Just outside Weed, down a dusty road lined with trucks resting, we find refuge for a night at a place for which there is no real equivalent in Europe. Here is a big plot of land right beside the Southern Pacific Railroad, owned by a small collective who celebrate the culture of train-hopping those long, long freight trains that pass slowly around America. In an old junk yard they have acquired several cabooses, converting them into homes and two box-car wagons that have a library specializing in punks and hobos, gallery space and a stage for bands and performers. Black Butte Centre for Railroad Culture also works in conservation and has a big workshop for constructing human-powered vehicles.

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