Couple of months back, my pal and I rode up to Eugene from Roseville and back. Started in Roseville, I think it was in September. It was so nice out. I love being warm out in the night air, knowing full well I have several more layers to add later. Having not caught out of Roseville or at all since the previous year, my hide was quite soft, so we sought out cardboard at the Zmarket. A friend that works at the yard told me the Zmarket owner might be dropping tips to the bull. I made my visit brief. That dude has always been nice to me in the years and summers past. Sitting out front a couple of times on the tables that used to be there, a lady who worked at a nearby school dropped off a bunch of hot burritos that were left over. Some of the perks of not being an oogle. Or an asshole.
Headed to the jungle/old jungle, both looked rather clean and deserted, I'd also heard that the bull had been going there pretty frequently. Found another area nearby that I'll try not to identify unless someone messages me privately. It had been used before, a couple notes scrawled out on cardboard begged the next occupant to respect the spot and not ruin it for everyone else. It was a far cry from the comfort I felt at the older jungles; the retaining wall/pit was pretty rad, I had only seen a bull there once in the last 5 or 6 years. The other location had its canopy of low-hanging branches. They both felt less exposed. But both were deserted, it made me nervous.
With our radio not picking up any info, my pal regretted packing it. We had an engine number for a northbound, but were so far back we couldn't see the units. A junk train was sitting on #2, all shitty grainers and lumber racks. I hadn't seen a single open boxcar the whole day, which didn't surprise me, but I was still a little bummed. Settling on a suitable grainer clean-faced, we waited on the line for our estimated departure around 12:30 am, which wound up being 2 hours late. Both of us apprehensive to wait outside until the brakes cut, we hunkered down into the tightest little fetal positions we could until we caught slack. The whole time, the atv's and workers crunched by seemingly every 5 minutes or more. It was sort of tense. But I am also a very, very worrisome person, I get it from my mother. I never tell her I go train hopping, but regale her with stories after I come home.
Cruising through the new banked turn under the rainbow bridge, easily at 25 mph, I got that excited tingle in my belly when I knew there was the train we needed. Rummaged around for my pipe and weed for the celebratory bowl. I never really rest easy on the route until we have left Roseville and begin entering rice fields on either side before Marysville. Tried to fall asleep. Fell asleep.
Woke up around sunrise, somewhere near Redding. The dirt on both sides had turned red, and thick patches of manzanita guarded both sides of the line. Crossed a bunch of trestles over a bunch of half dry lakes, reminded me of Lake Havasu, which I'd never been to, but had seen on Girls Gone Wild. I imagined Tommy Lee preforming oral sex on Pamela Anderson in a houseboat somewhere down there. We curled into the mountains, back to green and granite. We pulled into Dunsmuir at some point, the sun was around the middle of the sky, so I don't know, it was like 10 or 12? I whooped at a couple oogs lumping out of a posted string of open boxcars. Super stoked to see a bunch of CARL pieces. An abundance of Whistleblower seemingly following me closely from my neighborhood in downtown Sacramento all the way to the remote wilderness of Dunsmuir. Chatted with the kids for a bit, very light convo., about physics and Kant. I was super tired and really just wanted to go take a shit or jerk off, either sounded good at the moment. Feeling risky, I barreled up the hill to what I knew was the main road, and where I hoped was not very far down past the gas station I had re-upped at a few years ago. I was pretty close by the time I got up to the main road. So fucking paranoid I was hearing the brakes cut, I started jogging, but in such a half-assed lethargic way I should have just walked. In reality, I should have walked with no concern for time because we ended up waiting until like 4 pm before we bounced out. My bud shared with me that there was a lot of track-work going on ahead of Keddie. Trains were being rerouted up here to go east into Nevada instead of along the I-80. ANYWAYZ, I got up to the gas station, it seemed like it was bustling with people, mainly because three people were sitting on the bench out front and a couple of girls were spanging. I got a pint and some jerky and something hot, I don't recall what but I recall it wasn't very good. Standing in the line, I started panicking that I would be missing the train, I paid hastily and surveyed the back of the parking lot for a way down the hill to the tracks. I selected the most direct route which happened to be through a dense, pubic hair-like patch of poison ivy. Goddamn, in retrospect, I have just torn myself apart of not being more careful to avoid what which I was pretty sure would make me miserable. Got back to the line, took a dump on the tracks with my butt hanging off a grainer, never feeling like I wiped good enough. We sat around, languishing in the heat like Tom Hanks in that movie where the plane crashes... for the next 3 hours.
Pulling out of Dunsmuir was awesome, it was such a relief. My only issue was my next day of work was looming in the very near future. I never plan these things THAT well. Passing mountains and entering green pastures and fields, I had figured we were nearer to Oregon, which still ended up being a long ways off. I love coming into K-falls, its so lush and green, every inch of ground looks like it would grow the fattest, sweetest carrot I'd ever eat. We passed the old loading docks of businesses in K-falls that once relied on the railroad for shipping and receiving shit. Pulling slowly around a corner, we looked up and down for any signs of security. I think I saw a few cameras, but not a soul in sight. A couple trains sat around, silent. We parked underneath an overpass, passing by a girl yelling at me, but I could hear what she said because the wheels were squeaking so loud.
"YOURE BEAUTIFUL!!" she shouted as the squealing subsided. I blushed. She got closer as we came to a halt and asked me what kind of train hopper is so clean. I shrugged and asked her if her and her boyfriend wanted a fucking summons to Pain Court. No, but really, I just didn't feel like talking to them after that. But I did.
"So, where are you guys headed?" I asked.
"Anywhere" she said as she and her tall friend walked away. She was bald as a cue ball. Made me think of that Seinfeld episode where George gets dumped by a bald woman, because HE was bald. Her attitude seemed very dismissive when she saw I wasn't as dirty as her. That's fine, I didn't want to get mono from sharing my weed with her anyway. We cut the brakes and headed out fairly soon after. As we curled out of K-falls, we ran alongside a busy road, passing by several packs of crusties who were hitching, all of them pointing towards our train passing by remorsefully. It was starting to get dark as well powered into the thick of the forest. We both fell asleep rather early.
Woke up as we pulled into Eugene, the lights from the jail waking me up. Hopped out, not sure what to do or where to go next. Decided to just head back to Roseville later in the day, we started walking into town to search for a McDonalds, which wound up not being "in town", but rather in a neighborhood nearest the catch-out spot. Found McDonalds and a dollar store, put talcum on groin, ate shitty fast food but could not have been more delighted. Watery coffee gave me diarrhea which I was feeling stewing in my tummy with the sun beating down on us. We head to the catch out under the overpass, saying what's up to a couple and their dog, as well as another girl with them. They were hunkered down in the shade behind the road barrier, but we chose to sit up top to add to the graffiti and read the shit left behind. The tag I had left a couple years ago was still there, as well as a ton of new nick cophee/coffee's, whom I had met briefly in Roseville a few years prior. Seems like that guy knows EVERYBODY. The oogs and their not so oog friend climbed up the embankment with us to sit in the midday heat and watch the traffic go by. Our butts were tired of sitting, but I was so full of French fries I didn't care, pulling a newspaper over my face to keep the flies off while I napped. The couple were friendly, but annoying how they kept asking for weed. I understand sharing, but there is a line after the first bowl I share when I don't feel like giving you more merely because you asked. After 2 hours of listening to their drunken arguments and stupid stories, my eyes honed in desperately on the tracks for our southbound home. This trip was about a day, and I knew I had to be at work the following day. Not the next day, but the morning after. I had already started getting worried, as it was getting near 5 pm, and we were still there, no trains coming or going.
THEN IT CAME!, like a shiny beautiful metal beast/friend. We all hooted and hollered. The girl that was traveling by herself was more appealing to be near on the train than the couple. If they ran out of stories to tell, they would argue over which song they would start singing at full drunken volume. These were all Sublime songs, too. Even a couple contemporary country tunes. They were driving us crazy, though they meant well... I think. Christina rode dirty face on the same grainer as us after an exhaustive search of the line; very slim pickens. We pulled out of Eugene and back into the forest and the dark. We slept, stopping at every siding in the dark to run around and laugh and shit and smoke weed and catch tags and climb shit. By morning, we were passing into Redding. I was never so happy to see the fertile green farmland of the Sacramento Valley as we came into the small farming towns north of Chico. We blew through downtown Chico, and I saw a wall that I had painted with a girl some 10 years ago along the tracks. I heard she's a computer programmer now. She wrote on a car with a bright pink paint marker that night, I cut communication with her after that.
Tore through Gridley, nearing Yuba City, the ripe orange peaches filling the back of my sinuses with its sweet scent. Every time we began to slow for a siding, I got so happy as we were alongside miles of peach orchards. Althouugh, every time we stopped, it was in front of orchards filled with green peaches. Tore through Marysville around 3, made it to Thunder Valley Casino a little later, almost opted to catch the shuttle from there back downtown. In retrospect, maybe should have, as it took several more hours to make it back.