Other Hobo Sites

Posted by vern | Posted in Bringing Back The Hobo | Posted on 30-04-2007

I’ll also put these in the forum:

www.hobo.com — hobo museum in Britt, Iowa. All sorts of information.
www.hobonickels.org — original hobo nickels and also hobo terminology.
www.northbankfred.com — hobo run site chalk full of info, stories, bibliography, and beautiful photos.
www.worldpath.net/~minstrel — frans personal hobo home page
www.longgonefilm.com — beautifully shot documentary about riding the rails.

The Importance of Hobo Stew

Posted by vern | Posted in Bringing Back The Hobo | Posted on 30-04-2007


The Importance of Hobo Stew:
The idea of Hobo Stew is very important to me. Traditionally, when a hobo would arrive at a hobo jungle, he would be expected to bring some sort of contribution. Perhaps a can of beans, or corn, or beer, or a few apples, whatever he could get his hands on — it was his way of supporting a family. At a hobo jungle there was always a fire. And on that fire was a pot. And in that pot was hobo stew. And it was never-ending and always-changing. Whenever a hobo would arrive, he would add his contribution into the hobo stew. And, as his contribution simmered, not only was he able to enjoy the flavors of previous hobo contributions, but he would get his fill, and leave a small and flavorful contribution for the next hobo to arrive. Henceforth, there is no recipe for hobo stew. It is a natural by-product of community and I hope, somewhere, it still exists.

what a shame it would be to waste all of this history and culture on drunkenness and indifference.

The Noble Hobo

Posted by vern | Posted in Storytelling | Posted on 30-04-2007

My Furthering Hobo Perception…

1997 does not seems so long ago – but it was a decade ago. oh time…you silly little thing. It seems that, as I dive further and further into the hobo story, my perception of who the hobo is, and was, is changing. This evening i came to the realization that I may have overly glorified the hobo as a diligent worker who simply prefers to remain homeless and travel. Most everyone loves to travel, and a majority of those people realize that you need to work to travel. So that leaves hobos somewhere in the middle.

Recently, i saw some photos of hobos at a gathering in Dunsmuir, CA. The pictures were taken in 2002, and it showed 6-10 “hobos” sitting around a campfire, with expressions of drunkenness. Half were young gentlemen around the age of 21 and the other half was, what looked like, good ol’ American white-trash. It really saddened me. i envisioned them littering there cheap beer cans, trying to break live tree branches off surrounding trees for the fire and nothing but the most idiotic of campfire conversations — people more concerned with the amount of beers they have left, than anything else. I saw people exchanging welfare tricks and techniques, and stories of drunken police run-ins, and schemes, and lies, and endless pontificating. Where are the iconoclasts? The romantics? The classic, bearded story-telling old timers? Hobo stew? Probably haven’t even hear of it and don’t care. Where are the Oklahoma Slim’s and Boxcar Bob’s and Ramblin’ Jimmy Red Bones? Now the heroes are Balloonpopper Todd and Lightning Strike Leo and Generator Jerry. Really? That’s really your name? Sad. I hope I’m wrong.

And, so what does that mean for me? Abandon my romanticized version of hobo history? Did the original hobos only think about where their next drink came from? Or how to stick it to the original “man”? Or was “man” different back then? Perhaps survival and life were more differently defined. I would love to go to a country today whose economy and development was equal to America’s in the 1930′s. I wonder if there i would find my “romanticized hobo” — a man traveling in search of work; and not just work that would buy a $5.99 bottle of whiskey with his lazy day’s worth of works pay. But a man wanting to hone his skill. To pursue and invest in something. Perhaps a family, or a tool, or toy, or house, or even just himself. That’s what I admire about my version of the original hobo. A man vehemently in search of his future. Maybe you break a couple of rules here and there, but its a calculated risk, with rewards that last a long, long time. And, in all the rambling, and hobo stew, and dirt and wind on the face, a noble and strong man appears.



Hobosoul List of Players (and people we want to interview)

Posted by vern | Posted in Storytelling | Posted on 28-04-2007

For the documentary we are looking for these people (in plain English)
1. Classic Hobo – old timer with good stories.
2. Modern Hobo – anyone who considers themselves a modern hobo; like one who would find this site.
3. Railroad Hobo – somebody still riding the rails, preferably from the FTRA (Freight Train Riders of America)
4. Richard Grant – author of the book “American Nomads”.
5. Senior Citizens in Quarzsite, AZ – annual RV reunion where the old timers let it all loose.
6. Present/Past Railyard Bulls – guardians of the train stations
7. Hobo Historian (?)
8. Normal People – opinions on what a hobo is, etc…
9. Tramps, Bums, Gypsies – what’s the difference
10. MamaJo – Queen of the Hobos
11. Hobo Artists – possibly from the Hobo Nickel Society
12. Full Time RVers – All sorts, with stories to tell.

And more. If you know anyone, have them contact us.

Here’s a note we got from a neighbor, one year ago…

vern moen hobosoul

A hobo jungle

Posted by jeff | Posted in Resourceful Living | Posted on 23-04-2007

I spent my first night ever in a hobo jungle.

As you might guess, it’s where hobos stay at night. Sam Arthur, former hobo and current hobo at heart, went out the Phoeniz, AZ for the weekend to shoot a music video.

We got in a 4am with no place to go, tired and ready to sleep. It was raining.

We drove around a bit, found a dark restaurant with a carport type covering. We pulled over, grabbed our sleeping bags, Sam peed in the corner and we crawled into bed, thus creating our own little hobo jungle.

Work in Progress — The Hobosoul Crest

Posted by vern | Posted in Winnebago Experience | Posted on 18-04-2007

This is the crest we’re working on. Based off the career of a chicken. (Photoshop accident)


Police Mark Our Tires, Leaves Note…

Posted by vern | Posted in Winnebago Experience | Posted on 18-04-2007

This is a good one. A work of art. Normally we just get the arrow pointing down. Somebody really likes us in Venice, CA.


Tire marks quickly wash away with Windex. This one was acoompanied by a note like this:


The note, we dismiss because it doesn’t look all that official. On top of that, it’s difficult to prove we live in our Winnebago (unless they found this site).

And this is a nice big pic of where we live:


—We’re Revamping Our Forum Tonight—

Posted by vern | Posted in Bringing Back The Hobo | Posted on 17-04-2007

Thank you to all that post. Since that doesn’t include that many people, we’re revamping our forum to make it more streamline and beautiful. Our new forum will be a place for the development of hobo culture and community. Hopefully, the forum will be a resource for not only actual hobos, but those interested in the culture, the art, and philosophy of a nomadic lifestyle. Check it out soon. Thanks.
Vern (and Jeff)

Hobo Terms, Sayings, Slang — The Hobo Nickel Society Website

Posted by vern | Posted in Bringing Back The Hobo | Posted on 17-04-2007

If you’re interested in an immersion into hobo vernacular, check out this site:

It’s chalk full of original and modern hobo sayings, terms, jargon, and some of their origins. Also, its the Original Hobo Nickel Society and has plenty of hobo art.

Adam and Eve on a Raft – Two fried eggs on toast. “Wreck ‘em” if they are scrambled. “With their eyes open,” if not.
A-No.1 (1) – A famous tramp who writes his name on everything like the later American GI who wrote “Killroy was Here!”
Blowed-in-the-glass – Someone who was born to be a hobo.
Bohunk – A Polish or other Slavic laborer.
Corn – Bourbon (as in corn liquor).
Graveyard stew – Hot milk and toast.
Grease the track – To fall off the underside of the train and die.
Hey Bo – A vagabond’s greeting. Possible origin of the term “hobo”.
Hobo Capital of the World – Chicago. The city was the railroad gateway between the east and the west. Hoboes and tramps came to Chicago. Ben Reithman set up the Hobo College of Chicago.
Looloo – A sexy woman.
Mud – Strong coffee mixed with weak milk.
Mulligan stew (1) – Stew made from the combined contributions of everyone who wants some (or) The stew consists of large chunks of beet, buffalo (when available) or hamburger, potatoes, onions, carrots, or other vegetables and seasonal herbs.
Scrape the Mug – To shave
Sneaky Pete – Cheap wine.
Tin roof – A free drink. So-called because it is “on the house.”
Twist a dream – To roll a cigarette.
Wanderlust – An impulse to travel.
W.P.L.J. s – White port and lemon juice, a favorite hobo concoction.



“Rubber Tramps” The Movie — Tramp Documentary

Posted by vern | Posted in Video | Posted on 16-04-2007

MaMaJo (National Queen of the Hobo’s) recently turned me on to this group of fellows. It’s a documentary about life as a tramp on the road. It’s full of Dead-Heads, VW Buses, and the real stuff. We are little marshmellow fluff comparitively. We respect and honor all those at “Rubber Tramps”. You can buy their doc and check them out at their myspace and there trailer is on youtube.com. Here are the links:

(myspace) http://www.myspace.com/rubbertrampsthemovie


Our nicest note all year

Posted by jeff | Posted in Events/Parties, Winnebago Experience | Posted on 13-04-2007

It was Easter weekend. I had just acted as a homeless man in the Easter celebration at the Pacific Amphitheater in Costa Mesa and headed home. I moved the Winnebago, as we do every three days and parked.
Next day, I woke and went to work as always. I stayed at Isaac’s house Monday night and returned to the Winnebago not having been there for two days. There was a cute little green post it on the windshield, dated 4/8. (Easter).
“We are sorry to have to ask you this, but please do not park overnight tonight on [our current street]. LAPD will be called. Thank you.”
Now…I didn’t find this note until Tuesday evening-and the cops never showed when I was there. Of course, I felt bad. If I had found this on Sunday, I would not have parked there overnight. We respect our neighbors. So, I moved. Just around the corner-Vern’s been on vacation-so I can’t go too far.
Thank you, residents, for treating us kindly, perhaps for even feeling sad for us. I recently came up with a solid idea-we should make an introductory video about ourselves. Every time we move into a new neighborhood, we drop it off on doorsteps of people who live where we park. They’ll see who we are, what we are doing and then not feel that we are going to steal their stuff or molest their children. Because we won’t. Well, I don’t know about Vern, but I won’t.

On other notes, I wrote in the Captain’s Log for the first time this year.

Acting as a homeless man-while it wasnt much of a stretch-taught me a lot. I did research the day before-well, the week before-I didn’t shower for 5 days (if you’ve been following us, it’s not that new for me), I didn’t eat at all on Saturday before Easter, I slept outside Saturday night, I walked around and almost went into the soup kitchen, checking out what people wore, how they walked and everything. I walked around with the crowd before the service-most people looked away, pretended I wasn’t there-some had a guilty “it’s Easter, he’s poor, let’s help him out” look and others genuinely felt compassion for me and I could see it in their eyes. The kids-as I walked timidly around the donuts and coffee-the kids ran out to me with food and water and offered it to me-multiple times. Since I hadn’t eaten in more than 24 hours, I savored those donuts yet devoured them. As I wandered around the crowd, moving every few minutes to different seats, I hope I made people uncomfortable. I was told later that people would look away as I walked in front them and as soon as I passed they eyed me. I also found out later that security was on their radios tracking me down trying to kick me out. Staff from Rock Harbor (the church putting on the service) had to keep them away from me. I wish I knew what all those people were feeling as I made my way to the stage.
And there you have it.


NuNomad.com and a New Hobo Write-Up

Posted by vern | Posted in Storytelling, Winnebago Experience | Posted on 08-04-2007

Here’s the article Carmen Bolanos from www.NuNomad.com and www.bluesuitnomad.com did with us, interview style:

Meet the Nomads – Vern and Jeff Hobo Film Makers

vern moen

April 03, 2007

This week on Meet the Nomads we are visiting with Vern of The Hobo Soul. Usually we think about NuNomads as traveling internationally while they work but some like Vern and his friend Jeff keep on the domestic front. Nevertheless, they are definitely living a NuNomadic lifestyle. I definitely recommend a visit to their website where you can get a great feel for their everyday life (complete with photos of their weanie and peas dinners) and their sense of humor.

(Vern came to NuNomad through our forum where you can see his introduction in the Introduce Yourself section)

What is your business/profession?
I’m an Independent Film Director and Television Camera Assistant. Since January 1, 2006, my editor and I have been living in a 24’ 1973 Winnebago RV, rambling the streets of Los Angeles while pursuing our film careers. Shortly after we moved in, we created a production company called “The Hobosoul Productions”. We learned how to incorporate our simplified and resourceful lifestyle into our company, and have been able to create music videos, short films, corporate videos, experimental films, and documentaries (including the ongoing documentary of our Winnebago Experience).

What training/experience did you receive in order to be able to have this business/profession?
Both my editor (Jeff Stone) and I, graduated from film schools. I started working with cameras as a wedding videographer. Jeff edited small commercials and church projects. We collaborated on a short film a few months before we moved into the Winnebago.

How long have you been doing this?
More or less 5 years.

How long were you in your business/profession before you began traveling?
4 years.

What interested you in becoming mobile?
We wanted to simplify our lives. We got rid of rent, which gave us the ability to purchase much of our film/video equipment. We thought it would be a great story to tell, and we are both in a place in our lives where the idea was very feasible.

How much of the year do you travel?
Technically, we travel 365 days a year. We are hoboes. We are wandering workers and our house has wheels on it.

Do you travel alone/with a partner/with children?
Jeff Stone, my editor and good friend.

Is there any special equipment or infrastructure you must travel with in order to run your business? (ie laptop, telephony, fax)
Film/video equipment, Two 17” Mac laptops. I suppose our Winnebago is our infrastructure.

If so – what brand/models do you choose and why?
Panasonic, Sennheiser, Bogen-Manfrotto, Winnebago, Apple Macintosh, Sony.

Are there any services you use while you travel in order to run your business? (ie Skype, supportsoft, online appointment services)
Free Internet (coffee shops, residential homes, businesses, etc..), our website (The Hobo Soul), MySpace.com, YouTube.com, dvxuser.com.

Are your clients/customers located at your home base or scattered?
Scattered. We can work on films anywhere; across the world.

What kind of reaction have you had from your clients/customers about your traveling lifestyle?
They love it. I often don’t tell them and let the story unravel itself naturally. “You live in a what???” That’s a good one. “Your’re a…hobo???”

What would you say are the pros/cons of the nunomadic business and lifestyle?
Cons: We can’t have a garden. No driveway/garage for auto repairs. Showering is tough. No electricity/water.
Pros: Freedom. Simplicity. We meet a ton of different people. We save money. We laugh a lot. Most everything is a story. No electricity/water.

Do you have any advice for those people wanting to set up their own mobile business?
I really don’t think it’s for everyone. There’s a lot of time when you are alone with your thoughts. If you’ve ever thought about it, even somewhat seriously, try it out on a small scale. If it works, just go for it. Our lives have changed so dramatically, in ways that I never thought possible. I’m living an experience of a lifetime, and what I learn here, will be with me for the rest of my life.

Thanks Carmen!

I’m in the Winnebago

Posted by jeff | Posted in Resourceful Living, Winnebago Experience | Posted on 05-04-2007

There are times when we brag about having the internet at our house-and now I’m experiencing one of those. It was a moment I couldnt pass up–it doesnt happen often. Because of street sweeping, we have to move every Wednesday. So, this Wednesday, we happened upon a place that gave us internet. Wow.

I haven’t posted in a while, but I’ve been meaning to. My thoughts this weekend were prime for a great post, so I’ll do my best to sum them up now. In all, I slept on 4 different beds on four different nights. I didn’t see Dick for that whole time, leaving on Friday morning and not returning until late Monday night. It felt strange, to be far from home for so long. At the same time, it felt right.
My biggest observation since being a hobo has been a recurring one-while our quest is for freedom and the simple life away from anything nailed down, there are times when you do begin to miss home. Not that Dick isn’t a home, but you miss a “place” to call your own-especially when you don’t see that place for an extended period of time and you feel like you are always bumming off people or putting people out etc.
(Someone just pulled up outside and I had a mini-panic…when they hesitate outside and then you hear doors opening and closing-it’s nervewracking…turns out it was just the neighbors-probably the ones providing the free internet and the local security company that most likely was marking my tires.)
And back to my thoughts. I’m headed to New York at the end of the month. To be a hobo. Two films I’ve worked on this got into the Tribeca Film Festival, so I’m going to check them out. And the city. I have no plans at this point, other than the few nights my parents will be in town with me. I’ve contacted people I know, told them I’m coming, I’m exploring and that I hope to find a place to sleep at the end of the day. If you’re out there, reading this, and have a couch/futon/chair/floor, respond to this post. I’d love to make sweet love to your sleeping place. And I’ll be out of there in the morning-with books, a sleeping bag, and a bag on my back keeping me alive for a week. It’s going to be an experience.
I’ve also been dreaming about the Appalachain Trail. Mostly while awake (when I’m asleep, I’m usually being chased by someone…does that mean something?). My plan since I’ve moved to California was to hike it in 2.5-3 years. That stayed for a year and then I decided to count down…so at this point, I want to begin in Georgia next March. I’ve got a lot of planning to do. For those who don’t know, the trail goes from Georgia to Maine through the Appalachain mountains. Read “A Walk In the Woods” for a simple, funny approach to it. Anyone want to join?
Lastly, one more big thank you. Hyperion Auto Body and Repair. Tom (my car) went down two weeks ago. He needed a new distributor coil. In addition, the garage informed me that he needed new front and rear brakes, a new clutch, a complete tune up (spark plugs, filters, fluids, etc.), something was broken on my front passenger side wheel, and well, that the entire car was falling apart. I figured since the car was going to be there for a while, they might as well see what they could do about my roof (the canvas top was torn and covered in bird poo, the rear window was a nice yellow frosted color and the beams that hold the roof up were snapped in half). The motor also didn’t work, so I had to manually put it up and down. My trunk was all bent out of shape, I had a crack somewhere in my exhaust system, and the list goes on. 9 days later, I have Tom back. And he looks stunning. All for the low, low price of $2500. Look again at the list of things that were fixed on my car-and then at the price.
Thank you, Hyperion Auto Body of Silverlake, and thank you, Dick.
You’re next.