posted on Thursday, September 04, 2014

Cave Junction


I remember recently reading how much Greyhound buses had improved their reputation and were no more something to avoid like a plague. After my experience last night I am left wondering how bad they must have been in the past. On the positive side I must say they are very comfortable, with nice leather seats and a usable wifi which is not often the case in buses that advertise offering this service.
On the negative side the list starts with the incredible timetables which seem the result of a rushed plan by someone suffering from acute ADT. My destination was on  a major route linking Los Angeles and San Francisco to Portland, Seattle and Vancouver. First surprise was to find out that my only option was to take a 8:45 pm bus arriving at Sacramento at 10:45 and allowing me a convenient connection with a bus that would leave a 2:45am! These crazy night times lead to the second negative point. As very few sensible people would ever contemplate taking a bus with such timetables, one can imagine what kind of  interesting and colourful travellers turn up at the station. It was a great compilation of mischiefs, drug addicts, alcoholics,  serial killers and a minority of normal looking people in which I would include my very self!
The cream of this bunch seemed to head right up north in my direction so no wonder my journey companions turned up to be a very distilled version of that mess;  a mental institution on wheels!
A get two for one obese guy that thought it was fashionable to  wear a bathrobe as coat, a fidgety and shaky  man probably having withdrawal symptoms, a pretty drunk Spike Lee look alike, a man constantly having conversation with his invisible friends, three dogs...you name it! One character in his sixties I thought was particularly over dressed for the occasion and out of place but at the first long bus stop in Medford he redeemed himself. As we were having some food and drinks from a restaurant I looked outside and there he was in the middle of the parking lot improvising a slow motioned modern dance, entranced as if on a stage until he had to be snapped out of it by our severe driver wanting to depart. Yes our driver was a bit patronising and each time new people got on board he would get on the speaker to remind everyone to not smoke within 20 yards of the bus when we stopped, that during stops if someone was late returning he would not wait , to not keep mobiles on, use earphones with volume down, careful when you cross the car park and so on and on. All sensible stuff to my ears but not to all the liberal hippies at the rear of the bus, moaning lowder as the journey progressed. The first of them once reached his destination took his bag walked in front of the bus as he was leaving showed his finger to the driver and asked him in no half terms to f... o.. ! A huge roar of approval rose from the back rows as the bus set off with a now steaming upset driver too...
Made it to Grants Pass where I put the bike together and made the sixty kilometres to Cave junction Lone Mountain campsite. After all that madness it seemed really a trip back to sanity. Had a nice welcome from Jim, the camp host and the further surprise of a dip in the river pond just few meters away from my tent.
Final thoughts, Greyhound can be great fun and his reputation is soaring higher and higher.