Strange Cargo

Lessons from the Jack London Finishing School

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

7136 – On The Emerald Coast

Prince Rupert,BC

When coming in last night there was a storm rolling over the mountains and it appeared as though the clouds were a ceiling held aloft by the peaks of the surrounding mountains. Recently I was made aware that I have family here in Rupert and possibly on Digby Island. Unfortunately I don't know who they are, or how to get a hold of them. They are Norwegians from my dads side of the family that emigrated from the old country and settled in Port Essington, a fishing town up on the Skeena River. This sure looks a hell of a lot like Norway. It's no wonder they ended up here...

After checking in to the Black Rooster, which is a hostel owned and operated by a nice Polish couple, I went in search of provisions and found the town to have an excellent grocer where I could get supplies before catching out the next day. I then went on my way to find something to eat and have a drink. Rupert seems to be caught in a little bit of a time warp of 20 some years. This will no doubt change forever when construction on the new port commences.

Before long I was stopped on the street by a man in a black Chevrolet. He said “I’m with the RCMP and I need to talk to you.”, while pulling his badge out. A moment later, a second Chevy pulls up and a guy in a bullet-proof vest with the word POLICE across the front gets out and asks me “What are you doing selling booze to kids?” I look back at the first cop, who by the way looks more than a bit like Jerry Seinfeld, and he says “Someone phoned us and said that you bought a bottle of vodka for two underage Haida kids.” "Oh, Damn." I think to myself.

I deny any knowledge of such a crime and they launch into 20 questions and a thorough frisking. When running my ID and coming up with nothing, they want to know when I’m leaving their town. This leads me to believe that they don’t trust me and would just as soon see me locked up and broke. I tell them I will be hitchhiking out of town the very next day. There is no response to this as they hand me everything they had emptied out of my pockets. After a while they inform me that there will be no charges pressed if I promise to leave Prince Rupert as soon as possible.
Saying goodbye leaves them pretty sourfaced as I guess they thought they had a real criminal this time. But it's a hell of a welcome to be shaken down by the local cops on some fabricated pretense.

A bit spooked by the RCMP, I decide to leave early in the morning to catch out. It’s 4AM and about nine miles to walk to the catch out. The stores are closed and I only have for provisions what I bought as a taste sample yesterday. Perhaps a pound of various types of trail-mix. I decide that it will do until I get to Jasper, AB which is about 600 miles away. In Jasper I’m hoping to find an eastbound stacktrain for a more expediant rate of travel.

Leaving the Black Rooster I discover a steady downpour. Out comes the poncho and off I go. At this hour it is already getting light out but the streets are quiet. The only place open now is Tim Hortons, and to my surprise there are quite a few people there. These Canadians sure do like their coffee and donuts! But some of them are probably fishermen, so it makes sense for them to be up eating donuts at this hour. I forego the temptation of Timmy H. in order to make good on my travel plans. The rain is coming down pretty hard and soon my legs and feet are soaked.
By the time I find the catch out it has stopped though and I’m feeling a little better about things. Upon finding a huge bramble of raspberry bushes right at the edge of the yard I stop there to eat some and to survey the yard situation. To my delight I find an eastbound graintrain ready to leave, except there is a locomotive or two missing from the point.

In paying attention to the raspberries in front of me I see that I'm competing with four inch long tan & brown slugs for the berries! They just ooze right over the thorns on the bush and are found six to seven feet off the ground. While observing this spectacle I hear some road power moving up behind me, and sure enough it’s two black & red CN units going down to hook up to my train.
Thus far I have observed but one yard worker and he is nowhere in sight. So I make my move and find suitable accommodations about fifty cars deep. There is a big sheet of plastic and a good chunk of cardboard left on the grainer facing me so I grab it and transfer it to my dwelling to be for the next forty some hours. Thirty minutes later we take off while I’m tucking my wet feet into my sleeping bag to dry while I take a nap in the cubby hole of my grainer.


  • At 11:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi SC, Its traingeekboy. I posted a link to your blog on a Italian train forum. hope you don't mind. sounds like a good ride you're on.

    Keep posting, I'll keep reading.

    Must sleep soon, so I can go back to the factory well rested. :)

  • At 7:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    good stuff man, be safe....
    -The Kodak Kidd

  • At 10:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sorry about the cops in Rupert. It's kind of a Alabama type small town/city atmosphere with the cops. Got to ignore that and enjoy the friendly people and unique geography.

  • At 10:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

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    to them if you don*t want to do your(JOB)right went we ask for new
    things)like(SHOES)or that ok i had
    said to them that two can play that
    (GAME)i had said just what i(Won*t)
    do and what i will do more of of if
    i had not play on them was look for
    (HOSE)and ok and(TIPS)on at once and who can(CATCH)me at once they
    hate me more after that one they
    want see what (GAMES)i like to play
    i did not tell them they just walk
    right into it in(Dark)say any were
    but soon as i had(Tips)on me in the
    (House)that was(House)(45)at(EDGAR)
    only they asked for it very(Bad)they got it but good in(Night time)
    only.) (Thankyou.)(Warren) (A)


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