Post by existentialcrisis on Oct 15, 2009 10:14:51 GMT
Actually they don't seem to be parallel. When driving by highway, you hardly ever see trains. So one of the cool things about the train is all the obscure little towns you visit that you would never have heard of, taking the highway. Also, you get to see sights in the Rockies that you wouldn't see by car.
A couple of years ago there were some scheduling issues for my daughter between a high school sponsored trip and church camp. Actually the youth director suggested greyhound, and offered to pick my daughter up at the local station. Although we have a bus stop in the next town, I ended up taking her to Dallas to the main bus station there. The thing was, to go from the local stop to San Antonio was close around $160, whereas I could put her on about 40 miles from my door at the downtown Dallas station and it was on sale for only $22. I thought it was just expensive locally because of short notice whereas the downtown probably had some sort of commuter thing. Well, as best I could tell on arrival, the issue was probably more one of people not wanting to go near the downtown station. Mind you, I knew about downtown Dallas having lived in the area most of my life...or so I thought. Hubs insisted on taking a friend so there would be someone to watch the car while we walked daughter in and waited for the bus. The station was filthy, filled with the oddest mix. The crowd was about half average families like us, though the most of those seemed to be waiting to pick up relatives, and the rest looked like old hippies, drug addicts, homeless, etc, and the two groups were watched over by a cadre of Dallas police in uniform. It seemed like most of the latter were just hanging at the station, perhaps for warmth. Eventually daughter's bus was called, as it turned out she boarded the same bus she could have picked up near our home. She ended up sitting with a young lady we had talked to in the station who was riding the bus home after her car broke down while she was visiting the city and she had to be back in San Antonio for work the next day and all was fine, but it was quite an eye opener. A homeless drunk followed us half way back to the car begging for money. Daughter said most of the people on the bus with her looked pretty normal, and a larger group were students returning to the University after being in Oklahoma for a football game. I really don't think I would ever want to be a woman alone in a city bus terminal if I could help it after that.
Hah, those downtown bus stations are all the same -- except maybe for the Port Authority Bus Terminal in NYC which is such a massive busy place that the lowlife goes mostly unnoticed, since it is a tiny minority there compared to all of the commuters.
I'm happy to find this board, I intend suggesting to a friend we travel across the US, west coast to east coast, by Greyhound to celebrate our 60th birthdays. (we get to see the country and be budget conscious at the same time). I figure it should be safe enough, and that 3 weeks should be sufficient to get a good look at the country. Do you have any hints or tips, or advise to make the trip better for us?
Hello Bimmers. Your trip sounds really fun. What time of year are you all thinking of going?
I've mostly taken the bus in the US for short hops. All I know is that there seem to be far fewer bus stations than in the past.
I've traveled extensively in Mexico by bus, alone & with others. I've distilled that experience into a prime rule -- try not to spend more than five hours on the bus at any one stretch, six maximum. It's far better to figure out places you'd like to get off & spend a night or more so that you don't get burnt out with riding. Also, with 5 or 6 hours, you're more likely to arrive someplace when there's some daylight left. Another thing you can do is to take a night bus if you want to get to a particular destination & the route isn't very scenic. You can sleep through most of that leg of the trip.
I found this website, which gives some insight on possible stops. It also brings up the useful fact that you can fill in parts of the route with train, when necessary, if the bus doesn't go where you wish. www.drvoyageur.com/greyhoun.html
It would be great to hear more of your plans as they develop!
Post by cheerypeabrain on Oct 24, 2011 17:27:51 GMT
Great thread, as always Kerouac.
I've made a few bus trips in the UK but the longest I've ever travelled was 5 hours...but it's a small country
Here we used to have free passes for pensioners...so that my sister could travel free to visit relatives in the Scottish borders. It had to be very well planned as it usually involved taking lots of short trips and could take more than a day. Now the Local Councils issue pensioners' bus passes that can only be used locally (altho they do get concession rates on the other ones). I spose that by the time I retire even these will be gone... Unless of course there is a fantastic economic recovery... ;D
A bit of a warning: the last time I took a Greyhound perhaps three years ago after I missed my train, the bus station in Seattle was pretty scary- and I'm pretty immune to scary. The main topic of convo between the people in the waiting room was the comparative merits of the various local jail systems from an inmate's perspective. I did learn a bit about where best to be incarcerated on the upside.
I know what you mean about icky bus stations. In the eighties, my son used to take the bus from New Orleans to Baton Rouge & back. The BR station was always full of "marginals" & having to use the bathroom there was an adventure. Flash forward a few years, to right after Katrina. I took the bus back & forth from BR to NO a few times and it was always a pleasant experience. That's because everyone was using the bus once again. People were not only normal, they were polite and pleasant.
I do remember one strange incident from that later period, though, in the Baton Rouge station. I was sitting waiting for the bus, staring mindlessly at the ticket windows. Three or four people came in, all bunched up together & went up to the windows. In a few minutes it became apparent that the smiling young woman in the middle of the group was dressed in a beige jumpsuit and handcuffed.
Travelling from New Zealand 1980 a friendand and I arrived in LA for a two month holiday with not a clue as to how we would spend our time. We found ourselves outside the Greyhound office and decided to hop in and see what was what. It turned out that Greyhound had a special deal for New Zealanders and Canadians due to the fact that our countries had helped Americans escape from Iran during the revolution. The deal was half price tickets to any destination in the USA. We chose New York as our destination and took our trip in stages over three weeks travelling pretty much the route described in your log. From New York we went up to Buffalo where we bought another half price ticket, this time to San Diego and travelled down through Illinois, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah and Nevada again taking three weeks for our trip.
We met some interesting people on our journey. One of them was a hugely obese man in Albaquerqe who fell off his seat in the terminal and couldn't manage to roll over off his back. We helped him up and he was profusely grateful. When we went to board our bus he was ahead of us and couldn't manage to pull himself up the steps. We gave him a good shove from behind.
On another occasion as the bus went through a series of tunnels we came out one one tunnel and the high wind shifted us off course and we nearly slammed into the side of the next tunnel. My friend and I were in the front seat and had a good view of the driver (a little black guy) whooping with relief and being able to pull the bus around and into the tunnel.
A few days later someone shot out our front window as we were travelling under an overbridge. The driver called up his supervisor and he was told that the police would intercept us. Well we kept on travelling on the freeway and lo and behold a police car with its hood up and steam shooting out of the engine compartment.
Down through California some guy in the back of the bus was smoking dope. The driver came on the intercom and said that he could smell something that sure didn't seem like tea. He asked whoever it was to cease. Well about an hour later he stopped the bus and went down the back. When he returned he told my friend and I to watch his back in case the dop smoker got violent. Further on he stopped the bus at a police station and had the dope smoker removed.