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12-hour bus ride
Posted by: HoboSylvain | 2013-07-30 09:15:09 | Denver, Colorado, United States
Keywords: bus, Itinerary, plans, transportation
Choosing to stay on ground to travel long distances mean you'll be confronted to very long bus or train rides. My previous record in that matter was a 10-hour bus ride in Newfoundland, which went very well. This time, I had a 12-hour ride from Kansas City to Denver. I left KC at midnight and I intended to sleep at least a few hours until Denver, then take a nap once arrived before exploring this new city for me. Well, once again, plan failed, and I was cool with it even if for many people this would have been a very bad bus ride.

The challenges began at boarding time. For an unknown reason to me, many people were boarded ahead of those who were waiting in line (like myself, who was #6 in line, I had been standing there for over an hour). When I finally boarded the bus, all benches already one seat taken. With the people boarding behind me, I was forced to the back of the bus. I took an aisle seat next to a woman. Since we left with all seats occupied, I wasn't too upset about not having any room.

We left a few minutes late, but on a 12-hour run, who cares? I knew I probably wouldn't be able to sleep much in that context and it was okay. I did doze off between our hourly stop to let people off and on. At one point, there were 5 people waiting to board, but there was only one seat available. I then realized I wasn't in Canada, because only one was accepted on board (I don't know how that fellow got 'chosen').

On long bus rides, there are scheduled 15 or 30 minutes stops every few hours to allow people to buy goods, use a regular toilet or smoke. That's when I realized I had made the wrong choice of seat. My woman neighbour in addition to taking lots of space with her bags (instead of putting them in the bin above), to eating chips and spilling them everywhere, was a smoker. I admit first hand I'm not very tolerant with smokers, and that's something I'll have to work on.

Every time she got back on the bus after a break, the cigarette stink got stronger and stronger. At one point, I couldn't even look in front of me without having those stinky fumes filling my nose. I got creative. Ever since Pittsburgh, I've been carrying in my fanny pack a mini tube of skin lotion, trapped in hotels along the way. So, I spreader some on my arm next to my smoker. I also applied some around my nose. That generated a nice lemon scent to block the foul smell. Now and then, I would take a sniff at my arm.

In total, I must have slept/doze off for about 2 hours. I was looking forward for sun to rise so I could see the huge corn fields of Texas and maybe see the Rockies when closer to Denver. It was raining during part of the night, so I wasn't expecting a big blue sky. As the light slowly got on outside, what I saw was a very dense fog! Sometimes, we couldn't see more than 30 feet in front of the bus. So, no scenery watching.

We arrived in Denver at 11 am, and the fog was still all over the place. Even though the base of the the Rockies is just 25 km West of Denver, we couldn't see them! Fog dissipated in late afternoon, but to be replaced with low cloud coverage, still blocking the view.

Also, did I mention there was no Internet on board? I'll just conclude saying I was pretty happy to get out of that bus. I have an even longer bus ride coming in a week, I hope it will be better, but I accept the consequences of my choices with philosophy. And it could have been worst... the next day, I took another bus from the same company (the one with the racing dog) to go to Colorado Springs... and the door flung open twice while we were on the highway!

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