Most people think of taking the bus for commuting, when no other form of transportation is available or if they can’t afford any other way to get from point A to point B.
Time for some Adventure
The question here is: have you ever been on a country bus? Have you ever sat down and figured out how much it costs to drive your car, not just for gas but all the expenses, to shop in a city that’s 50+ miles away? Have you ever wanted to go to town but didn’t want to deal with other drivers cutting you off at intersections, doing dumb things like passing on corners and hills and feeling worn out by the time you get home?
Have you ever wanted a different adventure when you needed a day off? What about having a small social event and meeting new and interesting people, has that ever been a topic for thought? Well, if your country bus is like ours, you can do all the above good things and eliminate all of those that aren’t.
We had to go to town to shop and reclaim some items I’d dropped off a couple days prior, needed a day off without more added stress or responsibilities, I’d seen various photo opportunities along the way on my previous trip that I couldn’t take advantage of and we wanted a different experience, even if we believed in any or all of the above negatives. So, we decided to give it a go.
How Our Day Went
William, the bus driver, picked us up at home and we’re out in the country at one of our house sitting adventures. We had some fairly large items to pick up so I asked if it would be a problem. William asked what they were and, after I told him, said it was OK.
We were his second stop and as soon as we got on, the other passenger introduced herself, a very pleasant lady who could afford to drive if she chose. By the trip’s end, she’d become more than just a neighbor down the road. The three of us chatted while William drove to the next stop. Nine were scheduled to ride the fourteen passenger bus.
On our way to the city, we made stops for riders, picked up some items from the local store, watched cows walking nose to tail toward some unknown destination, picked up other items that needed delivery but would be time and money prohibitive if the person had to make the trip for that item only. When I had gone to the city a few days before the small river that parallels the highway had been almost completely frozen over.
Two days later most of the ice had thawed and there weren’t as many photo opportunities. In the river’s canyon, green lichen clung to basalt rock, pickups with loads of hay sped by in the opposite direction, the bright sun melted the ice and snow on the road’s black surface and I wished I hadn’t forgotten my dark glasses…again.
Our Small Town
Only one passenger lived in our small town. The rest lived on small farms along the way but not necessarily on the main route. William seemed to know everyone by name and where they lived. He asked each person when they boarded the bus where they needed to go and what time they needed to be there. He took it all in and planned his stops accordingly.
Along the way everyone introduced themselves, we all chatted and I took some pictures, some of which are blurred because there were no picture taking stops in the schedule.
Once we arrived, we began the “Who wants to go where and when do you need to be there” plan. As the day progressed, everyone got to their appointments, had an opportunity to stop and shop, pick up some items like we did and, while waiting for some who would be at their appointments until early afternoon, those of us remaining on the bus voted to see where we’d stop for lunch.
How Our Day Went
After lunch, we were back on the road collecting people scattered around the city, we dropped one person off for an afternoon meeting, picked up and delivered some other items, went back to our office, stopped at supermarkets for their specials and on the way out of the parking lot, made a quick stop for a couple of ice creams and a hot chocolate at a fast food place.
One passenger had picked up some bean burritos for his 100 year old neighbor and another had gotten a new TV remote for her 87 year old friend. One passenger had caught a ride home with a friend. The remaining eight, plus William, headed east into occasional rain and snow and a fast approaching dusk.
On Our Way Home
A couple of times we had to slow for deer standing in the road and once for a deer that couldn’t make up its mind whether to run across the road or back into the field. Those who were picked up last were first off. We were second on but last off because we had some big stuff and it was on the bottom.
After helping us unload, William headed for home where he still had cows to milk. We began sorting things out, then had a quick dinner before our friend went to her Wednesday meeting and I sat down to write.
It had been a fun and relaxing day with no driving around hassles in less than the best weather conditions. We met a lot of nice people and were relaxed after arriving home.
If Wednesday is a good day to go to town, leaving the driving to William will certainly be higher on our list than doing the driving.
As an addendum: one of our friends who had ridden the country bus went to visit relatives out side of a large city. While there and not wanting to have the hassles of driving in a city where she had no idea how to get from place to place, she decided to ride the bus to.
According to her, disappointed doesn’t come close to describing her experience. No one smiled at each other or even talked to the person in the seat in front, in back or next to each other. If they hadn’t gotten on the bus together or were obvious friends, there was no contact…period.
After her experiences on our country bus, according to her, the next time she visits her relatives she’s driving her car if she has to go to the city or more likely not going at all. My friend was right and times haven’t really changed, there are town mice and country mice.