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Dunsmuir to Eugene

 

Drove down to Dunsmuir and got to yard at 4:15 pm. Hadn't walked for 2 minutes when I was stopped by a county sheriff, who said that Roger had asked him to keep an eye on the yard for "hoboes and people like that who camp here". We exchanged pleasantries and I was allowed to go on my way after assuring him that I was merely walking through the yard on my way to an undisclosed campsite. Walked down to jungle at SW end of yard and didn't even have time to take off my pack when a northbound came in on the main. After a 10 minute stop to let a southbound go by, I found a cozy boxcar and we were off. The plan is to stay at the Maverick Motel in Klamath tonight (should get in around 8:00 pm) and catch back tomorrow. It's 4:55 pm now as I round the curve at Cantara Loop.

Well, due to an over-indulgence of White Port I slept right through Klamath - didn't wake up 'til we were coming down the west side of Cascades. Bailed off in Eugene near downtown at 2:15 am. Wandering aimlessly looking for a motel, I found one that had only about 5 cars for 20 or so rooms and a neon "vacancy" sign, but another, smaller "no vacancy" sign near the office. Hesitant to wake anyone up at this hour but not wanting to walk all the way out to the yard and sleep in some bad order, I meekly rang the buzzer. A rotund lady appeared and explained that the rest of the motel was booked by some tour group, hence the lack of vehicles, and they were indeed full up. Apologizing profusely for my intrusion, I continued my quest for lodging. A block away was another motel with an almost empty lot, but I opted to pass it by, even though the "vacancy" sign beckoned. Several blocks later I arrived at a motel I had stayed in before, run by very friendly Indian people. Reeling from the bout with port and the clouds of curry emanating from the slot provided for our transaction, I took the key to room 38 and looked forward to a good but foreshortened sleep. The parking lot was made up almost entirely of yuppy-mobiles, but as I neared my room I noticed that a huge, disgusting-looking orange van with a million Grateful Dead stickers was parked right in front. Opening my door I heard a TV and animated voices blasting from the next room. Realizing that this would never do, I trudged back to the office and woke the poor lady up again, explaining my situation and asking for a different room. She gratefully agreed and gave me the key to room 57. Nearly on my "last legs" I made my way to room 57, but upon opening the door I was greeted with a gruff "excuse me!" at the same instant I noticed clothes strewn around the room and yet another TV blaring (doesn't anyone sleep in Eugene?). I tried to explain in the briefest possible terms what twisted events led to my intrusion and, carefully closing the door, returned again to the maligned lady in the office. Stifling a giggle, she handed me yet another key, this time to room 54, which I approached with great trepidation, listening for the slightest sound to indicate anything out of the ordinary. Relieved that I was at last alone in a quiet room, I conked out around 3:30 am. Checked out bookstores in town the next day and took bus out to yard, getting there at 2:30 pm. Only 2 strings of cars in departure yard but an EUWCM is called for 4:00 pm. Sitting under west side of bridge drinking wine and reading. Sunny and warm with light breeze.

Just as I was getting into a good book (Good Company by Douglas Harper) the bull drove up and stopped under the bridge. Calling out to me on his bullhorn he said, almost apologetically, that I was still on "railroad property" and I would have to walk down and find a spot farther away from the tracks, near a small lake on the south side of the bridge. After this helpful tip he merely drove away - nice guy! I re-located to a low spot in a blackberry thicket and now (3:40 pm) I'm relying on the scanner to let me know when my train is ready. If I didn't have to catch out soon I'd love to take a nap here... Along with 161.550, UP uses 160.320 as a road channel and 160.470 and 161.100 as yard channels, though the latter may actually be from the BN yard. Well, as usually happens, when the railroad says "4:00 pm" they mean "4ish pm", or anytime in the next 12 hours. My train finally left town at 5:45 pm, but stopped at the south end of the yard for 10 or 15 minutes to let Amtrak go by. Sitting on the back of a hopper, enjoying yet another bottle of White Port, I watched the sun set on an unusually warm Eugene as I headed up the Cascades towards home. I was on a short (30 to 40 cars) train and we flew up the hill - woke up in Klamath at 11:00 pm! That's 5 hours for a trip that normally takes 7 or 8. We pulled down into the yard and stopped, and I went back to sleep. For once I preferred sleeping when the train wasn't moving, because it was loaded to the point that the springs bottomed out, and every time we hit a rough rail joint I'd get thumped pretty good. I was now faced with the dreaded "Klamath Factor"... if you wait in the yard for a southbound, you'll miss the ones that change crew at the depot, and if you hang out near the depot you'll miss the ones that leave out of the yard - what's a girl to do? What I did was go back to sleep and say the heck with it, which seemed like the "right thing to do" under the circumstances, but around 12:30 am a taxi drove up to the head end and dropped off the outbound crew, so I hoofed it up there to make sure I wasn't on the Modoc man by mistake. The engineer assured me that this was indeed a Dunsmuir train, and they had "a little bit of work to do before they left". I'm glad he didn't say he had a "shitload" of work to do, because it took them almost 2 hours to pick up about 20 cars. Finally at 2:30 am we left town, and I had a great sleep down to Dunsmuir, getting in at 6:30 am. Once I get about 2 weeks of sleep I'll be ready to do it all over again...