(journal entries written whilst riding the rails)

we engaged in mindless conversation to pass the time. clay told us about losing his virginity to an older woman he met on the computer, and i learned what a MUPT is-a "modem user's pizza thingy", a party held so that computer geeks can mack on each other. as megan would say, SCARED OF THAT! a rat came rushing at me in the dark, and we joked about how i was going to mack on IT. the rest of the night's conversation was equally inane, but i was too tired to care. i nestled my pack on the hill so that i could rest my head upon it without tumbling down into the ditch below. eventually, i managed to catch a few Zs, but at 6am we all found ourselves hungry, tired, and worn-out. we'd been waiting for a train for a day now, and hadn't even had a close call yet. to proud to return to the house we'd been staying at and admit defeat, we boarded a bus to a new house in a new part of town. in transit at daybreak, we were nothing if not delirious. we sang songs of anal scabies that were transmitted through dumpstered donuts, and laughed at ourselves aloud. the locals greatly feared us, if the looks on their faces were any indication, and with good reason. arriving at the house, we were amazed to find one of its residents awake. we all crashed good and hard, not stirring from sleep until 2pm, and spent the rest of the day just lounging and refueling. we were hardly tough. we'd given up hope after only one day! but only temporarily...by midnight, we were well-rested enough to catch the last bus out of town. it took us to a crew-change point several miles from our previous waiting spot, and i was elated to find our new hobo camp far more liveable. most of all, i was elated to have a FLAT place to sleep that night. only a few whistles interrupted our sleep, and none belonged to a rideable train. tuesday was a very, very long day. three of us temporarily left our post to replenish food and water supplies, which dwindled with each hour spent waiting. the blackberries we picked from the bushes weren't quite enough, so we trekked to a mini-market. twas vegan hell--woman cannot live on bean dip, raisins, and canned pineapple alone. i wished i'd stocked up at that health-food store. the locals were not friendly. some tavern owners complained when els asked to fill her water bottles, and i was glared at when i requested use of a service station's bathroom. all day long we waited for the elusive train, but to no avail.

by dusk, we'd run out of not only patience, but ways to entertain ourselves. conversations grew increasingly nonsensical, and the idea of our train ever arriving seemed to feel more and more delusional. we were troopers, though, and after 2 and a half days spent waiting our patience paid off. our savior arrived. she had four new engines and dozens upon dozens of shiny grain cars--never before in my life had a heap of metal excited me so! at this point, i scarcely cared if we got spotted in the next yard and kicked off. my only concern was escaping portland. and we had, indeed, escaped portland. hallelujah! i awoke to the farmlands of eastern oregon, not far from the hinkle yards. there were whitewashed barns with advertisements painted on the sides, the kind i thought no longer existed. "golden tonic-- dr. pierce's general medical discovery" read one. as i poured cereal into my diesel-blackened hands and sopped it up with my tongue, we wound past gorgeous buttes and through lush green valleys. for some unknown reason, a song i'd learned in second grade music class was stuck in my head the entire time. it was relative to neither my life nor my surroundings..."happiness is gettin' dressed to have a good time on halloween night." i learned that pendleton is the "world's roundup city", and wondered what life might be like in such a place. i always thought it'd be great fun to move to a town of its sort with a few good friends and just shake up the townsfolk a bit. raft down the creeks, go crazy in the dumpsters, shock the mailmen by writing offensive words on everything i sent out, and turn all the kids into punks. it's fun to daydream about such elaborate schemes, but in reality, spending a day or two there would most likely satisfy me.

no sign announced our entrance into idaho, but our arrival was quite apparent. things just felt...well, different. like we were leaving oregon. water started appearing everywhere suddenly. beautiful, shimmering lakes and rivers, chock full o' fisherpeople, boaters, and waterskiers. coincidentally, just as these bodies of water began to unfold before us, i noticed that i was covered in unprecedented filth. if i had ever before in my life called myself dirty, i had been mistaken. this was true crust. i wanted to jump into that water so badly that you'd think i'd been walking in the sahara for days. i started singing horrible love songs to one river--"open arms" by journey, and chicago's "you're the inspiration". i made mental notes to myself a million times over that if i ever crossed the united states by train again, i'd at least double my water supply. in mountain home, we saw "diablo" written multiple times on the road-crossing signals by the tracks. i took it as a good omen. in anticipation of the pocatello yard, where we'd each need to hide in tiny cubbyholes to dodge the bulls, we each switched to our own cars at a crew-change point. pleased with the isolation, i masturbated as the sun set in the background. there certainly isn't anything quite like solo sex on a train. apparently, someone else thought so too. the nex morning, while "in the hole" in wyoming, i stumbled upon a foam rubber simulated vagina upon the tracks! the figure of a woman was molded into the front of it, and layers of diesel dust masked its original pink hue. it had probably been there for months..i picked it up to show my fellow diablitos, but they were so disgusted by my discovery that they just cringed and turned away.

just as my water supply was down to a few precious drops, good news came. unbeknownst to me, lemur had, during an early-morning crew change, crept over a barbed wire fence and onto some farmland, where he filled 5 water bottles via irrigation sprinklers. what a coup! if anyone brought true silliness to team diablo, it was lemur. his wardrobe alternated between a fiery red mechanic's jumpsuit and a bon jovi tee. from their 1987 tour, it was emblazoned with the words "rock your ASS off." this stylin' tee was accessorized with a smart cowboy hat, putting him in the ranks of the fashion elite. but lemur's style went far beyond his wardrobe. in central wyoming, he leaned his head out of the car he was riding in and proceeded to scream--at the top of his lungs--"i'm gay and i'm in wyoming!!!" everyone had to laugh.