The problem is: all this information came from hobos, a group that took pride in their elusiveness and embellished storytelling. The truth is, there really isn’t any evidence that these signs were as widely used as the literature suggests.
Minnesota Jim, meanwhile, seems a little confused by the proceedings. His victory seemed, at least in part, based on his age. At 83, he’s one of the few surviving bridgers — hoboes that rode on both steam- and diesel-powered trains during their time — and winning seemed to be a kind of lifetime achievement award. But he cautiously told the local paper that kids today shouldn’t ride the rails. “The trains show no mercy.”