home > stories > Klamath Shuttle

Klamath Shuttle


Tue. May 27th
It's 11:00 am on the day after Memorial Day and I'm hanging out in the south end jungle waiting to go to Klamath - there's supposed to be a northbound at 2:00 pm and another at 3:00 pm. Weather is light overcast and slightly cool but very pleasant - except for the cursed mosquitoes! All that I'm aware of (other than the aforementioned mosquitoes) is the light drone of trucks on the freeway, the chirping of birds and the squeaking of the cap on my wine bottle as I unscrew it periodically...

The initial Expeditionary Force of mosquitoes was soon replaced by an army of tiny ants who, as soon as I would bat them away and resume my dormir, mounted yet another onslaught on my pronate form. Meanwhile, the sun broke through the overcast, creating a hot, muggy gloom. Tiring of fending off the ant hordes, I re-located to the shade, where I was soon discovered by yet another diverse group of insects. Waiting for a train can range from the peak of excitement to the depths of despair, and I was certainly on a downward spiral at this point. Fortunately, the sun went away and so did the curious ants, and I was left with my own thoughts for the moment.

At noon a southbound garbage train pulled in and parked, and now, at 2:00 pm, another southbound pulled in and stopped to drop off an engine. Seeking refuge from the demon ants, I moved down to the lower jungle, next to the mainline and, in a seemingly ant-free environment, resumed my repose.

At 2:20 pm the BN garbage train, the KFCJU, got permission to leave, meaning there weren't any northbounds coming soon - rats! At 2:40 it finally got out of the yard and at 2:50 the other southbound left - still no northbounds!

At 4:00 pm a northbound came in, but at first all I could see was military equipment (bummer!) but the back half of the train was boxcars, so I found a nice one with both doors open and set up "camp". We dropped off a few cars and put our train back together - almost 5:00 pm now. I noticed that there were new power poles for lights in the upper end of the Dunsmuir yard where any switching would be done... lights in Dunsmuir? What's the world coming to? I guess the bulls/sheriffs have given up on patrolling this yard - I've been here an hour on a "military train" and haven't seen anyone cruise through the yard.

Finally at 5:30 pm a southbound pig train goes by and we're out of town! We stop at Black Butte to do some switching at 6:45 pm and leave at 7:30 pm. Had a great sleep and got into Klamath at 10:00 pm. Nearly famished, I hoofed it over to Gino's Market for grub but to my dismay they were now on "winter hours" (in May?) and closed at 10:00 pm. The Sunrise Tavern next door would have to do, because I noticed a southbound in the yard that I wanted to catch back to Dunsmuir. Having stopped in at Fred and Shirl's bar in Dunsmuir numerous times for their good but diminutive microwave cheeseburgers, I figured that's what they'd have here, so I ordered two "to go". Momentarily distracted by a blaring TV on the wall, I turned around to see two of the largest hamburger patties I'd ever seen sizzling on the grill as the cook turned to me and said "Boy, you must be really hungry to eat two of these!" Realizing my gaffe, I blurted out something like "yeah, I haven't eaten in three weeks!" Oh well, I could always save one for later... Packing my meal in a sack, the cook warned me that "these are really greasy - do you want some napkins?" "Sure" I said, "better gimme a stack of 'em", knowing I could always use them later for toilet paper. Unfortunately, when I got back to the yard and opened the sack I found out that she had put them in with the cheeseburgers and they were thoroughly soaked with grease...

Drinking, more than eating, the first cheeseburger, I felt full again, albeit unable to pick up anything smaller than a brick with my slimy fingers. My train had finished switching now, and finally at 1:30 am I left town on the back of a grainer in a light rain. An extremely fast ride down to Dunsmuir dropped me off near the depot at 5:00 am.