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Kings of the Road, Part 3: Busted!!!

 

Waking up about 9:00 a.m., Jimmy raised his head above the "crater" at the top of our dirt pile and said "oh shit, there's a cop down there, and he's driving this way!" I looked up and confirmed his sighting. Grudgingly, I got up and decided to descend the mound to speak with the cop. Before I got half-way down the pile, the cop said over his loudspeaker "Don't come down, just stay up there until I tell you to come down." I re-ascended and we began rolling up our belongings. After 10 minutes or so, a back-up police unit arrived and the officers got out of their cars and "invited" us down from our perch.

After lecturing us, they decided to give us each tickets for criminal trespass - $50 tickets. At that point I got pretty insolent with the cop, giving him a hard time about having nothing better to do. I figured I had nothing to lose. I asked the cop how much money he made, then proceeded to berate him based on his self-professed income. About that point, he figured out that I was "on vacation" and his attitude softened considerably. Eventually, they sent us on our way, and we decided to walk back into town to find some eats.

We lounged around downtown Ogden that day, making a stop at a laundromat to wash our dirty clothes. As afternoon turned into evening, we headed down to the mission near the tracks to get some food and a sermon. After dropping our packs in the mission "cloak-room" (guarded by a man who must have weighed AT LEAST 500 lbs.) we sat through the 30-minute sermon, the subject of which was repentance with the Lord and our fellow Man. At that point, we were excused into the dining room to feast on a scrumptious meal of spaghetti, ravioli, salad, fruit cocktail and a heavily dented can of diet Coke. All in all, not a bad meal for a hobo on the road. On the way out there was a stack of left-over pizzas donated from the local Pizza Hut. Jimmy and I each grabbed a pepperoni and headed down to the tracks to scarf pizza and wait for our westbound.

Nighttime came and we decided to make our move into the yard. Jimmy and I were especially wary of bulls and police due to that morning's encounter with the police, and we weren't about to get caught again. We waited out of sight in a huge depression in the earth surrounding two enormous fuel tanks at the west end of the yard near the wye. After a half-hour or so, a westbound snaked toward us and we crouched to avoid its headlight, then darted out to grab the first ride we could.

DAMN! The train was moving just a tad too fast to catch on the fly, and after a false start toward an open boxcar, we abandoned our quest for that train and huddled for a quick re-evaluation of our strategy.

We decided to go deeper into the yard (while staying out of sight) so that we could catch the next train before it speeded up as it left the yard. Positioning ourselves near a chain-link fence, we were rewarded a half-hour later with a Pocatello-bound train, which was making its way toward us on the northernmost spur out of the yard. We scrambled toward the train and nailed a sweet one-eyed bandit, slapping each other a high-five as we moved toward the head end to lay low. It was 2:00 a.m.

 

Part 4