Oh…DAMN! Was I just too gullible? Was this a “stick-up”? Was he after my gear? I had nowhere to go. I had to just await what fate had instore. I certainly was not going to wrestle “Lenny” for the weapon on a flatcar.
He held up the gun. The end of the barrel was pointed my way, but then he swiveled and set his sights towards the Colulmbia…and took a shot at the geese floating just off the shoreline. I took a huge gulp of the fresh air sweeping over us and felt the sweat of fear evaporate into the drafts.
That evening my companion decided not to continue to the City of Roses. As we passed over the I-5 northbound lanes, Lenny jumped off into the darkness to hitch the rest of the way to Seattle. On arrival in the Portland yard, I must have looked lost because an engineer up in the engine cabin asked where I was going. Once I confessed that I was looking for a ride to Seattle, he told me to hop on one of the cars on his train. I finally felt I might now have gained some legitimacy as a hobo.
Now my plan was to seek some ship-board adventure across the Pacific, starting from Seattle. After wandering down from the Seattle freight yard to the working waterfront, I stood for long while watching the longshoremen going in and out of the pier gates…and I realized I was not going to find easy passage anytime soon. I was totally intimidated by the looks of the hardened workers. They all were huge with fierce looks of determination. They looked like they could grind me to a pulp. No way I was going to fit in or have access to maritime employment without connections.
Plan B – I pulled out some cash from my money belt and took the cheapest flight to Honolulu. My hope was to find a sailboat that would take me on for the next leg to the South Pacific.
The rush of warm tropical air on arrival was intoxicating. I had grown to love a tropical climate after the several monkey-research trips in the Caribbean and down to Colombia. My down jacket got squished into the backpack and I headed for the Honolulu backpacker’s hideaway, the Waikiki Youth Hostel, right off the beach.