Bussed Out In Babylon - Part 3
At this point in the journey, I can begin to see a flickering light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. We're in Arizona and Los Angeles is only a half day away. The initial thoughts of this trip were : "Hey, I'll get to catch up on my sleep, this will be a great trip!"
I'll give my post-trip thoughts at the end of this article, for now I have to stay focused on the best parts......
After another delayed layover in Glendale, we finally headed to Los Angeles. The end was almost near. The first break on this leg of the trip was in a tiny town called Blythe, Arizona. Most of the people on this bus had been riding for over 20 hours and you could tell who was exhausted and who was a new rider.
Blythe was another uneventful stop that lasted about 30 minutes. We were all taunted by the plethora of fast food restaurants, all within walking distance. The problem was that we only had 15 (errrrrr 30) minutes.
Knowing it would take me longer than that to order food and get back on the Greyhound Bus, I just opted to stay put and get some more shuteye.
San Bernardino In My Sights
The Home Stretch
As Los Angeles loomed ahead, the bus proceeded to cut through some interesting terrain. Lots of rolling hillsides, mountains and wind turbines. Several of the cities we passed through had Minor League Baseball (MILB) teams and are towns I hope to visit in the next few years.
We had another extended layover in San Bernardino and at this point I was definitely cranky. We were already 6 hours behind the itinerary schedule and most of us were just begging to be put out of our misery.
Most of the bus parted into two factions : those transferring off the bus to go to Los Angeles and the rest staying on the bus to go to El Monte. Lucky for me, I slept through those instructions and ended up staying on the bus and going to El Monte. Par for the course on this journey.
After an extra stop to El Monte, I was told that the bus was heading into Los Angeles. Basically, I just added an extra pit stop to the trip. Our Greyhound arrived safely at the Los Angeles terminal and I grabbed my luggage and headed over to the taxi cabs.
AVOID GREEN TAXI
Psycho Taxi Driver
So, I get over to the taxi stand and tell them that I want to catch the Gold Line, which is one of the rail lines for subway service in Los Angeles. I knew that the taxi ride would only be a few miles and I could have taken a city bus, but I needed a seat that wasn't broken and a chance to collect my thoughts.
The driver asked for my instructions and I told him the Gold Line. I guess it just wasn't my day because the taxi driver pulls out and is going on about how he is "unlucky" and that he got the "wrong customer" and is going nuts in some language I did not comprehend.
I asked the driver what was wrong and he proceeds to go off about how he has to bring in "$3,000" a week in taxi fares, in order to keep "his" cab. When I told him, "why does that matter to me? I hailed a taxi to go up the street, you pulled up and here we are."
He mutters some more words in his native language, profanities I presume and gets me to Union Station. I tipped him an extra $20 and he tried to tell me that it was too much. I slammed the trunk door shut and told him "Sorry about your damn luck" and dragged my luggage inside to the Gold rails.
So Close I Can Taste It
45 Minutes To My Bedroom
The first Gold Line that approached was slammed full of riders. Instead of fighting for a seat and dragging the luggage behind me, I opted to wait for the next available train. This proved to be a solid choice because there were lots of empty seats available and was a much more pleasant ride than dealing with shoulder-to-shoulder madness.
As the Allen Street station approached, my friend Alan Siebenaler was there waiting to pick me up. A sight for sore eyes, he was able to get me home in one piece. Dragging my luggage the 1.5 miles up the road was not something I would be prepared to do, so the final pickup what I needed.
Home Sweet Home
A Pleasant Surprise
As we pulled into the driveway, I grabbed the luggage and headed to my abode. A bit deflated, but thankful to be back in Pasadena, I was treated to some drawings that the kids had made for my arrival.
It's amazing what a simple little gesture like a handmade drawing can do for one's morale. In hindsight, I can honestly say that the Greyhound Bus excursion of 2013 was a very humbling experience. There were several challenges and a multitude of things I could completely lose my mind over, but at the end of the day, it wasn't as bad as it seemed.
My preparation for a future trip will be more detailed and I can now say I've travelled cross country on a bus. It's always good to have options and not always having to depend on an airplane is a nice thing to consider.
Every bus ride will be different because the mix of people that you will be riding with will be different. I think the most frustrating part of the trip, for me, was the major delays at multiple checkpoints and the overall lack of information or care shown by the Greyhound employees.
In their defense, I'm sure they have heard every story, been cussed at, called every name in the book and been threatened. It's too bad that they don't see a need to be a tad bit more transparent. Greyhound is definitely the epitome of the phrase, "You Get What You Pay For".
Overall this trip was actually better than I expected. Keeping an open mind on an excursion like this is not always an easy proposition and the headphones and alienation approach really worked for me.
Soundtrack For My Road Trip
San Bernardino To Los Angeles
Last major checkpoint on the way to Los Angeles
Unscheduled "Bonus" pit stop
Less than an hour away, at this point.
Gold Line Baby!
What's The Frequency, Kenneth
How many times do you travel each year?
- Bussed Out In Babylon - Part 1
This trip was so nutty, I had to turn it into a 3 part trilogy! This is Part 1, that chronicles the Greyhound Bus trip from Tulsa to Elk City, Oklahoma.
- Bussed Out In Babylon - Part 2
This is the second part of the journey that covers travel from Elk City, Oklahoma to Glendale, Arizona. Highlight of the trip was how nice the Albuquerque Greyhound Terminal facilities were maintained.