Having just missed catching the late piggyback train out of Oakland, I resigned myself to rolling out and waiting until morning. This proved to be a big mistake as there was track work being done somewhere and I ended up spending the entire day in the Desert Yard! I was, however, treated to a nice sunset and ended up catching out on a junker just after dark.
I caught this empty lumber bulkhead in Vancouver, WA and rode it over to Wishram and down to Bend and Klamath Falls. I had never been south of there on the BN so I stayed on to see where it would go. The picture was taken at the crossing of the BN main, east of Klamath Falls and SP's Modoc Line. Aside from being a bit windy, I stayed on all the way to Stockton.
This was from back in the good ol' days when you could sleep in the freightyard and not worry about being hassled. My brother and I are waiting for a southbound in SP's Klamath Falls yard. Instead of getting a Roseville train we caught the Modoc train instead and ended up going all the way to Ogden, where we turned around and headed back to Roseville.
I caught out of Portland headed east but was joined by several loonies who were going to a Rainbow Gathering in Montana somewhere. It was very hot during the long haul across eastern Idaho and we got a welcome bath when the train passed some irrigation sprinklers west of Pocatello.
As funky as some parts of the BN yard in Vancouver, WA are, there are times when the spilled grain gets rained on and sprouts into a carpet of green amidst an ocean of black — unfortunately the same thing happens to the spilled grain on the porches of hopper cars, making sort of a messy ride at times.
The Steel Bridge in Portland is, or at least was, a good place to catch out, as there are slow trains crossing the bridge and a 10mph speed restriction on the tracks coming out of UP's Albina Yard, right next door.
The chance for socializing once a train starts moving are few and far between because of all the noise, but every so often another rider is spotted on a passing train and there is that second or two to pass the time of day...
Leaving Eugene headed east, my riding partner and I chose a reasonably clean gondola so that we could take in all of the scenery crossing over the Cascades. Here we're entering one of the snowsheds just below the summit.
Wandering around freightyards in the middle of the night trying to find a place to sleep can take up more time than actually riding trains. Sometimes, though, you find a vacant loading dock with no couplers to climb over.
From certain angles, the hobo jungle next to the hot springs in SP's Klamath Falls yard can look quite picturesque — but this isn't one of them.
On the ride up to Eugene there are lots of empty boxcars to ride in, but on the way down it's usually an outside ride, like this chilly gondola that was great for scenery but lacking in protection from the weather.