David Johnson's Travel Blog
Bicycle Trip 1999
Okefenokee 2002
Anza-Borrego 2003
Texas 2003
Road Trip West 2003
Sequoia National Park 2004
Hiking Florida 2005
Nomadic 2005
Bicycle Trip 2009
Bicycle Trip 2010
Nomadic 2010
Little Bicycle Trip 2011
02/07  How I spent my weekend
02/08  Three States and a River
02/11  Welcome to the Desert
02/12  A Cold, Hot, Dry Day
02/13  29 Palms
02/17  Joshua Tree National Park kicked my butt
02/18  Canyons, Farms, and more Desert
02/19  See, this is why I gave up on the van
02/20  It snowed
02/25  Temecula to Oxnard
02/26  Not nearly tough enough
02/27  Solvang and Buellton
03/06  (pictures)
03/12  (pictures)
03/13  (pictures)
03/14  (pictures)
03/19  From Solvang to Lompok
03/20  Nothing to Report
03/22  (pictures)
03/23  (pictures)
03/25  Technical difficulties
03/26  Pleasantly Not Soaked
03/27  Another Shortcut
03/28  (pictures)
03/30  (pictures)
04/01  (pictures)
04/04  (pictures)
04/05  (pictures)
04/08  Toxic Orchards
04/09  Los Gatos Road
04/10  Summits
04/12  CalTrain
04/15  San Francisco
04/16  Almost Car Sick
04/17  Pinnipeds
04/19  (pictures)
04/22  (pictures)
04/22  Terrorists Stole My Jelly
04/23  A Little More Peddling
Wisconsin Bicycle Trip 2011
Bicycle Trip 2011
Nomadic 2011
Kayak Trip 2012
Nomadic 2012
Liverworks Productions
Nomadic 2013
Liverworks Productions
Texas Pig Hunting
Bicycle Trip 2014
Bicycle Trip 2015
Biking West 2015
Chickens and Pheasants 2016
Biking About 2016
New Zealand 2016
Kayak Trip 2017

How I spent my weekend

2011-02-07

tl;dr: I supposed the novelty of two days on a bus would make up for the experience. I was wrong.

My weekends of late have been pretty boring, so I figured the opportunity cost of two days on a bus was almost zero, and I supposed the novelty would make up for the experience. I was wrong.

I swapped a weekend of milking cows for a ride to the Freeport, IL Burlington Trailways bus stop. Scheduling dictated that I arrive over an hour early. The bus was over an hour late. This was a bad start, but it didn’t invoke my nerves because I knew my layover in Chicago was five hours.

At the Rockford stop the bus was filled to capacity. And then another dozen folks boarded. This made us even more late getting into Chicago, which depleted my time spent there, which is a good thing. The passengers were very lively. As usual, snippets of conversation that I bothered to listen to (or decipher) were more entertaining than informational. There were many Bible inspired orations, though I'd hesitate to call any of them actual references. And just as many spewing of profanities. All the same people, though.

Six hours in Chicago Union Station is a multi-cultural experience.

The bus to St Louis departed around 2 AM. I slept off and on most of that leg.

From St Louis I was supposed to head to Oklahoma City, but weather had closed down that line, so I left for Kansas City instead. This bus was departing immediately, and I was worried I wouldn’t get aboard, so I had no time for breakfast. The interstate was plagued by traffic jams. I despaired of making my next connection in Kansas City. Based on overheard conversations, I was not alone. "How long is 180 miles? Is that two hours?" This was actually discussed with no consideration of the full hour we had already spent in stand-still traffic.

By the time we made our first stop I was victim of a massive caffeine-withdrawal headache. As everybody else stumbled out of the bus to get their nicotine fix, I stumbled out to find coffee. We picked up a guy traveling with bathroom towel. Just like the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy recommends. Color me impressed.

From Kansas City I then headed south to Oklahoma City. Kansas is flat. There are lots of hawks, deer and oil rigs to see.

From Oklahoma City I was supposed to ride to Amarillo, but that bus was full. For a very brief period of time I had just made the cutoff, but I chose to sacrifice my seat for a girl who claimed she had a foster kid waiting for her. I suspect I was duped, but I would have suffered survivor's guilt anyway had I boarded with a dozen pairs of eyes hungrily tracking my admission to the bus. It turns out foster-mom couldn't board anyway. So I never would have gotten on that bus, but at least I appeared chivalrous. Or gullible. That bus left with my checked baggage and sans me.

The next bus to Amarillo was scheduled to leave at 6 AM, but there was a bus heading to Dallas immediately with a transfer to Amarillo at 4 AM. I decided to wait in Oklahoma City, but eight others ran for that bus. I went and visited Ticketing who informed me that the 6 AM bus was inbound from St Louis, but that route hadn't been declared open yet, so my best bet was to chance a transfer through Dallas. That bus was now full, but somehow my eight fellow passengers talked themselves out of the Dallas swing, so they got off and I changed my mind and got on.

The bus driver to Dallas was bound and determined to get us there on time. He declared that all nonessential stops would be skipped and he had chains if needed. This was just as well because I was seated next to a crazy(er) person who smelled bad and sprawled out like an old cow.

I thought I'd be special with my Droid X loaded up with books, movies, TV shows and whatever else was useful for passing time. But when the lights turned off the coach was illuminated by the pale light of cell phones as folks found ways to entertain themselves.

Once in Dallas I learned that the next bus to Amarillo was full and was given a ticket for 2 PM the next day. Oddly, the guy in line behind me going the same direction was given a ticket for that next bus. That didn’t seem fair. More likely, it was simply not competent.

At this point I was tired and frustrated. I gave up on Greyhound. I walked to a nearby Hyatt Regency, where I was lucky enough to chance on a cab heading to the airport with 3 other occupants, so I didn’t have to pay nearly as much. Not that it mattered, because by this point I had decided that I was going to blow a large amount of cash. There were no planes going to my destination so I rented a car and drove straight through the next 24 hours to Arizona. I did take naps every couple of hours to stave off the double-vision.

The drive across Texas showed how weather did not agree with these folks. Every couple of miles revealed a new overturned truck or car. Some of these wipeouts must have been spectacular.

I had rented a Toyota Prius Hybrid. This car got good mileage (around 40+ mpg for most of the trip), which would probably have been better if I hadn’t spent most of my time barreling along at 80 mph (which was actually the speed limit in some areas). I would never buy this car. There is a slot between the seat and the center that swallows up anything you might try to set on your lap and holds said things under the seat until you can stop and dig them out. By the fourth time I had to stop and search for my phone I was getting annoyed.

While driving apparently I missed a football game.

I dropped the car off at the airport in Bullhead City, AZ in time to not have to pay for a second day. It was a mile walk to the bus station where I found that my luggage had not been delivered yet. I walked another half-mile to a Best Western motel, made a few phone calls for work, and passed out.

My luggage arrived on that night’s bus. So did a crazy lady that the bus driver booted off with a wave of the hand and “good luck.” I’m glad I rented the car.

Leaving Freeport IL


Chicago Greyhound Station


St Louis Gateway Arch


Dallas Greyhound Station


Toyota Prius Hybrid


Texas landscape


cruising across the desert

contact me at le@liverworks.com
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