At 3 a.m. I came across a doc about train hopping hobos so watched it at night in my underwear. As the film unfolded familiar spots from my own life appeared. I’ve seen many of these places they traveled/met one of them after I found him hitchhiking in North Dakota. My late night brain was blown as the parallels piled atop one another.

(Shitty) Pics and (fun) links to follow.

Film (free stream on Prime in America):Β Freeload Documentary

The group of young bums travel America by train, spending their hours getting drunk and hanging out. They pick up and scatter as the winds of work or impulse to move overtake them. As such they bop all around the country yet wind up circling a similar path to ol’ gabfrab. I’m too yellow and tame to ride a train but our trajectories have rode a similar orbit. It was fun to see them head to places I’ve been while working or living in a car. An overview of all is to follow.

Here they’re in Portland eating blackberries.

This is the exact same hobo camp I found a few weeks ago. That happened while riding the metro train all day/looking for somewhere to piss. I scrawled this all down in my journal. One day my nasty ass will publish the fun stuff I encountered. Until then I tweeted the sights and smells from that day in this thread:

Here they’re at SXSW in Austin, TX where they encounter the Violin Werewolf.

I go to the fest every year to hit up free shows and trash piles, only to return to the car I live in at the end of each night. I wrote about drinking hot vodka/eating rotten garbage on my birthday after stumbling across this same creature:

Violin Werewolf

Here they head to North Dakota to harvest sugar beets in autumn. I’ve worked the harvest many times and need to scrawl more of my stories from there.

Last year I gave a homeless co-worker a ride to the shelter. He told me of a friend who blew half his head off but lived. I recorded that convo and need to edit the audio to post for y’all. In the meantime, read about my first two years working for a guy who ate a dead horse he found on the side of the road:

Industrial Shithole

Finally, I came across one of these dudes as he hitchhiked in North Dakota. I pick up hitchers whenever I can and this time it was a couple. As we drove he told an insane story about losing his teeth after a blackout drunk bum pushed him off a train. Months later they crossed paths once more. The bum felt so bad he pulled his own teeth with a pliers as penance.

As my hitcher spun his yarn the girlfriend dug through their pack. Soon she proffered a prescription bottle full of fucked up teeth. They belonged to the bum. The image of those teeth rattling in my car is forever branded upon my brain.

I dropped them off at the exact same spot as the first pic, the far edge of a Wal-Mart. Their plan for the night was to dumpster dive behind a liquor store.

I wrote about this experience too!

Hobo Teeth

I wrote that years before I’d ever even heard of this documentary. It’s fun that a film I didn’t even know about validated some of my goofy ass experiences. All I write is real. I keep a journal and take many notes. That all pays off for times like these. This doc is just another document reinforcing the truth of my shit. Very cool!

27 thoughts on “Freeload

  1. Thank you. My church is trying to make a difference in our city. I rely on first hand experiences to help me understand. I have been reading you for a few months. I am glad you keep continuing your blog.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I have been sending my mom emails almost every day for 15 years. Pretty much a journal of my life, but β€œmom version”. I can probably elaborate a little on some stuff! 😜

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Glad to have come across your blog! My brother James, who passed 2 years ago, traveled with train kids earlier this century. He loved riding the trains, even though it’s so dangerous & he was a good bit older than the kids, in his 40’s. They called him Papa Smurf. Thanks for bringing back some of my memories of him.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Aww, thank you so much for telling me that. It sounds like he was a good thing for those kids. If you ever write about your brother please point me that way πŸ™‚

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Thanks for reading and for your kind compliment. πŸ’› BeeBee is still living a happy life. After all her time locked up, it really is a miracle. We spent a weekend together at the beach last month.


  3. This is eye opening for me. I’ve worked as a child advocate in juvenile court and have seen and heard about different lifestyles that can break your heart, but was not aware of travelling lifestyles like you write about. I look forward to reading more. Keep up the valuable work you do. You are an inspiration in so many ways.

    Liked by 1 person

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