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Guide to California's Hobo Jungles

December 17, 1987|NIKKI FINKE

Californians may not know it, but their state probably has the nicest hobo jungles in the United States, according to the National Hobo Assn. (For more information, write to World Way Center, Box 90430, Los Angeles 90009.) Among them:

Surf--"This locale is not to be missed," the Hobo Times says. A favorite inspirational point for writer Jack Kerouac who mentioned it in "The Dharma Bums," this hobo jungle is little more than a railroad switch depot found off California 1 in Lompoc. Since U.S. 101 heads inland from Santa Barbara area to Pismo Beach, hobos feel they have all 100 miles of coastline to themselves. They can be found under the small trestle by the lagoon because of the spectacular sunsets, the sounds of the crashing surf and rumbling trains and the general isolation.

Oroville--This is one of America's biggest hobo jungles, according to association director Bobb Hopkins. "I've never gone there without running into up to 30 hobos at a time," he says. Located north of Sacramento, the jungle is near a river bank amid rolling hills and golden grasses. A mission that treats hobos kindly is nearby.

Desert Hot Springs--Like migrating birds, hobos come south for the winter. So they flock to this desert jungle in a palm grove near Indio. Plenty of seasonal work is available in the fruit groves.

Feather River--Hopkins calls this "one of those picturesque spots in the mountains that is right on the river." Located north of Oroville in the Sierra Nevada, the jungle is widely known for its trout-fishing opportunities. The hobos like to come here in summers because of the lumbering jobs that are usually available.

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