I am somewhat of an adventuring kind of girl. You won’t find me bungee jumping off of the New River Gorge bridge, or base jumping off of cliffs, but I think that riding on a big bus, all by myself on the top level, out of sight of the bus driver, often with some shady looking characters, overnight, and sleeping through the whole thing, might be more daring than bungee jumping! And I have done this MANY times, and lived to tell about it. I have lost track of how many trips I have made on the Megabus. If you count each route that I had to book and pay for indiviually, it would probably be over 25, but if you just count each time I set out on a Megabus until the time I reached my ultimate destination, it would maybe be only 8 to 10 total.
One thing I don’t like to think about is how many HOURS I have spent on a bus, but the money I have saved makes it well worth every scrunched up hour of sleep with my arms wrapped tight around my tote bag, plus every game of solitaire played on my iPad! As a matter of fact, I would say that I quite enjoy the whole concept of the excursions. I am like a pioneer woman heading out on the open prairie, with all of the danger and adventure that awaited those early-Amercian adventurers. What will I find out there? What kind of man-eating creatures will spring out of nowhere? What will I find to eat? (This question has taken on new meaning since I began eating paleo!) What new things and people will I see/meet? Will I make a new friend; will I make it to the next stop without needing to use the on-board toilet; will I get to my first stop in time to make my connecting ride; can I make it the whole trip without having someone ask to sit beside me?! Do you see the rich and vast opportunities for widening my experience of life?!
When you add all the above-mentioned potential to the fact that I have traveled from Cincinnati to Minneapolis not once, but twice, for $5 ROUND TRIP, the whole enterprise becomes much more exciting and worthwhile. I am actually in Minneapolis at this very moment, thanks to the Megabus, but, much to my chagrin, I had to cough up $18.50 for this round-trip. That is ridiculous. Three times as much as my last trip! I had to pawn some of the family jewels to afford this one. Of course, these good prices aren’t easy to come by, and that is just another level of Megabus Mama’s prowess. People are always asking me how I do it. They want to plan a trip for next weekend with a family of eight, and find such good prices for the entire family. Sorry, folks, but it ain’t happening. You have to plan ahead, be flexible, not be self-conscious about dragging your luggage behind you in Chicago (or Buffalo, or D.C.), looking like a bedraggled homeless person, and, most important if you want to find the $1 seats……you HAVE to be traveling alone. I hate to burst your bargain hunting bubble, but those are the bare facts. The most I have ever spent on a bus trip was when I went to Norfolk, VA, but that was because it’s not easy to get there from Cincy – there’s a big mountain range in the way. I had to ride to Buffalo, NY, then to Washington, D.C., with the final stop in Hamptom, VA (and then the same thing on the way back). I wasn’t planning way ahead, and plus, it is way more difficult to be flexible when you have so many connecting flights (which is what I always call them). Still, it was WAY cheaper than actual flying, and I think I can honestly say I met the best people on that trip.
Over the past few years, I have gathered some fond memories from my many, lengthy sojourns on the big blue bus. I have had some excellent conversations with folks from all walks of life. As I was getting off a bus in D.C., a young man ran after me down the aisle to give me a hug good-bye after I cheered him up from an upsetting phone call. I have shared my Starburst candies with a punk couple all dressed in leather and metal, with spiked, colored hair. I have joined several fellow travelers for breakfast at a little cafe in Chicago, while we waited for our next ride to arrive. I visited the top of the Willis Tower all by myself and walked out into the glass cubes to look straight down on the city streets below. But, best of all, I have spent hours with my oldest daughters (and sons-in-law) that would not have happened otherwise, and my first grandchild knows her grandma well.
You might hear of occasional other exploits of mine, like zip-lining high above a river valley, or maybe kayaking down that same river. I would jump on a horse without any hesitation, and I am enjoying a new hobby these days, with my bow and arrow. However, none of these are quite like the thrill of traveling to see my children, in a dirt-cheap, daredevil, dawdling kind of passage. I consider it a great blessing that this opportunity opened up to me when my oldest moved to Minny, so, yeah, I do love the Megabus, and I AM one happy Megabus Mama. I think my next big blue bus ambition might be Oklahoma…
Until next time, slow down, experience America on a bus (even a short ride on a metro bus would work), and make a new friend!