My first hobo ride was in a laundry basket, the next on the cowcatcher of a freight train, and then the rail journeys roll in this hobo life overview.


Aug 22, 1900 § The first Hobo Convention is held at Britt, Iowa, and to this day hobos and the curious gather with execs in the hobo jungle. There is a Hobo newspaper, a grapevine of symbols on RR water tanks, and the most successful hobo college in a Chicago hub of the expanding rail network.
1949 § Steven ‘Doc Bo’ Keeley is born in Schenectady, NY

§ At six months whisked in a laundry basket on the back seat of a ‘40 Mercury to Santa Cruz, Ca.

1978 § While driving a VW van, I’m hit by a freight train and carried 200 yards on the cowcatcher for the first hobo ride.
1981 § Experimental ride with Freedom Frey from Salt Lake to the Ogden Golden Spike.

§ Ride the rails from Salt Lake City to LA and learn the hobo ropes from two masters.

§ Nabbed by Canadian immigration during an unplanned border crossing inside a grain car.

§ Havre, Mt., to Minneapolis by rail and caught by the first bull who issues a warning.

§ Robbed by Minneapolis tramps and ask police to sleep the night in an empty cell.

1982 § Sell Michigan Garage Nirvana to tramp the country.

§ Cross-country hitchhike with twelve rides in four days from Michigan to San Diego.

§ Travel to southwestern missions with a Franciscan monk.

§ Pinned on an LA sidewalk by a demented man with a .45 pistol and a tin leg.

§ Join a Clydesdale wagon acting troupe along the California coast for a week.

§ Hobo throughout the West standing in food lines and staying in missions.

§ Invent boxcar handball.

§ Visit the Rajneesh ashram in Antelope, Oregon.

§ Climb Mt. Rainier.

§ Sacramento to the Britt, Iowa, National Hobo Convention, and back by freight.

§ First executive hobo trip Denver to Grand Junction with a Denver businessman and Australian pilot.

§ Second executive hobo trip Las Vegas to LA with two San Diego businessmen and a psychologist.

§ Surrounded and punched by four hoods while rescuing a San Diego victim.

§ Drunk redhead begs to show what’s ‘inside her pants’ and pulls out a hunting knife.

§ An epoch ends of spending one hour for about 3000 straight nights standing without a drink in bars across the country.

1983 § Finance travel with annual writing storms to create backlogs for mother to submit to magazines.

§ Drive a Chevy van around the USA with an invisible fish-line attached to a 7’ rabbit riding shotgun to wave down interesting people.

§ Sacramento to Salt Lake to Denver to Chicago to Minneapolis to Seattle to Sacramento by rail.

§ Near suffocation riding near the locomotives through the 6-mile Colorado Moffat Tunnel.

§ LA to Jacksonville to Newark by freight.

§ Freight from California to Dallas on the old Southern Pacific for a family Christmas.

1984 § Sacramento to Britt with hoboette ChooChoo Chelsea for the National Hobo Convention.

§ Caught on a moving freight ladder over the Salt Lake Causeway.

§ Hitchhike to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, and freight the transcontinental rail to California.

§ LA to Dallas and back by boxcar for a family Christmas.

1985 § Near-death from exposure trapped on a winter flatcar between Colorado Springs and Denver.

§ Say, “That’s enough!”  through spaghetti in frozen beard on the high rail between Spokane to Minneapolis.

§ Sleep in a coffin lined with electric blankets through the Michigan winter.

§ Teach a sociology course “Hobo Life in America” at Lansing Community College in Michigan.

§ Write Hobo Training Manual for the course.

§ Profiled in a documentary hobo film.

§ Volunteer stints at Lansing nursing homes, adolescent and geriatric psych wards, orphanages and schools for the blind in a one year study of the mind.

§ Speak to the NYC Junto on hoboing.

1986 § “Hobo Life in America” is cancelled after one term by the college president due to an uproar—“The bum is teaching our kids to be tramps.”

§ Wilderness survival class from Peter Carrington.

§ Michigan to Indiana by rail with Locomotive Lotus for ‘Hands Across America.’

§ Minneapolis to Spokane to Sacramento to St. Louis to Chicago with celebrity hobo Iowa Blackie.

§ Fall asleep covered with cockroaches on a Minneapolis kitchen floor when a lasso of Borax fails to repel them.

§ Hitch to the Missouri national Rainbow Gathering.

§ Sacramento to Britt with Hobo Queen candidate Silver Sidekick.

§ North Platte to Denver by freight with celebrity Hobo Herb.

§ First tattoo at a skid row parlor of a Road Mouse with a smile and teardrop.

§ Address the Aspen Eris Society about Executive Hobos.

§ Grand Junction to Sacramento by boxcar with financier Doug Casey.

§ Spokane to Chicago to Toledo by rail with hoboette Boxcar Beetle.

§ Chicago to LA and hook up with the National Hobo Association of movie star and yuppie riders.

§ Contributor to the NHA Hobo Times

1987 § Hike three months on the California Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Lake Tahoe with a custom fanny pack.

§ Sacramento to Britt to the Eris with hoboette Mappy.

§ Ride in his cherry Cadillac and the rails with Hobo King Steam Train Maury Graham

§ Third executive hobo trip from Grand Junction, Co., to Roseville, Ca., with Doug Casey and LinuxCare CEO Art Tyde.

§ Nabbed by the Salt Lake bull and to court where the judge slams the gavel, ‘dismissed with prejudice.’

§ Three days in the LA County Jail for jaywalking from a bank robbery in progress.

§ LA to North Carolina by rail for a family Christmas.

1988 § Freight the USA perimeter working odd jobs and frequenting the Willies, Sallies, and Goodies for collectibles.

§ Hardest day’s work ever ketchin’ 2500 chickens with four retarded youths in deep Georgia.

§ Bay Area’s ‘Best Sunday Magazine Feature’ with a hobo ridealong reporter to Mt. Shasta.

§ Escort hoboettes Mappy, Silver Sidekick, and ChooChoo from Sacramento to the Britt convention and back.

§ Caught skinny dipping with the three hoboettes by the North Platt RR bull.

§ Recumbent bicycle with a wind sail the 500-mile Baja Cortez coast.

1989 § Sacramento to Grand Junction to Eris by freight with hoboette Silver Sidekick.

§ Grand Junction to Portland by rail with Doug Casey to inspect gold mines.

§ Save the life of an Oregon ‘apple knocker’ stuck on the latch of a rolling boxcar.

§ Ride the RR ‘low line’ from Washington to Chicago to Pittsburgh visiting a string of associates.

§ First and only life drunk on hopping down from a boxcar near Wilmington, De., to visit a girlfriend bartender.

§ Start cheap living to save money for travel: French-fry hotels, basement, shed, garage, cellar, laundry room, trailer, motorcycle  sidecar, and a boat.

1990-4 § Mother dies in my arms.

§ Tour NYC subway and steam tunnels to ferret out HUDs (human underground dwellers).

§ Hike and canoe the Okefenokee Swamp; swept to sea on a tidal bore.

§ Travel under a backpack to 100 countries.

1995 § Return to Manhattan to compile a list of ‘Low-Life Indicators’ for commodities such as long cigarette butts in a bull market that catches print in the New York Observer and Barrons.

§ Ride a boxcar from Jacksonville, Fl., to New York and borrow a suit to wear to a meal with George Soros at the Four Seasons restaurant.

§ Explain hobo economics at global banking seminars.

§ Cast a skeleton list of near-deaths in writing Catman Keeley’s Memoirs during a one-year sequester in a Connecticut stairwell.

1996 § Artist Linda Mears paints Hit by Train as part of Adventure Art that become jigsaw puzzles.

§ Return to alma mater MSU to lecture on hobo and world travel.

1997 § Hike the 500-mile Long Trail of Vermont.

§ Hike the 600-mile Florida Trail alligator gauntlet from the Everglades to Georgia.

§ Black Friday, October 27, 1997, Dow mini-crash and The New Yorker takes a swat at Keeley for it.

1998 § Walk the 130-mile length of Death Valley and stumble on the bleaching bones of a mysterious man.

§ Hike the 600-mile Baja coast from Cabo San Lucas until forced out by rattlers.

§ Hike the Colorado Trail 500 miles through the Rockies from Denver to Durango.

§ From Education of a Speculator (1998, Victor Niederhoffer)—“When all’s said and done there’s the Hobo (Bo).”

1999 § Retire to a desert burrow as a hermit near the California-Mexico border.

§ The turn of the millennium passes unnoticed in the desert with Sir the Sidewinder doorkeeper and laptop computer.

2000 § Second person to walk the 220-mile Mojave Road from Needles to Barstow.

§ Hike with a llama two weeks along the Sierra Nevada crest.

§ Freight from Reno to Colorado for Eris.

2001 § Fifth executive hobo trip from Sacramento to Denver and back with the LinuxCare CEO, a Canadian stock broker, NY speculator, and Bay Area head of emergency response. Trip ends on 9/11 terrorist attack, which clamps security on hoboing.

§ First person to walk 250 miles on the California Heritage Trail.

§ Begin a series The Desert News in scorching Sand Valley, Ca.

2002 § Hitchhike the perimeter of Baja Mexico.

§ Hike from Mexico to San Bernardino on the Pacific Crest Trail.

§ Walk 24 hours waterless and lost in a Sonora desert, near death.

2003 § Liberty Magazine article shames a Florida peace officer after ‘36 hours in the Broward County Jail.’

§ One hundred posts of hobo and travel yarns at Websites of Daily Speculations, International Man, Swans Commentary, and North Bank Fred

2004 § Resident consultant to Rancho Costa Nada: The Dirt-Cheap Desert Homestead (Phil Garlington).

§ Trapped by flash floods in Sand Valley for one summer as three die in the heat.

§ Spokesman for the Canadian Safety Pak for survival.

2005 § Rail across Canada with South African CPA Tom ‘Diesel’ Dyson.

§ Ride disguised as Mexicans with Diesel Dyson and Central American immigrants through Mexico to the USA border.

2006 § Executive Hobo trip with Baby Jack Black (Hollywood TV show) from Eugene to Seattle.

§ Grammy songwriter Shandi Sinnamon writes and performs ‘Baby Black Jack and Bo Kerouac.’

2007 § Bo Keeley Executive Tour Services founded as a businessperson’s ‘outward bound’ on the rails.
2008 § Executive outing to the Baja Santa Maria Mission ruins.
2008 § Belen, NM, to Clovis, NM., and back with retired IBM Applehead.
2009 § “Lost on the Rails” from Colton yard San Bernardino with computer executive Rail Mariner.
2010 § Ride the Mexican rails with anthropologist Boxcar Dolly and Central Americans from Guaymas to Juarez.

§ Orange County district court switches DNA on a Conservancy trespass charge resulting in case dismissal.

§ Executive trip with Rev (Medical Devices president) from Colton RR yard to Tucson.

§ Peter Gorman’s Renaissance on the Rails profile wins 1st place for the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies ‘best feature of the year.’

§ Halloween trick or treat on the rails with Boxcar Dolly from Sacramento to Cheyenne to Portland.

2011 § Take to the rails on being fired trying to stop a ‘playground war’ at the Blythe, Ca., Middle School.

§ Keeley’s Kures: Alternative healings from the trails and trials of a world-champion hobo-adventurer published.

§ Executive Hobo: Riding the American Dream published.

§ Become an itinerant expatriate writing from select global Shangri-Las including Iquitos, Peru, San Felipe, Mexico, and Lake Toba, Sumatra.