Smoke Stop: Eugene, Oregon

I stepped out a second too late.

A good portion of the train ride from Oakland to Portland was narrated by a very cool guy who had lived in the area all his life. He used to fly planes in Northern California and Oregon, so he knew an incredible amount of information about the remote areas this train takes you through.

At the same time, apparently, some dude was also busy in the sight seers lounge getting drunk and agitated, and may have made a threat against one of the conductors who cut him off. I can’t say for certain he actually did, but that’s just how rumors spread on trains I guess. Regardless, in Eugene it was time for that rad, old, tour guide to get off the train, grab dinner, and board the next south-bound Coast Starlight to do his talk once more but in reverse order. I’ve set a reminder for when I’m 60 to try and land that job.

But, while he was getting off the train, that drunk guy from before was being kicked off as well! I guess Eugene police don’t play around, because the guy was on the ground in handcuffs when the line of people I was stuck in finally made it off. My shot of the arrest didn’t turn out, and I thought long and hard about whether I should post it anyway. I figure that dude had a rough enough day as it is without me posting it on tumblr.

The whirl of people and nicotine clouds surrounding the event wasn’t unlike every other arrest I’ve seen, though. There were onlookers and rubberneckers in the first few seconds of the commotion, sure. A lot of talk about what he did to get himself in that situation. But gradually people stopped being interested. They started looking away, then others saw those people looking away and decided to follow their lead, and soon the cop car was leaving and it was like nothing had happened. It’d be time to get on the train again soon enough, so why waste precious time on some dude getting kicked off a train?

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New Orleans        San Francisco         San Antonio

Oakland                Austin                     Portland

Los Angeles          West Glacier          St. Louis

Philadelphia          Washington, D.C.    Whitefish

New York City      Seattle                   Denver

Minneapolis          Wallops Island        Chincoteague

Yosemite              Port Huron


More photos, and sneak peaks, on instagram.

Thoughts and other nonsense on twitter.

Of course, you can always send an email.



That's all the planning I do.

Traveling around the western US, I started Railpass as a 15-day train trip to circle western America, have surprising adventures by bike or on foot, and document the experiences.

Taking only a few cameras, a bicycle, and a change of clothes, each stop on that route was a full day's worth of adventure. The train rides between destinations offered a chance to talk to other rail-travelers, recuperate, and (of course) blog here.

This blog started as a photo-journal of that trip, and I've fallen in love with seeing where all I can go and what all I can do. Since then I've continued those adventures every month with new journeys biking, hiking, and exploring cities, small towns, and the amazing wilderness... Anywhere the train can take me.


My name is Brent Knepper.

I'm a freelance photographer from Chicago, IL. My first train trip happened when I skipped class in high school and took my bmx bike with me from rural Virginia to New York. My parents have since forgiven me.