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Dunsmuir to Klamath

 

Shelley dropped me off in Weed on her way to work (sort of) where I caught a transit bus down to Dunsmuir. The driver dropped me off just past the cemetery (where Road Hog used to live) and as I walked down the steep street just south of there towards the yard I could already hear the sound of the units. As I was headed north this was music to my ears. There were a number of empty boxcars within easy reach, which was good, because just as I set foot on the ballast the train started to leave town, so up and in I went.

We really stepped on it getting out of the yard, and at first I thought I'd gotten the Black Butte Turn instead of a Eugene train. Because my boxcar was only open on the left side going up the hill I never got a really good look back to see how many cars he had, but he had no trouble making track speed. We went in the hole at Azalea to let a pig/stack train run around us and again at Upton for no reason I could see. Had a nice fast ride up to Klamath and got out at 1:30 pm. Saw Roger drive by but didn't have an opportunity to talk. Found out from a guy in the freight office that the next southbound would be a clean-up man out of the yard that went on duty at 3:00 pm, so I headed into town to check out the Sallies. Made it back to the yard around 3:30 pm and found ONE ride (a grainer) on the entire train so decided to park myself next to it in case the "demon hordes" descended upon it "en masse". I sat there for two hours and the influx of would-be riders failed to materialize, so at 5:30 pm we left town.

The downside of the otherwise comfy abode was a goodly amount of fertilizer residue that kept blowing down on me from the top of the grainer. I finally had to resort to stripping down and climbing into my mosquito-netting-equipped bivy cover and zipping it shut for the ride back down. The train got a red signal at the east switch of Black Butte and I bailed out. As the hour was late (9:30 pm) I opted not to wake the "little woman" so I crashed 'neath the pines behind the water tower and was lulled into a dream-filled sleep by the combination of White Port and several trains stopping during the night to switch cars. At what I thought was the middle of the night (but was in reality 6:30 am) I was awakened by the sounds of the Weed Local hard at work only a few carlengths from my head. After hurriedly packing my gear, I found, to my un-bridled joy, that out of the 5 boxcars they were taking down to the mill in Weed, one was open! Quick thinking on my part allowed me to leap like a fox into the departing car and save myself an hour and fortyfive minute walk while enjoying a 15 minute train ride. The rest of the trip was uneventful in comparison - a half hour wait for the transit bus, a 5 minute bus ride, and a half-hour's walk home.