left-wing, liberal, racial preferences and class-war prejudices, then one positions one's opponents to appear unreasonable and irrational.
Each person, individually, ought to be considered and judged upon his own merits. In turn, each person may consider the world and make judgements about it on it's own merits. Some people choose to make good choices and fair judgements. Some do not. Those people who choose to drop out of school, for instance, and to remain ignorant, are going to suffer the consequences of that decision. This is as it should be. To try and blame the teachers, the school system, the Government, the racial group to which that student's teachers belong, or the moon and the stars is all inappropriate and incorrect. Only ONE PERSON has responsibility for the decisions that the student makes, and that is the student himself. To think otherwise is to create a ready excuse for every lack of diligence and lack of dedication in society. I do not accept that premise as valid. We succeed or fail UPON OUR OWN INDIVIDUAL MERITS. Far too many people are looking for somebody to blame for their own personal failures and inadequacies. Members of the Ku Klux Klan and the neo-Nazis are an excellent example. So are the "Black Nationalist" groups like the Nation of Islam. Being a "victim" relieves one of the responsibility of the consequences for one's own life choices.
At age 19, I was barely a high-school graduate, virtually penniless, and riding freight trains and living outdoors to avoid the responsibility of paying rent, working every day and being a regular member of society.
At age 51, I am a college-educated professional, with a family, a home and responsibilities. I no longer ride trains out of necessity, but for amusement. It's a choice, and one with potential consequences, of course. It is no different for me than it is for anybody else in society. Work hard, go to school and become educated, be a normal, law-abiding, productive member of society, or PAY THE PRICE for failing to do so. I did not like the price, so I went to college. At age 43.
12-22-2001, 07:54 PM
would you say that living outdoors, and going to college at the age 43, does that make you a stronger person? and if so, how?
12-22-2001, 08:46 PM
Tee Rase---In my opinion, it's not the experience itself of tramp life, living outdoors and learning to survive in that environment that makes one stronger, but the exercise of one's power of choice. As long as I just let chance be the guiding factor in my life, I was blown this way and that by events. Some events I had no control over, but with some of those events I could have had a great degree of influence upon the outcome. Choosing to "not choose" is a choice itself, and a destructive one. It's like voting "present" in Congress, instead of "yes," or "no."
Once I made a choice to change my life, it turned out that it was an enormous choice. I enlisted in the Marine Corps. I was full of bravado about it at the time I did it ("The Marine Corps ain't going to change me one bit. When I get out, I'll be the same guy I always was.") but once I shipped to Boot Camp, I was scared to death. It wasn't the rigors of Boot Camp that scared me, it was the fact that I knew in my heart that I was going to be different afterwards. And I was.
I was a great Marine. It was like I was born to it. All those months of living outdoors had equipped me to be a sort of natural infantryman. I quickly gained rank and responsibility. I was older and more mature than my peers, and I was not swayed by their adolescent behavior. Many young NCO's request to be transferred out of their "home" unit, because they find fulfilling the job of a sergeant too difficult if they are working with their old squad bay buddies. In many ways I loved Marine Corps life, and I feel like I owe the Marines a great debt. To use a hackneyed phrase, "They made a man out of me."
When I got out of the Corps, I left with the sure knowledge that I could accomplish literally anything I set my mind to if I was willing to work hard enough to get it. I knew how to set priorities under pressure, how to plan a course of action, and how to implement that plan. I sat down and made a plan to improve my economic condition. Within five years I was married, we had a baby, and were both in college. I completed one degree eight years after leaving the Marines. After a short stint working, I went back to school and completed another degree fourteen years after leaving the Marines.
It's not an unusual story. Plenty of others have done the same thing, and with a lot less patting themselves on the back. But I do take pride in the fact that I was able to accomplish what I have, and after such a poor start. I suppose the moral of the story is ""If I can do it, anybody can do it."
I still love trains and tramp life. Sometimes I take a little vacation, and enjoy the peace and quiet of no telephones, no deadlines to meet and no responsibility. But then it's time to return to the real world. I was not totally satisfied with life on the bum, not at all. And I am also not totally satisfied with life as an adult professional. Life is a compromise. One seeks balance, and to live with dignity and respect. At least, I do.
12-24-2001, 11:15 PM
One question Kabar,
Do you write graffiti?
i dont know what to make of you yet. :}
feel free to email me [email protected]
12-25-2001, 12:08 AM
Yes, I do, occasionally, but I do not consider myself to be a writer of any great ability or talent. I'm really more interested in tagging and streaks, but I very much enjoy and appreciate well-executed and artistic graff pieces. As I have said before, a lot more people go to the Art Museum than go to the art school. Without an audience, there is little point to art. I am opposed to thrashing and tagging crapola willy-nilly all over a neighborhood, and especially opposed to gang tags. When I lived in San Francisco there were three murders within three blocks of my apartment on Delores Street, all of and by gang members, and all because of teenaged boys' overblown egos and distorted sense of what "respect" means. People who have no respect, get no respect.
On the other hand, I find many large fill-ins to definately fall into the category of art, and think that it's too bad there is not some way to bring some of this graphic sense and artistic expression into galleries.
BTW, the email address you provided is defective. "This email address does not exist. Your message has not been sent."
12-25-2001, 01:10 AM
well i find you highly unique...the oldest writer i know is about 25...I find you quite interesting...about the email....i dont know whats up with that,,,
you may have to just write it down on a peice of scrap and try again...
(underscore after the "c", that might not show up ...
im not sure
12-25-2001, 09:44 PM
(Tee Rase--Check your Hotmail.com email account. It worked--I guess the underscore didn't show.)
I wanted to write about culture, and how we form the ideas and opinions that we do. Much of culture is passed through the family, and long-standing attitudes can be formed when you are really young, maybe only a year or so old. We don't think of babies as being very aware of their surroundings, but they are very, very aware. Take for instance the cultural differences between a mother who thinks a crying baby is "spoiled" and refuses to pick it up, vs. a mother who believes that babies should stay in constant contact with the mother via a sling or some kind of baby carrier. The baby that is ignored will grow up suspicious and untrusting of the world, used to not getting what he wants, and pretty damned angry about it. The baby that is carried in a sling or carrier will grow up believing that the world is very safe and predictable, and that women in particular are gentle, and loving and nurturing. What kind of person would ignore a crying baby? An alcoholic? A drug addict? A mentally ill person? Someone whose own needs are so great that they have nothing to spare for parenthood. It's not always a matter of being poor, because poor mothers the world over raise children lovingly and provide for them the best that they can. But people who have a sense of entitlement often feel short-changed and cheated by life. And they pass this "I'm getting screwed and it's all your fault" attitude towards the world on to their children.
Some tramps and homeless people are scammers. They think the world owes them a living, and they see nothing wrong with getting whatever they can get any way they can get it. They see themselves as "getting back" at the "rich, snobby" people by panhandling or petty theft or even cargo theft. I understand why they think the way they do, but I disagree and am opposed to it. Many graff artists regard people who use "etch" in the same way. It's destructive, and unwarranted.
Some tramps and homeless people take that same "us against the World" culture and turn it into something positive. My friend Rufe had a rule that he would never turn down another tramp if he asked for something to eat. We even stopped and built a fire and brewed up coffee and made macaroni and cheese right on the spot for tramps that were truly hungry. Several times we built a fire right in the yards and shared out with other bros who had little or nothing to throw into the Frisco. Rufe was a full-on, 24/7 tramp. And he was somewhat of a scammer. But he wasn't malevolent about it, and that's the difference that culture makes.
Have a set of rules in your life. Be careful who you decide to be, or who you pretend to be. There are a lot of people out there who glorify gangsterism and a criminal mindset. Be careful that gangsta culture doesn't make you into somebody you're not.
your my hero
actually, your really smart
12-28-2001, 11:51 PM
I know from past happenings that people take there own thoughts way too rightiously. I think this plays into the whole ingnorance conver. I had a debate yesterday with two of my closest friends. They where 100% sure that Hitler WAS a good leader. I with all my heart do not believe this, and proved it to them. They eventually sided with me by saying he was a good manipulator (bull-shitter). Of coarse this is harmless, but when writers cannot think past their art i get angry, they think that they are the best at what they do. ( sorry im having a hard time proving points, my car just broke down, :) )... so anyway, junkfood for thought.
12-29-2001, 12:56 AM
Hitler was a charismatic person, and was very attractive to the German people after they had suffered the deprivations subsequent to their defeat in WWI, the Allied plunder of the German industrial and economic sectors couched in the form of "war reparations" afterwards, and the terrible inflation during the Weimar Republic. It was a set-up, and the German people fell right into it. I have known several German-American immigrants who lived in Germany during that time. When I was a boy, my next-door neighbor was a young German war bride, who married an American G.I. at age 16 just to get out of post-WWII Germany. Her son was a friend of mine. When she talked about seeing Hitler pass by in a parade, with all the young girls dressed up in traditional German folk dress and throwing flowers, her eyes shone and she sounded like some girl I knew talking about seeing the Beatles in concert. The growth of fascism in Germany and in Europe was not a rational thing. You cannot lead a nation to fascism unless it wants to be led.
The murder of the European Jews was just the tip of the iceberg. Eventually the Nazis would have run out of Jews to kill, and gypsies, and Communists, and trade-union leaders, and Jehovah's Witnesses, and homosexuals, and mentally ill/ mentally retarded people. Eventually to keep the National Security State rolling, they would have turned on their "own," and Nazis would have been sent to their own concentration camps. Everything the Nazis did was 100% legal. They owned the legislature, the Courts and the military/ industrial complex. That's what fascism is--government by totalitarian, corporate, socialist methods: "National Socialism." It kind of has a unsettling, threatening sound to it--kind of like "homeland security."
Everybody wants to blame somebody else for their problems, and Jews are no exception to this rule. I read a very good book back in the 1960's called "The Aryanization of the Jewish State," which explained racism, xenophobia and the growth of the "National Security State" in Israel. It could happen here, just as easily. People not accustomed to THINKING FOR THEMSELVES are easily convinced that "the mud people," or "the Zionist Occupational Government" or "the white devils," or some other scapegoat is all to blame for their misfortune.
This is why I am not a socialist or communist, not a Nazi, not a "right-winger" or a "left-winger" or any-kind-of-winger. READ THE CONSTITUTION AND THE BILL OF RIGHTS AND THINK FOR YOURSELF. As long as the love of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights lives in the American heart, we are safe from fascism. Boy. Now I need to get off the soap box and go re-load some ammunition.
12-29-2001, 03:18 AM
What do you know about hitler as a person. I have heard neumerous stories, i supose i should read mine comf (sp? sorry)... oh by the way...i live in the great wide north, vancouver BC...ever been?
12-29-2001, 06:31 AM
The title of Hitler's best known book is spelled "Mein Kampf" (My Struggle). I tried to read it when I was about 17. It's pretty boring. A much better book (but incredibly long and detailed) is "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich." One well-known episode in Nazi history is "The Night of the Long Knives." There were two National Socialist organizations, the Schulzstaffel (SS) and the SA. The SS wore black uniforms, and the SA wore khaki. As part of the dress uniform, each included a special knife in a scabbard, very fancy--engraved and rather elegant looking "dress" knives, similar to the way military officer's uniforms still include a sword. The SS knife was longer than the SA knife. The leader of the SA was a homosexual named Ernst Rohm. Because Rohm preferred young men, a bizarre Nazi homosexual cult-like organization grew up within the SA. It was widely believed that one could not advance to the upper echelons without participating in homosexual assignations with top leaders. The men of the SA also had a reputation as being handsome and elegant dressers.
Hitler had blended two Nazi-like organizations into one, the German Workers' Party (DAP) better known as the Nazi Party. Rohm was the leader of the other organization, I think.
On the night of the Long Knives, the SS murdered the entire SA leadership, all on the same night. Hundreds, if not thousands, of homosexual Nazis were killed, all on the same night. (Edit: Since I first wrote this, I read somewhere that less than a hundred SA leaders were assassinated. So--I am no longer sure of these facts. My gut level feeling says that an event like this would require the killing of more than one hundred leaders.) Most of the SA rank and file became members of the SS. From that point on, anyone accused of homosexuality within the Nazi Party was imprisoned, and some were murdered. I wonder if the neo-Nazis of today realize how simple it would be for some other member of the DAP to eliminate an adversary within the party? Just accuse him of being part Jewish, or of being gay, and it's off to the torture chambers of the Gestapo. Kind of takes the shine off being a Nazi, I should think.
After WWII, the Allied occupation forces in Germany used former Nazi attorneys and judges and police chiefs to reestablish law and order. Within ten years (1955) former high ranking Nazis were holding high positions in the civil service, legislature and judiciary. The Prime Minister of Austria was a former Nazi. The American anti-gun law passed after the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. (the Gun Control Act of 1968) comes STRAIGHT FROM NAZI GUN LAW, almost word-for-word.
The first step to fascism is disarmament of the civilian population. If you think I'm exaggerating, do a web search for the American pro-gun organization "Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO)" and you can read a comparison of the two documents. Both U.S. and Canadian government establishments have far too tolerant an attitude towards fascistic ideas and behavior, especially Canada. When fascism comes to North America, it will be wrapped in the U.S. and the Maple Leaf flags. Bet on it.
There won't be any mass rallies and jackboot torch parades here. It will be a "progressive" movement "for the children," and "in defense of the environment," to achieve "fairness" and "equality for everyone." Fascism with a Social Democratic face, but fascism just the same.
You'll be able to identify them BY THEIR ACTS not by their words. If they disarm civilians. If they change the law to permit holding people without trial, or secret trials. If they insist on an "Official Secrets Act," where the government can declare any evidence against it to be a National Security secret and inadmissable in court. If they suspend habeus corpus. If they write a law forcing people to testify against themselves, allowing warrantless searches, seizure of property or personal papers without prior warrant and due process of law. If they create "special classes" of prisoners, like "politically unreliable" or "terrorist suspect" who are then treated as prisoners without rights. If they begin to rely more and more on what is called "dynamic entry" searches, where heavily armed para-military police raid people's homes at night, break down doors and destroy the home while "searching" for some sort of contraband.
Does any of this sound familiar to you? It should.
12-29-2001, 06:59 PM
i like this post. more about tunnel bums. i bump into a few graff artist every week.
12-29-2001, 10:14 PM
Kabar, you are one interesting person, I'll tell you that much!!!
01-02-2002, 05:26 AM
what do you think about the news(papers)...are they de-sensitising us, or censoring us?
01-02-2002, 08:45 AM
Tee Rase-- The actual newspapers are a passe' way of getting the news. I read stories in the newspaper two or three days after I hear about them online or even on CNN. The only really good thing about newspapers is that they are a sort of "hard copy" version of the multimedia news.
I do not trust news media people at all. They have thrown the old Who-What-When-Where-How rules to the wind. Virtually all broadcast news reporters and columnists blatantly put their own personal prejudices into news stories. They fabricate news out of whole cloth. A majority of American newspapers are owned by the same four or five conglomerates, all are controlled by ultra-liberals except the Washington Times, and it's run by people working for the Moonies. There is no conservative press at all, except on shortwave radio. Every story seems to be filtered through liberal-colored glasses. Americans don't receive one-tenth of the news of the rest of the World that is reported. Maybe not even one-twentieth.
In short, most of what is published as news is slanted, liberal-biased bullshit. Our schools of journalism are cranking out propagandists. I read the newspaper, I watch CNN and the major news networks, but I don't trust anything they say. The news media sucks a big one. If they had their way, except for the First Amendment, which directly affects them personally, the Bill of Rights would be gutted. Fuck them. Much of what they publish is lies and some of it borders on treason. THINK FOR YOURSELF.
01-03-2002, 09:41 PM
i believe that what we see and hear, is so candy coated (or the reverse, ie: the sept 11 attack) that it would do me better to take it in as lies. and see things for myself, through research, or other means.
you only believe what you truly accept. if you dont accept something, how do you believe. I have never read the bill of rights, i am not american. although you do explain it quite well.
I am canadian, but in these days the same things do apply to us as two different countries under one wing.
01-04-2002, 09:11 AM
everytime i go paint with my one friend and he drives, he listens to this hobo guy and it's like a live recording, it's hella funny, he go's "HALLALULLA IM'A BUM"
01-04-2002, 06:43 PM
Yeah, that's an old hobo tune from the early 1900's, making fun of the Bible-thumping Christians who were running soup kitchens down on Skid Road back then, trying to clean up impoverished neighborhoods. It was written to the tune of an old hymn called "Revive Us Again." The chorus goes:
Halallujah, I'm a bum!
Halallujah, bum again!
Halallujah, give us a hand out,
and Revive Us A-gain!
(James Hill was a wealthy Robber Baron millionaire who founded the Union Pacific Railroad, I think.)
Oh, I like Jim Hill,
He's a good friend of mine,
and that's why I'm walk-ing,
on down his Main Line.
Oh, I like my boss,
He's a good friend of mine,
and that's why I'm walk-ing
on this picket line!
There were a whole lot of made-up verses to this tune. The IWW (a revolutionary labor union founded in 1905) used it as a theme song. To check out their web site try http://iww.org/
musta sucked not having shelter
01-05-2002, 07:02 PM
Not having shelter? I'm not sure I understand.
01-05-2002, 07:04 PM
Originally posted by KaBar
The first step to fascism is disarmament of the civilian population. If you think I'm exaggerating, do a web search for the American pro-gun organization "Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO)" and you can read a comparison of the two documents. Both U.S. and Canadian government establishments have far too tolerant an attitude towards fascistic ideas and behavior, especially Canada. When fascism comes to North America, it will be wrapped in the U.S. and the Maple Leaf flags. Bet on it.
There won't be any mass rallies and jackboot torch parades here. It will be a "progressive" movement "for the children," and "in defense of the environment," to achieve "fairness" and "equality for everyone." Fascism with a Social Democratic face, but fascism just the same.
You'll be able to identify them BY THEIR ACTS not by their words. If they disarm civilians.
Does any of this sound familiar to you? It should.
this is the very point ive been arguing with people over when it comes to gun control.
01-05-2002, 08:16 PM
Chozer, I don't know how old you are, but I'm going to assume you are over 18 years old. Adults, over 18, can purchase firearms and ammunition. One must suppose that an adult is mature enough to understand and accept the laws pertaining to purchasing, owning and appropriately using firearms. I do, and I think that most gun owners also do. The justification for disarming the 70 MILLION American gun owners is the less than one-tenth of one percent of American gun owners who choose to use them in illegal acts.
I do not trust anybody who would advocate taking away our RIGHT to own firearms because of the illegal behavior of the tiny criminal fraction of the population that misuse firearms. We need to punish THUGS and CRIMINALS, not law abiding citizens.
There is no law against caching firearms and ammunition. Hundreds of thousands of Americans are doing just that. They can purchase inexpensive military surplus rifles and ammunition, and they are hiding them, burying them, taking them out to Granddad's farm, etc. so that if any group of totalitarians tries to take over the Government, a resistance can be mounted. I realize that most of the people on this board are far too young to take such an idea seriously. But if things continue on the way that they have been going, you guys may find yourselves faced with a choice--submit, and become "subjects" of the Nanny State, or resist. I realize it sounds crazy, but no crazier than trying civilian "terrorists" in a military court without a jury, or suspension of habeus corpus, or setting up a special Office of Homeland Security. We are standing on the brink of a police state, even if it is for a good cause. If we lose the Bill of Rights, we will probably never get it back again. LOOK AROUND AND THINK ABOUT IT. People who love liberty and freedom, people who love their country know what to do. But I wouldn't waste much time. THINK FOR YOURSELF.
01-05-2002, 11:24 PM
I've been seeing the police state creep in for a long time now, and it worries me. The ease with which a bunch of secret police legislation passed after 9/11 was sickening. The AVERAGE American is dumber than ever, believing spending is patriotic, censorship of political incorrectness is OK, the drug war is not an absolute sham, Wal-Mart is a great place to shop, etc. The sheep are asleep and ripe for slaughter.
One of the new laws is this: you can be detained if you are SUSPECTED of being a terrorist. That means YOU HAVE NO RIGHTS ANYMORE in the legal system. The government does not have to play by any rules - if you ask why you're under arrest, they just say "you're suspected of terrorism", even if they want to fuck with you for another UNRELATED reason (like, you publish too many statements critical of the government).
This is HUGE. This is ENORMOUS. Do you trust your government to use its new powers fairly and only against terrorists? I DO NOT.
Where is the outcry? I think the ACLU is grumbling about it, but not loudly enough. Or maybe they are scared shitless and trying to spread the news far and wide, but the media has been discouraged from covering the story. We are probably all in the dark by design.
01-06-2002, 04:09 AM
"war" (against terrorism) is great isn't it? throwing rights out the door on account of others' actions. civility does not exsist in the government, they are just diggin the whole that we shale al fal into.
01-06-2002, 08:43 AM
Cracked---I agree 100%. There is a segment of both the Democrats and the Republicans that does not truly believe in the freedoms set down in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I realize I've been harping on this topic several times in the last wek or so, but it's IMPORTANT. This whole Homeland Security Agency thing is going to wind up being a domestic CIA. Lord knows, we've got plenty of Government agencies surveilling us already. Here's an eye opener for you--look up CIA, National Security Agency (NSA,) Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA,) Defense Security Industrial Command (part of the Army Intelligence Service); National Reconnaisance Office, Naval Intelligence Service. You know what they all have in common (besides the fact that they are intelligence agencies)? They are all involved in surveilling PRIVATE CITIZENS within the United States. The local cops are the least of our worries. They are at least mainly concerned with enforcing the law. The intelligence agencies are looking to gather intelligence on regular, private citizens.
01-07-2002, 11:48 PM
Kabar, i totally agree with you on the gun issue and the new laws issue, I think one of the reasons that there has not been so much resistance, is that the media is supressing it, and the masses have been brainwashed and if something is "a war against terrorism" they will support it, no questions asked. Another thing is, if you guys havent noticed they now want to pass something (it may of already been passed) that allows the government to search your emails.
The government already does this, infact the government has computers that go through and pull out all emails sent through major email services (aol yahoo, hotmail etc...) with words they consider hateful or dangerous. So the government can read any email you send and probably has read lots of them so far.
And please correct me if im wrong on any of these topics but I beleive I am correct.
Kabar, earlier you said that all newspapers are very liberal. This is not true in my city, which is a fairly major city in the West of the U.S.A. 2 out of the 3 newspapers from the area are VERY conservative and they put a tint on all of them twards the republican party.
Thanks for your time.
Average White Railfan
01-08-2002, 12:05 AM
WOW! i lack the paitence to read all these posts, and i just skimmed through the ones on page three. Kabar your posts are blowing me away. it is clear to me that you have a profound overstanding of the difference between 'free' and 'liberated'. you are liberated...and offer a liberating viewpoint that exceeds most within the writing community..and most of america for that matter. like i said i have not read all of this, but what little bit i have read was inspiring. continue to: rock on with your bad self.
01-08-2002, 08:43 AM
AWR--Thanks for the compliment, but I'm just another guy with a computer. If you've never looked into the Libertarian Party, you should check them out. I am actually a registered Republican, but they piss me off with great regularity, so I vote Libertarian if given the chance. The Democrats lost my allegiance when I was about 18 years old. I was so angry about the Vietnam War, I became an anarchist, and that lasted until I got sick of them supporting every stupid ass victim group on Earth. Plus, I knew that in my heart, I love my country. There is nothing wrong with patriotism, but one must exercise ENLIGHTENED SELF INTEREST. Read the Federalist Papers. It's a collection of articles written by the men who founded the United States. Believe me, they would NEVER have put up with the bullshit we have to put up with from the Government.
There is no one group that has all the answers, but I do like the Libertarian Party. But even they get a little goofy once in a while. For instance, they want all the National Parks and National Forests to be privatized. Having lived in Washington State, I can tell you--if you privatize a National Forest, the rich folks will clear cut the whole goddam place to make a buck, and the loggers will cheer them on, until they have logged off every damned tree in the entire country. Since I like forests, I can't support that. I have worked as a slash cutter on a logging operation, cutting alder in northern Washington to clear the way for the hodads replanting tamarack trees. Logging is brutal and unforgiving. I think we ought to require logging to be done with HORSES, like they did it a hundred years ago. Then the environment would be protected, everybody would have a job up north and lumber would be pretty damned valuable. But I digress.
THINK FOR YOURSELF. Use your brain. READ STUFF. If you young guys don't start waking up, we are in a world of shit.
01-09-2002, 02:07 AM
i just watched a show called investigative reports or something...
they based the episode on trains and the dangers of hopping freights..i am quite interested in starting/trying to hop but i need some pointers...about things ie: deadman, blah blah....just wondering where to start. the show talked alot about killers ont he lines, the FTAA (?sp?) they also talked about how unbelievably unsafe it is. thought you could enlighten me some more!
01-09-2002, 05:55 AM
good points kabar..i was thinkin bout hoppin fr8s an you gave me alot of good info ..thanks----odesk-mds,6fk!!
01-09-2002, 08:30 AM
Tee Rase--There's lots of information about hopping right on this web site. The best possible way to learn is to find an experienced trainhopper who KNOWS WHAT HE IS DOING and hop with him for a while. The threads we have followed here, some of which I started, have a LOT of good info in them. This one, "Hobos, Tramps and Homeless Bums", and "Slack Action," and "Making your own Gear" all three have good stuff. I also highly recommend that you study Cracked Ass" threads about Yard Safety very closely. Read Duffy Littlejohn's book, and go down to the local yard with a pair of binoculars and STUDY WHAT'S GOING ON. Look for a spot where trains consistently roll very slowly (walking speed) or where they stop and stand waiting to go onto the Main Line. Try to make friends with some yard hands. Buy a 100-channel UHF/VHF scanner and monitor the railroad transmissions. You'll get the picture pretty quickly. Hopping freights is kind of like riding a motorcycle. It's a shitload of fun, but it's also a dead serious business. One careless mistake can cause a lifetime of sorrow. SAFETY FIRST.
01-09-2002, 09:47 PM
01-09-2002, 11:32 PM
kbar... i've greatly enjoyed reading your post.
I'm curious to know what kind of graffiti you do, considering your age.
you definately have a very logical view of the world in general, and
it would do a great many people good to listen to what you have to say.
also, when i ws in high school, and had lots of free time, i took alot of pictures in yards, and have a quite large colection of streaks, I bet, being a veteran of the rails, you could probly shed some light on the origins, and posibly the authors of quite a few of them.
i'm looking forward to seeing more of your post, and talking to you more
please email me at [email protected]
01-14-2002, 03:44 AM
Went out today with an old friend who wants to learn about trains and hopping. We hit every jungle in Houston that I know about. Down at T&NO Junction we ran into an old tramp who was totally wasted, sitting on the bank of a drainage ditch next to the tracks. He was totally drunk, and it looked like he was half asleep. I was sort of worried he would fall in, but I guess if he did, it would wake him up. We built a fire, brewed up coffee, and ate Top Ramen out of a gunboat in the early morning, then took a hike for a few hours to scope out a yard. Saw about ten trains, all together, and lots of nice graff. It's kind of cool, seeing old shitty jungles that I cleaned up and squared away being used by people and still taken care of. Keep a Clean Camp!
01-30-2002, 11:25 PM
bump this stufff up. Kabar , tell us some more storys.
01-31-2002, 09:23 AM
A friend of mine and I got detained by the railroad police in a small Texas town because we got overconfident. We had managed to to catch out on a walking speed container well car (a TTX 48 with two boxes, leaving us about eight feet of riding space) and we enjoyed the ride on a perfectly beautiful Southern winter night--it was cold and clear and once we got away from the city, you could just about see every star in the sky. We mainly communicated by grabbing the other guy's arm and pointing at stuff or pantomiming, because the train noise was loud enough we had earplugs in. There was a brief delay in a division point town that has about three tracks. Nobody around so we got off and walked around on the ballast, stretching our legs. I had a Thermos of hot coffee and we drank coffee waiting for the train to move. We were making no effort to conceal our presence, really, as we didn't see a soul. When we got to our destination just after sunup, we got off (again, walking speed--nothing to the get-off, we just tossed our packs and stepped off the ladder) and started hiking across the yard in the early morning daylight, not expecting any problem. We had actually gotten all the way off railroad property (we thought) and were standing under a street overpass when the bull rolled up. It was obvious as hell we'd just gotten off the train, as it hadn't been in the Yard fifteen minutes yet. He was driving a white Ford Bronco with the standard UP logo and some radio antennas. "You gentlemen are trespassing on railroad property." We were standing there with dirty, rusty clothes, two rusty rucksacks, wearing over-alls, Army field jackets, gimme caps, boots and gloves with a cup of hot coffee. "Trespassing? Us? No sir, we're just watching trains." "Didn't you just get off that train?" "No sir, we're just looking for a chance to take some photographs when the light is better." Clearly, if he wanted to give us a ticket, he could have. Or even arrested us. "I need to see some State-issued I.D." Damn. I figured we were going to get a trespassing citation. He took our ID cards and wrote down the information, asking several questions about our home addresses and our Social Security numbers. "I'm not going to ticket you this time, but you guys are on railroad property here under this overpass. All of these overpasses are railroad property, if I catch you again, you're going to get a ticket. Understand?" We said yes. He pointed at a little access road that led to the street going over the overpass. "Get out of the Yard. There's a store that way about half a mile." I told him thanks and he just shook his head and got back in the Bronco. We caught a city bus to the Greyhound station and a bus back home. If we hadn't just been standing around like we owned the place, we would have never gotten popped. We should have headed straight out of the Yard when we got off the train and kept going.
01-31-2002, 10:59 AM
well i guess you just sliped up.. it happeneds to the best of us
01-31-2002, 10:59 AM
oh yea, i was gonna ask, if he did give you a ticket.. how much do you think it would be
02-02-2002, 09:48 AM
I looked it up, just to be sure. Title 7. Offenses Against Property Section (B) (2) (A) states:
(B) A person commits an offense if the person
(2) without effective consent of the owner
(A) enters or remains on railroad property, knowing that it is railroad property.
It is a Class "C" misdemeanor in Texas, resulting in a punishment of a fine of "not more than $500." More or less like a serious traffic ticket.
However if you do anything to damage property, it becomes a Class "B" misdemeanor.
Graff is covered in a separate section, and severity is determined by the dollar amount of the damage.
"Criminal Trespassing" is another deal altogether, and involves bringing a "deadly weapon" onto the property of another without permission, and remaining there after being asked to depart. It used to be for unwelcome hunters or perhaps burglars, then became a favorite law to use against irate husbands or boyfriends. It could, however, be used against armed trainhoppers.
02-03-2002, 08:32 AM
heres one more question i have for you, it may seem a little silly but i would like to know just for the fuck of it
ok lets say im i commit some small crime like shop lifting, and im a street bum, i have no money, no ID, all i have is the cloths on my back and no one can identify me and i have no friends,
so the owner of the store calls the cops and they come and chat me up .. what would happen .. they would arrest me. but how would i go through the system, how could i go to court .. can they even put people in jail if they dont know anything about them.. what would happen if i just stayed completly silent
02-04-2002, 07:31 PM
Wackass---I don't know about other states, but in Texas you are required to identify yourself by law, and giving a false name or someone else's identity to a cop is a "state jail" felony, meaning it carries a penalty of less than one year in jail. Once they arrest you, they usually take adults to the County jail to be processed, take your photograph, get your fingerprints, search you, and put you in the lock-up. Once you have been before a magistrate (a judge) and have been formally charged with the crime, they spray you with a insecticide (for lice), you take a shower, then they give you jail clothes and slip-on deck shoes, and hold all your possessions until you are released. Not every jail does it exactly the same, but this is pretty much how it works in Houston. If you are an adolescent, you go first to a holding facility for kids called the Chimney Rock Center, then on to the Juvenile Detention Center lock-up on West Dallas street. They hold adolescents charged with a crime there until they go to court. They run your fingerprints through a Federal government computer called the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) to try and identify you. They will not release you until they know who you are for sure, most of the time. If you get convicted, you either finish your time there, or you go on to the Texas Youth Council facility, which is, more or less, a prison for people who were teenagers when they committed their crime and younger than 18. If you get a sentence that is going to run longer than your minority (i.e. that lasts until after you turn 18) you are transferred to the regular Texas Department of Criminal Justice system at age 18. However, violent offenders as young as FOURTEEN are housed in TDCJ prisons, in a special unit for kids. These inmates are are usually gang bangers, child murderers, rapists, arsonists, child molestors and kids like that. In TDCJ, you are housed in a Youthful Offenders unit until you turn 21, and then sent to a mainline penitentiary or to a prison farm. Now honestly, I don't think anybody would go to TDCJ for shoplifting, especially not on a first offense. But I know several teenagers who had repeated brushes with the law, and who got probation, and who blew off the probation appointments, and wound up in TYC until they were 18 for a bullshit crime like malicious mischief (he broke windows in his girlfriend's Dad's car.) He spent 2-1/2 years of his life locked up because he was stupid. I'll tell you what though, when he got out he had a whole different attitude about breaking the Laws of the State. The worst part about being locked up is the other detainees. They are used to hassling everybody and using force and violence to get their way, and now the only available victims around are other detainees. So guess who they victimize? Being in jail sucks. The other prisoners will try to steal your clothes, your food, your personal possessions, they try to fuck the weaker inmates and they just try to make life shit for everybody around them. They attack one another in groups. If you break the law, you can expect to get punished eventually. If you don't want to get punished, then don't break the law. Personally, I see a difference between rinky-dink crimes like trespassing on railroad property and smoking cigarettes, or minor-in-possession of alcohol and the bigger crimes like stealing or robbery. But a lot of times the law doesn't make that distinction. If you go before a hangin' judge, you might get the maximum sentence, especially if you have a cocky ass attitude.
02-04-2002, 11:59 PM
in one of your threads you posted some information on books about freight hopping. i lost the information and have not been able to find that post. would you be so kind as to reprint the titles, authors, etc?
02-05-2002, 07:52 AM
"Hopping Freight Trains in America," Duffy Littlejohn 1993 $13.95
ISBN 0-944627-34-X 354 pg. Sand River Press, 1319--14th Street, Los Osos, CA 93402 Send them $16 in a MONEY ORDER not a check.
"Freight Hopper's Guide for North America," Daniel Leen 1992 $8.95 ISBN 0-9632912-70 112 pg. My address for this book was in Seattle, but it's no longer good. Try used book stores or out-of-print services. I heard you could still get it from Loompanics, but I don't know. Maybe. Leen's book is kind of out-of-date, there must have been a lag of several years between the time he wrote it and the time he found a publisher.
"Done and Been," by Gypsy Moon (Jaqueline K. Schmidt) 1996, $8.98 ISBN 0-253-32985-X Indiana University Press. You can get this one from Barnes & Noble or some place like that. Daughter of a hobo wrote a book about all the old tramps she has met over the years at the National Hobo Convention at Britt, Iowa.
02-05-2002, 02:42 PM
KABAR, VERY GOOD INFO, AS WELL AS,QUITE ACCURATE....YOU ROCK...GOOD TO HAVE SOMEONE, WHO IS INFORMED,AND EDUCATED ABOUT TOPICS, AND WILLING TO SHARE THEM WITH PEOPLE ON THIS BOARD, THAT MAY FIND THEM USEFUL/HANDY...IF AT ALL POSSIBLE, WITH THE GROWING TREND OF ''RAIL RIDERS'', I WOULD CONSIDER WRITING A BOOK, YOU MAY BE SURPRISED, ON HOW WELL IT WOULD PROBABLY SELL...HAVE A GOOD ONE MAN...AND WHEN WE TALK ABOUT ''OLD HOBO LEGENDS'', DON'T FORGET ''11030,SIDEDOOR PULLMAN KID'',EST. 1930...PART OF ''THE MILLION MILE CLUB''..THIS MAN WAS UNBELIEVABLE, AND THE STORIES HE TOLD, OF YEARS GONE BY, I'LL NEVER FORGET IT...[EX:] ''2001 PENNSBURG,PA. HOBO GATHERING''.......TAKE CARE KABAR..
02-05-2002, 10:20 PM
just touching base...havent been hear in a while...nice to see your stil pounding out the facts..keep it up!
question : have you ever run by any "other" monikers on trains...or have you played tic-tac-toe with anyone?
my peece as always
02-06-2002, 09:26 AM
TeeRase---Actually, I only started using "Kabar" as a moniker relatively recently. I never thought that much about using an alias when I was hopping full-time. I was young, and inexperienced. A "moniker," or nick-name, is supposed to be given TO you by older, wiser riding companions, you see. The idea of some twenty-year-old naming himself "Tennesee Pass Paulie" or 'Thousand Miler Mike" or some such thing is pretty funny to me. Rufe used to call me "Prospect" all the time, as in "Hey, PROSPECT, go get some fucking firewood! This ain't no hobby!" but I wouldn't consider that a moniker. More like an epithet. (If you don't know what a "prospect" is, it's some young guy who is trying to join a motorcycle club, more or less like a recruit. Below the level of "prospect" is "hangaround." Hangarounds aren't even included in stuff like beer runs, they are considered to be unworthy of much consideration at all. I once saw a patch-holder decide to get rid of a bunch of hangarounds. (A patch-holder is a full member of a motorcycle club, someone who has completed his time as a prospect and has been "voted a top rocker", i.e. voted into the club and given the "top rocker" to his colors. The top rocker has the name of the club on it, like "Hells Angels", "Bandidos", Satan's Slaves" etc.) Anyway, the hangarounds were sitting around at this bike shop out behind a patch-holder's house, and one of the bros decided to "clear out the light weights." He came out of the shop with an M-1 carbine and fired about ten rounds into the ground, pow-pow-pow-pow-pow. ZOOM! All the hangarounds except one hauled ass running. The only guy that just sat there calmly drinking his beer got promoted to "prospect" at the next meeting, and the guy with the carbine sponsored him.
Anyway, Rufe used to call me "prospect," but I wasn't really a prospect, I was just younger than him. Actually, having someone around as young and strong as I was back then was a real advantage for Rufe. If anybody had tried to hurt him, I would have kicked their ass into next week. He would have never admitted that to me, of course. "What the fuck--are you asleep at the switch, or what? You're lucky I'm here to show you the ropes, or you'd be dog meat for these fucking streamliners, no shit. Listen up, prospect! I shit you not, these guys are assholes!" He was a cool old guy, and to hear him tell it, he took care of me, not the other way around. I figured I'd just humor him. I learned a lot from him, especially about how the railroads do business.
02-08-2002, 03:56 AM
do you still talk to your old hombre's...or meet up with them...
have you met any "famous" hobos...peeps like that
02-08-2002, 09:43 AM
Tee Rase---Regretably, I almost never hear from my old friends. Rufe has very likely passed away years ago (he was in his late forties or early fifties in 1970, if he is alive, he'd be probably in his late seventies.) Most of the tramps I knew were just everyday guys, they weren't well known. I did meet "Utah" Phillips once in Berkeley, he was playing a college gig and I was hanging out with some trainhoppers who were IWW members. He always allowed the IWW to set up literature tables at his concerts. Of the people I personally tramped with, an old girlfriend is now an executive with the U.S. Forest Service. Another one, who was an LSD and pot dealer back before LSD was illegal, is now an LCDC (a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor.) My late ex-wife (who was a fearless hitch-hiker and trainhopper, in her day) was murdered by her landlady's ex-convict son in 1989, and is buried in Houston. My old running buddy from the late Sixties is a folk musician with several albums out. His ex-wife is a very well-known singer and guitarist, but I can't front her off so I guess I shouldn't mention it. Another of my old buddies, who was a hellacious drinker and druggie in the Sixties is now a born-again Christian who works offshore in the North Sea oil field.
The "famous" trainhoppers and hobos often don't ride all that much. A lot of the old guys have died. "Herbie" passed away--I didn't know him, but I saw his streak about a zillion times.
Z.Z. Top (who?) used to live around the corner from me on West Drew Street in Houston's Montrose district. A lot of the folk singers or country-and-western crossovers, like Lyle Lovett, got their start in a cafe where I used to hang out, Anderson-Fair Retail Restaurant. Before Anderson Fair, there was another Houston hot spot, The Family Hand Restaurant. The Family Hand was one cool group of people. I've never known another group of folks since then that were quite that creative or sophisticated.
I guess the short answer is "Nah, not really." Appreciate the friends you have when you are young. You may never see most of them again.
02-11-2002, 10:37 PM
time is a bitch....
when i think of the 80's it's like 20 or so years...but for some...time is running out...50 to 70
02-15-2002, 11:38 AM
what do you think about asking yard workers which trains are going where? i've never had a problem with it but i know people who would kick my ass just for thinking it... i'm just curious about the opinion of someone with more than just a few years experience...
and if this has already been asked, then someone just shut me up and i'll read through again...
02-15-2002, 08:28 PM
Vinyl Junkie---The railroad guys are just people, you know. They go to work, get a paycheck and bitch about the company just like everybody else. Their attitudes vary, just like our attitudes vary. One car knocker or switchman may have a real slack attitude, and not have a problem with you writing or hopping; but the next guy may be some kind of CSX nazi who yells at you and chases you around. I have asked car knockers and switchmen many times for information about trains and I've only gotten bad scoop a couple of times. Even then I might have misunderstood the guy or might have accidentally boarded the wrong train in the dark. (If the guy says "Oh yeah, all these trains in this side of the Yard are westbounds--Track Seven is going to El Paso" and I boarded Track Eight and wound up in New Mexico, that's my fault, not his.) You need to be careful not to "front off" the railroad workers. If management, supervisors or the bulls see him talking to you and not reporting that you are trespassing, he's in a world of shit. If you are talking to a car knocker or a switchman, and you suddenly spot The Man, pretend like the car knocker is ordering you out of the Yards. (Like pointing your finger towards "out" and saying "This way? You want me to go out this way?" and then act like he kicked you out.) If it's a bull, they can pursue you even off railroad property, so don't bother to run unless it's at night and you think you can lose him. If you DO get popped, NEVER RAT OFF A RAILROAD WORKER. NEVER. We know that we are breaking the rules, and that we could get popped. If you get caught, just suck it up and grit your teeth. Getting popped once in a while is a risk we agree to take. IF YOU CAN'T ACCEPT THE CONSEQUENCES, DON'T TRESPASS ON RAILROAD PROPERTY. If I get popped, it's my own fault. Never say "That guy over there said it was okay." He doesn't have the authority to say shit. He's there to hook up brake lines and check for dragging gear. If you rat on him, he could lose his job, so keep your mouth shut, or if necessary, lie, and say that he told you to get out and you disobeyed him. Blaming somebody else is punk behavior. Be a stand up guy.
02-15-2002, 11:43 PM
cool, thanks KaBar...
i was just curious about an old timer's opinion :)
02-19-2002, 07:42 PM
Kabar- Whats up, Im new here but I think I've read just about all of your threads. Much respect.
I got two questions about hopping. First, I read your posts about 'deadmans' , I've heard people talking about jamming the doors open with railroad spikes but never anything else. Whats your opinion on this? Is it more or less reliable than a deadman?
Second, whats your opinion on riding hotshots , the cars with two cargo box things on top of each other. Its my understanding that what you loose in space and comfort you make up in time because those cars are high priority. Whats your opinion on that?
02-19-2002, 09:50 PM
Agent Uprise---I wrote a long explanation about something that happens on trains called "slack action" afew weeks ago, but after everybody read it it sort of slipped on off into the ozone. I don't know much about computers, this BBS or archiving. If you know a lot about all that maybe you can figure out how to retrieve it from archives.
Slack Action is created when the slack in the couplers and the draft gear under the cars is pulled out or pushed in. The slack between two cars usually winds up being between 8-14" considering weight, length of train, etc. For arguments sake, let's say a foot per car. If you have 50 cars, that means that the unit will move FIFTY FEET before the last car moves an inch, and when that last car starts to roll, it does so with a zero-to-twenty BANG. As the slack action comes "down the line" you can hear it: bam-bam-bam-Bam-Bam-Bam-BAM-BAM-BAM-BANG! When the train takes off, this is called stretch-out, or "draft." (as in draft horses.) When the engineer applies the brakes, it happens in reverse. It sounds the same, but the noise is caused by the couplers and draft gear being pushed together, or "buffed in." This is called "buff," as in buffeting.
Either type of slack action can cause a boxcar door to roll. They can roll open, or they can roll shut. Usually, because Rbox doors are heavy as shit, they just move a little bit, maybe a foot or two. But if you are travelling 600 miles, the repeated slack action can cause the door to rattle shut. If the door slides shut, and your car gets sidetracked out in the middle of nowhere, you are in a world of shit. You could die, for real.
SO--since there is no way one can open one of these heavy-ass, two-ton doors, the trick is to prevent it from sliding all the way shut to start with. It's true that you can drive a railroad spike under the door, and in an emergency, I'd do that, but a "deadman" doesn't harm the door or the track and doesn't create any hassles for railroad workers or warehousemen. "Spiked" doors piss off the railroad people. If you use a spike, TAKE IT WITH YOU WHEN YOU GO, unless it is too dangerous to retrieve it. I carry my deadman under my bindle, under the nylon straps. I made it out of a 2x4 about 26" long. You put a deadman in the door on edge (usually) because the door track is a couple of inches wide, and a 2x4 is actually 1-7/8" thick. It usually fits fairly well. I clean the dust, rust and crap out of the door track first, if any is in there. I put the deadman all the way against the door frame on the "forward" side. Deadman BOTH doors if you can. If every hopper carries his own deadman, and you always travel with a partner, you can deadman both doors, no problem. The only problem about deadmanning the doors is that it is a dead giveaway that there are hoppers on board that car, but nevertheless, ALWAYS DEADMAN THE DOOR. "Always means always." No exceptions.
Riding hot shot cargo is hazardous. "Well cars" designed to hold cargo containers (like TTX 48's) are a good, fast ride, but this type of cargo is extremely high priority and the bulls watch it carefully when it gets to their jurisdiction. Never, and I mean NEVER, tamper with cargo. The stack trains (two containers "stacked" on top of each other) are uysually loaded with the boxes all the way forward in the well, leaving a tramp space behind the containers. NEVER board a well car with the containers loaded to the back of the car. If anything goes wrong, you will be crushed into mush. Always ride BEHIND the cargo, and "always means always." NEVER RIDE IN FRONT OF CARGO. No exceptions.
There is only one circumstance that I can think of that could result in tramps riding BEHIND a container box to be crushed, and that would be if the front of the container were to strike an overhead obstruction, like a bridge or a cable hanging down across the tracks, and the boxes were slammed to the rear of the well car container deck. But this is very unlikely--I've never heard of it happening, but I guess it's theoretically possible.
. TTX 48's aren't the only rideable well cars, but many of the other well cars (TTX 53's, for instance) have no floor, just a web of steel girders. Too dangerous. Don't ride unrideable cars. An old hobo rule was "Never ride the rods, the bumpers or the deck." This sort of rule still applies. Tramps who want to live only board rideable, appropriate cars. Dumb asses ride bad cars and get killed. Don't DO it.
02-19-2002, 10:49 PM
humping? same thing...before they tack right?
02-19-2002, 11:19 PM
Tee_Rase-- If what you are asking is will the doors move during humping, the answer is "yes, they will," maybe even more than from slack action, because the humped car (the "cut"), as it rolls down the classification side of the apex, towards the retarder will be rolling faster than 10 mph, probably. When it hits the retarder and the retarder applies braking action (slows it down to less than 5 mph--"No More Than 4") the door is getting 6 mph inertia applied to it. Then, when the cut is switched onto it's classification track, to be included in a consist (when the switchmen are "making up" a train) it will crash into the cars already standing on that track, and the couplers will close and lock from the impact. The string of cars that the cut hits may move a little, maybe a few feet. If there are a lot of cars there, they won't move much, because the string weighs a lot more than the cut, so the impact is abrupt and violent--Ka-BAM.
IF YOU ARE INSIDE THE CUT--YOU ARE IN A WORLD OF SHIT.
When trains are being broken up, they are pulled over a hump going forwards, by their road unit. The road unit may be taken off the train, and a goat added for power, or, the train may be humped using road power. It depends on how big the train is, how heavy the loads, etc. The trains are BACKED UP over the hump apex, and at the "moment of truth" a switchman "pulls the pin" on the cars as they get right to the apex, and the men in the crest tower direct each free-rolling "cut" to where it's supposed to go, after it goes through the retarder and is slowed down to about 4 mph.
Get off trains that are being broken up, preferably way before it ever gets to the classification yard. If you can determine that your train is being pulled up over a hump apex, GET OFF THE TRAIN and get out of the yard, DEFINATELY get away from the hump and the classification yard and the retarder. If you get caught there, you will be arrested, it's a very dangerous place to be.
Is that what you were asking?
02-20-2002, 01:31 AM
Kabar- Thanks for the response. As far as the train spike is concerned I definatly respect what your saying about taking it with you. Concerning deadmans, Dont trains make all sorts of stops giving numerous chances for people to notice a big peice of wood in the door track? You cant take it out when your stopped cause you need it to hold the door for when the slack 'hits' right? Also, I just recently saw a box car whose door was lashed open with metal bands, are those trustworthy?
Finally, I was looking for your opinion of which is better to ride, hotshots or boxes? Thanks again.
02-20-2002, 10:31 PM
I can see that you are definately applying your brain to riding. You've got a point about the deadman maybe attracting attention sitting there in the door track, but most trains have fifty or sixty cars, and one 2x4 half visable in a door track is not too likely to attract a whole lot of attention, especially if the wood is a little weathered and gray, or if you just "weather" it a little yourself. A bright yellow, fresh pine 2x4 would be a lot more noticeable than a gray/rusty one. Also, if you use a solid piece of oak or ash shipping pallet to make a deadman, it will look more like junked-out "dunnage" or "wood they use to secure cargo in a boxcar or ship's hold."
A boxcar door held open with steel banding could be anything. It could be because some warehouseman wanted it to remain open, but it also could be that the door is DEFECTIVE and dangerous. Those doors do fall off once in a while.
Whenever a train arrives in a town or yard, if it's just passing through, it will continue to roll on the main line, the so-called "high iron." If it switches onto a sidetrack, or starts a sort of back-and-forth banging around, it's probably dropping cars or picking cars up. It will take a while for you to be able to figure out what is going on from just the movement of the train. A scanner will help a LOT in this situation, just be sure you're on the right "road channel" for that railroad. You can listen to the radio traffic between the unit and the switchman or conductor on the ground. There are too many different situations for me to be able to explain it all in a post on the net. Buy Duffy Littlejohn's book, he describes a slew of different ways to tell what is going on. Knowing what the air brake sounds indicate is an enormous help.
One thing for sure, never "skyline" in a rail yard or anywhere on a train. HIDE. Way out in the country you can skyline a little bit, but if some rail fan taking pictures sees you, he'll probably call the railroad and report you, and the local sheriff will stop the train and you'll be arrested. Just be serious about what you're doing. Like old Rufe said (all together now) "This ain't no hobby!"
High priority freight is fast. Fast is good, you can go coast-to-coast in a couple of days or so. But high priority trains are closely watched. Closely watched is bad--you are more likely to get popped.
Empty boxcars are low-priority. They are on slow units. They go in the hole a lot to let high priority trains pass. This is "bad." Sort of. Low priority trains are not closely watched. You are not likely to be popped, but "not likely" is a relative term. When you are riding ANY freight train, HIDE. Hope this makes things clearer.
02-21-2002, 01:33 PM
hey KaBar, i have 2 questions for you... first what's your opinion of frame packs? most of the kids i know use them, but all the old timers i've met hate them. second, i've been thinking about bringing a respirator for trips that go through tunnels, but i don't really know if it would be that neccessary. how bad do the fumes get in the longer tunnels? i've yet to be through any serious ones myself. thanks for any input...
02-21-2002, 05:00 PM
An extrenal frame pack is too ridgid and awkward for hopping in my opinion. The purpose of a frame is to better distribute the load from your shoulders to your hips when packing. This eases the strain on your shoulders and your neck and your lower back. I use frame packs when hiking, but it would be awkward throwing one on or off a train car.
Secondly, you want to be able to sit on your pack like a seat, to stuff it through a grainer hole, and to pitch it off a moving train without damaging anything. Anything breakable, like an expensive camera or a bottle of wine, is going to BREAK. Don't bring anything with you that can break.
Your total hopping gear should only weigh in at about twenty-five or thirty pounds. More than that and you are going to be so weighed down and restricted that you'll hardly be able to trot, much less run.
I never saw anybody wear a respirator (a fancy dust mask) on a train. There are some tunnels in the West that are so long that it is actually dangerous to your life to ride them. If the train stopped in a long tunnel, it would probably kill you. If you are ever actually in this situation, the air closest to the ballast should be less dense with diesel fumes, but getting off the train in a pitch black tunnel filled with smoke just seems like an act of suicide. A respirator would help with the particulates in the diesel smoke, but it won't help with the carbon monoxide. Most people carry bandanas and wear a couple soaked in water to cut the smoke in a tunnel. I've heard of people pulling their jacket or coat over their head and breathing through a restricted coat sleeve, too, but in a five mile tunnel on an uphill grade, I doubt it would be any picnic. Tunnels are completely dark, usually, and unbelieveably NOISY. Finding stuff in your ruck in a tunnel would not be easy at all without a flashlight.
I don't know the exact location of all the really long tunnels. I've been through a few shorter ones about thirty years ago, but frankly I didn't have a clue as to where in the hell we were. You are WISE to be concerned about it. If you've already got a respirator, what the hell--throw it in your ruck. Knowing where you are headed and what's on that line is obviously the way to go here. If you're headed towards Colorado, GET A MAP AND STUDY IT.
02-21-2002, 10:18 PM
kabar- that reminds me...in some of my more ignorant days a older friend of mine talked once about tunnels,in my area...(northwest) you cannot hop a train without tunnels. i know of one that goes under the whole city. My question is for your knowledge on tunnels....can you make the mud, water.. i see how tunnels can be potentialy very dangerous..and how it could create a vacuum when the train enters...is ther oxygen inside?....how does the carbon monoxide vent...is ther vents...stuf like that...it has been something that i think alot about....tunnels that is since my friend mentioned them some time ago.
so thanks very much...
02-22-2002, 09:49 AM
My knowledge of tunnels is not very good, but-- yes, there is air inside, of course. Sometimes the wind keeps the tunnel pretty clear, sometimes they have great big fans that blow the diesel fumes out. I've never seen mud or water in a train tunnel. They are usually tunnelled going uphill, so tunnels drain pretty well. That's not to say that some tunnels somewhere don't have mud, just not the ones I've seen.
02-22-2002, 10:58 AM
hi kabar, i have another question for you... you said: "NEVER SKYLINE IN A RAIL YARD OR ON A TRAIN." are you against skylining even when you're out in the middle of nowhere? just curious...
02-23-2002, 10:03 AM
Vinyl Junkie---The first time I ever heard of skylining was from Rufe, I think. Like all kids, I couldn't see any reason to not "have a blast" while I was riding a train--waving at girls, yelling "yee-haw", hanging half out the door of the boxcar and so on. I was just as goofy as any other newbie. Rufe schooled me in why I shouldn't be doing those things. He learned about not skylining yourself in the service, probably.
The word "skylining" refers to not silhouetting yourself against the sky when humping on a patrol. You want to move quietly, slowly and silently, without ever going up on the apex of a ridge. You don't move from where you are until you know where you are going to , and how you are going to get there. You move in the shadows. You try not to make any noise. I learned a lot more about not skylining yourself in the Marines. You work in pairs, four to a Fire Team, with a Fire Team Leader calling the shots. Each man has a sector of surveillance responsibility, right, left, forward, to the rear. You try not to attract any attention, to make any noise, or to leave any trace.
Some situations call for this kind of caution, and some do not. How to tell the difference is what makes an experienced trainhopper or graff artist. In some cases, I've strolled down the high iron like I owned the place. In some, I skulked along, creeping and crawling around, hiding, waiting silently. Just use your judgement, and do the appropriate thing.
02-24-2002, 05:01 AM
The isssue of tunnels is a difficult one. It would really suck to accedentally get stuck in a huge tunnel and die. I know there is one near my house way up in the mountains at least 20 miles long, and the trains might go max 20 miles an hour through it. That means a whole hour in the tunnel. Sounds like a resporator would be a good idea but still you may die. I never thought about this fact before. In our drivers ed class, we had a gentle man come in with "operation lifesaver" a train safety course. He informed us that in some tunnels in the mountains trains will have snow plows that run only 6 inches above the ground. I just thought that was an interesting subject considering I have never thought about that before and there is lots of tunnels here in Colorado.
02-25-2002, 09:14 PM
thanks kabar... and yeah, as cool as i may feel, i know not to wave at the girls... what i'm wondering though, is what about sitting on the edge/roof of a boxcar when your out in the middle of the desert or somrthing... this may just be yet another young kids versus old timers thing, but i'm curious about yer opinion... thanks!
02-26-2002, 09:19 AM
i was surprised to read that u just bumped into roni/rune/ sorry i forget his name-the guy who taught u eveything in hoppin.
yeah so u were over the road and just bumped into him on the path and continued along his side. man, i don't trust anyone i meet in weird places or close to tracks. maybe back then it was differant for u.
btw, thanks for all this good reading. i been printing it off cuz i can't stand readin on the puter.
02-26-2002, 06:48 PM
Vinyl Junkie---Please don't think I'm putting you down, because that's not the case. Nobody can expect you to know anything about trainhopping--you aren't experienced and you're young. The idea that one might reasonably ride up on the deck (the roof of a boxcar or the deck of an open flatcar) occurs to you because you lack experience. You've probably heard that old saw about parachute jumping and chute failure--"It's not the fall that kills you, it's the sudden stop." This is true of hopping as well. While it might be possible to ride up on the deck, if you could find a boxcar that still has ladders and handgrips permitting access to the roof, it is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. I know that people did it back in the olden days. Hell, I did it a few times myself in the '70s, but looking back on it, I must have been the biggest dumb ass on the railroad. "Riding the deck" is super dangerous because there is nothing to stop you from being bounced or thrown off the car, down between two cars to the ballast, or off the side. If you're on the deck, and a brake line parts, effectively dynamiting the brakes, and your train decelerates from 60mph to 15 mph in ten seconds, what do you suppose will happen to you if you aren't holding on or belayed to something with a safety harness and a carabiner?
THE RULE IS---"Never ride the rods, the bumpers or the deck." This means that in order to ride safely, you must be on a safe car (no tankers, no loaded gondolas, and never in front of a load) and you must be "secured," that is, holding on to something, riding in a secure spot (like a grainer hole) or secured to some part of the train (safety-harnessed or attached with a carabiner to an upright.) I never used carabiners back then, and I still don't, but I've met a few people who do. You should be CONCEALED, that is, HIDING on the train. Nobody should be able to see you. If you want to "pop out" occasionally and watch the scenery, or "lowline" by watching out the door at an angle, that's fine, but one should never skyline oneself by standing up on a grainer porch or by sitting in a boxcar door. For one thing, if slack action causes the door to slide shut you could easiely become a double amputee.
The word "satori" is a Japanese word, I believe, meaning a sudden occurance of insight or enlightenment. RIDING FREIGHT TRAINS IS A DANGEROUS ASS THING TO DO. Eventually, if you don't follow the rules exactly , you would be injured or killed. Even long-term old hands get hurt once in a while. I heard that Collinwood Kid got hurt twice--he was asleep, and the car he was on got humped. (He woke up, and stood up to go look out the door. He didn't realize the car had been humped and was rolling free. He was groggily staring out the door when the car he was on impacted a standing string being made up, and his head "bounced" off the boxcar door edge. He was hurt pretty badly, but he was lucky--it could have killed him. The second time some nut case hit him with a chunk of concrete.)
The idea is to lowline in the yards, hop your train, safely ride it until you reach your destination and lowline out of the yards, ALL WITHOUT EVER BEING SEEN OR LEAVING A TRACE. If you get spotted, get injured, or if you leave any trace, you have not done it correctly. That's the way I was taught, and that's the way I am passing it on to you guys. Like Rufe always said, "This ain't no hobby." And he was right.
02-26-2002, 10:44 PM
thanks alot kabar... like i said, i don't get many opportunities to talk to any old timers with out buying them a six pack or something... and your absolutley right, us kids don't know shit. thank you very much!:)
02-27-2002, 09:53 AM
Vinyl Junkie---I guess the headline says it all. They say that a wise man keeps his own counsel---that means that you don't tell everybody what you're up to, but I think that it also sort of means people who want to appear smart sort of steer the conversation towards a topic that they know something about. Many people in my generation don't know shit about computers. It comes easy to you youngsters, because YOUR ENTIRE LIFE THERE HAS ALWAYS BEEN COMPUTERS. You didn't have to "adapt." The schools started teaching you guys computer skills in the second or third grade. People in my generation usually don't know much about the upcoming technology. CD players and fiber optics have been around since the late 70's early '80s. I had a friend who advised me to invest in CD reader technology in 1980. I sure wish I had done it. Who knew? CD's cost $25 apiece back then. Cassette tapes were like $7. I didn't think CD's would become popular--too expensive. (Wrong!) Someday you guys will be taking vacation trips into space. It will be like going to Fiji for Christmas. Expensive as hell, but really cool. Many people in my generation hate the idea of "one card" or "one number" being able to handle all your banking, debt servicing, medical information and so on. This is the technology that's coming and it's just around the corner. To me, it seems like Big Brother personified. You youngsters may find it's super convenient, like pagers or cell phones. Paying bills by a paper check will soon be ultra-old-fashioned, like horse-and-buggy transportation. Not just old fashioned, but sort of quaint. We will soon be in a PAPERLESS world, where everything is done "online." Don't say that you and your pals don't know shit. You guys know all KINDS of cool shit. It's just that you are sort of inexperienced about trainhopping, and really that's not difficult experience to get. STUDY the topic. Learn the language. Hell, subscribe to "Trains" magazine, it's a first-class piece of work. I reallt enjoy reading it, and it's extremely informative, and so is "Railfan" magazine. Both of them are a font of information. Try to find books on railroading, you can learn a lot just by reading.
02-27-2002, 11:20 AM
haha... thanks kabar... i'm trying to learn as much about this stuff as i can (that's why i've really been getting into your threads)... i've been looking at the magazines and books and all that, but it's rare that i get to actually converse with someone who actually has some miles under their belt... i'm more than willing to admit that most of us kids think we know everything, or even more so, that we have to figure it out, instead of being taught. so most of the people i'm able to talk to have less than 100 miles on them, and have only figured stuff out themselves... i really enjoy being able to hear about things like this from someone with experience, and someone who actually knows some of the history. my grandfather spent 10 years on the rails, but i never really got to talk to him about before he died...
anyways, thanks again kabar... i'm lovin this shit...
02-27-2002, 03:11 PM
if yer cruisin in the middle of nowhere does the rule of being hidden apply?
i wouldn't abide to that in sum cases. only if rollin slow through towns or ina yard stopped. i mean, really man. why stay hidden in a hole when u can watch the hills roll by and feel the air against yer face.
and i would consider this :when yer at top speed standin on the deck, u are just a speck amongst a bunch of steel so the chances of anyone seein ya roll by are slim. of course there is the chance but is it worth it to stay ducked or hidden cramped up just to avoid that small possibility? i think not.
maybe i'm just one of 'em young know it alls that has to learn from mistakes? i already have and i will continue to do so. i won't always be on the net for a free hopping lesson from someone who knows what the fuck is up.
thanks though for all the knowledge you been tellin. i will be back tomorrow to read more on my last day of work. then i'm leavin till next time i got e access.
02-27-2002, 08:02 PM
MFFatso and Vinyl---I think I assumed you guys know more about trainhopping than you actually do, so this is sort of my fault. I think you guys need to read Duffy Littlejohn's book, "Hopping Freight Trains in America." I didn't learn by reading a book, I was taught by a master tramp (LOL), but I think you guys need to start at a basic level of knowledge, and Littlejohn is the guy. However, please keep in mind that the information is a few years old, that it is PRE-9/11 and that Mr. Littlejohn, while an excellent writer and a very experienced trainhopper, is also trying to sell books, so he sugar coats trainhopping quite a bit. He doesn't dwell on the negative things, very real negative things, that are part of the tramping life.
You can get "Hopping Freight Trains in America" at Sand River Press, 1319- 14th Street , Los Osos, CA 93402 for about $15 postpaid. I forget, I think I sent them $16 just to be sure the postage was covered. There are a few books about hopping in recent times, the other one is by Daniel Leen and it's called "Freight Hopper's Guide for North America." But Leen's book is a little out of date--I read parts of it about ten years ago.
MMFatso--Of course, you can "stand up" whenever you feel like it, but it is a risk. I DO NOT recommend standing up 99% of the time. Inside a boxcar, slack action can knock you down, but at least you are inside a rail car. On a flatcar, or a "bulkhead flatcar" I do not recommend standing up at all. If something goes wrong, you could easily go off the end of the flatcar and under the wheels, or off the side into the ballast. Either way, you're pretty much either dead, dismembered or critically injured. "Riding the deck" is like hood surfing with the possibility of getting your arms and legs cut off. Understand? Don't be crazy.
People do ride flatcars (I don't.) People do ride bulkhead flatcars (I've done it, but it's too damned risky.) People do ride gondola cars (NEVER IF IT'S LOADED WITH ANYTHING, ONLY IF THEY ARE EMPTY.) The safest ride is a grainer in the hole, I think. Second would be a boxcar or an empty auto rack. Third would be a well car with containers loaded towards the front end and secured (always ride BEHIND the load, NEVER IN FRONT.) Never ride a well car that has no bottom deck (i.e. TTX 48's are okay, never a DTTX 53, etc.) Never ride a chemical car or a tanker, ever. I hate tank cars, I try not to even jump a train that has any, but here in Texas that's not easy, because the Texas Gulf Coast is the nation's petrochemical center. If I take a train that has tank cars, I try to stay as far from them as possible. If the train climbs the rails and the tank cars turn over, there will be a big chemical spill and maybe a fire. If you're there, you're FUCKED. The trick is to simply not be there to start with.
Of course people enjoy riding where they can see and enjoy the ride, that's the whole point. But "skylining" is taking dumb unnecessary risks of exposure. "No exposure without a purpose." If you don't need to be out on the grainer porch, then hide in the hole. If you have three or four guys riding together, you can split up into twos, or you can all try to find a boxcar. Keep in mind that the more of you there are, the more attention you will attract, but there is definately safety in numbers. No thugs or streamliners will try to hassle four guys together, as long as you stick together and unite behind one person who is the "leader." Learn to fight as a group. The best defense is a good offense--let assholes know right away that you, as a group, are more than ready to kick their asses pronto unless they leave. Don't assume that they are intimidated, either, they may have ten pals with guns right around the corner. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER allow a group that outnumbers you to board your car. If you are by yourself and someone tries to board tell them "THIS CAR IS FULL." If they try to board anyway, GET OFF. I've hopped with a woman, but quite frankly it is extremely dangerous. I wouldn't do it unless I was armed and with more than one other adult man or an older, strong teenager. It's too risky for the woman. Of course, there are women (and girls) who hop. All I can say is that they are either extremely brave or crazy as hell. Littlejohn says that it's no big deal for a woman to hop. I disagree. Too many streamliners and ex-convict thugs are on the trains for it to be safe unless you are with a group. All the women I see these days are traveling with a crew, and usually, a couple of good-sized dogs. A woman who is flying colors (FTRA, etc.) is generally safe, but in order to be a patch-holder she usually has to sleep with the bros, or at least one of them. Sometimes all of them.
This site is a pic of some FTRA members up in the Pacific northwest. The story below the pic is nonsense, but the picture tells the story. Look closely--one member is a young woman. Look at the black bandanas rolled cowboy style around these tramps' necks. They are fastened with a silver concho. These men are members of the O.G.'s of the FTRA (also called the Black Bandanas by the cops), and are probably up on the Burlington Northern Hi-Line, where the FTRA originated, but there's no way to know for sure. All I can say is that hopping is risky. Don't expect it to be a cakewalk--you could get fucked up bad, especially if you don't follow the rules.
02-27-2002, 10:36 PM
thanks, yet again, kabar... i've done a good deal of reading, and do have a little experience, but there's so much more to gain from actually conversing with someone... stuff that no book is gonna tell you... seriously, almost all the old timers i've been able to talk to have had me buy them booze before htey'll actually sit down and talk to me... i look a lot like most of the squatter kids that have been riding recently, so i guess i don't really get taken seriously...
again, kabar, i can't thank you enough for these threads... :)
02-28-2002, 08:27 AM
Originally posted by KaBar
I do not recommend standing up at all. If something goes wrong, you could easily go off the end of the flatcar and under the wheels, or off the side into the ballast. Either way, you're pretty much either dead, dismembered or critically injured. "Riding the deck" is like hood surfing with the possibility of getting your arms and legs cut off. Understand? Don't be crazy.
and if somone does decide to stand: i say "hold the fuck on to sumthing tight"!!!!
02-28-2002, 08:31 AM
Originally posted by KaBar
I was willing to work hard enough to get it. I knew how to set priorities under pressure, how to plan a course of action, and how to implement that plan
02-28-2002, 09:01 AM
Originally posted by KaBar
......... If we hadn't just been standing around like we owned the place, we would have never gotten popped. We should have headed straight out of the Yard when we got off the train and kept going.
but i bet u it felt good to just chill, reflect on the past night with coffee in hand on sturdy ground eh?
perhaps, u coulda just done that from a farther distance i suppose.
good stories. some one asked "tell us more stories." do go on. i just smiled when he asked that cuz i felt like i was sitting with a bunch of friends around a campfire listening to the ol' man tell stories. kinda the same right. heheh.
oh, what do y'all think about carrying id around. is it better to or leave it at home. what about a passport if yer caught hangin around a yard across the border would it be wiser to show it? is it easy to just say i got no id, but here's my name (give a fake name and addy) and accept the fine in the wrong name? am i dreaming in technicolor?
02-28-2002, 09:06 AM
Originally posted by KaBar
. Getting popped once in a while is a risk we agree to take. IF YOU CAN'T ACCEPT THE CONSEQUENCES, DON'T TRESPASS ON RAILROAD PROPERTY. .
been thinking about that lately since bein popped for fatcapping the streets. and yup, i've come to realize it's a risk i accept. i ain't stopping yet though. i like risks as long as the consequnce doesn't end with steel and concret around you. i hate jail.
02-28-2002, 10:12 AM
I'd hate to think that I encouraged anybody to do something that would get them in trouble, and even more, I'd hate to think I encouraged anybody to take a risk and then get hurt. The truth is that each of us is responsible for the decisions we make, and the consequences of those decisions. I keep hammering on this message because I came to understand it sort of late in life.
Once in Montana we got stuck in a little jerkwater town, riding a RIP train of bad order cars. Each night, they would have a westbound deadhead pick us up and we'd go another couple of hundred miles. It was like being tortured. I think it took us eleven days to get to Butte from Illinois. Back in those days we just lounged around the rail yard like we owned the place--we even built fires in the yard right next to the tracks and nobody cared one bit. We were sitting around drinking coffee waiting for a train (ANY train) to come through, and when one finally did, it turned out to be a whole bunch of black, dirty bathtub gons. I was fed up with waiting around, and so was another guy, and we both just grabbed our gear and started running for the train. Everybody else was calling out after us "Hey! Don't jump that train! Hey! Get off of it!" but we just hit it rolling and climbed on up. It turned out to be a coal train (duh) going to the mine at Colestrip, MT. We got all covered in coal dust and looked like a couple of vaudeville minstrels. We had to hitch-hike back, and everybody had a good laugh at our expense. I felt really young and stupid. Rufe was really pissed off at me, and told me, "If you ever do anything like that again when I tell you not to, we are quits. I won't partner up with a knothead. I told you to get off that goddamned train. Didn't you hear me?" I had, and admitted it. "Why didn't you get off? Don't you trust me to know what the hell I'm doing?" I really didn't have a good answer. Finally I just said "I'm sorry, I won't do anything like that again." One of the other men said "What a fucking greenhorn." and Rufe turned around to the guy and said "Shut your pie hole before I shut it for you." What I hadn't realized was that my stupid behavior would make Rufe look like a dumbass in front of the other hoppers. He looked at me and said, "Why don't you go down to the station and wash up, and bring back some water." I got my jug and Rufe's jug and walked down to the station, cleaned up in the men's room, filled up the jugs and walked back. When I got back, our stuff was all packed up. "Saddle up, we're moving." We moved to the east end of the yard and jungled up by ourselves. I felt pretty bad, but I thought it was real cool of Rufe to choose to move, and to spare me all the remarks and teasing. Rufe asked me if I knew how to play chess, and I said "No." He said, "Learn how. You always need to think at least two moves ahead, and always have a back-up plan. Colestrip is at the terminal end of a dead end line. Where did you think you'd be going from there, kid?" To be honest I hadn't even given it a thought.
Years later, I had a much better idea of what he was talking about. It isn't just railroads, but life itself. THINK AHEAD. Never be impulsive. What are the consequences of making a particular decision? The possible benefits? The possible detriments? If things don't go as planned, what's Plan B? Always have at least one back-up plan.
02-28-2002, 02:10 PM
Originally posted by TEE_rase_war
i believe that what we see and hear, is so candy coated (or the reverse, ie: the sept 11 attack) that it would do me better to take it in as lies. and see things for myself, through research, or other means.
Check out all the readings, absorb some, and discard what doesn't fit into what you truly beleive (who you are and who you wish to be).
Even what's written here now amongst us board participants I leave some of the said info behind and take some with me along my road. "Thinking for oneself." I've taken that concept a while ago.
However, I'm a product of this society and I'll admit that alot of my thoughts and ideologies are shaped by my sorroundings since I was born. I can't escape that. You can't either unless you live on the moon. What I can do is live the way I think is right. (and adventure seems right to me). I just wanna give, learn, live and have fun.... Keep going. I can't and I won't stay still.
this thread was great to read. respect to you all. keep it rail.
03-10-2002, 09:41 PM
I have often observed train signals trackside, and often wondered what was the exact meaning of a particular combination of lights. I mean, it seemed pretty obvious that "green means go" and "red means stop", but I knew there was a lot more information being transmitted that I was missing. I also knew that the signals on the RIGHT side of the track (in the direction one is traveling) control the movements of the train you are on, because the engineer operates the engine on the right side of the cab. "Semaphore" signals especially seemed like a mystery. I used to see them trackside, but I never saw one move it's flag, leading me to believe they were outdated and although still existing, probably non-functional or at least no longer used.
Today I discovered a website dedicated to the SP, and on it, some re-prints of signal manuals pages. They are not extensive, but it's worth looking at. Duffy Littlejohn covers some of this stuff in "Hopping Freight Trains in America," as well.
On the Railspot page, scroll down to "Southern Pacific Transportation Co.", then on that page go to "Block Signals & Rules."
kabar, this thread has the best info i have ever ran into on this board. thanks for all of it.
03-13-2002, 08:14 AM
I didn't do it all, you know. Even people who just read stuff and didn't ask a question still contributed by being part of the "audience." If you look at it like a "class" in tramping, remember that for a class to be successful, it requires both somebody teaching what he knows and somebody learning stuff he didn't know. A teacher teaching to an empty classroom isn't a class, and a group of students just asking random questions ("Is this going to be on the test?") isn't a class. For a class to be successful, it requires effort on both parties' parts. Having people respond sort of inspires a "teacher" to try to teach better. When people are uninterested or bored, it hardly seems worth the bother to try and teach anything.
I really like 12 oz. Prophet, it's one of the coolest boards I ever came across, and I'm pretty much amazed that anybody from this general age group and orientation to the world would find tramp lore very interesting. Amazed, but pleased. I'm kinda worried that I'm running out of topics though.
03-14-2002, 12:05 AM
when you were tramping around on freight lines how did you find out about world changing events, wars, assaniations, and all that so called important shit...also what was the reaction like among the freight rider community at the time. im a bit groggy on the dates your were activley riding, my bad.
03-14-2002, 09:03 AM
Glass Etch--You need to remember that tramps use newspapers as a major resource. Old papers (well, usually a day or two old)_ can always be found in an active jungle, plus, a lot of tramps sell newspapers to make a buck. Since there's not a lot to do in the jungle, a lot of tramps are very well read. Public Libraries are one of the best places to get warm and dry (but you can't bring your gear in--bummer). I spent a little time in Public Libraries, and they always have the latest up-to-date periodicals and magazines. I read Time and Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, The Economist and other well-known magazines, plus the New York Times and the local papers. Up north, that was often the Spokane "Spokesman-Review," the Portland "Oregonian", or the San Francisco "Examiner," the Seattle "Times" or the "Post-Intelligencer." After you finish reading all the propaganda (LOL) you can get your revenge by using the newspaper for shitpaper. It's no tougher on your behind than it is on your mind. I frequently used (and still use) wads of newspaper to start camp fires. I carry a newspaper or two in my ruck, against my back, along with a copy of Trains magazine and Railfan. I leave newspapers, rolled up in their suburban plastic sleeve in my jungles, so the bros will have both reading materiale and shitpaper and campfire tinder. You can use a clean newspaper section or two for a cutting board and food preparation area as well.
If you are really in a hurt locker, you can use wadded-up newspapers for insulation. Or a section of newspaper and some duct tape for a field-expedient splint or bandage in an emergency. Newspapers are hot shit for just about everything except one thing.
Getting the news. For getting the news, I recommend the Internet, but it makes poor shitpaper or splints, LOL.
03-22-2002, 06:08 PM
If you think about it, the natural affinity that trainhoppers have for military surplus Army equipment makes perfect sense. The Army requires it's suppliers to design equipent that is extremely DURABLE. Back in the 1950's and early '60s, you could get Army equipment dirt cheap. I can recall buying WWII canvas Army combat packs for a dollar. A pistol belt, canteen and canteen cover, and a canteen cup would cost about $3.50. Just about every kid I knew had a collection of "Army stuff", and we loved playing war. In the neighborhood I lived in back then (South Park in Houston, off what is now Martin Luther King Blvd.) there were several bayous and drainage ditches, and lots of undeveloped land, where we built forts, club houses and rode our old-style one-speed bicycles all over on little "roads" made by years of boys on bicycles.
I didn't buy my first Army field jacket until I was about 12. I cannot recall seeing them for sale in Army-Navy Surplus stores before that, but I'm sure they must have been there for sale, I just didn't realize what I was looking at. We used to see tramps and hobos, "yard men" and just regular Dads and older brothers wearing military clothing, because it was dirt cheap and durable. People would buy a pair of Army coveralls to wear while they worked on their cars, for instance.
When I realized that one could add a "field jacket liner" to a field jacket and make it into an effective winter coat, I bought one. I have owned a field jacket of one kind or another ever since.
Back in the '50's, all military clothing was pretty much "olive drab" colored. Once in a while you might see a Marine Corps camouflage combat blouse (like a windbreaker with a hood). All of the field jackets I bought until I joined the Marine Corps were all olive drab.
Today, field jackets that are not "woodland" camouflage or desert camouflage are hard to find. I see lots of tramps wearing camouflage trousers or field jackets. The only bad thing is that camouflage attracts attention if you are "in town", but it works GREAT for hopping at night. I always buy a field jacket liner. They button into the jacket, and I used one up north in weather as cold as six degrees above zero and they work fine, as long as you've got a warm knit cap and some good winter gloves. In cold weather I always wear insulated underwear and "snow-pack" rubber boots with a removeable felt liner and two pairs of socks.
I think Army field jackets are one of the most versatile coats you can buy. I paid about $60 for the last one I bought new.
Military coats from other countries, especially European countries work great too. Dutch and German military combat coats are EXTREMELY warm, almost too heavy for the U.S. You can just lay down and sleep in a Dutch Army coat. They are 3/4 length (just below the knees). Russian coats are full length, but they look really wierd in the U.S. Nobody else here wears full-length coats like that. But they are real warm. I see them for sale at gun shows and places like that very cheaply. Maybe $25.
Anyway, I love Army field jackets. They work great.
03-24-2002, 11:32 PM
yesterday i saw a car with the liscense plate Kabar.
03-25-2002, 02:08 AM
Cool. But not me--I don't think driving a vehicle with an easily remembered feature like that is a very good idea, especially for graff writers or trainhoppers. Of course, most tramps and trainhoppers don't even own a car at all, and when I was a young tramp, back in my twenties, I didn't either. The whole idea of tramping is to reduce one's consumer consumption, and thereby one's monthly overhead, to the bare minimum, but to still be able to travel and enjoy what life has to offer. At one point in my life, I was really into riding trains 24/7 and I didn't care about or desire a fixed address, a "good resume'," a healthy lifestyle or even having the responsibility of something as basic as having a girlfriend or writing home to my Mom. Most of the guys I met were virtually rootless. They had either suffered some collapse of their normal life, lost jobs, went through divorces, were running from some trouble or another, or (like me) had just deliberately severed all connections with the safe, suburban life they grew up with. One of the reasons the cops hassle tramps so much is that tramps are often in trouble with the law.
I bought a van later on, and lived out of that for a while. The very things that attracted me to tramp life and trainhopping are generally repulsive to most women. Female hoppers were rare back then and are still pretty rare today. Seeing a male/female couple is rare. Most women desire a stable, safe lifestyle with some guarantees for the future. Tramping definately does not provide that.
The truth is that the sort of absence of responsibility that creates that exhilarating sensation of freedom has a down side. It is that very self-same responsibility that makes it possible to live life safely, to have a "worthwhile future," and to be responsible and economically productive enough to be able to protect and provide for a girlfriend, a wife or a female partner. The women who choose to hang out with tramps and trainhoppers are often either almost foolhardy adventurers, or they are trying to escape something horrible (a wife-beating husband or an abusive father), or they are girls with serious emotional problems or even mental illness. There are, of course, a few "just regular women" who happen to have chosen the tramp lifestyle, but these are much rarer. A few anarchist/punk radical women or tough-ass lesbians can be found on the rails too. But in my experience (and I mean no disrespect to the women who hop who do not fit this generalization) most of the women I met while I was hopping had been physically or sexually abused by men, had low expectations of life, relatively poor boundaries and had a substance abuse problem (either drugs or alcohol, or both.) The men they were with often fit the same description, with the added element of having been to prison. The women often attached themselves to male trainhoppers big enough, strong enough and mean enough to protect them from all adversaries. Sometimes this actually worked out to be a small group of men who contituted a crew. Ten or fifteen years ago, this would have probably been an FTRA crew. Today, due to all the publicity and heat from the cops, probably an independent, unaffiliated crew. Very few independent tramps travel in the company of women or girls. It is too difficult to protect them, unless you have a crew. In any case, tramp life doesn't offer a woman much in the long run. Most stand-up tramps didn't intend to spend twenty years on the road. But shit happens, especially if you are working without a plan.
03-25-2002, 03:12 AM
yeah its very easy to remember a personalized liscense plate
03-25-2002, 09:44 AM
army surplus gear rocks... it's still pretty cheap and tough as hell...
03-25-2002, 09:58 AM
kabar's spent so much time talking about gunboats and such, so i decided i have to add to it...
trash can barbeque: get yerself a trashcan with a lid, a smallish bike wheel (it needs to fit 1/2 to 3/4 of the way up the trash can), and a claw hammer, or a big pointy rock or something...
empty out the trash can, and clean off the lid. get yer bike wheel, and put it in the trash can, making a shelf type dealie. make a 8-10 inch hole in the side of the can, about an inch or two above where the wheel rests. the wood yer burning is gonna rest on the wheel, and the hole works as a breathing hole for the fire, and gives you a way to add more wood when it's burning out. now that you have the fire aspect going, take the trash can lid and flip it upside down. make a hole in the middle of it, and if you want to you can add more, but it's not really neccesary, they're just for drainage... put the lid on the can, still upside down, let it get hot, and start cookin... i've made these for quite a few beach barbeques, and sometime even in alleys or parks when i'm bummin it... they work great...
03-25-2002, 06:31 PM
Vinyl Junkie---I see old re-cycled barbeque pits and stuff like that all the time in some jungles, especially jungles where "homeless" people have set up camp. Being able to create a field-expedient pit or stove or tent or whatever out of whatever one can find around is a great urban survival skill. I enjoy setting out with minimal gear and accumulating appropriate stuff as I go. As far as tramping goes, we live in the Horn of Plenty here in the U.S. We throw away more shit in a day than most people in the Third World see in their entire lives. Ain't it great being an American? No excuse for not being able to "make it" here unless somebody is just terminally stupid or so fucking lazy that they can't be bothered to go pick the stuff up off the ground. I've seen homeless guys with a bicycle and a bike trailer, and SO MUCH SCAVENGED GEAR that they could hardly pedal the bike. Hell, even our beggars are rich!
03-26-2002, 09:43 AM
absolutely kabar... the only traveling gear i've really paid for is a small travel pillow... also, i think i may have posted this before, but i would like to point out to people that you don't even need to be a "stinky dumpster diver" to score trashed gear... places like rei and northface throw out "damaged" gear all the time, usually just a small slash in it or something... easy to sew up, and there's your brand new sleeping bag, travel pack, etc...
04-14-2002, 08:38 AM
Southern and I went out trainwatching and checking out several jungles in Houston today. It was a lot of fun, just hanging out in the jungle, brewing up coffee and kicking it. I saw a lot of good catches, but mainly we just chilled and Southern shot some flicks of rolling graff. Sometimes it seems like to me that I'm hanging on to the middle-class, civilized life by a fucking thread. It wouldn't take much to see me back trainhopping. Sometimes I dream about it--like one of those horrible "escape" dreams? Instead of running in concrete to escape, though, I'm running trying to catch a rolling grainer. No wonder I wake up tired.
04-14-2002, 08:18 PM
how often do you hop now kabar?
04-15-2002, 07:06 AM
Tee_Rase---I only hop rarely now, due to work and time considerations. Trainhopping is a notoriously undependable way to get from one place to another. You can't be sure that a train is going to run when scheduled, or even when called. Once you get somewhere, you can't be sure you'll be able to make a connecting train, or if you are there and ready, that you'll be able to catch it without interferance from bulls, passers-by, bad weather or whatever. So if you're going hopping, you need some TIME---time off from work, time away from demands of family and friends. And that sort of time, for a guy with a regular life, is hard to come by more than a few times per year. It's easier for a single man, and unemployed guy, a self-employed guy, etc. Ability and desire are not the problem. Grace from responsibility is the problem.
04-18-2002, 08:11 AM
Way back in 1967, when I was 16 and traveling California with some graduated seniors from my high-school (who were all having a "one last fling" summer before reporting to military service during the Vietnam War) I discovered hippies and underground newspapers, and Head Shops, and the just-barely-emerging anti-war movement. My mom knew I was going anyway, so she had elicited a promise to be back in time for school in September, and gave me $100. This was one of the wisest decisions my Mom ever made as a parent. Because we had struck a deal, and she insisted we shake on it, I felt honor bound to return on time, and I did. It sort of set the tone for my whole adolescence.
I was gone the whole summer with my surfing buddies, and we happened to arrive in San Francisco right square in the middle of the "Summer of Love."
Man, what a revelation.
One of the things that happened to me was that I met a bunch of hippies who lived in a commune in the Haight-Ashbury district in San Francisco (they all called it "The City", like there was only one) who sold a newspaper called The Oracle on the streets to make a living. One of their writers had a regular column on "How to Survive on the Street" and I also attended a sort of seminar that this guy taught in Dolores Park, in the Mission District.
Along with a lot of really good advice, especially for 1967 San Francisco ("Don't ball people you don't know. If you just have to fuck somebody you don't know very well, wear a rubber, or insist that he wear one.") there was an entire section on taking care of your feet.
Most of the heads in San Francisco were on foot, did not own a car or any other form of transportation other than their thumb, MUNI or crossing the bay and catching a freight. For some reason, bicycles just didn't seem to occur to anybody.
So here's some foot advice.
1.) Keep your feet clean. Wash them, with soap and water, whenever you get a chance, at least once per day.
2.) Always wear socks. If you are on a long hump, wear two pair--one pair should be a synthetic/wool blend and the pair closest to your feet should be a hiker's "wick" sock to keep your feet dry. Don't wear cotton. Cotton kills.
3.) Use foot powder, every day. Put it inside your socks, by pushing the open can inside of a sock before you put the sock on your foot, and giving the can a couple of shakes. The best foot powder is "medicated" foot powder, preferably medicated with clotrimazole (Lotrimin) or tolnaftate (Tinactin) in the powder.
4.) Wear good, sturdy boots, and lace them up well, to protect your ankles.
5.) If you are humping a heavy pack, rest 5 minutes out of every hour, and if you can, take off your boots and inspect your feet.
6.) If you think you are developing a blister, put moleskin or some other adhesive covering over the area to protect it. If caught early enough, you could avoid a blister altogether. If the blister is already formed, let the water out with a sewing needle sterilized in an open flame.
7.) Change your socks twice a day. Wash the soiled pair and air-dry them on the back of your pack.
8.) USE ARCH SUPPORT INSERTS IN YOUR BOOTS. Especially if you are carrying a load of more than 30 pounds.
9.) If your feet feel hot and uncomfortable, REST. Better to move a little slower than to have your feet give out on you.
That's it. For now, I guess.
04-18-2002, 08:43 AM
if you get boot-rot, pee on yer feet... it works...
04-20-2002, 07:47 PM
so if anyone else decides to come on to this thread and talk shit, dont respond. graffiti writers are convinced its cool to piss people off for no reason , that is, until theyre face to face with someone whos willing to fight. (me included, i used to be a smart ass, now im comfortable just being a dumb ass). so dont let the ego-mad put cinders in your ass.
good posts. good info. one question--im getting married in about 4 months, and im real happy about that, thing is i got itchy feet, and might want to take a couple real inexpensive vacations later on in life. you say you hop fr8s from time to time still,--how does your old lady feel about that?
...why dont you work, like other men do?
'how can i get a job when you're holdin' down two?!'
04-21-2002, 08:00 AM
Hava Nagila--- I used to have a few copies of the IWW's "Little Red Songbook" that had that version of "Hallalujah, I'm A Bum!" in it. I forget who got credit. T-Bone Slim? They all took some cool monikers back in those days. I once stayed in the "barracks" at the old IWW hall on North Halstead in Chicago for a few weeks, about 1972. I think Pat Murfin was the GST (General Secretary/Treasurer) back in those days. He was one hard drinkin' Irish wild man. It got him in trouble with the old heads. In their day, taking a drink in the Hall was forbidden, and saloon keepers and honky-tonk operators were the enemy. One time I was sitting around in the IWW hall on North Halstead and two crazy-ass anarchists about twenty years old burst in the door, and came pounding up the stairs. (The Hall was on the second floor,) carrying a suitcase that appeared to be very heavy. One of them said, as they rushed past us towards the kitchen and the back door, "We weren't here!" About five minutes later, in rushed several people who were dressed like cops in those really bad old '70s movies, with blow-dry haircuts and those stupid Saturday Night Fever lapels. They all looked like Herb Tarlick from the old series "WKRP in Cincinnatti." "Did you see a couple of guys with a suitcase?!!" Everybody just looked at each other, like, What? Suitcase? Nah. As soon as they shut the door we all ran different directions. Murphy slammed the safe and spun the dial and the Hall was closed and locked in two minutes. I never found out exactly what was in the suitcase, but at the bar, later, one guy raised an eyebrow and made his finger into a "pow-pow" gun, with the index finger pointing forward and the thumb straight up. That's all that was ever said. I didn't ask and nobody explained it. A few days later we were on our way to the IWW Long Beach strike at International Wood Products.
But I digress.
It would be a very rare woman who would expect to start married life with an active trainhopper whose idea of a vacation included jumping freights. I'm not saying it's impossible, because I did hitch-hike and hop with a woman that I later married, but it was an exceedingly unusual situation. We were hiding from her husband and his neo-Nazi asshole buddies. We didn't own a car, or have a fixed address. We sent letters home via a mail drop arranged through the anarchist underground network in New York. Our families mailed letters to us at this anonymous mailbox at some gigantic Post Office in New York, and they were re-mailed to us, wherever we happened to be, by some dedicated hard-ass libertarian socialists.
If you want to see a movie about this period of time in the anarchist movement, go rent "Missing" with Jack Lemon and Sissy Spacek. You can probably get it for a buck, it's more than thirty years old, but fairly accurate. A few years before, Spacek played in a much-harder-to-find made-for-TV movie called "Katharine" which was an amalgamation of several female figures in the Weather Underground (Marxist-Leninists, of course, but still a fair movie, but way over-glamorized.) For the real deal, try to find Emile De Antonio's "Underground" (1976) which was a documentary on the then-still-active Weather Underground's leadership, and included an interview with Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn, Jeff Jones, Kathy Boudin and Kathy Wilkerson, and some others. They were like those Japanese soldiers left behind on some Pacific atoll, still standing guard over their jungle redoubt ten or fifteen years after the War was over.
Or for a much less pampered view of that period, try to find "Face of War" (1968) by Eugene Jones. It is a documentary about the Marines of Mike Co., 3/7 in Vietnam. Semper FI. The kids of the ruling class joined the Weathermen. The working class kids got drafted into the infantry. Mike 3/7 saw a shitload of combat. The Weathermen were a bunch of Richie Rich pussies. Even the much-mourned Town House Explosion was probably an effort on the part of one of the women to prevent the bombs they were manufacturing from being used in attacks against the U.S. Government. One of those women (probably Kathy Wilkerson, or so I've heard) set the explosives off on purpose. She turned out to have a pacifist streak her comrades underestimated. (Edit: 5/10/02---I was discussing this theory about Wilkerson with another old geezer from the Sixties and he brought up a astoundingly obvious point. Whoever set off the explosives, whether by accident or deliberately, probably died in the explosion. Since both Ted Gold and Terry Robbins were well known, even back then, to be strong proponents of an attack strategy ("propaganda of the deed") neither one of them is likely to have set off the explosives, unless by accident. The most likely actor in a "pacifist self-sacrifice" explosion would be Diana Oughton, not Wilkerson. Wilkerson did not surrender for another ten years, in 1980. See what careless thinking will get you?)
04-22-2002, 04:26 PM
Wow, talk about your co-incidences. The day after I published this key players in the overthrow of Salvador Allende's Socialist government of Chile were sued by some of the families involved. I heard Horman's wife is suing. I wonder if Frank Teruggi's (sp) family will sue, as well? How wierd, that there should be an article in the paper about it the very next day. The CIA was playing for keeps. They aren't supposed to operate here in the U.S. but ask anybody---the sonsabitches do as they please, believe it. We ran into them once in State College, Pennsylvania. Imagine this: a bunch of IWW college pukes trying to organize a pathetic strike against fast food restaurants, because McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken , etc. were the biggest employers of college students outside of the university itself. Lo and behold, one of the organizers turns out to have a new girlfriend that was a CIA asset, developed while she was at the Sorbonne during her junior year. They had approached her and asked her to infiltrate the IWW organizing effort. She did, but she fell in love with her target and told us everything. Up until the appearance of the CIA, we were all pretty spiritless. When that happened, it was like "WHAT THE FUCK is so important about KFC that the CIA would bother to get involved?"
I know a lot of the shit I post on here sounds pretty far-fetched, but if you don't believe it, check it out for yourself.
Eventually, the girl wound up in psychiatric treatment and the organizing campaign fizzled out. But for a while there we were playing James Bond with the CIA. Man, how crazy is that? After a while you get to thinking any crazy ass shit is possible.
04-22-2002, 08:20 PM
thanks for the great post-just came across it now, and quite a read!
04-23-2002, 11:05 AM
Originally posted by hava_nagila
graffiti writers are convinced its cool to piss people off for no reason , that is, until theyre face to face with someone whos willing to fight
this has been bothering me for a few days now... was this directed at me? because i was being totally serious about the peeing on your feet thing- it'll really get rid of boot rot...
if it wasn't directed at me, then i apoligize for being paranoid, it's just that it was right under my post...
04-23-2002, 06:22 PM
Don't be paranoid--this one wasn't directed at you, at least , not in regards to using urine as a anti-fungal. But there is another one, somewhere else in the site that addresses Foot Fungus directly that said something like "I can't believe you guys would advocate pissing on your feet before using Lotrimin" or something like that. Even if it was directed at you, it's nothing to get exercised about. Probably in some Third World country they might actually try using urine or some tree bark tea treatment. But WTF, you can get Lotrimin or Tinactin for four bucks.
04-24-2002, 12:49 AM
when you're stuck in the woods for a week, with no ride out (like i was when i got boot rot) then that tough actin' tinactin is a distant luxury...:)
04-24-2002, 06:44 PM
I posted some digital pics that Southern shot while we were down in a jungle I frequent, getting some trains video. He was kind enough to help me figure out how to post them, as I am not exactly adept at computers. Anyway, if you wanta see what the Old Man looks like, go to the Benches, then to Metal Heads. It's under "Kabar Slacker Pics," and I want to give Southern the credit--he's a good photographer. It was a good day, although hot, humid and FULL of skeeters, the little bastids.
04-26-2002, 12:32 AM
kabar...i had about the same image in my mind as well (of you)
do you have more of you in the army or doing something crazy
ps do you stil work???
04-26-2002, 07:41 AM
Tee_Rase--I'll have to look around and see if I've got anything worth putting up on 12 oz. Yeah, I still work. Boy, does it ever SUCK. I hate working. I've always been a worthless slacker at heart, but for the last eighteen years I've been working my ass off. What does that tell you?
im not witty
04-30-2002, 03:20 AM
IWW? CIA? just when i think you couldn't possibly blow my mind anymore kabar, you always manage to make my jaw drop in pure awe.
whens that book due out? ;)
04-30-2002, 08:54 AM
I'm Not Witty---You know, when you're actually involved in something like a IWW strike, it never seems like it's at all important, and in truth, it's pretty small potatoes. I was involved in several, and it always seemed like we were doomed to failure. In the modern labor environment, the business unions have all the cards. An outfit like the IWW is just sucking hind tit all the way.
Part of the problem back then was our own foolish ignorance. Labor relations is big business, and we almost never had our shit together. Even our own members, who should have known better, had nothing but contempt for an offer during the IWW Long Beach Strike, to work on the docks one day a week with the Longshoremen's Union (IBLWU) to enable our guys to continue to hold out against the International Wood Products company. I thought it was a great idea, but our crazy-ass members voted it down. I never understood that. We had the company all but shut down, when a hothead got sixteen picketers arrested all on the same day, by attacking a line-crossing tractor-trailer rig. They smashed up the truck big time, but the Long Beach cops arrested everybody in sight. The judge was so pissed. He said "In twenty-four years on this bench, I have never seen a labor dispute this violent." He gave our guys fourteen days apiece for disorderly conduct. We had to man the picket line with IWW organizers from Chicago and volunteers from a local collective with a radical SDS background. There is a picture, in a book of IWW history, of a very attractive blonde SDS volunteer carrying an IWW picket sign during that strike, in 1972. The Chicago volunteers took turns staying at an anarchist collective in Los Angeles to get a shower and a decent night's sleep. We kept a picket up at the company 24 hours a day, to warn us if they tried to bring in supplies at night. We got threatening phone calls at night. The straw boss tried to sell our picketing strikers dope (the idiots were going to buy it, too.) Everybody was packing guns, it was extremely weird.
Eventually, we lost the certification vote, but it was close. We only lost by three votes, and that was a full year after the strike was called. Many of our original members had moved on, so a lot of the strike-breakers voted for the union. But we still lost.
If you're interested in this, you can find a fairly accurate account of the IWW Long Beach strike of 1972 in "The I.W.W.: It's First Seventy Years, 1905-1975" by Fred W. Thompson and Patrick Murfin. Murf was the GST back then, and Fred Thompson was a life-long, old-time I.W.W. stalwart who went to jail for the Wobblies back in the Twenties. I did some of the art work on the cover of the book.
The IWW picked up a lot of SDSers when SDS self-disintegrated in 1968 and '69. The groups that were left within SDS--Progressive Labor, Revolutionary Youth Movement and the Weathermen--virtually tore SDS to pieces with their sectarianism. What was awful for SDS was a boon to IWW. IWW gained a large number of college-educated, experienced war protestors. It changed the face of IWW considerably.
04-30-2002, 09:23 PM
well im sitting on here, this computer staring me in the face, the weather is beautiful outside, and i will be out there shortly. Things keep popping up into my mind, some times very easy to address, but other times the issues that i bring up (inside my mind) are not so easy to figure out or work on by myself. I randomly think to myself and as of late i believe I have had my mid-life-crisis or whatever you call that. I was happy to go through that transition, from adolecent, to adult if you will.
I see many people sitting around wasting the time that they are given, wasting the time that stares them in the face. I wonder if others have gone through what i have gone through....the struggles that exist are a gift, i beileve, they teach you valuable life lessons that will stand out in your mind more than anything in the world.
Some people believe and do very crazy things...oddities, and just last year i would have thought this absurd...as we grow the people around us grow as well, i think that is something that we have to accept.
the growth of humans will leave us in the dark or something like that
ramblings. . .. . . very bored
05-01-2002, 06:19 AM
Tee_Rase---Well put. I am reminded immediately of how much greater this feeling becomes, and how much more pressing becomes the need to "do something worthwhile and valuable" with my life, when one becomes a parent. It's there when you're single, and it's a little stronger when one marries or forms a long-term partnership with another person. But if you have kids, suddenly it becomes unbearably critical. FOR THE KIDS TO HAVE A CHANCE AT SUCCESS, ONE MUST PREPARE THE WAY, STARTING EVEN BEFORE THEY ARE BORN. I have been working, going to school, saving money, investing, etc., etc., for eighteen years so that my daughter would have a decent chance at attending a first-rate, four-year university. I am not by nature an ambitious person, nor am I usually very good at reverse planning (a skill I learned in the Marine Corps), but when my daughter was born, I started changing my life from a suits-me-just-fine, self indulgent one, to a college-educated professional, prepares-for-the-future one.
When she finally graduates and is on her own, I'll go back to just kickin' it and riding trains and doing as I please. I hope.
05-02-2002, 09:06 PM
I was going to write another something or other, but i think that instead i would just encourage you to do whatever you feel/hope is right...after thought I believe that the ONLY WAY is one that you create/and live by in your mind.
care to digress?
05-08-2002, 12:38 AM
this thread should be sticky in my opinion.
05-10-2002, 07:12 PM
kabar, i think you should write a book. all of the info you have is so interesting. you have given me a new out look on freight life . your writeing is full of so much imagery. im really feelin it man, keep it up!!!!!!!!!!!:eek:
05-10-2002, 07:43 PM
Everybody keeps saying that I ought to. Do you suppose I'd find a publisher? It's a lot harder than you'd think. Thanks for the compliment, and I guess there's little chance of me stopping, 'cause I find it too rewarding, LOL. "Be careful out there--Safety First."
05-10-2002, 10:43 PM
Originally posted by KaBar
Everybody keeps saying that I ought to. Do you suppose I'd find a publisher? It's a lot harder than you'd think. Thanks for the compliment, and I guess there's little chance of me stopping, 'cause I find it too rewarding, LOL. "Be careful out there--Safety First."
look into a small publishing place....you should be able to get a publisher very easy
05-12-2002, 05:13 AM
this is something AKPress would probably be into...
im not witty
05-12-2002, 08:51 AM
Originally posted by vinyl junkie
this is something AKPress would probably be into...
this is true, although they publish only a few books a year, they have huge distro. i dont know im talking out of my ass cause im drunk. ignore me. write a book. goodnight.
05-15-2002, 09:49 AM
one of the things i enjoy about this thread is reading kabars writing, it seems that the more time he spends on here, the more slang he tends to pick up. i think its cool, but kind of humorus in a way, im not sure how to say it really, im not sure if im the only one picking it up. i guess maybe were rubbing off on him in a way.
05-16-2002, 08:01 AM
T.T. Boy---This is absolutely true, LOL. It's bleeding over into my spoken vocabulary, as well, which has led to some pretty dumfounded looks from people with whom I work. Do you suppose this deal cuts both ways? I kind of hope so.
05-16-2002, 07:30 PM
yes, i do think so. hahah, well we should hope so as well. i could imagine someone hearing you speak this way and being totally amazed.
05-18-2002, 08:22 AM
I just try to act like a civilized person on 12 oz. Inside of every old guy, there's a irresponsible teenager trying to get out and make the old geezer look like an idiot. You've probably heard it a million times "Oh, when I look in the mirror, I just wonder who that OLD PERSON is looking back at me. Inside, I feel just like I did at eighteen." That's a lot of BS, of course, but there is an element of truth to it. The problem is, the 18-year-old inside still wants to listen to Jefferson Airplane and drive around in a painted-up VW microbus. He's pretty out of it, for an 18-year-old. "Peace, man." "Out of sight." "Groovy." Or, if something was really, really good, it would be a "stone groove." Is that idiotic, or what? I can't believe we were so stupid in 1967.
05-19-2002, 06:30 AM
this is a tight thread...but one thing totally baffles me......what did you train hoppers do to sexually satisfy yourselfs??? id kno if i was woman walking near some train hoppers i would scared as shit from rape....were any of your fellow train hoppers rapers and shit?
05-19-2002, 07:07 AM
Well, I guess that's a valid question. I was pretty young when I did most of my hopping. It was the '70s, and "footloose" people weren't considered to be all that threatening by most young people. I met girls from time-to-time, and would "go homeguard" for a while, and see them for a while. I also went hopping with a woman I met in a commune, who I later married. We got divorced before I went into the Marine Corps. That was some pretty scarey shit. I don't recommend hopping with a woman, unless you are hopping with a pretty tight crew willing to fight to defend itself.
Realistically, most tramps probably rely on solo masturbation. Their chances to meet women are rare, and very few women are attracted to hopping or tramps.
Some tramps are homosexuals. A lot of people riding trains have been in prison, and they are pretty slack about fucking boys or other men. In fact, a young guy riding trains solo needs to be pretty clear that he is almost at as much risk as a girl would be. There are definately some asshole bandits out there. And they travel in pairs or small groups, so be careful.
There's always prostitutes, but in my opinion, nobody would have sex with a prostitute except someone with a death wish. Their AIDS rate runs about 15%. You're taking your life in your hands so to speak.
Some people just put sex on the back burner, I guess. The older guys, in particular, are not obsessed with sex. The average female tramp
isn't anybody you'd have wet dreams about. Think "homeless women," "needs a bath," "needs to wash clothes," "hasn't seen a dentist in five years," "never washes her hair." Understand? Living outdoors 24-7 is hard. It is a hard fucking life. Very few people are interested in it.
05-19-2002, 07:20 AM
yea dude thats pretty harsh, you gotta be really into the lifestyle, because its obvious many personal sacrifices have to be made
05-28-2002, 02:40 AM
i don't really know anything about trainhopping but out of shear curiousity, how exactly do you compose yourself inside the car? do you
just sit on the floor paneling in the middle, against the wall, or do you stand up, etc.
05-28-2002, 06:56 AM
Amorphic---If you give this a little thought, it will sort of come to you. First of all, on any rail car, you want to be concealed. You don't want anybody to be able to see you, preferably, not at all. But if it's a situation where you cannot conceal yourself 100% (like riding a piggyback behind the axles and wheels of the embarked trailers) you want to conceal yourself as best you can. On a grainer, you want to be either inside the grainer hole, or at least laying low on the porch. If you get a choice, choose a grainer with an apron or skirt around the porch, so you can flatten out and lay low going through grade crossings or rural yards. (These are called "Cadillac" or "Canadian" grainers.) NEVER SKYLINE YOURSELF. HIDE.
Second, you want to be sure that you are not going to fall, be knocked down or slide any appreciable distance. In a gondola, you ride up close to the forward bulkhead. Gondolas are good for swinging a hammock inside, and very secure from the bull standpoint unless you enter a yard with a hump tower, where a supervisor or bull might spot you from above. NEVER, EVER RIDE A LOADED GONDOLA CAR. Only empties.
Inside of a boxcar (if you can find an old style boxcar these days--they're getting kind of scarce) you ride with your back against the forward bulkhead as much as possible, especially if the train is highballing. Slack action can cause you to be knocked off your feet, so it's not a good idea to stand up much. If you do stand up, hold on to something tightly. A good practice is to carry a frameless ruck or pack, and to sit on top of your pack with your back against the forward bulkhead. If the engineer puts it into "emergency" or a brake hose parts, you damned sure don't want to be standing up taking a piss or something. You'd go ass over teakettle straight into the forward bulkhead. Don't make a practice of sleeping out in the middle of the deck. If you need to sleep, sleep with your feet against the forward bulkhead, head towards the FRED. Or, alternatively, sleep on your side with your back against the forward bulkhead, so if there's a crash, you are already as far forward as you can get, and won't be sliding down the deck and smashing into the bulkhead.
A lot of people sleep on cardboard or wadded up Thousand Miler Paper. Somebody on this website described some sort of thick, corrugated cardboard a couple of inches thick that is used to pack cargo in, but I've never seen it personally. It's supposed to make a good mattress, and it sounds sort of like it would. I have tried rigging a hammock inside a boxcar with limited success, but if you could figure out a way to do it, it would be cool.
I've seen people riding on grainer porches that had carabinered themselves to a stanchion or a pipe, but I've never done that. You definately want to be as secure as possible.
I don't think flatcars are safe. If something goes wrong, you could go off the side or be thrown off the end, into the wheels of the car following you. A bulkhead flatcar or a spine car designed to carry lumber is okay.
Probably the ride I like the best, barring boxcars, is a container well car. The Trailer Train Corp. manufactures "well cars" designed to hold several shipping containers like Sea-Land, or Cosco or K-Line containers, what we used to call "con-ex" boxes in the Marines. The TTX 48 is the Cadillac of container well cars. It has a steel deck floor. If they load a 40 foot container in it, you get 8 feet of riding space. Never board a TTX 48 in front of a container, ONLY BEHIND IT. In fact, NEVER RIDE IN FRONT OF CARGO, EVER. If the train derails or hits something, you'll be crushed like a bug.
Never ride a tank car, not one foot. They carry all kinds of noxious shit, and I prefer to stay way away from tankers. They are handy for crossing over the string, though.
Some people say they like riding auto racks. Empty would be okay. If you get popped inside a auto rack car being transported to the dealer, you will probably get jail time. They don't like it one bit.
I hope that's a little clearer. Like old Rufe used to say, "Be careful, god dammit. This ain't no fucking hobby!"
05-29-2002, 02:25 AM
Kabar- Thanks for the info its much appreciated.
05-30-2002, 12:35 AM
hey kabar if u dont mind what do u working for now
05-30-2002, 10:23 AM
Wutangbanger---I finally went to college, in my thirties, and got one degree as a machinist and another one, a few years later, as a nurse. I work as a registered nurse now. It pays good, about $40,000 a year, but I'm getting tired of it. Nursing is hard work, both physically and emotionally. Only really tough people can do it full-time for their whole life. It takes it out of you, for real. I've seen a lot of really bad things as a nurse, and in a way, it's worse than when I was a Marine, and a whole lot worse than when I was hopping full time. A whole lot.
05-30-2002, 10:42 AM
i have a room mate who's going through the final stages of ing lots and lots of hospital rounds... i hear brutal stories all the time... that takes some balls to wade through that shit all day kabar...
on a happy note, i found a copy of duffy littlejohn's book today... i look forward to starting it in a few hours...
05-30-2002, 11:43 AM
Littlejohn is a good writer, but keep in mind, he's trying to sell books, so he sugarcoats the tramp life a lot. Well, actually, he sugarcoats hopping a lot, and doesn't touch on tramp life much. I see posts on the Trainhopping.com listserve all the time that say things like "Don't talk to bums you see when you're out enjoying the sport of trainhopping. Their stories are boring and their lives are fucked up, and they always wind up trying to bum money off of you." I don't see trainhopping as a "sport." But I like Littlejohn's book. BTW, I liked Conover's book, "Rolling Nowhere," too. Read both, but take them both with a grain of salt. Littlejohn sugarcoats hopping, but Conover makes it sound too bleak and depressing and pointless. It's sort of a cross between the two. Some bad, some good. Check it out, you'll see.
05-30-2002, 02:39 PM
no dought u should be a nurse in a big city you get paid like twice as much as that buts its crazy seeing shit alot like people gettin shot up n shit seeing that shit takes mad balls props to u kabar
06-06-2002, 02:58 PM
Indianarail---Sorry, I'm afraid I can't cast any light on the mystery. There are a lot of tramps that are essentially local travelers that "mark up" their "territory" just for something to do. There are some homeguards that do this too, of course, and the fact that you seems to be finding this tag in a relatively select area and on structures rather than railcars indicates to me it might be a homeguard or a tramp who moves locally, or it might be somebody like a railroad worker or a bridge inspector, etc..
Traditionally, trainhoppers and true tramps mark up with either soapstone, chalk, or a construction crayon. They did not tag in paint, back in the old days, mainly because it costs too much and is inconvenient to carry around cans, brushes, etc. The fact that the author of "Has No Boble" marks up in brushed paint points to a homeguard with a car or some other form of transportation (bicycle, etc.) rather than a tramp carrying a ruck and a bindle. Dealing with brushes, paint, thinner, etc. is way too much hassle and expense for the average rail tramp. But there's really no way to be sure.
06-07-2002, 07:43 AM
I'll spare you the lecture about avoiding rolling rail cars. You didn't ask about that, you asked about boarding a rolling car. Personally, I have jumped rolling cars of various kinds in the past, when I was much younger and stronger. It's dangerous as a motherfucker, and I'd never do it today, but here's how it's done.
First of all, all the basic trainhopping rules apply--so go back and read a bunch of these posts on this thread. Travel light--25 pounds maximum for everything. Wear good boots with a pronounced heel--it tends to keep you from putting a foot through the stirrup and into a wheel. Always wear leather gloves, EXCEPT when using the swing-up technique--I use trucker's gloves I bought at Wal-Mart for $9. NEVER hop when you've been drinking.
Okay. Depending on the type of car, you use a different technique. Open old-style box cars are getting rarer and rarer. The new-type, called plug-door box cars are no good to hop. The doors have to be closed and locked before the train can move--it's a Federal law. So assumming you can spot an old style box car, the first thing is be sure you can outrun the car. You said "slow moving", so I'll take that to mean a slow trot, but faster than "walking speed." Say five to six mph.
Second thing, throw your gear into the car. Once you throw your gear, you are pretty much committed to jumping it. If you miss, don't panic, just board another car farther back and run up and get your shit at the first opportunity, or just board that car when it's standing.
You need a car facing the right direction for the side of the train you are on. The latch handle is on the bulkhead, not the car door. The door should be close to completely open. Running alongside the train car, grab the door latch firmly with both bare hands, and swing up your legs so that one or both are inside the door track, then twist to the side so that your torso follows your legs into the door. Don't let go of that handle until your legs and butt are all the way inside, then keep a grip as you roll over onto your stomach and throw your inside arm out to try and catch the floor.
PRACTICE THIS MANY TIMES ON A STANDING STILL BOXCAR until you feel very familiar with the technique. If you just think to yourself "Ah, that's not hard. I can do it. Fuck practicing it," you are going to wind up with your fucking legs cut off. PRACTICE THIS MANY TIMES ON A STANDING BOXCAR. This is a dangerous technique if it is raining or icy. If you slip, it's "Adios, unfortunate person."
DO NOT run up to the boxcar door, throw in your shit, and then jump up landing with both palms down against the floor, with your legs swinging up underneath the car, hoping to do a sort of College-boy Swing up into the car. If you swing back under the car and slip, it's STRAIGHT INTO THE FUCKING WHEELS. And you will be a picture on Rotten.com. "Legless Dumbass Cut In Two."
I don't like hitting rolling boxcars. It's much better to board them standing. MUCH, MUCH BETTER.
Hitting a rolling container well car, grainer, flatcar or lumber car, you can use the ladder. Throw your shit on, then run alongside and catch the ladder railing with your inside hand, then jump it, swinging your OUTSIDE leg up onto the stirrup, grab the grab bar with your other hand and climb on up. Be careful to not put your foot through the stirrup and under the wheels.
MAKE SURE you know what kind of car you are jumping. A TTX 48 container well car is no problem. It has a steel deck and usually several feet of empty well deck to ride on. A TTX 53 car, however, is NOT RIDEABLE. It has NO FLOOR and the steel girders in the bottom of the car are NOT SAFE TO RIDE. A friend of mine told me a story about a tramp he knew that hit a TTX 53 in the dark, mistaking it for a TTX 48. When he threw his gear over the gunnell, it went straight through onto the ground and got run over by the train. Bummer.
"Never ride the blinders, the bumpers or the deck."
Also, never ride by hanging onto a ladder. You have no way of knowing how far that train may take you. It could be five miles or fifty thousand. You just don't know. If you get tired or fall asleep, you're dead.
Now. Go to "DeadTrainBums.com" and use the passwords "Dead" and "Bums". This is what happens if you fuck up!
i really thank you alot for that.... but i've got another question (quest for knowledge kills), i presume a empty box car would be better than a full car to hop on to right? once i'm in, how do i stay in? i read the above post called "positioning for safety" but some of the words are just over my head. thanks alot
ps if theres anythign i could do for you or answer id be glad to help
06-08-2002, 09:09 AM
$$$$$---Try reading the tramp posts first, but if it still isn't clear to you, post a list of words you don't understand and I'll give you a definition or something. I hate to sound like a prick, but about 90% of this stuff is in Duffy Littlejohn's book, "Hopping Freight Trains in America." In fact, it's online, and the address was published in a separate thread that I sort of fucked up by getting into a argument, er...heated discussion... about prisons and criminal behavior. (It's a long story---if you can find the thread "Duffy Littlejohn Online", read it.)
Staying on a boxcar is a piece of cake. The most annoying thing about it is the noise. Rail cars are incredibly noisy, loud enough to damage your hearing, so along with your PLASTIC gallon jug of water, gloves, boots and a hat, be sure to bring several sets of foam earplugs. Actually, a gallon of water is minimal. I met a guy back in the day that traveled with a five gallon, USGI military, "jerry can" full of water. That's about forty pounds of water, so he wasn't jumping any moving cars. He and his partner carried it, each with a handhold on each side of the handholds on the top.
"Slack action" is a violent, abrupt cessation or inauguration of motion, or direction or acceleration. Each rail car has equipment underneath the frame of the car that is connected to the coupler that is called "draft gear." (This is "draft" as in draft horses, not as in wind.) "Draft" is what the motion is called when the unit (the locomotive engine) begins to pull the train forward. If the engineer applies the brakes, this is called "buff." In draft, the draft gear is stretched out. (In fact, "stretch-out" is another term for "draft.") The draft gear is sort of like a long piston that travels inside of a square box. The coupler is attached to the end on the end of the car. The draft gear can draft out about 12" to 14" before it hits it's terminal limit. Since each car has it's own draft gear, you're talking about approximately 24" to 28" of travel slack in each car. If your have fifty rail cars in the consist, that means that the unit will travel about fifty feet before the last car begins to move an inch. When the draft gear on that last car hits it's terminal limit, it goes from zero-to-twenty mph in half a second. Obviously, you don't want to be on board the last car in line.
Draft "comes down the string" as the unit gains traction and speed. As each coupler and it's draft gear stretch out, it causes a big "bang" noise. So as the unit pulls forward (and you are in the middle of the string somewhere, on your boxcar) it sounds like bam-bam-bam-bam-Bam-Bam-BAM-BAM-BAM- BANG! as your car is snatched into motion. If you are standing up when the slack is stretched out, you will be knocked off your feet, probably. A mile down the road, the engineer may have to slow down abruptly. If this occurs, you get slack action that is "buff-in." It sounds the same, pretty much, but the motion applied is the exact opposite of draft.
YOU SHOULD BE SITTING DOWN ON YOUR RUCK Or YOUR BINDLE, with your back firmly against the forward bulkhead, and not standing up, when this occurs.
Always "deadman" the door track with a short piece of 2x4. My deadman is 26" long. A foot or 18" would be acceptable, long enough so that if the door slides shut, you can still get out.
Stay away from the doors. "Lowline" if you want to look out. NO EXPOSURE WITHOUT PURPOSE. Don't stand up any more than absolutely necessary. Never, ever sit in the doorway with your legs hanging out, unless you think that being legless and handicapped would be cool for some reason.
It depends on what is in the boxcar that determines whether or not it is safe to ride. If it's plywood stacked, or something like this, then you could ride ON TOP OF THE LOAD. Never board any railcar in front of a load. Never means Never.
thanks alot for all your help, i think ive got alot of it down now :) :) :king:
06-12-2002, 08:55 AM
Im curious how exactly the deadmaning works Kabar? Where exactly do you wedge it to get it to stay. Ive climbed around on gondolas before but never found an open boxcar.
06-12-2002, 02:18 PM
i've never done one before but i'd imagine when people refer to painting over the bar, you would stick it in between the car and the bar.
06-12-2002, 06:42 PM
Older style boxcars and most newer ones have a door track slot. It's a piece of formed steel channel that creates the door threshold and has a groove for the door to travel in. These doors are heavy as shit, and the accumulation of dirt, rust, old grease, etc. builds up in parts of the door track sometimes. The doors are hard to open and hard to shut, but the tremendous forces applied by the slack action can move the door short distances, sometimes, like if the train is thrown into emergency braking, the door might slam all the way shut. A deadman is not usually thick enough to allow "jamming" into the door track. The door track is about 2" wide and the edge of your 2x4 is 1-3/4" wide, so it usually fits a little bit loosely. Once I used a piece of rough-sawn 2x4 and I had to hammer on it a little to get it to fit.
You just place the 2x4 on edge in the door track. If the door "rattles" shut, it will stop against the deadman, and leave you an escape route.
Of course, in a crash or in a derail, or something like that, all bets are off. It's not likely a simple deadman could guarantee the door would not crash shut in a mainline meet or a derail.
(Edit: 12/6/02) Re-reading this, it occurs to me that placing one's deadman in the door track with the train standing still in the yard may not be the smartest move. It is not so much that a switchman or a bull might see it, although this is a concern, but if somebody else tries to board your car without your consent, YOUR MAIN LINE OF DEFENSE is sitting in the door track, where he can seize it, and either use it himself (against you) or take it and use it on another car. Truthfully, I never saw or heard of anybody doing this, but it seems altogether wiser to place the deadman surrepticiously after the train has begun to move.
A defensive weapon's value is determined by it's reach. Obviously a longer weapon, like an aluminum baseball bat or a longer 2x4 is going to be more effective than a shorter weapon. Also, there are some people that would not be deterred by a weapon you are unlikely to use. If an aggressive assailant grabs your 2x4 and threatens to hit you with it, and you pull a knife, he may be reluctant to get too close. (He also may not be--a club is a favorite weapon on the rails.) But if you pull a pistol, or any sort of firearm, you have introduced a trump card that is difficult to put into play. If you shoot the bad guy(s) the cops will definately be looking for you, and the pistol's report (Bang!) will attract a great deal of attention. I do not recommend carrying a pistol for the average person, only if you are READY and WILLING to use it. Women, very small men, maybe. The defensive power it gives you is so great that it may be worth it. But if you use it, you'd better be right, because if it's an error in judgement, you are probably going to prison.
kabar knows all....im impressed with the street level santa....rock on kabar!
06-16-2002, 06:07 AM
Originally posted by Cracked Ass
One of the new laws is this: you can be detained if you are SUSPECTED of being a terrorist.
If I can elaborate on what else the new law says: If you are 'suspected' drug dealer - you are a terroist.
So if you peddle a little nug to you friends - make sure they are all friends.
06-17-2002, 12:52 AM
Optimo: [email protected]
It's bogus, of course.
06-18-2002, 06:06 PM
I know this seems like a dumb subject for a post, but I'd like to address the difficulty of keeping important things dry and safe when you're on the road. It's not easy, when you are tramping 24/7 to keep stuff clean and dry. There is a certain size Kraft mayonnaise jar that will drop right into a 2-lb. coffee can--perfect for "nesting" to save space in your ruck.
I always buy the same size and brand of mayonnaise, so I've actually got four or five of these plastic mayonnaise jars around. When I've emptied one out, I wash it out real good with detergent and hot water, but I'm careful to not ruin the cardboard lid liner. I pop the liner out with a butter knife and save it, washing it off well, but avoiding getting it all wet and soggy. I soak the label off the jar and then run the jar and the lid (without the liner) through the dishwasher. If I was out on the road doing this, I'd just wash it by hand as best I could. The idea is to get all the mayonnaise and gunk off the jar, so that it doesn't grow bacteria.
I keep my dog chain and a couple of Z-hooks in the jar, so I won't lose them, as well as a big box of "strike anywhere" kitchen matches, a couple of Bic lighters, a sharpening stone for my tramp knife, a magnesium "survival" fire starter (this thing works like a champ), a package of sewing needles, a thimble, and a couple of spools of thread, hard candy like peppermints and Tootsie Roll Pops, a small bottle of Tylenol and a bottle of ibuprofen (Motrin), and any important papers that I don't want to get wet.
I just carry one jar, but if you had more stuff you wanted to protect, I don't see any reason not to carry several. In the past I used to carry pasta, like macaroni and spaghetti (broken into shorter lengths) in a plastic mayonnaise jar, too. You could just use it for just about any kind of foodstuffs that were dry, like crackers, cookies, cornmeal, oatmeal, chips, trail mix and so on.
One thing I would not use it for is folding currency. It might be okay for change, but if you are carry any amount of folding money, you want it hidden on you. Keep in mind though, that the bad guys know this, and they'll be looking for a money belt, etc. The main value of a money belt is to avoid being pick-pocketed, or maybe if you look pretty poor and you get robbed at gunpoint, they might take the money in your wallet, but miss a money belt. I carry important papers in an inside pocket that I sewed myself. It's designed to have a belt threaded through it, so that it is trapped between two belt loops on your pants, and you wear it by flipping it over the top of the pants so that it is riding inside. The only thing that shows is a strip of denim cloth about three or four inches long on your belt. The rest is inside your clothing, and contains your important stuff--passport, large bills, traveler's checks, etc.
Most tramps don't bother with this sort of thing because they don't have much money or any valuables to worry about, but there are a few who look like they haven't got ten cents, but they actually have a few bucks stashed. My homeless friends here in Houston, pushing a shopping cart full of moldy, junky crap, actually have several hundred bucks all the time, but you'd have hell getting it off of them, LOL.
damn it kabar....you are the all knowledgeable tramp....im proud that you're my mystical grandfather!!!:crazy:
06-19-2002, 04:16 PM
Look up the stack and get my email address and send me yours. If we're gonna be related, we might as well be communicating, LOL.
06-20-2002, 06:39 PM
One of the most difficult things to find easily when you are hopping is a source of clean water. One can just go up to a house or a gas station, somewhere like that, and ask for water, of course, but most of the places I hop from are in mainly industrial areas. Likely residential or commercial sources are usually nowhere to be found.
Rail spurs frequently are routed behind large warehouse-type buildings, that often go for a block or more without many openings. Typically, there will be an access door or two, and right on the rail siding itself, a few large roll-up warehouse doors or a loading dock, but no people, and few, if any, windows.
BUT, I often notice small faucets spaced every so often, especially if there is landscaping or a loading dock nearby. These small faucets have no HANDLE. They usually have a recessed square shaft where the handle would be, but one cannot usually get a wrench or a pair of pliers to fit down into the recess to open the spigot. This type of faucet is called a "Sillcock." They are designed to keep people from tampering with a business' water faucets, like turning them on and leaving them on, as a prank.
FOLKS, you can buy a handle for these types of faucets in any hardware store. There are several different sizes and styles, and the handle that fits them is called a "sillcock key." The most common sillcock shaft is square and measures 1/4" on a side. There is more than one type of sillcock key, but the most common type has a butterfly-ears type design and a 1/4" square key hole. It costs about $2.00
Another type is "X"-shaped and has four different sized sillcock keys on it, sort of like a "X" tire tool, but much smaller, of course. One like this costs about $10, but it's worth it if you have a use for it.
If your local hardware store doesn't carry these (?) try a lawn and garden supply, a property management supply or a professional plumbing store. Tell them you have a part-time lawn maintenance business, if they ask why you want one. Nobody asked me anything.
Like everything else, there are some common-sense rules about stealing water from commercial warehouses, LOL. Don't drag out your sillcock key in front of any employees, the police, the security guards or any passers-by. USE YOUR HEAD. If you start drawing water from the Global Hegemonic XYZ Co. in front of some security guy, THEY ARE GOING TO SHUT OFF THE SILLCOCKS. Don't be a dumbass. Draw water when nobody can SEE you. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS shut the sillcock off and make SURE you leave no trace you have been there. DO NOT TAG OR STREAK THE WALL AT YOUR WATER SUPPLY. (Hel-LO! I don't need to tell anybody this unless they are mentally retarded or something.) LEAVE NO TRACE. DO NO DAMAGE. MAKE NO DISTURBANCE. You want to keep your water supply SECRET and UNDISTURBED. If you need to wash up or wash clothes, draw the water in a 5-gallon bucket, then carry it somewhere else to do the scrubbing. DO NOT LEAVE A MUDHOLE AT THE SILLCOCK.
If you use common sense and the barest minimum of enlightened self-interest, you'll be able to get clean, fresh water wherever you can find a secluded sillcock. Drink up! Free, courtesy of the free enterprise system, LOL.
06-20-2002, 10:44 PM
Interesting KaBar, another email awaits you :D :D
06-25-2002, 04:32 AM
i actually just picked up a sillcock key a few days ago... it's good stuff, very handy...
anyways, i'm leaving to go traveling in a week or so... mostly hitching and freighting i think... there's a thread in channel zero called "the amazing adventures of vinyl junkie"... i'm gonna keep a log of my travels in there and try to update it as often as possible... just thought folks in here might be interested...
06-27-2002, 08:26 AM
so, i have 2 things to add to kabar's thread...
first, i just read the book hobo by eddy joe cotton... i'm not sure if it's actually been released yet, but it definately will be... it was a fun read... not by any means a freight hopping manual or anything, but it was just a good read...
also, i would like to mention how much i love compressoin sacks... i picked one up at the army surplus... i keep a sleeping bag, a small pillow, a pair of carharts and a t shirt in one... and it all cinches down to about a square foot... it's good stuff...
07-09-2002, 04:40 PM
Bump for the info
07-25-2002, 08:09 AM
Shall we just let this thread go? There's a lot of good shit in here....
08-05-2002, 06:41 PM
Anybody got a question?
08-06-2002, 02:22 AM
i need a bit of a shoulder to lean ... it be appreciated if you could break this noodle down for me.
Im currently in the nyc area trying to head out directly West (San Francisco) .. whats to keep in mind? tactics? my worry mainly pertains to how I could make it from ny to Frisco in the least amount of time. please add any other tips or knowledge not already mentioned above (doubtable). good looking out..
08-06-2002, 03:14 AM
delta has some good rates, you may have to connect in fargo though
08-06-2002, 07:35 AM
You are in the middle of the city that was radically transformed by the events of 9/11. Security is everywhere. There are numerous yards that send and receive trains from every which way. You got big trouble.
Personally, I would get OUT of New York City altogether and hop from New Jersey or Connecticut. I've never ridden any trains in the New York City area at all, so any information I tried to give you would be worthless. You need to find an experienced NYC trainhopper. There are a few on trainhoppers.com that ride from the NYC area.
Sorry. Wish I could help.
08-06-2002, 02:45 PM
Originally posted by KaBar
You are in the middle of the city that was radically transformed by the events of 9/11. Security is everywhere. There are numerous yards that send and receive trains from every which way. You got big trouble.
Personally, I would get OUT of New York City altogether and hop from New Jersey or Connecticut. I've never ridden any trains in the New York City area at all, so any information I tried to give you would be worthless. You need to find an experienced NYC trainhopper. There are a few on trainhoppers.com that ride from the NYC area.
thanks for being honest and for at least sending me in the right direction.
sidenote: enjoy your damn self at Britt. i could see myself digging those festivities after I accumalate a little experience.
08-09-2002, 07:53 AM
ever spray a bum in the face?
08-13-2002, 04:14 AM
Nope. That would be "assault with a deadly weapon with intent to cause great bodily harm," a felony. If convicted, a person could get fifteen years in the penitentiary. I wouldn't like it there, so I avoid committing felonies, especially aggravated felonies, and especially in Texas. Annoying bums I just tell to go away, and they usually do after they process my request. It takes a little time to process thoughts if your brain is pickled in alcohol.
09-02-2002, 07:12 PM
09-02-2002, 09:56 PM
Someone sticky this..
KaBar is spouting off alot
09-20-2002, 06:58 AM
I think this is one of my original threads. I have been bumping it myself once in a while because it represents quite a bit of effort and time, and in the hopes that some new guy with questions about hopping might hit it and learn something. However, I'm considering letting it scroll off unless some of you guys disagree. Unlike some other threads I've participated in, most of the stuff on this one is pretty uncontroversial, but pretty informative.
09-20-2002, 06:16 PM
KaBar, what about keeping the thread bumped with some of those great excerpts that you originally posted in the Iowa Blackie thread, kill two birds with one stone. plus it seems to fit into the atmosphere of this thread.
anybody read the new book "poets on the peaks: gary snyder, philip whalen and jack kerouac in the north cascades" by john suiter? i just finished it, a good read! poets on the peaks (http://www.counterpointpress.com/1582431485.html)
09-21-2002, 08:29 AM
I'm easy either way. I enjoy writing all this shit, but I have to admit it, I get a lot of satisfaction from the attention it receives from 12 oz. readers. What does that say? I guess I'm an attention junkie, just like everybody else.
09-23-2002, 11:13 PM
KABAR, GUESS WHO I RAN INTO TODAY ON THE NS MAINLINE ? GIVE YOU A CLUE, ONE HANDSOME DOG????????? STRETCH, AND BURLINGTON DOG..MISSED HIM AT THE PENNSBURG GATHERING, I WAS SICK, AND DIDN'T GO, HE REMEMBERED ME FROM LAST YEAR, WE HUNG OUT FOR THE DAY, I BROUGHT HIM BACK SOME CORNED BEEF, PACKS OF RAMEN NOODLES, AND SOME BEEF JERKY FOR BURLINGTON...HE'LL BE CATCHING OUT TONIGHT, AND IS HEADED TO THE NEXT GATHERING[ YOU KNOW WHERE THAT ONE IS I'M SURE], AND EVENTUALLY HEADING DOWN YOUR WAY IN A FEW WEEKS...MISSED THE PENNSBURG GATHERING THIS YEAR, BUT I'LL MAKE IT NEXT YEAR, WHETHER I'M SICK OR NOT...HOPE TO MEET YOU THERE SOME DAY...FR8HOUND.
09-24-2002, 07:56 AM
See? You gotta love the Internet, no shit.
09-25-2002, 02:41 AM
STRETCH WAS STILL THERE TODAY, HE NEVER CATCHED OUT LASTNIGHT, TOO MANY BEERS, HEHEEE..BUT HE SAID HE WAS PRETTY DEFINITE HE'D BE GONE TONIGHT SOMETIME..AND YEAH, I TOOK BURLINGTON DOG, SOME MORE BEEF JERKY TODAY...
09-25-2002, 07:21 AM
I heard from Tex, he said there were more than 70 tramps (edit: 9/25/02--latest figures say "over 100") in the jungle at Pennsburg, including a lot of young, "Flintstone" riders. Redbird Express, King of Hobos, was the organizer and the Perkiomen School in Pennsburg was the host. Pennsburg is a very odd event--a national gathering of tramps, hobos and homeless drifters hosted by a prestigious prep school. Red Bird talked them into it eleven years ago, and it has just been a resounding success since then.
Rik Palieri sent a note detailing playing his banjo and singing songs with the Flintstone Kids up in the Boxcar Hotel, and says everybody enjoyed it, although apparently there was a fight that was quickly broken up. In my opinion, one shouldn't let something like a little tipsy fisticuffs mar an otherwise peaceful event. I mean, after all, five days of 70 tramps and only one fight? Sounds like exemplary behavior to me.
Rik said he learned a new song written by the Flintstone Kids called "Up On The High Line", but that it's not the sort of song you sing for your mother.
There was a wedding, too. Tramp Printer and his fiancee got married at Pennsburg.
You guys near Pennsylvania ought to make plans to go next year. Rubber tramps and old timers in RV's are just as welcome as guys who ride in, and the Flintstones tattoos-and-piercings crowd. I'm definately going to try to make it.
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