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A four day fall break flight: the best way to spend your time


PSA: The Olaf Messenger does not endorse, or encourage any law-breaking, rag-tagging, tomfoolery, or illegal adventure seeking. Do not partake in any of these activities.


Now that the warning is out of the way, the Union Pacific Railway owns and operates 435 miles of train track in the great state of Minnesota. To the brave, that’s 435 miles of opportunity. What am I insinuating? That over Fall Break, you should take up the age old American tradition of train hopping. Here are my reasons why: you are incredibly conscientious of the environment, so you have no car. You agree that Duluth is the best place to see autumn colors in the land of 10,000 lakes. You will not support a frankly oppressive establishment that only tells you “no.” If you agree with my reasons, we’ll have a train to catch. The required materials are quite simple, which makes train hopping not only eco-friendly but economic for the aspiring “ho-lee,” or hobo Ole. A bandit hat, some good stompers, and an apple and lime are what I would call the bare essentials for the jaunt and journey. 


Kiss your dear dorm goodnight, don your bandit hat and head to the track intersection on St. Olaf Avenue. This is the most precise part of the plan, so follow my pretense precisely. Crouch in the crabgrass and wait for the train to run on by. Stay clear of the wheels and don’t make yourself known until the locomotive has gone past and only the cargo cars are careening by. Those are our tickets, ladies and gentlemen. 


In a sweep of athleticism, which professionals have taken to calling Ultra Turbo Falcon Mode, run next to the car of your choice and jump up to grab one of the handles conveniently placed on the car, for you! After that carefully executed step, hop in the hopper and hide. Enjoy the ride and bide the time, maybe enjoy your apple or lime, there’s plenty of miles to go. Eventually you’ll end up in a junction in the beautiful Twin Cities, where you should find a BNSF Railways cargo train headed north. Then, repeat the process. Soon you’ll be sipping maple syrup at someone’s family cabin on the great Lake Superior. 


Having second thoughts? In my opinion, the only thing to stop a person from this highly efficient and widely practiced method of transportation is, of course, the police and threat to your life. But think of it this way: Chris McCandless, the intrepid adventurer, was able to train hop, and he was our age! He was no more qualified than you or I. If that doesn’t quell your concerns, I don’t know what would. The weather is still so warm, so you won’t need any winter gear! Let me know how it goes. I’ll be in The Pause, watching Dead Poets Society with my friends and eating candy apples — the second best thing to do for Fall Break. 

Jacob Rozell is from Fairbanks, Alaska. His major is undeclared