It seems it’s been since September that I posted last. I was hoping I was staying in Boston but I was just unable to get another job. So when the end of October and I still had nothing reliable I took off again. Pat’s father was kind enough to purchase me a plane ticket out to Chicago and arranged a ride for me out to Oregon, Il so that I could take care of my legal issue. So currently my name is all clear! After court I headed back into Chicago to meet up with some friends in Wicker Park to start our journey across the states out to Seattle.
What a journey it was. Day one started out just walking from Chicago up to Bensonville. After a day and a half sitting around, eating, and flyin a sign we hopped a train and ended up in Milwaukee. The city wasn’t really so bad, seems like it would be pretty cool to visit, but it was pretty much impossible to get out of. We spent Halloween there sitting at the hop out waiting for some train going any direction to stop, but none did. We ended up walking out and making our way up to Portage to catch a train. The farther north we went the colder it was getting, but we hadn’t seen anything yet.
From Portage we caught a train going west, which took us to St. Paul. Just outside of LaCrosse though our train stopped for some unknown reason and we saw someone walking towards us so we hid. The man walked by, and then walked back again and jumped on the car we were on. Of course. Turns out he didn’t even see us, he was just out fixing an issue and wanted to catch a ride back to the front of the train. He told us where we were going, and gave us a few other tips. Nice fellow, and didn’t kick us off! Twin Cities was pretty laid back as well, but we didn’t really want to mess around in the yards the. My friends told me a horror story of being humped in the Minnie yard, not really our idea of fun, so we walked out and headed to Wilmar.
What a town. People seemed fairly friendly. We camped out the first night, and then the second night we tried to jump a train but ended up getting pulled off by police before the train even left because a worker had seen us. The cops were really cool though, once our names came back they offered to drive us to a save place to sleep which was located near the split by the track for south and west, told us which was which, and then gave us ten bucks! The next day after an awesome lunch at a China Buffet we headed back to the yard to a new spot, squatted a shed for the night and ended up getting out in the morning. We ended up on a train for quite a while, I’m not sure how many hours. Maybe 15? We were trying to get to Fargo, North Dakota. Around 10pm we took a turn South though on some lake, we didn’t really give it much notice though, not like we could do anything anyways. It started raining shortly after, and the temperature dropped, and then the rain turned into a light snow, and the temperature dropped again. I don’t think I’ve ever been so cold in my life.
The train finally stopped. We could see a small town about 2 miles away. We made it to Fargo…or so we thought. We decided to hop off to find shelter instead of waiting for the train to roll all the way into town. We were next to a grainery. The dogs were loving the snow, but we hated it. So cold. It wasn’t until the next day we found out the temperature was around -4 degrees F. At first we took refuge in an unlocked semi truck, but there wasn’t really room to sleep with three people and three dogs. So myself and one of the others hopped out to find a better place, with more room. The electrical room was unlocked and was a million times warmer than it was outside, so we all piled in there and played some motha fuckin dice and cooked some mothafuckin food. haha.
When we were looking around at some of the loose paperwork though, we discovered we were in Aberdeen, South Dakota , not Fargo. After charger my phone up, I was able to confirm we were in fact, in SD. Awesome.
We managed to get a hotel for a couple nights to avoid the cold front, and when we left the hotel the temperature was at a whopping 34 degrees! Thankfully we were able to get on another train that night. It didn’t go far though, and ended up siding out for about 24 hours. While it was stopped we cracked a boxcar to get in and avoid the weather. Late that night the train aired up! We were going again, but nothing happened, and then a crew member walked by and poked his head in and shined a light at us. Told us to get out of the boxcar.
Fantastic, here we are, in the middle of nowhere South Dakota, the nearest town was 30 miles away. It’s freezing outside, and our only way out was about to leave us behind. But then the crew member walked back to us and told us where the train was going and that after he turned his back from us he didn’t car what we did as long as he didn’t see us. So we jumped back on. Another few hours later we were in a new town called Thunderhawk I think. Up in North Dakota. Small town it was. But friendly. Thankfully we were able to catch another train out of this town after a full day of nothing.
This train took us all the way into Laurel, Montana. Shortly before we rolled into Laurel, I jumped onto the pusher unit, because there was no room to hide. Durring an inspection a worker came on. I was hiding in the bathroom. Of course he decided to check it. I was kicked off. Shortly after my friends were kicked off. I hadn’t told them I was kicked off the unit though, and they got the idea to jump on it, and shortly after got kicked off as well, and nearly arrested! Thankfully they didn’t.
To skip over some lame events, we split ways the following day after disagreements. I went back into Billings, and while there someone purchased me a bus ticket all the way to Seattle. Sure thing!
I spent about a week and a half in Seattle, Including my 21st birthday, which happened to be on Thanksgiving day. My friends room mates cooked up a good vegan dinner which was tasty and just gave me something to do and people to chill with. Couldn’t be happier with that. I tried to hitch hike out the first day, but had no luck. I ended up meeting up with my friend Kearston who I had met earlier in the year out in Boston. She invited me over to where she was staying to have some coffee or something. I ended up crashing for the night. She was staying at the FBK house, where I just found out she is now living at permantly. All the people there were pretty cool, very friendly, and helpful. Danny gave me some good info on hopping a train out of Seattle. It took me three days, but I finally got on a train going south. It took me to Portland before it turned east to go to Chicago.
My friend from German class had said whenever I made it to town I could crash on her couch for a night. So I called her up and she was ready for me. She made me dinner and we talked for a bit. In the morning she had work, and I took off to try and get another train out of town. After a hearty breakfast I walked to where I had jumped off my train hoping to catch another southbound there. Sure enough, after about an hour I was able to catch one. I was on this next train for a full 24 hours before it stopped just outside of my hometown. It’s very odd riding a train through the area I grew up in . But very awesome. I called up my brother to pick up and he did so.
After a bit of visiting with friends and family for a day or two, I headed up to Grass Valley to see some more friends and hang out with my friend Karl, who’s house I ended up crashing at. In the morning I caught a ride to Auburn, and then another ride to Sacramento to visit with my Grandma. And after a few hours with my Grandma, I met up with some high school friends who lived in Sac. Crashed with them for two nights and had a blast! It’s always good to see old friends. I ended up hitch hiking as far south as The Bay Area, before I got tired of waiting for people to stop, and I just took public transportation into Santa Cruz. After a few hours on the bus, bart and more busses I was in SC. Met up with my homies and had a good ol’ time as usual. After two days I met up with some other punk and travelers, one of which joined up with me to head south to LA. We took HWY 1 south through Big Sur. It was a beautiful drive.
Hitching the one is an interesting experience to. I’ve never seen so many other people trying to catch rides, when someone does stop it’s usually a short distance. So it’s constantly passing familiar faces again and again. Almost like a race. After a few rides we met up with some people we had met in Santa Cruz and hung out with them for a bit. Some construction workers that were building a new bridge along the coast called us over to share some beers and have a good time. They were crazy, but really awesome folk. We ended up staying a few hours, cooked some food, and parted ways late to find a camp ground we could sneak onto instead of searching for a safe place off the road to sleep.
In the morning we separated in to two groups of two to better our chances of getting rides. After about two hours of nothing we joined together again and somehow managed a ride all the way to Hollywood! The guy who picked us up was incredibly awesome to.
Derek and I had a blast once we found our way onto Hollywood Blvd. Saw some crazy things, met some crazy people, hung out with a guy chillin in a trashcan, sold some weed, met up with a friend of his on total accident. And were housed up by a sex freak that wanted his nuts. Thankfully she got to drunk and passed out, we were able to leave in the morning with out waking her.
We were supposed to be on Jay Leno, but we woke up to late, so that didn’t happen. Oh well. We headed off to Venice beach where we met up with one of his old Road dogs, ate some shitty food, and enjoyed the night. We ended up House Of Ink as extras. Derek was supposed to get a tattoo but had no ID so they just used us to joke and laugh about on air. It was exciting though. When it started raining and we had to find a dry place to sleep. Thankfully we did, and we slept good. The next day we met up with some other travelers who had just finished there trim season up in Mendocino and had bought a bad ass van. They gave us a ride up to the Boardwalk. I stayed a couple hours and then took off to try and find my way to Vegas. Only after being apart of the Venice Beach Freakshow parade.
I ended up taking a bus all the way to Union Station where I was hoping to take a bus all the way to Vegas, but they wouldn’t accept cash. My sister was awesome enough to find another bus, and paid for the ticket for me with the promise that I would pay her back once I got a job.
And now I’m in Vegas. Enjoying life on the inside. Showering every day, I have new clothes instead of the same pair I wore all year long. And On the Job Hunt. Enjoy some photos.