You’ll ride some bad ones. Some cars so bad you’d swear they was off the track. Bound to get a bad one sooner or later. Some stretches of track been let go. The old CB&Q between McCook and Chicago, don’t make a damn bit a difference what car you’re on, you rattle ‘round like a loose screw. Lay down an’ try an’ get some sleep an’ you bounce four, five inches off the floor. Bad tracks. Now, catch yourself a loaded grain car an’ some a’ that ribbon rail, an’ that grain car’ll flatten them tracks out all the way, smoothest ride a body could ask for.
Worst ride I been on was a flatcar outta Bakersfield. There was a long string of ‘em, maybe fifteen er twenty in a row. No bulkheads, just this long line of empty flats. The rest of the train was reefers, nothin’ to get inta, so I just climbed on one a the flats. Laid my head on my pack and was lookin’ up at the sky. Nothin’ like a desert sky at night. He started to pull, cranked it out, blowin’ across the desert. An’ them flats was bouncin’ an’ shimmyin’ like you never seen. No weight on ‘em. Nothin’ to hold ‘em down. I was floppin’ around like a fish. Bounced my water jug clean off the car. All I could do was grab a piece a hardware and hang on. Rode that way all night.