Bits From The Hobo Grapevine
 by Fran
"The Hobo Minstrel"
Great Grand Hobo Duke of Cyber Space

It would be greatly appreciated if anyone having dates, or news, about 2013
Gatherings, or Festivals, would send the dates, and a small write up, as soon as possible.
If I don't have the information I can't post it.  Right?  Right.

 Anyone having bits to be posted on the grapevine can email them
to Fran by clicking HERE
 or use the snail mail address at the bottom of this page.

For anyone having questions to post here.  I will add your email address,
so you can receive answers, unless you tell me not to.

email Fran


For more fabulous, informative, Hobo information use these links.
There are none better on the entire internet.

Hobo Art
Hobo Signs
Fran's Hobo Page
Hobo Gatherings

Link to Books, CDs & Cassettes
by " The Hobo Minstrels "

Use this link for information about "The Hobo Minstrel's" (Fran's) book,
"The American Hoboes".

Use this one for information about "The Hobo Minstrel's" (Fran's) CDs and cassettes.

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"New Cds"

  Yes, I now have my recordings of Hobo songs, poetry and history on CDs.  The price for the two CD set is $15.00, including postage, in the continental U.S.  Click here on, Hobo Song CDs, to get full details about this and my other available CDs. Thank you for your attention.  I am

Great Grand Hobo Duke of Cyber Space

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Poems / Songs

    I get so many requests for the words to old songs and poems I thought I'd add one, or two, at a time to the site.  As some are quite lengthy they're a bit much for the Grapevine page so I've added another page to present them.  These, mostly, old pieces will be replaced periodically, by our Senior Culture and Arts Editor, using a scientific method to determine the length of time each should be displayed.  To enjoy the current "Artistic Selection" click on the title, below.  Anyone having specific requests may ask for them by emailing our "Senior Culture and Arts Editor" at;      cultural arts

From Roger L. Johnson

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"Oops's Birthday Jaunt"

    Sorry I missed your birthday, Oops, but Happy Belated wishes to you now.  Who could ask for a better way to celebrate a birthday?  On the road, a pretty companion and lots of good friends.  I knew you and your friends were fairly young when I first met Ya'll at Pennsburg but I never realized how young.  Hell man, you were just barely out of diapers.  I'm going to post your whole email so everyone will know the way to celebrate a birthday Hobo Style.

Love You, my friend.

hey fran,

    its been a bit, i hope your doing well, i am. me and chessieka just got back from my bday trip. so in the last month & 1/2 i been running all around the west coast. i rode bn to bend, then back to kfalls, a lot, was in eugene and Portland also down in roseville and farther south, but the best was last week, me and my great friend heather rode outta dunsmuir to kfalls, switched to bnsf, rode that down to keddie, got off and camped out for a few days for my 36 bday. it was awesome. i never rode that route before so that made it great. we made a camp under the wye, had a fire, went swimming, ate crawfish (that she caught), listened to old train songs and just fu#$@%ing loved it. the 3 of my friends drove out to meet us and made it better...  best bday in a long time.  anyways, just wanna say hi and let ya'll know that im still kicking at 36. hope all is well and i'll talk to you soon...

oops... and chessieka

it may seem young but 24 yrs on these roads/rails its been hell on me. gonna make it another 3 at least.

"Queen Half Track's Take on Britt 2013"

    It was a blast, , great food, wonderful music, a lot of new people, young  and old.    _Rik Palieri and  George Mann_     (
io)  played in town Wed then came into the jungle to jam WOW, then  the city had a tribute to the Vietnam vets on Friday and the audience got to  welcome each one individually.  The ladies tea was a blast and all said they  had a good time.  Food and music were great. and between the Tourist  Union 63 and the Frisco circle the kitchen now has 2 brand new fridges and a microwave.   As far as who attended there was Uncle Freddie, Stretch,  tootsie and Trap man, Shorty and Maggie, Sassy, Tuck and Jewels, Hairpin Don and  Diana, Brenda, Ms Charlotte, Big chuck weg, and so many more as well as several young riders that were a major help as well as being a joy to chat with.   The new police chief treated us all fairly.   The only thing  that was missing was you.

Half Track
Queen 05-06

    Thanks, much, for the note, Half Track.  It means a lot to those of us who, for some reason or another, couldn't be there to get a run down from those of you that made it.

Love and all the best to you and all of Britt, as always.


"A Royal Bulletin"

'Frog and Bookworm Bonnie"
are our 2013 "Hobo King and Queen"

    First off, my congratulations to them both.  I got an email this morning from Tarp Man (Queen Tootsie's royal consort) letting me know the results of the election.  Don also says, "The convention has been great fun" but, unfortunately that's all the news I have, so far.    The photo is from Flatcar Frank's Hobo News web site.  Thank you, Don and Frank.


"Britt Early Arrivals ?"

    I received this picture from Tootsie today.  When I spoke with her, on the phone she said there were about 48 early arrivals at Britt and I'm surmising this is them.  I know it's hard to recognize who is who because the picture is so small but if I left it large enough to recognize everyone I wouldn't have space enough on the site  to post it.  Just think, if you had been one of the early arrivals you would have been in the picture and would, probably, know who everyone is.

Hope Everyone Has a Ball This Year.


"Queen Tootsie At Britt"

       I received a phone call from Connecticut Tootsie who, with Don is among the early arrivals at Britt.  She said there were forty eight other early arrivals and things were already starting to move.  It seems to me that it's hard to get news of what's happening there because most of the attendees, like Tootsie and Don, are so busy carousing they don't have the time to sit at a computer to let us stay at homes know what's happening.   Tootsie was going to try to send me some news and pictures but you know how it is with these "Kids" when they get on the road with their friends.  Hey, Regardless,

I Hope Y'all Have A Blast.


"A New Hobo Songbook"
by, Baltimore Red

New Song Book: "Boxcar Sing Along"

    New songbook compiled by Baltimore Red “Boxcar Sing Along: Songs for Hoboes & Tramps, Bums & Boomers, Wobblies & Wanderers, Riff-Raff & Rabble-Rousers."  The book includes 64 songs of tramp, hobo, Wobbly and railroad themes, and includes classics written by various artists such as: “Waiting for A Train” (Jimmy Rogers); “Ramblin’ Fever” (Merle Haggard); “Queen of the Rails” (Utah Phillips); “This Train is Bound for Glory” (Woody Guthrie); “The Big Rock Candy Mountain” (Haywire Mac McClintock); “The Midnight Special” (Leadbelly); “Milwaukee Blues” (Charlie Poole); “Only a Hobo” (Bob Dylan); “The Tramp” (Joe Hill); and “The Popular Wobbly” (T-Bone Slim). Each song is complete with all lyrics and music. Many songs have historic notes and the book is illustrated throughout with photographs of hoboes and tramps from the turn of the century, The Great Depression, the post steam era, and modern times.

    For those of you who are gainfully employed, we suggest a $15 donation (includes all shipping and handling). For those of you who are down-and-out, we will see that you get a copy if you want one. We would like to get this book into the hands of those who can make use of it, those that will play and sing these songs and keep this music alive. And often times, those most likely to perform this role are not exactly the most financially well-endowed. Therefore, those of you who can make a donation are assisting others who are not as wealthy but would love to have a copy of the book.

    All proceeds from the book go to benefit the Black Butte Center for Railroad Culture in Weed, CA. The BBCRC’s mission is to collect, to preserve, protect and celebrate hobo, tramp and railroad culture in North America. Please see the website at for more information.

    To order a copy of the book, call Red at 608-358-5771 or email:

    Mail cash, check or money order (payable to BBCRC) to Ron Kaminkow   P.O. Box 2131   Reno, NV 89505 and I will mail you the book. Or simply visit the BBCRC on-line Store at: There you can pay by savings/checking account or credit card.

Baltimore Red

    Hey, this sounds like a heck of a nice book and it should be very helpful in keeping Hobo History alive and making more people aware of our world and what we really are so let's all try to help.  Hell. what's fifteen dollars?  My kids say that I'm the cheapest SOB that ever lived but my order is going in the mail today.


"Hobo King Uncle Freddy"  ???

    I had a call this afternoon from a Hobo  friend who said that he had heard a rumor that Uncle Freddy had been taken to a hospital.  That's all I have so if any of you cn confirm the rumor, or put it to rest, I'd appreciate heaing from you.  Let's face it, Freddy's no spring chicken any more so, if he is having a problem all of his friends would like to know what's happening and how he's doing.  Drop me a line ansd if there's any news, I'll post it for all to see.


"The Latest In The Hobo Minstrel Line"

    At the risk of filling you all with envy I thought I should give you a peek at my latest Great Grandson., Owen.  Handsome kid, aint he?  Of course, right now, he has less hair then great granddad but let's face it.  His is  growing as fast as mine is dissapearing so pretty soon he'll have me beat.  Eat Your Hearts Out!


Queen Mad Mary and King Grandpa Dudley"

    Mary has been trying to contact us but has a new type of gadget, instead of a regular computer and it seems to be causing us all some problems getting back to her.  I think the problem is that her gadget is not set to send, or receive, regular text emails but, I've never had one so I'm not sure.  Anyway, I'm going to paste her last email here.  It contains both her email address, phone number and address so hopefully someone will be able to reach her and Bob and assure then that even though we can't contact them yet, we do still love them.  (Yeah, even Grandpa)  Anyway, here are her note.



    I am going to try again.  I wrote two long notes last night but lost both of them.  I guess my first note got lost. In.the air.  I had a heart attack on JAN 5 and have been in four hospitals since then. After rehab I came home with my sister.  In a very short time I started having respiratory distress and ended up in Detroit at Henry Ford Hospital.    I had.  Gone into respiratory failure. They gave me a tracheostomy, which I still have.  Hopefully they will place a stent on my trachea and take the trach out. I am doing well and we are planning to Britt to see our friends.  My nephew volunteers to go with us and do most of the driving.  I am going to.close before I loose it all again.  Love to all that see this.  You may post this.  Also post my phone number 989-891-7239 and the address is 5900 Garfield Rd Auburn, MI.

MAD Mary.

"And, "NOW", Shoestring"

Hello there, my brethren!

    Say, I just got an email from a person wanting to do a TV documentary about hoboes.  Thanks for recommending me!  I'm now up in Alaska hopping on the Alaska Railroad.  I'm in Wasilla, Alaska, as of right now awaiting some new gear I ordered at before heading from Anchorage to Fairbanks on the freights.  I'm taking along my new Nikon camera to take videos to post at my hobo train hopping site at "thehoboshoestring" on

Please tell all hello for me, please.  (Thanks)!

I hope all is well your way!

PS........ is here any way you can let viewers at your website know all they have to do is type in "hobo shoestring" at to read all my works.  (Thanks again)!

~ "Shoestring" ~~~~~~~~~~~

    There has been, and will continue to be a link to Shoestrings site on my HoboLinks page.  Click HERE, for now to get to it.  There are also links to many other of our Hobo brothers sites on there so, check them out and see what today's Hoboes are really like and up to, and read the next new post, below.


 Here's a link to a video Shoestring just made on the Alaska Railroad of him catching out, (trying, at least)
On the Alaska RR.


"Hoboes Are Forever"

    I sincerely hope that all who access this site page, Hoboes and others, will commit this heading to their memory or get it tattooed on so everyone can see it

    I Recently viewed another Hobo documentary and, after viewing that and looking at some old books written by Hoboes. I get disgusted by the statements that, "Hoboes are in the past", or someone bragging, I'm the last of the real Hoboes".  Hoboes, Travelers, Tramps, or whatever you care to call us, have been with the human race since it's beginnings, and will always be.  We freedom loving travelers will never disappear because there are always new ones of us being born.  Science advances and habits and mores may change but there will always be those of us born who love travel and the freedom to live as we want.  Just look at some of the younger folk that go on the road like Oops, Shoestring, Max and the many other youngsters on the road that don't email me.  Although their names may not be well known to all of us "They Are Legion."  The younger folk on the road today may not live exactly the  same as some of us "Old Timers" did but, today the world itself has also changed.  I firmly believe that some day, in the distant future, there will be Hoboes "Bumming" rides on spaceships to distant planets and galaxies.  Nope, "Old Hoboes Never Die."  We just breed new generations to follow in our footsteps.

"Live Free Or Die"

Love you all,

"Stonefield Railroad Days"

Hi Fran!

    Hope all is well with everyone!  We are busy here at Stonefield getting ready for the 2013 season.  Our first school group come on May 1st.  I received a postcard from Redbird Express that you would like our dates for the 2013 Railroad Days here.  The dates are set for Aug. 17th & 18th.  Hope to see everyone!

Happy Spring!


Peggy Rewey
Office Assistant & Store Manager
Stonefield Historic Site
12195 Co Hwy V V
Cassville, WI 53806

"Derry PA"

    I don't have anything official on Derry yet but I got a note today from "Stripper Girl" and she said she had heard the Derry dates were September 19th through the 22nd.  If anybody knows the Derry powers that be please ask them to send me something official so I can post it here on the Grapevine and on the Gatherings page.


"Hobo Museum & Foundation Notice"

    If you need to reach the Hobo Museum or Hobo Foundation, PLEASE, call the museum at 641-843-9104 or email Linda at   DO NOT CALL,  Mary Jo's Hobo House and Catering. This is a restaurant not the place to call and make demands upon, Linda, whom  is at her employment.

Thank You,
Linda Hughes, Hobo Foundation President

"Port Huron Is On"

    Please pass the word along Fran! And I hope that you will try and come. It would be great to have you here.

    The Port Huron and Detroit Railroad Historical Society will host Hobo Fest 2013 on Saturday, September, 14th at the former property of The Port Huron & Detroit Railroad, located at 2100 32nd Street in Port Huron. The event celebrates Port Huron’s history as a vital international transport center, the city’s struggle to overcome the economic depression and the courage and resourcefulness of those that rode the rails seeking work and adventure.

    Featuring a Spam cook-off and carving contest, music, children activities and much more Hobo Fest is a family friendly educational event that brings people together of all ages to experience the life and adventures of the hobos.

Please bring lawn chairs and dress casually according to the weather.

Interested musicians who would like to perform must contact Entertainment Director Keith Menzies at 810.305.7075.

Click here for the Port Huron site

See you down the tracks,
Joejoe Depot Diva
Joe Ann Burgett


    Stretch called me last night to let me know that the Pullman Gathering dates for this year are Saturday August, 31st and Sunday September 1st.  It will be a "Pot Luck" deal and Stretch says they could use a few more musicians this year.  Anyone with more information or questions can call Stretch on his cell at;

414 610 4538

"The Crumb Boss" Cookbook


    "The Crumb Boss" Cookbook $10.00 per book with $4.00 Shipping and Handling 400 plus recipes To order email Linda at   or you may purchase them at the Hobo Museum or at Mary Jo's Hobo House in Britt, Iowa All proceeds raised from this fundraiser goes to Keep Hobo History Alive/Hobo Museum

'Frog's New Mailing Address"

aka Gerard Fortin
615 Janet Street
Apartment 218
Helena  MT

"Hobo Museum Hours"


    Would you  please put on your websites that the Hobo Museum Hours are  Monday-Friday 10a.m. till 5p.m.  Central Time! Saturday by appointment.   Memorial Day till August 15th. $3.00 admission for all ages except babies.  The rest of the year is by appointment. email  to make an appointment.

Thank You,

"America's Leading, Male, Sex Idol Model"

    Some of you may have heard me mention, over the years, that I pick up a bit of cash posing for the art classes at the local university.  I thought you might be interested in seeing an example of what these students do.  This is a photo of an oil painting one of the students finished this week.  "Notice", that I'm modeling fully dressed.  This professor insists on clothing when I model so the coeds don't get too excited.  It's just as well.  I don't want to go through the problems, again, that I went through after posing for the town nude calendar a few years ago. (Sheesh. It's tough being a sex symbol to millions of women.)


Help With Photos

    This may be a good time to tell folk that if you send a picture to me, or anyone else, it should be reduced in size before you email it.  A photo as it comes from your digital camera can be as much as 2 megabytes and a thirty six inch picture.  A photo this large takes a hell of a long time to down load with a phone connection.  The picture of the mayor and Happy Hobo, above was two megabytes, 38 inches,  had a resolution of 350 and took me fifteen minutes to just copy it to my computer.  The photo now has been reduced to 3" X 4" with a resolution of 72 and is only 10 kilobytes.  A photo reduced like this can be brought back to any size and resolution in your own computer so, please, have mercy on me and anyone else you send pictures to and learn to reduce them before you email them.  Anybody can do it even my great grand daughter can do this and she ain't no  brighter than her father or her grandfather.


2007, Britt Group Photo

"Links to "My Space" sites, and others"

    Here on the Grapevine, and on other pages of this site, there are, and will continue to be, links to other internet sites.   I try to check these sites out before posting the links but, occasionally, there could be links, from these other sites, to unwanted materials.  If you should find yourself linked to sites that contain objectionable matter let me know, so I can look into it.


+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
(why the green plus signs?)
(No reason except that I don't usually use green and wanted to see what it would look like)
(Hey, don't laugh.  Some day you may be old and get weird ideas, too)

    I'm always looking for more pictures of Hobo art to add to the Hobo Arts page.  Let's show folk what we, and the old Hoboes have for talent.  To you folk that aren't Hobos, I'd appreciate it if you'd send pictures of any Hobo art that you find, also.   Help us preserve as much Hobo history as possible.  For too many years Hobo art and the history of the American Hoboes has been neglected and, at times, what is believed and saved is misinterpreted giving many of today's people  false impressions of the true Hobo.

To get to the Hobo Art page
click here

"The Hobo Minstrel"
11 Artisan Lane
Plymouth  NH   03264
(603) 536-3165