It had been a few years since I had ridden any considerable distance by train. But when I walked down to the small train yard I was instantly enveloped in that old familiar microcosm. The smell of the creosote and the squealing of wheel flanges hooked up with my brain like old pals. New and old excitement galloped around with my eagerness to ride as I searched out a place to hide and wait. I built a little pallace of pallets behind some wearhouse by the mainline andsettled in. More sentiment than expected came to visit me there. I perused back over the years, of lazily lounging track side waiting for fleeting opportunities to swipe rides on these iron monsters. My thoughts were of old friends, the cities, train trips and good times had. Landscape hurled in front of my eyes while miles of singing rails poured out the back of my head and coiled on the ground like invisible rope.
Lost in time and trains I sat in those pallets partially debilitated and stewing in my mulligan of memories. This ride was dedicated to The C.C.R, The N.P.A , N.C. Crew and the shittastic bunch of humans I'v traveled with and come to know as friends and family.
Laramie sits between two busier yards in Cheyenne and Rawlins, so I sat for about 40 hours watching trains rocket past me. Finally just before dawn on my second night in the pallets a Junker stopped and I climbed into a boxcar.
In Green River, WY I made a dash across the yard and dove into a hotshot. It had just pulled in and was stacked up nice with a lot of power at the front. After the right amount of time for a routine crew change that beast pulled through the yard and plowed out over the dry, sage brush hills.
I peeped out some time later and caught sight of a sign that said "Utah's finest cheese". Well, this ment I could rule out Idaho and Oregon and was bound for Ogden and probably Salt Lake City.
In Ogden we got a new crew and banged out across the Great Salt Lake, bypassing Salt lake city. A huge smile spread across my face when I realized this one train was gonna get me all the way to California. As much as I love the cat and mouse games of negotiating large yards, its sure nice when you get dragged half way across the country on one gamble.
I hopped off in Portola, CA and went searching for the cup of coffee with my name on it. I hadn't slept or moved very much in the few day on the train, so it felt exceptionally nice to walk in the Sierra Nevada sunshine. Along with that was the whimsical slaphappy feeling of walking away, red handed after stealing a little adventure- one of the things that makes train riding so good and so addicting.