After 18 years of housie life... Back on my bullshit (1 Viewer)

FawnGone

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So if he's close to 18 I would highly recommend other forms of travel until he's of age. The likelihood of you two being caught is pretty high and while you'd hope bulls would be caught off guard and be chill with a mom/son train crew, it could lead to you losing custody and him ending up in foster care/group home God knows where... I really don't see southern judges being super receptive to this scenario.

That being said, y'all wouldn't be the first.
Yeah, the risk is there, for sure. I wouldn't say the risk is any higher or lower of us being caught than any other time I've done it. I've been with 4 people and 4 dogs with no problems. It really comes down to luck. Plus, this isn't my first rodeo and I am pretty good at not being seen when I don't want to be.
But yes, it is a risk. And I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous. I have no idea what they'd do. We have a good story to tell them and we'd be sober. I have bail money. The laws are strange for 17 year olds, too. In a lot of states it's a grey area as far as what they are allowed to do on their own. Though I am also aware of all legal implications of being on rr property. I would expect southerners to be more chill in general, based on my experience, but who knows. It just comes down to the individual cop or judge.
The kid will have 4 months to go until he's 18, and says that he's understanding of the risks and will deal with the consequences, because it would only be for a few months anyway.
I'm going to try to be as super careful as I can, and try to have faith that it will be a fun and easy trip, like my previous experiences.
 
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FawnGone

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This is a very dangerous generalization. Like, crazy dangerous. Southerners love fucking over yankees and it sounds like y'all would be traveling with Mass ID's.
True, there is that. I do think it really just comes down to the individual, and in the moment. Basically anything can happen and there's no telling. I'm just used to everything here in the northeast being super regulated and monitored and everyone up your ass about everything, and I didn't feel that way when I lived down south.
 

FawnGone

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It's also a generalization to say Southerners love fucking over Yankees. I spent lots of time in the southeast when I was young, and my son was born there. His father's family were 4th generation tobacco farmers in NC. Even though I was from PA and had a Philly accent, I found most people I met really friendly and kind, even a lot of decent cops and railyard workers when I was traveling/ squatting.
They aren't all out to get Yankees, at least that has never been my experience in all my years down there.
But again, really all depends on the individual in the situation, and there's no way to predict anything.
 
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It's all up to circumstance, however I'm also speaking from experience. I was down there 18 years ago as well and I pass through yearly and there's no end to the horror stories I could tell you about the southern legal system. In Alabama there's judges who have given out over 2 million years in sentences and take great pride in it. As I said, you'd hope they'd be chill but all it takes is one authority figure with a stick up their ass.

After Katrina I landed a security gig guarding fema equipment and got to work all over the gulf coast. Most of the guys I worked with were ex-cops (security gig paid more). They all had stories about ruining people's lives just cause they didn't like the cut of their gib. I'm sure people were very kind to you as a pregnant teenager down there. I wouldn't count on the same treatment as a grown woman with a teenager son bumming it for kicks.

Sorry to be such a Debbie Downer and like I said, it might be totally fine and groovy, but if it really is just 4 months I'd really recommend waiting it out. Anyone he hangs out with along the way could also find themselves in a bit of pickle.
 

FawnGone

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It's all up to circumstance, however I'm also speaking from experience. I was down there 18 years ago as well and I pass through yearly and there's no end to the horror stories I could tell you about the southern legal system. In Alabama there's judges who have given out over 2 million years in sentences and take great pride in it. As I said, you'd hope they'd be chill but all it takes is one authority figure with a stick up their ass.

After Katrina I landed a security gig guarding fema equipment and got to work all over the gulf coast. Most of the guys I worked with were ex-cops (security gig paid more). They all had stories about ruining people's lives just cause they didn't like the cut of their gib. I'm sure people were very kind to you as a pregnant teenager down there. I wouldn't count on the same treatment as a grown woman with a teenager son bumming it for kicks.

Sorry to be such a Debbie Downer and like I said, it might be totally fine and groovy, but if it really is just 4 months I'd really recommend waiting it out. Anyone he hangs out with along the way could also find themselves in a bit of pickle.
For sure, man. It does concern me, not gonna lie. I'm not green or naive to how fucked up people can be, and the cultural differences... It is a lot to think about. The thing that sucks is that by July when he turns 18, I'll have responsibilities piling up here and need to be back here dealing with shit. as always, the timing in my life is problematic.

I definitely considered the fact that anyone he hangs out with could be in an awkward situation. I was hitching/hopping at 16/17 with older people and they only got tickets a few times, always for buying alcohol for groups of kids. We would be sober and he's very respectful and smart, esp dealing with cops and older people, so I was hoping that would work in our favor. (he even always naturally takes his hat off and says "sir" and "m'am" with no sarcasm- I think that's his southern genes).
My greatest fear is that I go to jail for a month or something, and he's left on his own to deal with the dog in a state he's unfamiliar with. My advice to him on that is- hitch to the nearest city and find some dirty kids for a while until I get out. But, I was doing that shit at his age and I survived just fine, with a lot of life experience gained.

I might chicken shit out at the last minute and just drive this time, and wait until he's 18 like I originally had planned. It would be safer, and smarter, but sometimes I take risks I guess.
 

Matt Derrick

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@FawnGone i think you have a good enough head on your shoulders to make the right call either way. with your previous street experience i think you and your son will be fine, just keep yer head on a swivel :p
 
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Do what your gut says. All my posts really should have a "never let some cynical asshole on the internet talk you out of your dreams" disclaimer on them.
 

FawnGone

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Do what your gut says. All my posts really should have a "never let some cynical asshole on the internet talk you out of your dreams" disclaimer on them.
It really comes down to whether my anxiety becomes greater than any enjoyment I'd get from the rides. It's typically pretty high in general. I don't give a fuck if he goes to jail when he's 18, if he chooses to do this with me, but the idea of legal problems or CPS getting involved the last 4 months of his "childhood" would make me feel awful and stupid. So, I don't know....
There are also benefits to bringing the truck this time, too. There's a lot of places I'd like to check out, and people I'd like to visit, that I really need the freedom of a vehicle to see/do. I'd like to stop in Savannah again since we'll be going through there mid-March anyway, but fucking with the yard there at that time is literally asking for trouble, and I don't want to draw heat there or create problems for those who don't have other travel options like we do right now... Plus, I like the idea of having the truck with me to pick up hitchhikers and help folks out.

Lots to consider. We may push the renegade travel off until July, when I am legally free of my parental ball and chain, and he can make adult choices.
 

ali

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I don't have anything smart to add on this thread, but it has been interesting to read everyone's experience.

I am curious, for people who have been traveling around for 20+ years, do you think the situation has changed in certain parts of the country, or on/around the rails in general? The sense I get is that 9/11 made law enforcement crack down a lot harder on travelers in the US, and Lac-Mégantic had a similar impact in Canada (specifically with regard to railroad security). Out where I am the pipeline protests also seem to have made the cops a bit more hardass when it comes to trespassing.
 
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I would definitely go with the truck if it was me. As long as yall ain't riding dirty there won't be much a cop can really say about the situation. You're on a road trip with your son to check out the places you used to hangout when you where his age. Nothing shady about that. Train riding though makes it a lot more complicated. With the truck you could even go check out crew change towns and let him get a feel for how it all connects before you actually do hit the rails.
 
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I am curious, for people who have been traveling around for 20+ years, do you think the situation has changed in certain parts of the country, or on/around the rails in general?
I'd say in general everything sucks a little more than it used to. The west coast especially is a joke compared to what it was in the early 2000's, but, it's still pretty fun. The economy and opiate/meth epidemics have resulted in a lot more homeless people, which naturally results in more harassment for everyone. While it's always been a problem in the traveler community, it seems like kids do heroin and meth like they used to drink 40's these days. Before 2010 I only knew of a few people who had od'd and they were all people you'd sadly kinda expect it from. In the last 10 years though it seems like at least half my old traveler friends have died from drugs. Lots of them I personally had never seen use a hard drug so to hear they'd died was quite a shock.
 

FawnGone

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I don't have anything smart to add on this thread, but it has been interesting to read everyone's experience.

I am curious, for people who have been traveling around for 20+ years, do you think the situation has changed in certain parts of the country, or on/around the rails in general? The sense I get is that 9/11 made law enforcement crack down a lot harder on travelers in the US, and Lac-Mégantic had a similar impact in Canada (specifically with regard to railroad security). Out where I am the pipeline protests also seem to have made the cops a bit more hardass when it comes to trespassing.
I'm also interested in this... However, I was riding right before 911 and directly after, mostly 1999-2002, so I remember the intense security crackdowns happening then and how nervous everyone was... Yet nothing happened to us, even in yards notoriously bad, like Havre. But I always chalked it up to sheer luck.
I am curious about how security has intensified since then, and the main thing I can see is cellphones, cameras, and drones (esp foamers)... I'd love to go on a couple trips with someone with more recent experience, to get my legs back and learn more updated stuff.
 

FawnGone

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I would definitely go with the truck if it was me. As long as yall ain't riding dirty there won't be much a cop can really say about the situation. You're on a road trip with your son to check out the places you used to hangout when you where his age. Nothing shady about that. Train riding though makes it a lot more complicated. With the truck youo could even go check out crew change towns and let him get a feel for how it all connects before you actually do hit the rails.
Definitely was thinking of driving to scope out the yards if we take the truck, and talking to old friends I'm linking up with who have more recent experience riding in that area.
Plus, if we have clean clothes and no packs, we can wander around pretending to be noob railfans and try to get some info. I've done that once before and it works pretty well, actually.
 
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Matt Derrick

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I don't have anything smart to add on this thread, but it has been interesting to read everyone's experience.

I am curious, for people who have been traveling around for 20+ years, do you think the situation has changed in certain parts of the country, or on/around the rails in general? The sense I get is that 9/11 made law enforcement crack down a lot harder on travelers in the US, and Lac-Mégantic had a similar impact in Canada (specifically with regard to railroad security). Out where I am the pipeline protests also seem to have made the cops a bit more hardass when it comes to trespassing.
i definitely think this is worth discussing, but it should probably be done in it's own dedicated thread.
 

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