When Wayne Cole was a young fellow just out of high school, in 1962, he agreed to help his father paint a house in his hometown of Ellwood City. “My dad worked in the steel mill, but he was a good house painter, and did it as a side job,” said Wayne. Te morning he was to help his father, Wayne called him on the phone. “Dad, I won’t be able to help you. I’m in Chicago. My buddy and I hopped a train.” Wayne came home in a few days on a passenger train, and his father forgave him. “He was a good guy,” said Wayne. “He even drove me to the railroad yards some times.”
Tere would be many trips to the railroad yards because Wayne Cole would hop trains for the next 20 years, across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. He was “outa here,” a phrase he heard from hobos he met over the years, used not in a negative way, but rather expressing a desire to see what was out there.