A visual journey

August 21, 2008

On the bus

With the hopes of seeing a slice of Americana and a desire to get back to the Big Easy, I thought what better way to get to see the country than take a Greyhound bus. My trip, which originated at Port Authority in New York City and was to end in New Orleans, covered 1,400 miles, 15 scheduled stops and 4 bus changes.
As hoped I met some really interesting characters along the way : A man who claims to have staged a pre-meditated suicide in hopes of claiming a new identity, a pastor who has fathered 13 children, a kid who hiked the whole Appalachian trail by himself, a marine who claimed to have not been home for 6 years and was returning to New Orleans via Boston to see his six-year-old daughter for the first time and his wife, amongst many other people who if I dared to approach I’m sure had their own stories to tell.

Waiting at the terminal
I left Port Authority at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday (8/12) and arrived some 31 hours later on time in New Orleans at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday (8/13). Along the way we made a few meal stops as they were called and I have to admit I see why America has an obesity problem. The only food options at these stops were McDonald’s or random other stops that had the options of Fried Chicken with or without fries. Unless you were packing your own meals, healthy options were few and far between.

Sleep was tough. The first bus I was on was pretty comfy, however, when we switched to a Carolina Tramways bus chartered by Greyhound it was far from comfortable. A school chair had more cushion that these seats and unfortunately it was the longest non-stop leg of the trip. Once in Atlanta, we changed buses to what felt like a Rolls Royce compared to tha old bus and I was able to get my only 3 hours of sleep along the way.
Seeing the night come and go was great and I really knew I was in the south when we stopped in Opelica, Alabama for a meal and ordered some good ‘ole salt cured bacon, grits and sweet tea. Getting close to New Orleans I chatted with a bus driver and reminisced about Katrina. She was telling me how she drove Greyhound buses to evacuate the people days after the storm and I remembered being on one of those flooded overpasses myself watching these people finally being taken out of that dire situation.

Arriving in New Orleans I was glad to be off the bus, however, I felt a little sad that my visual journey of 30 some hours had come to an end. That feeling left quickly after getting dinner at my favorite oyster joint and falling to sleep on a nice bed for 12 hours.

View a slideshow of Shannon’s trip here.

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