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Bussed Out In Babylon - Part 2
Toot 'N' Totem
Beyond Elk City
[NOTE : This is the 2nd part of the trilogy article, "Bussed Out In Babylon"]
At this point in my Greyhound Bus journey, we are leaving Elk City and have a few hours drive ahead of us, on the way to Amarillo.
The bus was extremely noisy, as the other passengers were full of nicotine and junk food (ie. funyuns, shell peanuts, sunflower seeds). Saying they were "chatty kathy's" would be a great understatement.
For me, this trip was about reflection and contemplating some decisions, regarding my future. The goal was to see a bit of the countryside, while contemplating the next course of action in my online writing and other endeavors.
Just before pulling into Amarillo, we drove past a construction site for a new convenience store, called a "Toot 'N' Totem". Evidently, this is an actual chain of convenience stores in Texas.
In college, we had stores like "Tank 'N' Tummy", "Git 'N' Gibble", "Scram 'N' Go" and the others, but this was a new chain for me. I found the name so humorous, I simply had to take a picture and file it away in my memory for a punchline, to be given at a later date.
Evidently, two convenience stores merged to form what we now know as Toot 'N Totem (Toot's and U-Totem). This has to be the best name ever for a convenience store. Classic combo, in my opinion.
Ticket To Paradise
Amarillo Was Not A Happy Place
The next transfer point on this journey was in Amarillo, Texas. Upon first look, the town seemed quite charming and had that "down home" feel. However, once we stepped off the bus at the Amarillo bus terminal, things quickly went South.
Here, the 2 hour layover, turned into a 4 hour snoozefest and the female security officer at this place was very militaristic. There was no doubt who was in charge or who ran the show here. There were only a few signs posted throughout the terminal and the thing that struck me the most, was the simple fact that there was a total lack of communication.
This is just my opinion, but I feel that the main reason Greyhound gets such a bad rap is because they just don't care. They tell the customers blatant mis-information, show indifference, sometimes complete snark and are downright rude. They are the cheapest mode of transportation in the marketplace and they know it. As such, they have experienced every scenario and heard every story under the sun. The employees look worn out and their busses are beyond ratchet.
Being in their shoes for a moment, they are yelled at for most of their shifts and can't wait to leave work. Noone enjoys feeling like a "mushroom" (ie. kept in the dark and fed a lot of crap), yet the employees have managed to turn it into an artform. On top of this confusion about how much free time we had, the crazy security officer was barking at us like heads of cattle. "Don't go there", "Get back inside", "No loitering here".
Worn out and frazzled, I just shrugged my shoulders and waited for the bus. The snack bar had nothing appealing. I gave the nachos a try, but the cheese was hideous, so it got pitched.
Another thing I found problematic was the fact that all vending options were marked up to airport prices. I understand that the terminals make their money on the vending machines, but don't they realize that the people who typically ride a Greyhound Bus don't have a lot of extra coin to spend on bottled water? I shouldn't have been surprised, this is a Capitalist country and consumerism is alive and well in all facets of our society.
ABQ Or Bust!
On To New Mexico!
The Amarillo portion of this trip is now over and I'm actually excited to get to New Mexico, as it's one of a handful of states I have never visited. Several friends had mentioned how rustic and gorgeous the mountains were, as well as the unique architecture.
At the rate we were going, I kept my fingers crossed that we would get to Albuquerque, once the sun had risen. Unfortunately for me, there was no such luck. The sky was pitch black and you couldn't see much of anything.
The highlight of my excursion to Albuquerque was the fantastic Greyhound Bus terminal and facilities. Out of all the stops on this trip, Albuquerque had the best crappers by far. The terminal was large, there were several chairs to sit in and they actually had televisions!
It didn't matter that the bus was another 90 minutes late in arriving, don't you know. "By God, they had that there Obama on the television talking about sequestration and the mandatory furloughs." It was either CNN or a re-run of The View.
Outside of the extended layover, nothing really happened and the New Mexico portion of the trip was very uneventful. In my world, uneventful was a good thing. Since I was wide awake, I started working on yet another "to do" list and thinking about my family and the city I left behind.
ABQ To PHX (Glendale)
In Albuquerque, we had the layover, but rode on the same bus to Glendale/Phoenix, Arizona. Evidently, the bus was left in such a mess that it took that long to properly clean up. Besides the fact that the toilet was overflowing, the other riders took it upon themselves to turn the bus into a Rocky Horror Picture show experience.
The floor was a shimmering sea of discarded sunflower seeds, cracked peanut shells, empty dorito bags and used tobacco dip. I think one of the drivers mentioned finding empty liquor bottles on the bus, but I only heard that from a distance.
There is no tobacco use, firearms or alcohol/drug consumption on the bus during the trip. I guess the other riders didn't get the memorandum because they were having a party, regardless of the consequences.
The sun began to rise, as we headed out to Glendale. We had a few pit stops along the way. The highlight on this leg was the stop in Gallup, New Mexico. For me, the reason it was a highlight was because I slept through the entire break. If I wanted to tell you about Blythe or the other stops along the way, I would have to make it up because I was out like a light for this part of the trip.
Rules Don't Apply To All
Other Passengers On The Bus
Normally, when I go on an excursion, I like to create nicknames for the interesting people I meet on the journey. Due to a lack of interest, I didn't choose to do that for this trip, but wanted to take a moment to describe some of the people that were on the bus.
Surprisingly, several of the riders were on the bus the entire trip. The first guy that approached me was very tall, almost 6'6". He was thin as a rail and seemed to be a MENSA candidate because he knew absolutely everything about any topic you could think about. He knew why the busses were late and the best route to get to Pasadena because he was going there also.
This guy whined about every forseeable problem imagineable and after getting to OKC, I tuned him out and avoided him, as best I could, for the rest of the trip. There was also an Oklahoma Sooners football player, riding home to see his family; a Hispanic truck driver who was kicked off of his trucking assignment by his gambling lead truck driving mentor and the rail then elderly woman that talked to herself the entire trip.
Obviously, there were other people on the trip, but I didn't really engage anyone and wanted to keep to myself and think about the next plans for getting better at my internet pursuits.
Must Have Items For Your Trip
Be sure to offer these to the Funyun eating fools in your life. Yikes.
If I had the trip to do over again, I would have brought this and hammered the bus with the spray during the breaks, while the other passengers were smoking. #stinky
Amarillo To Glendale
A silly little place run by an overzealous rent-a-cop. Just a short stay.
An uneventful trip to the best accomodations on the trip. Albuquerque was a bright spot.
I slept through this portion of the trip.
Rate Your Experience On Greyhound
Bussed Out In Babylon - Trilogy
- Bussed Out In Babylon - Part 1
This is the beginning of a 3-part article about my excursion from my old home to the new one. The portion of this trip takes place in Tulsa, Oklahoma and ends in Elk City, Oklahoma.
- Bussed Out In Babylon - Part 2
The second part of this trilogy begins in Elk City, Oklahoma and winds its way to Glendale, Arizona
- Bussed Out In Babylon - Part 3
This is the final part to my seemlessly never-ending journey on a Greyhound Bus. This part of the journey was from Glendale, Arizona to Pasadena, California