Saturday, April 16, 2011

Another Weekend Is Upon Us ...

And I find myself in a new venue. A family medical crisis resulted in relocation to Rock Hall, Maryland. Gee, it's REALLY Spring here! There's tulips and daffodils and forsythias and lilacs and acres and acres of fields being plowed and fertilized for the wheat, corn, oats, soy and barley commonly grown around here. Temperatures in the sixties and vernal rains. Cool beans. It bodes well for Maine if it is this warm next to Chesapeake Bay. There really is hope the ice will go out before the end of the month.

About that relocation. It was done on a Greyhound bus. It has been a very long time since I rode a bus. There have been a few equipment improvements. For instance, some of the buses had 110  volt AC outlets. I was on one that had seatbelts for each seat. The air conditioning worked on each of the 5 buses I rode on Wednesday and Thursday. That is right. Transfers were made in Boston, New York, Washington, D.C. and Easton, Maryland. A long, boring trip. Scary, too. Parnelli Jones came out of retirement, donned black-face and drove like a bat out of Hell between NYC and DC for four hours ( 1:45 to 5:45 AM ). I'd swear on a whole stack of Bibles that we only hit every third bounce or frost heave we encountered. And I know, as I was stuck next to the bathroom door on the rear bench seat on a full bus for 230 miles.

Then there are the things that haven't changed despite the spin that corporate Greyhound's new motto, "The New Greyhound", would have you believe. For the most part, riders are still poor, young or old, and often non-English speakers. Unlike the last time on a bus, no skis were in evidence. Service men and women were amongst us, usually on their first leave before deployment after training. Bus stations are still not as clean as airports, despite similar people loads and occupancy patterns. Chairs, if any are provided at all, are metal mesh and extremely uncomfortable for spend a six hour layover on. And some buses were atrociously filthy.

The best thing I can say about the state of interstate bus transportation is it is reasonably priced for an individual when compared to travel via a one-ton dualie pick-up. Make it two people and the economy vs. convenience takes a dive. Change the vehicle to something that gets far better gas mileage, like the Scion xBox I've driven for the past day getting over 40 mpg, and there'd be no comparison, even for an individual. Its still a third the cost of airplanes and at least I found the best kept transportation secret in Maryland - MUST. I was able to be picked up at the Greyhound agency stop in Easton, MD (about a half mile from the terminal of the Easton Regional Airport) within 15 minutes of my arrival and transported to within a few blocks of the hospital in Charlestown (thirty road miles or so away) for the staggering sum of a dollar (it'd be two dollars if I wasn't so old). In these days of $4 gas, that's a flipping bargain.

Anyway, I don't know how long I will be here nor when I can get back to Maine to finish the work I set out to do. That's the nature of medical emergencies, now isn't it? I do hope you are all safe and healthy. I will finally be able to catch up with reading some of my blog friends in the evenings. Who knows, I might have skimmed all  2400 entries by the time I leave. Then again, that delete button is looking mighty handy about now.

And So It Goes.


Donna said...

I love riding the bus; people-watching is the best on busses and in bus stations. However, last time I rode a bus I almost missed a connection, which would have left me spending 24 hours in Podunk, Arkansas (or Texas, I don't recall which). So I sadly swore off riding the busses.

Donna aka Froggi said...

July will find us doing New England and August puts us back on the eastern shore of MD...hoping we can meet up somewhere!