Tuesday, May 30, 2017

one more step

I'm here.  Sort of.  After over 36 hours of riding/waiting, I'm here in Bozeman, MT for the night.  Tomorrow morning I catch a shuttle to Gardiner, MT, and Wednesday morning I officially check in and start my new job.

Have you ever traveled via Greyhound? This has been my third long distance "move" via this form of transportation, and overall the best experience yet.

Aside from having to start my journey at 1:45 am from downtown Wichita - just in time to catch the dregs of saturday night society - and having to sit with my 30 lb backpack on my lap from Salina, KS to Denver, CO (which, to be completely honest wasn't THAT bad), this trip was lovely.  My seat buddy headed to Denver livened up just as we pulled into the city.  He was headed just past there to pick peaches in Palisade, CO.  He has been picking peaches and cherries in Colorado for around 30 years!  He told me that he took a small break to work in the oil industry, but ultimately the money in migratory farming is much better.  Crazy, huh?

From there on out, I always had a row to myself.  This meant sleep, however sporadic it may have been.  The buses are usually outfitted with wifi, but it's not strong enough for streaming.  I discovered this as I rode for over 3 days from Connecticut to Kansas last summer.  This time around I was equipped with a thumb drive containing 3 movies and a musical.  The combination of movie and vehicular movement proved too much for me... I know each time I put on a movie I got at least an hour, if not nearly 2, of sleep!

In Buffalo, WY I transferred what seems to be a subcontracted line to Greyhound - Jefferson line.  Holy cow these people are nice!  My trip was scheduled for a 12 hour layover in Billings, MT.  I was deposited at around 1:00 AM, and my next connector was scheduled to leave at 1:00 PM.  What in the world was I supposed to do? Sleep.  Yep, the station (as I found out from the employee the next day) stays open if their customers need a place to crash due to the schedule.  They had a carpeted "kid's zone" so I headed over there and used my purse for a pillow.  Shortly after I started to fall asleep, my body temp started to lower, as it does during slumber, and I started shivering.  Next thing I know, there's a blanket on me!  Another layover buddy who couldn't sleep had noticed me shaking and let me borrow his blanket.  Three or four hours later, I woke up to Fox news and a room full of people.  my buddy was gone, I guess he had gone adventuring, so I folded up his blanket and set it by his bags.  I set up a little area by a plug in and tried to figure out how I would spend my remaining 7 hours.

I decided to finish watching the movies I had previously fallen asleep during.  Aided by coffee of course.  I brushed my teeth.  I bought a cookie from the vending machine.  I chatted with the employee.  Soon, my buddy - who's name is Jesse - comes back and hands me a Burger King bag.  He had bought me breakfast!  I honestly hadn't even thought about hunger, but it was definitely wanted!  He said something about good deeds and paying it forward, and I was grateful.  Belly full, I continued watching my thumb drive movies.  Around 11:00, just before a drop off, Jesse came over to me and offered me a stuffed animal that he had one in one of those silly grab machines that just steals money.  He was going to wander around again while waiting for his 9:00 PM bus.  This was the last I saw of my Billings buddy, but I've got a neat plush dino to remind me of him!

Last bus included a kid wearing a K-State beanie.  I finally had a chance to mention that I was from there as well as we were dropped off.  Who knows if I'll see him again.  I have a feeling he's working in the park, but since there are so many locations and we didn't talk much, I may never know!

So, I got to my hotel just before 4 PM.  Got myself all checked in and went to explore the hotel.  It's a nice one!  Thought about going for a run, but decided to shower instead.  Three days of stank kind of made that choice the obvious one.  The bar in the hotel opened while I was cleaning up, so afterward I headed down for a local brew and dinner.  Good stuff!  However, after 1 1/2 beers and a giant burger, fatigue set in and I passed out for a serious moment.  And then of course woke up around midnight.

And now here I am.

I really am nervous for tomorrow, for Wednesday, for the rest of the week.  We'll see.  I hope to update again after I get into the park and settled in my dorm, but I'm not certain of the internet service yet.

Wish me luck!

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