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  • “That train was supposed to stop. I guess they knew we were here” said Charlie to the group as yet another train rolled by our hiding place. We'd been staking out an ever-so-slightly out of the way spot in Spokane for a couple of days, hoping to catch a train to the coast.

    All the hitchhikers and trainhoppers had found one another in Spokane after coming West on 90 for god knows how many miles. For Darby, James, and myself it was somewhere in the 3,000 range. Others had made their way in from Chicago, Fargo, Cleveland, and a few other places across the map. We were trying to get to a seemingly mystical festival of hippies, nomads, and American Gypsies: The Rainbow Gathering.

    Allegedly, a city of 50,000 nomads was assembling somewhere deep in a national forest in Washington state. I'd been told that it would change my life and that I would forever be a part of a closely-knit but widely scattered community known as the Rainbow Family. Given how far I had made it, there was nothing I wanted to hear more than the trademark greeting of the gathering: “Welcome Home.”

    We passed time as best we could: dirty jokes, reading whatever book happened to be around, even played poker using rocks and train spikes as currency. Every now and then a train would rumble towards us on the tracks. "Train!" somebody would yell as we prepared to either hop aboard a freighter or dive into hiding should an Amtrak call us in to the cops.

    After waking up next to this set of railroad tracks for my second day in Spokane, I ran my dirty fingers through the gravel beneath me. “Everything will work out... because it has to.” Such was the mantra I had learned on the road. If you know enough about how to take care of yourself, you'll generally be alright. If you're smart about things, you don't even need money. “Everything will work out... because it has to,” I repeated to myself.

    We never quite managed to catch that train.
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