So here's the deal, all
the pictures below were taken in color, but to conserve space and download
time for those of us not equipped with speedy connections I made them in
black and white and smaller than the originals. It looks kinda cool and
rustic and it loads overall a lot quicker. Being the considerate retard
that I am, though, I've made a mirror site with all the same info and pics,
but the pics are in color and full size.
Another note: if you
have a shitty video card like me then scroll slowly because these pics
will take plenty of time for your card to load em.
Here we be. About to
leave, looking like real white people.
i'm tired so excuse any
grammatical or spelling errors.
night one: we're given
a ride (from jon) to the closest place in davis where we've seen trains
stop. 8pm. vern and i see a line of stopped cars, but not hooked up to
any caboose. jon wishes us good luck and leaves. vern and i get into the
first empty and open car we see. we scope out the scene and decide to wait
for a train to come along. surely enough after about 30 minutes one comes
a long...right next to ours (there are about four tracks side by side).
it's going entirely too fast to hop it. we start down the tracks and look
for a position where the train might slow a bit more. we come to the train
station and see a train coming, but it's still going too fast to hop. so
we walk about 1200m and wait along an empty bridge hoping that it'll be
slowest along here. a scrappy looking guy comes along. mind you it's about
11pm by this time and dark as ever. he walks right up to us. my hand is
in my jacket pocket holding my switchblade. when he's two feet away from
us he asks "you guys seen a drunk guy walk across these tracks?" we both
say no and he asks again, but slightly differently. i say that i saw a
guy a few hundred yards up the tracks, but he didn't look drunk. so then
the guy leaves vanishing into the bushes. a couple times he comes out of
the bushes and walks across the tracks back and forth. meanwhile only one
train comes and it's going too fast. we abandon that idea. we walk towards
the freeway hoping to catch a ride out of davis so we're not tempted to
spend the night at home. no such luck. we head back to the original open
cars and settle there. it's well past midnight so we settle down and decide
to spend the night in davis...sleeping in the box cars. vern sleeps quite
well. i do not sleep at all. at around 3am two trains pass us really fast.
then a little later i hear some screaching...no it's not vern's ass. then
i feel a thump and a jerk of the train. this wakes vern up and i'm fucking
freaking out. i was really scared because i heard footsteps outside and
here we are in our sleeping bags ready to be butt-raped by the hobo gang.
at any rate the train starts heading east, with us on it. this lasts about
40 seconds, then we go back west again for 40 seconds, then we stop for
5 minutes then, without any thump or warning we head east again, this time
we're not stopping. vern and i get out of the sleeping bags. i'm fucking
scared off my ass and have no idea what to expect. we see sacramento come
and go then roseville then we stop, this is around 4am or so. for the next
2 hours or so we just wait to start going again. there are trains on either
side of us so we figure we're at a train depot of sorts.
day one: at sunrise we
get out and check around. the 80 freeway is to our left and about 10 more
train tracks are to our right...it's a union pacific station is what i'm
thinking. so we cook up some coffee and some oatmeal. it was the best coffee
i've ever had and the oatmeal was better than a niners super bowl win (well
almost). we hang out for 4 hours at this graveyard of trains trying to
hop onto a train heading east...all to no avail. meanwhile we are carrying
our packs and canteen while dodging the union pacific staff who looks over
the trains. eventually we take to the road. we hump it to the nearest freeway
entrance we can find. at this point my shoulders are killing me...i'm definitely
not the backpacking type and i'm running off of absolutely zero sleep.
oddly though i've got energy. my shoulders, however, are sore. so after
a couple miles of trekking through roseville we find a good on ramp. we
set down our stuff and stick out our thumbs. it felt really weird doing
something like that...either you see it in the movies or you see bums do
it. it's not something you see yourself doing so it felt surreal, but then
again so did the train ride. one car passes and doesn't look. then another
and then the third car (a black child molester type van) pulls over. we
run to it and ask the guy where he's going. he says east which is good
enough for me. i've got my switchblade and vern's got my other one too,
so we're set. i try opening the back door, but it doesn't work. so we both
go through the front door which could have been bad because he could have
waited for one of us to be in and then just floored it. at any rate we
both get in and we all talk about regular stuff. he's a painter who just
got laid off and he was in the marine corps...fucking great suicide material...even
better murdering spree material. he tells us he'll take us to some town
just a few miles up because the cops there aren't as mean as the roseville
cops. we get to that exit and he decides he'll take us further - to auburn...uh
okay, that works we say. meanwhile he's swerving all over the place, cutting
people off and missing exit signs by just a few feet. he takes us to auburn
and dumps us near a foster's freeze wishing us good luck. thanks, bye.
his name was daniel c. miller and i thought he was a really stand up guy.
my hope for humanity, oddly, increased after meeting him. he reminds me
a lot of my dad's cousin (whose name escapes me now, but he's the bumish
one who is probably the most happy person i've met). we bum it at foster's
freeze for a bit admiring some hotties and resting a bit. then we take
off for another highway 80 onramp. we get to one about 1200m down the road.
shoulders still sore. we wait there for about 40 minutes. at this point
we had signs made out saying "north" and "east"...for about 25 minutes
we used those and we had no luck so we wrote on the back of the north sign
"we vote" the implication being that we're not bums, we're honest, voting
citizens just trying to get a ride. so we get a ride from a kinda gay,
but really nice guy in his early twenties who is going about 15 miles up
the road to colfax. we get there and all we see is a subway sandwich place
and a cheap gas station. (side note...the highest price for gas i saw was
$2.21 for the 92 octane). we wait there about 30 minutes or so, maybe more...it's
a really small place, but someone pulls up and offers a ride. she looks
pretty nice and opens the trunk on my way to the trunk i see a single sticker
on her car window "Beastie Boys." i offer her my soul and all my money.
no, i put my stuff in the trunk and ask her 'what's your favorite beastie
boys album'...she thinks a little then i ask "paul's boutique?"...she says
"yea, that has to be it actually."...great album i say. so she takes us
really far, up to donner summit. it's butt ass cold up there and i'm wearing
shorts. before that, though, we talk about the beastie boys and what she
does...she's a teacher for 11th grade in oakland. she (tracy is her name)
really likes john coltrane (my favorite jazz musician) and she likes radiohead
too (vern's favorite band). so, needless to say, we both loved tracy and
offered our bodies in return for her favor. she accepted and we had wild
sex in the car. never mind. so as soon as we get to the rest stop at the
top of donner's summit i put on my pants and vern looks for a ride. in
the middle of putting on my pants we get a ride...so we hop in and get
a ride down to reno, much better elevation, much better traffic flow. this
guy was a civic engineer in the making and was looking for a job. he listens
to smashing pumpkins and has a nice kenwood receiver so he's pretty down
(for those of you who aren't hip: that means he's pretty cool). we're in
reno and we're bums. it rocked. reno was a complete shit hole. in fact
nevada is complete shit...all of it. we get on a freeway onramp and wait.
lots of hicks in their old chevy and ford pickups. finally a latio guy
offers a ride so we get in the back of his truck - ooh, scary. we get a
ride about 20 miles down the highway to this little piece of shit town.
all it has is a gas station and a taco bell inside the gas station. we
clean up in the bathroom and i change into my pants...bums are allowed
to do that without being in the bathroom so i just did it outside. then
we get to the onramp and wait for a ride. we were really close once...a
guy was with his girlfriend and we gave a really nice sweet smile which
didn't impress him (he was driving), but she jumped on him and begged him
to stop...oh well.
night two: as FATE would
have it we did have someone stop for us - washoe county sheriff. she gets
out and asks where we're going, where we're coming from, if we have any
outstanding warrants, tells us that hitchhiking in washoe county is illegal
(wow it is!?), and then asks if we have any weapons. uh, yes ma'am i have
this illegal switchblade straight from europe...actually i didn't tell
her that. i said we had swiss army knives and that's it. after looking
at our ID she asks vern how old he is...he says 21 and then she says 'this
picture makes you look 12'...never were more true words spoken! after looking
at mine she asks 'where is rajah st.'...uh that's where i lived you stupid
bitch! actually i just said that it was near magic mountain in southern
calif. she says she used to live in sylmar...in case you don't know about
sylmar it's a pretty small place in los angeles county so her being from
there is pretty amazing. then she says we have two options: "i can
arrest you and you'll have a place to sleep tonight, or i can give you
a ride to border town about 8 miles up the road." uh we'll take the ride.
"ok then i'll need to pat you down to make sure you don't have any weapons"
so we think - oh shit don't do that. luckily she says "you can put whatever
swiss army knives or whatever into your bags and then i'll pat you down"
we got really lucky there. she pats us down...so i guess you could say
i got some action! she puts the bags into the trunk and we get a ride to
bordertown. what a fucking dump. we eat dinner there because it's really
really cold and we want to be inside as much as possible. this is another
place with only a restaurant and a gas station. we sleep outside right
off highway 395. i sleep a combination of 1 hour the whole night...i've
found out that i'm claustrophobic...that mummy sleeping bag (which is only
kind good enough to keep the whole body warm) just stifles me way too much.
i was awake pretty much the whole time. even vern only got about 4.5 hours
of sleep that night.
day two: we 'woke up' at
around 6am. there was frost on our sleeping bags and our backpacks...a
bad sign. i checked the diner, it wouldn't open till 7am. so we made some
coffee with our little stove and pot...really a nice contraption actually.
that coffee was the best coffee i've ever had...even better than the day
before. i cursed the whole morning until the diner opened up. i was so
ready to go home i was so tired i was so cold. we ate pancakes and took
our time in the diner. dan (one of the bus boys) got us water the night
before and i think he recognized us. dan is a great guy, i can tell. he
works hard and tries to be a stand up person. i wish i could have given
him some money. at any rate we leave there around 8am or so and hit the
onramp...it's not much of an onramp and it only feeds from the bordertown
so the traffic is very limited. so we run onto the actual highway (395
north) and try and get people to stop from there...of course they're going
80 mph so they will not likely stop. we see a group of four kids from minnesota
stop by the CA border sign, but their car is full so they bid us farewell
and good luck. about 3 hours later a chick pulls over and offers a ride
about 8 miles from susanville (which is where we wanted to go) naturally
we take it. she was nice and i slept in the car for about 2 minutes...my
head bobbed all over and it was a pathetic sight. so we get dropped off.
we eat and then start walking toward susanville while asking for rides.
we see 2 highway patrol cars total, but one keeps going back and forth
looking for speeders. then a sheriff passes us, then later he comes back
and stops by us. i'm playing the harmonica when he comes up. he asks the
same questions and all that. another sheriff stops and joins the orgy.
after they figure out that we're cool they let us go and say good luck.
we hitchhike some more and eventually get a ride from a good looking girl
named denise. she's from montana and recently moved to sacramento. we tell
her about our radio show and all that. she was awesome too. she gives us
a ride to susanville. we stop by a gas station and find out where the 44
is...it's the one that goes toward redding, which is right on the 5...so
we can head back home. we weren't tired of it, but we were definitely tired.
as you might be able to tell, the day goes by very slowly...it seems like
a week, at the same time we always had energy to do it. it was much fun.
at any rate we stop off at a grocery store along main st...which feeds
to highway 44 (redding) and 89 (shasta)...both leading to highway 5. we
wait there for about 20 minutes and the small town folk actually seem to
like us, but no ride comes. then a couple scraggly looking young fellows
in a VW scirocco. they say they're going to medford oregon...perfect...runs
right through shasta. i kinda would have liked to go to oregon just for
bragging rights, but it could have been raining, who knows...so they move
a BUNCH of shit out of the back seat and clear room for us. it's a tight
fit, but it works. there's a potato at my feet. who knows how it got there,
how long it's been there...they were bigger bums than us. first thing they
ask 'do you guys like country' second thing they ask 'do you guys smoke
herb' third thing they ask 'why not'...it was funny. we ended up listen
to kid rock. around lassen, it was snowing and we saw a wolf, that rocked.
later they pulled off onto a back secluded road and stopped...scary. they
got out and so did vern and i. they lit up and really nice about being
downwind from us...overall i'd say these guys were really cool. then one
of them introduces himself as travis. his friend is off smoking by the
front of the car and says that his name is dumbass...that's what they call
me when i'm at his house so that's what you can call him. i thought that
was funny. then he snaps out a knife and picks his teeth with it. that
was a bit scary, but actually not as much so as you might think. i think
it has something to do with the knowledge that allah is on my side, or
something. so we get back into the car and have a nice safe ride up to
shasta. we wish them a good trip, say thanks and they do the same. in shasta
it's freezing cold so we lobby really hard for a ride. one girl passes
us and as she passes i give the 'ah come on look,' with a droopy face,
and she turns around and asks where we're going. she is perfectly flawed.
that is to say that she's not a model and some might think she's nothing
special, but i was hooked right away. man i had a feeling about her. anyway,
she was going down 89 (where we just came from) so we didn't get a ride
from her. i never saw her again, but one day maybe i will and we'll have
babies together...i'm a hopeless romantic.
night three: night settled
in quickly and it was super cold. we ate over-priced mexican food. then
we rented a motel for 42 bucks. that kinda sucked, but without a tent it
had to be done. oh, after coming out of the mexican food place these drunkards
gave us shit for not being white enough or something. i pulled out my knife
and cut off their tongues. no, but i wanted to. drunk people are retarded.
i had more fun hoping on one train than you'll ever have destroying your
liver - fuck you! okay enough commentary.
day three: we woke up the
next morning in a nice motel room rented out to us by an some indian guy.
funny family i must say. so we hit the road at around 11am. we ditched
our shitty canteen and just used our two 1 quart bottles hoping the reserve
one gallon canteen wouldn't be necessary. we didn't get a ride for a long
time and when we did it was from an unshaven guy who only went down the
road 6 miles, to dunsmuir. we listened to wrapped around your finger by
the police - that was cool. once in dunsmuir...another shitty one gas station
town, we waited around for a long while. a sheriff came by and gave us
the same stuff...blah blah blah. he said that one time a guy waited in
dunsmuir for 5 days trying to get out...he said it was really hard to get
rides out of dunsmuir...good luck he says. we were right over a train underpass...we
saw a couple go by, but too quickly. then one stopped. so we ran down the
hill and looked for an open car...but it started to move so vern jumped
up and looked into one of the bins...he was on and i was jogging along
side it waiting for him to decide. he said it was dirty, but it was up
to me...i said do it. so we got in and got very dirty...it was extremely
rusty and dusty inside, but we were moving again. we were moving fairly
well and right along the sacramento river and the 5 freeway. it rocked...took
lots of pictures along this stretch. we stopped briefly a couple times.
then a bit of dust starts to kick up...no idea what it is, but it's just
a bit, then it's more, and then it subsides a bit again...not much later
we start to slow down pretty quickly...not a jerky stop like a slam on
the brakes, but a quicker than normal stop...nothing jarring though. so
we peek our heads up to see a box car off the tracks and on its side. as
i look at it more and see the dust clear i see a small flame developing.
i'm not fucking joking. then vern and i are fucking amazed and just in
awe. we look at it more and more and the flame gets really big. we hope
it doesn't start a forest fire. we hope it doesn't explode, etc. up ahead
we see a couple cars on the track are tilted a little bit to the left and
another to the right. so then the flame dies down a bit and i tell vern
to hang tight i'm going to check what's up and if the train starts moving
again that i'll hop back in....so i run about 7-8 cars ahead where the
burning car is and i see the sight of a lifetime. i see the over turned
car. i see springs that once comprised the shocks on the ground spaced
out...i see the other cars in front of us off the rail and tipping over...i
see the rail is literally broken, not bent - broken off. i see the wooden
spacers are no longer a foot apart from each other...now they're all squished
together or broken in half. i see a lot of wack shit. i get vern and we
get our stuff. i take some pictures and then see a guy up ahead bending
down...he may or may not have seen me, but i tell vern to start walking
so we walk the opposite direction...luckily we're on the other side of
the train. we see a path towards highway 5 so we take it. it's on a big
hill because the river and the tracks are both in the bottom the canyon.
we make it to the 5 north. i suggest running across so we can get to the
5 south and hitch a ride from someone, but instead we walk a mile up the
five to a small town with NO services. no water, no gas, no anything. then
we bust out the map and see that the closest town is 6 miles down (south)
the road. figuring getting a ride out of a town with a population of 2
is going to be tough we head south. about 2 hours later we're about 6 miles
down the road...i think our original calculation of 6 miles was off, but
it was okay because a mile before the town was a rest stop.
night four: we had just
literally walked 5 or more miles with our packs on our backpacks on and
it turned dark. we were walking alongside the freaking 5 south. no one
stopped. no one cared. it was crazy. so vern goes to the bathroom and i
watch our stuff. i see a hottie go into the bathroom. then vern comes out
of the bathroom and the hottie comes out just after him. i stop her and
ask really nicely 'i'm sorry, but are you heading south by any chance?'
she says yes and i ask if we could possibly get a ride...vern adds that
we're students and we can show her our school id cards....she looks at
them and i add that we've just walked like 5 miles and we're tired, we
just want to get as far south as possible. she says it's kinda weird and
she's never done that kinda thing before. 'are you going to kill me? because
my mom would be really mad if you did' she laughingly asks...we say no...she
says okay i'll give you a ride. i felt bad for using such sympathy tactics,
but it had to be done and i was determined to not dissapoint....thus i
decided not to kill her, or something. we talk a bit and she seems really
nice, blah blah. eventually she says she's having trouble focusing (she
forgot her glasses) and asks if anyone has their license... i say i do.
then she asks if i can drive stick. of course i can. so i end up driving
her car. it was pretty crazy. felt like a role reversal. her name's katie
and she's super cool. vern offers to pay for some gas, but she declines.
so we wrap the five spot around one of my masseuse business cards and put
it in her bag. along the way she even falls asleep. i love being trusted.
it's so great. eventually i take her pretty close to where she's going
and it's right where we need to be because it's only 20 miles from davis
and right off the 80 freeway which feeds into davis. so i get out of the
car and before she takes the wheel i ask if she's okay to drive, she says
yea. i was hoping she would have given a 'uh, well, yea i guess' type response.
that way the benefits could be two-fold...first i'd drive to davis and
second she'd spend the night and we could discover that we were meant to
be, or something. neither happened. so here we are in vacaville and it's
about 10pm. so we call jon and scott, neither are around. shit. so we go
to denny's and eat. megan, the hottie waitress serves us. afterwards vern
asks 'what time do you get off?' ...3:30am 'where do you live' she gives
and odd look and then says in town. then we explain that we're just trying
to get to davis...she wishes us good luck. then we finish up and try calling
for a ride home again. freaking phone calls cost 75 cents and freaking
gas stations won't give change unless you buy something and freaking gas
stations don't freely dispense water and air (i didn't want any, but it's
the law now that they provide free air and water in CA gas stations)...at
any rate we eventually got scott to give us a ride home.
that's about if for that
trip. it was crazy, it was exciting, it was tiring, it was worth more than
a 2000 dollar vacation at club-med and it offers far more bragging rights.
i've found a new respect for trains, bums, and hitchhikers. i know i'm
bound to get mail from people telling me i'm crazy or stupid, but kindly
reserve that for another time.
this month rocked in every
way possible. i think finding a girlfriend really would be the best end
to it all.
it's 4am so i should get
some rest. i think this has been the longest update, ever.
i really wouldn't doubt
that the train wreck would be in the local papers. it was just near lakehead
near lake shasta...so look out for it.
goodnight. thank you train
out of davis, dan c. miller, colfax guy, tracy, civic engineer hopeful
guy, bordertown lady, denise, travis and dumbass, unshaven guy, train out
of dunsmuir (even if you did die), and last, but definitely not least,
This is the rail we
took towards Roseville on the first night. (Vern took this pic)
This is inside the
train car, we're chillin' for the night, waiting for the morning...
Me making some oatmeal
and coffee the first morning. (Vern took this pic)
After making some food
we tried to catch another east bound train...here Vern is up on a car scouting
things out. (Vern took this pic)
As it turned out a
train came along and picked us up. Here we are getting the fuck out of
ghetto ass Reno in the back of this guy's pickup truck.
Vern, the poser.
Me in the same truck,
heading out of Reno. I look retarded, but the clouds look nice.
After we got dropped
of outside of Reno cop #1 picks us up and takes us to Bordertown. Here
we are waiting for a ride.
Nice skies, but cold
nights. Please let us get a ride out of here.
There up to the right
is the whole town. It consists of one gas station, a diner, and a casino
in the back.
Still in Bordertown.
Diner to the left, highway 395 just behind us and the railroad tracks in
front of us. We slept right off this road here - about 150 feet from the
Wake up the next morning
and try to get a ride the hell out of Bordertown... (Vern took this pic)
Eventually we gave
up standing here and decided to go onto the highway and get a ride. (Vern
took this pic)
Finally got out of
Bordertown, now heading toward Susanville. We were dropped off near this
abandoned house. (Vern took this pic)
The abandoned house
is behind Vern who is taking this picture. This spot where I was laying
down was perfectly molded to my body. (Vern took this pic)
Still hanging around
and eating after getting that ride out of Bordertown. (Vern took this pic)
There goes Vern eating
his salami. Dropped off some postcards in the mailboxes in the background.
(Vern took this pic)
Vern standing around,
we're about to start out towards Susanville. (Vern took this pic)
Vern needs to take
a dump. We get stopped by cop #2 right around this here spot. Lucky timing
to have that there truck coming as we wait for the timer to take the picture.
We're heading North
and, yes, we vote.
Much later in the trip.
We're out of Susanville, in Mt. Shasta after a relaxing stay at motel India.
We've just ditched our crappy canteen and trying to get out of Mt. Shasta.
(Vern took this pic)
Here I am hanging out
in Dunsmuir after getting a 6 mile ride out of Mt. Shasta. We got stopped
by cop #3 in Dunsmuir who says getting a ride out of Dunsmuir is impossible....
(Vern took this pic)
We beg to differ, this
here train picked us up quite nicely. It didn't really wait for us to get
in before it started moving, but beggars can't be choosers.
Vern looking, well,
Me squinting and squatting.
As everything else
on this trip, this picture was perfectly timed.
Looking back towards
Still in the train
these are the Castle Crags.
Looking back towards
Looking around, still
This tunnel was built
This be the Sacramento
River, highway 5 is to our right.
Still in the boxcar,
heading towards Davis...here is another one of those train depots. (Vern
took this pic)
This car was even more
on fire before this shot was taken. Before that there was a bunch of dust
and dirt kicked up so we couldn't even see the car.
Here's a closer shot.
Notice behind the overturned car there are a couple cars that seem tilted...
Essentially the same
picture... (Vern took this pic)
Um, yea, those aren't
supposed to be broken. Notice there is a spring in between the rails, just
behind the closest rail. That's supposed to be on the car, it's not.
More fucked up tracks.
Hmmm, there in the background what is that? Oh yes, it's a wheel. A wheel
that should be on the tracks. What's more is this car to the right also
seems to be off the tracks; very odd.
Chris the photographer...
(Vern took this pic)
Different angle of
the same picture as below... (Vern took this pic)
Is that rail supposed
to be cracked in half like a pencil?
After the above picture
was taken I noticed the conductor was walking around on the other side
of the train. Needless to say we had rather not talk with him so we hiked
up towards highway 5. This picture was taken at the top of the hill with
highway 5 right behind us.
A few miles of walking
later...along highway 5, still another hour or so from the nearest rest
Nice textured clouds.
Sign reads "Rest Area
Here's the text from
the update describing the trip, I've left it unedited:
Mt. Shasta, without
all the snow.