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Kings of the Road, Part 4: Stranded in Brigham's Town

 

Jimmy and I rolled out our bags and went to sleep in very short order. Waking up at first light, we found we had stopped at a very small yard and that our train had been disconnected. I stuck my head out the door and freaked: we were on a string of about 15 cars that had been set off in some small town, and our train was just leaving the yard. We cursed loudly at our bad luck... if we had awakened just three minutes earlier, we could have switched strings!!!

Rolling up our gear, we de-trained and headed the 10 blocks into town. We were in Brigham City, UT, and it was about 6:30 a.m. For the most part, the locals hadn't even risen yet.

We trudged up to the main street (aptly named Main St.) and continued on to the closest coffee shop we could find. After getting a tall hot 'cuppa joe, we made some plans about what to do at that point. We decided to try to continue on to Pocatello (we were about 85 miles away) on a northbound. We went back to the yard and I walked up to the UP office, which was located in a portable trailer with a telephone line attached. There were two UP grunts inside, and I knocked on an office door to get their attention. They politely answered my question about northbounds with an answer of "nothing northbound is scheduled through here for a few hours, and they only very rarely stop to pick up or drop off cars. Your best shot is to head back to Ogden and try again."

I walked out of the office dejectedly, looking up as a southbound screamed through the yard on the main at 50+ MPH - a sight that worsened my mood. Our fate in Brigham City decided, we headed for the nearest bus stop a few blocks up the road and waited for the next bus back to Ogden.

looking north toward Pocatello of the Brigham City, Utah railyard A view looking north toward Pocatello of the Brigham City, Utah railyard. This is the yard where Boxcar Jimmy and I were "set out" in the summer of 1997 about 6 in the morning. The pictured train, coming at me at a 50 mph full clip, was on my side of the road before I got off the tracks after snapping this photo. The crossing gates were just going starting to go down.

We waited in the shade of a leafy tree for the better part of an hour, and the bus finally pulled up. Arriving in Ogden a couple of hours later, we decided to eat at a little cafe. It was Sunday afternoon, and my time was beginning to come to a close. I wanted to be back in Portland by Tuesday, and I was looking for a full day to "decompress" before returning to the real world. With this desire firmly in mind, I decided to head home via plane rather than finishing it by train.

After lunch, Jimmy and I sadly parted ways and I transferred to another bus to Salt Lake City to head for the airport. As I rose through the clouds above SLC, I vowed to return to Ogden and finish the trip north and then west to my "home yard" of Hinkle and then on into Portland. I was so close, but yet so far away.

All in all, it was a good trip, consisting of two entirely different - but equally fun - phases with two very different people.