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Busted

 

With summer winding down and about time to go back to work, when my friend John asked me if I felt like doing a Whitefish to Dilworth and back ride. It didn't take much coaxing, so I said sure why not. We got to our favorite catch out spot at 4 pm on a Tuesday and waited, and waited. Finally at 4 am Wednesday an eastbound stack came in and the dispatcher told him to pull down to the head end of track 6 and tie it down. It had a set of rideable 48's, so we started walking towards our ride. Out of the darkness, a couple of younger riders ran past us heading for the same train. I told them that there was no hurry, but they weren't taking any chances. Over the next several hours, we spent the time shooting the bull. I learned these guys had caught a junk train out of Minot and rode it to Whitefish to scatter ashes of a fallen friend on top of Big Mountain. Really nice guys, they kept calling John and I sir until I asked them not to. 5 pm in Whitefish and we are on our way. Had a nice and fairly fast ride all the way to Dilworth, MN. We arrived at Dilworth at 11 pm the next night. Did the 2 plus mile walk to the other end of the yard and waited, and waited. Finally, at about 7 pm the next night a west bound stack train pulled in and the one and only set of rideable 48s stopped right in front of us. The bad thing about it was they had 45 ft cans in it, so space was limited. I got in behind one can and John rode "dirty face" in the car behind me. We pulled through the yard and stopped, naturally where we got off the day before, where they brought out fuel trucks to fuel the units. An hour later, we aired up and headed west. About 30 miles east of Minot, I'm sleeping really hard, having wonderful dreams of freight trains and party girls, when I feel someone kicking me in the butt and yelling my name. It was John informing me politely that it was starting to sprinkle. I told him, not so politely, that there wasn't a f---ing thing that I could do about it and went back to sleep.

After that, the ride was quite uneventful until we got to Havre. We had some running reefer cans in our consist, so I knew we were going to be there a while, as they had to service them along with our units and do a 1000 mile inspection. An hour or so after we got there, I'm laying on my back in an 18" wide well, cramped as hell, when a head with a BNSF Railroad Police hat on looks into my well and nicely tells me to show my hands and get off the train. There wasn't much "small talk" and he immediately handed me over to the Sheriff deputy where he cuffed me and took me to jail. I hold no animosity towards the Bull or the cops as they were just doing their job. Actually, they were quite nice to me. I was informed, at the jail, that I could bond out for $285.00, but I would have to make a court appearance at a later date. Since I'm a cross-country truck driver that wouldn't work very well and I didn't want a warrant out for my arrest. Being it was Saturday night, I elected to sit in jail until Monday and get this resolved. I was told by the guards that the going sentence was 3 or 4 days in jail. I can live with that. Monday evening I go to court and the lady judge gives me 3 days in jail, time spent, PLUS $285.00 fine. Shit. An hour later they cut me loose, give me back all my gear and give me back my money minus the 285 bucks. By then it was too late to catch Amtrak home, so my wife booked me a cheap motel room and I came home the next day.

That's my story about getting busted in Havre. I've been through there many times before, so the odds caught up with me. The Bull also informed me that they now have cameras in the yards for the purpose of catching riders and anybody caught on a train or on BNSF property will go to jail. What happened to John? John is a great friend and a hell of a nice guy. He's ridden several trains with me before, but you get him very far out of the Flathead Valley of northwestern Montana, he's pretty well lost. In Havre, he slept through the entire ordeal of me getting busted. The Bull didn't look in the car behind me luckily. According to John, the train left Havre later that night and hauled ass towards Whitefish nonstop. The train stopped in Whitefish for a crew change but he didn't know for sure where he was at and didn't want to wake me up for fear that I would yell at him again so he continued west. Later that morning on a siding somewhere in western Montana, he climbed out of his well and looked in the car that I had been riding in. Surprise. He rode on into Hauser yard and got off the train. A local cop caught him in the yards but only ran his ID and gave him a ride out of the yards. He should have hitched to Spokane and caught Amtrak home, but instead hitched to Couer D'alene and I90 and hitched a ride home to Montana. John remarked that he had many people stop and offer him help along the way.

On another note, if you are using the jungle in Whitefish, please clean up after yourselves. A couple of local retired train riders stock the camp with canned food, water and trash bags. Please be respectful.