A Greyhound experience
I can’t think of the best road trip I’ve ever taken but ‘ll share one of the most interesting “road” trips I’ve taken.
In the winter of 1985, my husband Dale and I flew to Long Beach, California, to spend the holidays with my dad. (Keep in mind I said flew “TO” Long Beach.)
We arrived at Detroit Metro Airport two days before Christmas. We checked in our luggage and waited. I stood at a tall window looking out on the tarmac. There parked, almost ready for boarding, was our plane, a 747. Now, I had never flown before and as a young (19 years old), inexperienced flyer I looked at my husband extremely nervous and said, “That’s a big plane. How does it stay up in the air?” He mumbled something and I looked at him skeptically.
The four hour flight was very turbulent. So turbulent I told my husband many time we were going to die. At one point my husband leaned over to me and said in a quiet, yet firm whisper, “Mary, you’re not going to die! Stop scaring the other passengers.” Needless to say, once we hit the ground I told my husband, and my dad, in no uncertain terms, I was NEVER going to fly again. They laughed.
We had a wonderful week in Long Beach and as it was time to think about going home the discussion came up about our flight home. Once again I reiterated to the two most important men in my life, “I’m never going to fly again.” This time they knew I was serious.
So we did the next best thing, a Greyhound bus. I’m not talking about today’s luxurious buses. No on board movies, large reclining seats, spacious bathrooms. I’m talking minimal amenities. Think large school bus.
We boarded a brand new Greyhound bus in Long Beach. I was so excited. Now, I had never ridden a Greyhound, but I wasn’t flying so the occasion was made for excitement.
The first 24 hours were great, even though the new bus only made it to Las Vegas. As we boarded an older bus, my husband suggested we sit in the very back so we could have more leg room. We had more leg room but the exhaust fumes were stinky.
The scenery through Colorado was great. We followed, what I think was the Colorado River. A heavy snow had fallen hours before. The mountainside was covered in fresh white snow, the river was flowing lazily on that beautiful winter day.
Day 2 we hit the flat lands. No more beautiful river, no snow covered mountainsides. The scenery changed to dirty, snow covered fields and flat land as far as the eye could see. And did I mention, buses drive all hours of the day and night, stopping in every truck stop, out-of-the-way gas station and bus stop on the way. The back seat afforded more space and, each night, my husband offered his lap as a pillow so I could sleep laying down. He slept sitting up for three nights in a row.
I remember the second or third night feeling the bus stop. I raised my head and said to Dale, “Are we home yet? Where are we?” He didn’t even know where we were. After a while, we lost track of time and space.
I can’t even begin to describe the characters, some questionable, that we met.
After three days and nights, five bus drivers, numerous buses and countless stops in our 3,000 mile journey, we arrived home in Midland. Glory days!!
Now, 25 years old I can’t look at a Greyhound bus and not want to throw up.
Lessons learned from this trip:
– Novice flyers should NOT book their seats behind the wings.
– If you have medication to relax, take it. Or share it with your seat mates.
– If you stop at a Greyhound bus station anywhere in the midwest, do not buy jewelry from a man in a long coat. Even if the price tags look “real.”
– Don’t inhale the “funny” air coming from the bathroom at the back of the bus.