The following are entries I wrote during my two-day bus journey to New York City to see a one-night-only performance from Lin-Manuel Miranda and a few of his friends. I give you fair warning–hilarity WILL ensue.
**Bus station nicer than I though. Woke up at 6:30–after sleeping through 4 AM alarm. Got to station 1/2 hour early even with rain and traffic. Never rode Greyhound non-charter before…interesting experience. About the same as local transit with folks hoarding seats, but more territorial. Thankfully, I got a seat close to the front (assigned seating if we do this again). Bus pulled out at 8:07. Sobering mark on my childhood that the driver’s seat is now encased in bulletproof glass.
**Pulled off to leave…and the gate won’t open. Had to manually override (somebody needs to figure out how to make those gates with sensors that don’t trip at the first drop of water). Just noticed for the first time that the onramp is conveniently right next to the station. Lady sitting next to me is comical–between the “kown-tree” accent and the phone convo (apparently somebody slapped somebody else at the Texas stop and got arrested–and had worked her last nerve). This will definitely be interesting.
**Got to some town in Mississippi around 9:45. Up to then I’d had a smattering of cell phones ring while most folks were trying to sleep–including my seatmate Maxine, who took two phone calls, swore never to ride the bus again, and proceeded to talk my ear off the rest of the ride. She made sure I got my bus change, though…plus I didn’t mind letting her talk. Arrived 20 minutes before bus departure so I was able to get right on and find my seat first. Riding through to Atlanta on this leg. A little unnerving getting scanned in Mobile–but not in New Orleans. Older gentleman with an oxygen tank was my seatmate through Evergreen, Alabama. Head-to-toe camo, so either a Vet or a “good ol’ boy.” Seemed nice; not much talking because I finally dropped into a semblance of sleep. Though if those little Hispanic kids make their little brother scream One. More. Time….
**Is it REALLY that crazy that I’m bussing it to New York? Yeah, I could have flown faster but it’s a little more adventure plus I have copious snacks and a water bottle and way fewer security restrictions. I think at the next stop I’ll refill my water bottle and eat my last Bambiburger. Now to figure out what I’m going to read.
**30 minute stop and reboard in Montgomery. How do you travel with 5 children on the bus, 3 of them toddlers? And I was almost proud of my people, too. Old girl was cussing those babies like they were grown, and I’m positive they were responsible for the toilet paper and nasty drawers on the bathroom floor. Thank God for the Bambiburger, ’cause I had to make a pimp decision between Mickey D’s and a pit stop. I can deal with no dinner, but I can’t sit on this bus with a malodorous air. These little bus depots are cute, but ragged. I don’t remember the stations looking like this.
**Opelika, Alabama–let the trash talking commence. That’s why I didn’t even consider LSU. On another note, sure would be nice if this bus had cupholders like the last one. But I have an empty seat so I can’t complain. Oh, wait, yes I can. These smoke breaks are killing me. Good thing most of the smokers are sitting in the back of the bus.
**Second stop in the middle of Podunk, Georgia. Almost to Atlanta station and next bus change. Officially in the pitch blackness. Dinnertime!
**Mad rush at Atlanta terminal for bus change #3. Went inside to come back down the ramp to the bus we were parked directly across the street from. Too bad it wasn’t the one with outlets and Wi-Fi (show shoulda been in Chicago). Side note: why is Magic City across the street from the depot?
**5 minute stop in Greenville after a long ride on the “No Air Funky Bus” express. No A/C makes for a cranky busload. The epic gas pains I was having weren’t helping my situation at all. Hopefully popping the roof hatches will help. And folks will stop sniping at the bus driver.
**Ask and ye shall receive–changed buses in Charlotte to the modernized coach with outlets andWi-Fi. Aw, sooky-sooky nah! Oh yeah, and the legroom and working A/C (and cupholders) didn’t hurt, either.
**Outlets didn’t work, but no big. But I’mma need some of these Greyhound employees to work on their customer relation skills.
**Boarding final bus–two more major stops and it’s NYC! Ol’ girl with the five kids asked for money for food (which probably explains some of the baby crankiness last night); I gave her a little something. Despite appearances to the contrary, she is doing an admirable job of keeping up with all of them not to mention the two oldest are holding their own and largely without complaint.
**Brief stop in Maryland–yes, the crab cake are all that. Really brief stop at Newark Penn Station, and am either nearing the Lincoln Tunnel or the GWB. Almost there!!
They can stop your vehicle for search at the toll booth. I get it, but dayum! Also, $12?!? I am never complaining about the Crescent City Connection again.
**Lincoln Tunnel. Like the Harvey Tunnel but longer and better lit.
**Arrived at Port Authority, not Penn Station. Whatevs. Got to a bathroom to use the facilities and change–the latter of which are apparently no-nos. =-o Good thing I was already changed and brushing my teeth–and that the attendant let me finish. I hope ol’ girl and her kids were able to get inside a shelter before the sun went down; while it’s not as cold as it could be, it’s windy and my cute coat ain’t cuttin’ it. Got to the Lincoln Center complex via the #1 train in rush hour. Glad it was only three stops and I’m accustomed to crowded transit. found out I was indeed at the wrong building and walked six blocks into the wind to Columbus Circle. Ducked into the shopping mall (what the mall off the Hyatt used to be), and wound up ducking into the right building. Strolled the mall with these heavy A bags until my right ankle decided to yell at me (where THAT madness came from I have no idea), so I’m sitting and waiting to go into the show. Gotta figure out where Lin’s coming out–waiting for him in that wind is going to be a trial. Times Square may be out. But I still have ESB tickets….hmmm…. OK, figure out which bus or train I need and then taxi to JFK terminal 5, hopefully with a McDonald’s in between
**There are a lot of little old ladies here tonight. A LOT of little old ladies. But the space is a dream. Everybody’s got a great view of the stage, and Columbus Circle. So excited! Only have enough beads for the singers, though. 😦 Side note: it’s nice to be somewhere where people still dress up for the theater. Still some casual, but extremely nice casual.
**Visibility at ESB was slim to none–rain not heavy but clouds at the 86th and 102nd floor were thick and moving. Went anyway and got as many interior pics as I was allowed. Had I come here straight after the show instead of waiting for Lin I’d have probably had better views. Three guesses as to if I care. Doorman was nice enough to hail me a cab–$50.30 and curb service vs. “guess the right train/bus combo in the cold wind and rain” was no contest–money well spent. Even though I was convinced the cabby was trying to kill me the way he was driving. Gave him $60 and let him keep the change, but only because it was raining and I was way early for my flight. Didn’t help me with my bags either way, no driver convo….is there some regulation I don’t know about?
**Got to airport where JetBlue has Wi-Fi. Was mega sleepy but still wired. JetBlue and TSA crew got there around 2 AMish. Attendant was not rude but not particularly helpful either–seeing as of the two of us, she was the only one well rested and having set foot in JFK before, you’d think she have been a little clearer in directing me to baggage check-in. Not to mention the long line to get through TSA. But I got through. got on the plane and got to sleep. If I was in the “cramped” section of the plane, I never need to spend the money on the extra room. Dan the pilot is The Bomb.com–I didn’t feel the plane leave or touch the ground–plus he had a wicked sense of humor.
**New baggage claim area is nice–once I found it. ‘Rents came to get me and I decompressed, went home around 12:30 and crashed before work. Great trip. Gotta do I again, with more time to savor it.