Ever want to hop a freight train?  

bullseyetou 63M
119 posts
12/19/2005 5:53 pm

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

Ever want to hop a freight train?

When I was younger I did a lot reckless things.
At one point I had decided to hitchhike from Seattle, WA to Phoenix, AZ for the winter; it was late October when I set out the weather was still nice in Seattle but being an easterner I had no idea how treacherous the mountains could be.

I had hitchhiked as far as a small town in Oregon when I realized this trip was going too slow; the weather was starting to turn raw; I needed to speed things up. It was night, found a mom and pop restaurant and bought a bowl of chile; first time I'd ever tasted the stuff.

With a full belly I wandered back toward the highway hoping for a long distance ride.
There it was, a freight train lazily moving through town, heading south. Couldn't be doing more than ten miles an hour. Free ride to the sun and a warm climate; nice place to spend the winter.

I go for it, I see a car with open side doors and I start moving, 30lb pack on my back pushing my legs and lungs for all their worth, I grab a handrail and swing myself up. Collapse in exhaustion and satisfaction in the doorway.

After a few minutes rest I look around. The car is empty aside from a little sawdust and a piece of cardboard on the floor. I smile to myself and watch the little town disappear as we pick up speed as we leave.

Its getting chilly in the doorway so I move to the front of the car away from the direct wind.
I lean up in one of the front corners, I can still feel considerable wind blowing around in the car. There are little eddys of sawdust dancing in the moonlight by the doors. I warm myself with thoughts of spending the winter in the sunbelt.

The movement of the train is hypnotic, how long has it been since I last slept? I left Seattle yesterday morning, 36 hours? I drift off.

Its pitch dark when I wake up and it is very cold. My fingers and toes hurt from the cold. Best move around; get the blood flowing. I move to the door to look around. Not much to see its pretty dark. There are pines and snow and we are climbing; this is not good.

I keep moving for awhile and finally pull every shred of clothing I own from my backpack and multilayer. I even put my backpack over my boots for extra protection from the relentless wind and ball up in my corner.

Finally the sun comes up. I hobble over to the doors again and soak up as much as I can. The train eventually slows down for another small town and I'm outta there. Rolling in the snow, frozen and worn.

Next time I hop a freight its in summer.


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