moving trains

the last time i mentioned one of my freight-hopping trips, i left off about the part where michael and i were huddling down in the moonlit sprawl of a freight car full of scrap metal. this was kinda cool and all, but we were starting to get somewhat discouraged by the realization that this train wasn't moving.

i stole this picture from the internets in case
anyone was having a hard time
imagining a scrap metal train car.
as discouraged as we were with not-moving trains, somewhere in the future michael and i would have trouble with trains that moved too much. on this night, however, we decided to make the critical decision of hopping on the next moving train we saw (more or less). this looks a lot easier and a lot less terrifying than it is.

we stayed outta sight. the engineer came through at the beginning of the train. these guys have radios and can communicate to a variety of anti-freight-hopping sources. engineers, however tend to be nice. maybe we should have...

avoided the bulls. being an amateur, i mostly focused my bull-avoiding energy on being paranoid that this would happen to me. there are plenty of sites online wherein "expert" hoppers give you all kinds of advice. i had not read any of those sites. we definitely put some effort into...

staying loose. it took a couple of different tries to get a train that was going out of the yard. once we did, however, we discovered that one of the engines (called "units" in the train hoppers dictionary) was unlocked. i guess this is standard procedure for one of the two major freight train corporations in the u.s.

in the unit, we found a chair with dashboard controls, a small bathroom, a mini fridge, and a case of water. we were on our way in style... but where?

we slept on the floor, sleeping bags rolled out beneath us. peering out at times at the darkened lanscape hastening by us. where is all this going? my caffeine-deprived brain barely managed the question as i drifted into a restless sleep.

a midnight train going anywhere? this was just like that journey song about the streetlight people.

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