Becoming a Hobo

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Gypsyjoe#1

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I was recently inspired by the thread "My four seasons of Vanlife" https://vanlivingforum.com/threads/my-four-seasons-of-vanlife.46305/a and it really made me want to tell my story of becoming a hobo and a vandweller.

Some of you will find my story rather bizaar and hopefully a little interesting. My story begins at a rather young age also, I grew up on a farm and one of my "chores" was driving around the farm in a tractor trailer or better known as a semi. My step dad had a "hammer" which is nothing more than a pile driver and is used on oil rigs to drive in the casing for oil wells. He had to work all the time and when I was 10 years old he had just worked a 90 hour week and needed to get the hammer down to Texas right away and we lived in northern Michigan. He came to me and said, "you've been driving the semi around the farm for several years now, do you think you could handle it on the highway?" I said I could, so began probably the biggest adventure of my life, I drove from Michigan to Texas. The rules were simple if I came up to scale or got pulled over I had to be sure he was sitting in the drivers seat. Thus I made that long drive.

Nothing much happened for the next four years other than driving the occasional trip in the semi then came a low point in my life. My step dad was killed in a oil rig accident.

At this point I began giving my mom gray hair, she would send me to school in the morning and hope and pray I made it to school. As I was notorious for walking out to the highway and sticking my thumb out and calling my mom a week or so later and saying "hey mom, guess where I'm at, I'm in Florida or I'm in California" or wherever I happened to be at the moment. Mind you I was never a runaway, I always went home. Mom gave up calling the law after the 2nd or 3rd time as she knew I would be home shortly.

Life continued like this until until I found my calling, I hooked up with a carnival and became a rider in the "Ball of Death" which is a large cage shaped like a ball that 5 motorcycles ride around in at the same time putting on a show for the audience. Traveling with the show I have lived in everything from the bunkhouse which is a semi trailer with a lot of bunks in it to travel trailers to vans. My favorite is a class b RV which is basicly just a hi top van with the ammenties. I have owned numerous of them, all chevy's except one Ford or as I call it the mistake. By the way the crowds love it when you crack up in the ball although I prefer NEVER to crack up, it hurts.

Some place in the early years I got a tatoo on my right forearm of a hobo, because that is what I am. I don't know if any of you know what the difference is between a hobo and a bum is, but a bum is a bum, but a hobo is far more noble. They also travel, but a hobo works for a living! I was 30 years old when I got that tatoo in prison. Yes, I said in prison, I'm not proud but yes I tried that out too.

I continued living in my vans and riding my motorcycle in the ball up till 2007 when I tried out my ultimate motorhome, a "Dixie Chopper" lawnmower trying to break the Guinness world record for the worlds longest lawnmower ride and raising funds for my favorite charity the Shriners Hospitals for Children. Here are a couple links to newspaper articles about the ride. https://www.telegram.com/story/news...18/rider-for-charity-pulled-over/52948979007/ or https://www.stignacenews.com/articles/lawnmower-man-reaches-bridge-in-17-mph-ride-across-america/ or https://www.sunjournal.com/2007/03/19/lack-registration-derails-mans-charity-mower-ride/ any one of the 3 links basically covers it. My avatar is a picture of me on the lawnmower.

I continue in the ball until 2010 when I retired because of a injury in the ball that made me a quadrapalegic for the better part of 2 years. Since then I have traveled up until about a year and a half ago when a semi turned over on my MH and took my legs. Now I live in my prius until I get my passport and then its off to Switzerland.
 

tx2sturgis

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I've seen the Ball of Death at Sturgis several times...I always thought...HELL NO!

But it was mesmerizing to watch!

Good luck...dont forget the chatroom this week is on Wednesday night....
 

eDJ_

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If you look at the bottom link in the signature lines below, you'll find a RSS window that might be of interest. Squat The Planet.

As a very little kid I had a Great Great Uncle named Brackett who was a very old man. But everyone knew him as "Uncle Bum". He had worked about the country as Hobo, where he was a railroad boiler maker by trade.

Much later my Grandfather would tell me that "uncle Bum" told him that Hobo's were skilled workers where as Bum's traveled with their hands out as beggars. Law enforcement was always watching for "Bums". They had a whole system of symbols they would mark with a piece of chalk.

 

bullfrog

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Why go someplace cold! Hobos usually avoid cold places as witnessed with all the carved signs on my grandparents big Beech tree in Kentucky. My grandpa was the superintendent of the C&O shops and his brother the yards at Russell. Unlike most railroaders they had a bunkhouse built at their home to shelter those traveling through few people knew about other than those that needed it.
 

Gypsyjoe#1

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If you look at the bottom link in the signature lines below, you'll find a RSS window that might be of interest. Squat The Planet.

As a very little kid I had a Great Great Uncle named Brackett who was a very old man. But everyone knew him as "Uncle Bum". He had worked about the country as Hobo, where he was a railroad boiler maker by trade.

Much later my Grandfather would tell me that "uncle Bum" told him that Hobo's were skilled workers where as Bum's traveled with their hands out as beggars. Law enforcement was always watching for "Bums". They had a whole system of symbols they would mark with a piece of chalk.

I have known about the hobo signs for many years, I have a collection of "Hobo Nickles" and have related to the hobo since I was very young. We tend to think of the homeless problem a a fairly new thing, but actually during the great depression the homeless problem was also very bad. But those were different times and we tend to not think about that.
 
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