So here I was. Back out on the road after being busted by the railroad police for stealing a ride inside one of the spare engines. My transcontinental ride on the Canadian Pacific Railroad was turning into a patchwork of hitching and hopping. I stuck out my thumb and moved along.
A couple rides up the road and I was picked up by a lady who was driving cross-country trying to get to her daughter’s house that same day for Thanksgiving. She had been on the road for 48 hours since leaving Vancouver and was trying to get to Winnipeg, a distance of over one thousand miles. She asked me to relieve her at the wheel. I drove for a couple hours then we switched. About a hundred miles from Winnipeg she pulled over to let me do the last hour. She hit the gravel shoulder going about 50 and started to slide sideways. She hit the brakes and we slid sideways across two lanes of oncoming traffic and rolled over in the opposite ditch to land on our roof. We were both strapped in and hung there upside-down. Unhurt but shaken I didn’t know what to think. I just stood there, looking at the car, then at myself, then at my pack, and back to the car and then at the lady, feeling confused. and shocked.
After the crowds had cleared and the cop and tow truck were done I was again dropped off by the side of the road and decided to bag hitch hiking, and was back on the rail. That night I was in Winnipeg and another 12 hours of bump and grind and I was in Thunder Bay, Ontario. In the Thunder Bay rail yard a railroad police threatened to lock me up if he caught me getting back on a train so I hitched about a hundred miles up the highway to a small town and waited for the train where I climbed on under the cover of dark. I rode all night and all the next day and came into Sudbury, Ontario. From there I hitched a ride to Toronto and crashed in the weeds down by the docks.
To be continued…..
The following YouTube video shows the same route I took on my train ride only in the opposite direction. I don’t condone or encourage the dangerous roof-riding antics but show it here to illustrate the scenery and the visceral quality of open-air riding. Basically I was just looking for a cheap ride and really not there for thrill seeking. Freight hopping is dangerous and should not be taken lightly.