1985, I believe it was, the last time I had ridden a bus. At that time, I was starting a new adventure in my life also. I had enlisted in the Army and caught the bus from Fairplay to Denver. Back then, it was just as circuitous a method of transportation as today. Perhaps a little less “interesting” though… certainly less “unique”.
Back in 1984, the passengers were primarily normal everyday people. In Fairplay, the bus stop was on the corner of Main and Fourth St, just outside the “Burro Bar”. Now that name is very misleading, because if you’re looking for a spirited drink, this was not the place to go. It was an old fashioned soda fountain, complete to the chrome stools with red cushions, checkered tile floor and walls behind a counter, festooned with ice cream and milk shake machines. The name of the establishment, orriginated from the school sports mascot, South Park Burros. The high school had open lunches, and the Burro Bar was a favorite of the student body.
The bus driver, was usually the same friendly old man, and he knew most all the regulars at the Burro Bar. Once on the bus, there were a few passengers, 8 to 10, never very many. Frequently college students or someone who had no vehicle but needed to get into Denver. They were always sociable, pretty much, your normal everyday people. This day and age though, bus travel is an adventure to say the least.
Monday evening, I had to travel by bus from Salt Lake City, Utah to Tulsa, Oklahoma. A trip that normally would only be about 1,250 miles, yet was turned into nearly 1,600 miles. To be fair, they had to re-route the bus for the first leg, due to I-80 across Wyoming being closed for “winter conditions”. We took US-6, over Soldiers Summit, down to I-70 at Green River, Utah. Of course, we had great weather until we hit Vail, Colorado, where the driver had to put tire chains on for nearly 45 miles, almost all the way into Denver. Thing about tire chains is, you can only drive about 30 to 35 MPH. A slow trip to say the least. Luckily we were to have a two hour layover in Denver, that turned into a quick change and roll on because of the slow ride.
Unfortunately, from Denver all the way to Kansas City, Kansas, I was privileged to sit between two individuals who belonged together,
in group therapy sessions at a mental institution. The gentleman on my right told me the litany of medications he was prescribed for the treatment of ailments ranging from paranoid schizophrenia to bipolar disorder with a touch of multiple personality enlivenment. While the elderly lady informed us of her multiple convalescences in a number of wide ranging facilities for mental health, with an even longer list of ailments.
The conversation was ever so stimulating and
tortuously endless. These two were complete strangers, never having met prior to this fortuitous bus ride. Yet, judging from the content and quantity of their conversation… The casual observer would have believed, they’ve known each other for many, many, many years.
Luckily, I switched busses in Kansas City, Kansas and continued on to Tulsa with a silent yet terminally frightening ride. I arrived, surprisingly in one piece at 04:40, this fine wonderfully crisp morning. Of course the Bus Terminal was already working late and the manager was fitful to get home. I called my taxi, and was told it would be about 30 minutes for a cab to get there. Thankfully, it ended up, only being 20, very chilly minutes, standing outside the locked doors of a bus terminal.
All’s well that ends well. I arrived at my hotel, was checked in immediately. I managed to grab quick very much appreciated complimentary breakfast and a scalding hot shower. I tried to take a nap, but ended up doing all of the on-line orientation videos for my new job. My official orientation begins tomorrow, and I already have a considerable jump on the work load.
After nearly 60 hours with little to no sleep, I’m going to tuck myself in to a very large and comfortable bed… Dream of a place I would rather be, and a woman I would definitely love to be with. Good night all!