I really wanted to go visit my uncle and aunt in Michigan while I was in the States, so I bought tickets on the Greyhound and figured it would be a good experience. Well.. it ended up being such a good experience that I'll probably not do it again. At least alone. It's a long trip to do alone!
My trip up was scheduled to take over 22 hours. I was to leave Chattanooga at 21.30 and get to Traverse City around 20.00 the next evening. Even before we start I'd like to say a word to the wise.. make sure you're rested BEFORE your trip. The night before I left I had stayed up all night (smart, right?) and the two nights before that I'd gone to bed around 3 am or later.. haha
So I got to the Greyhound station after meeting a friend for tea. The guy at the ticket counter tells me my bus is overbooked and I'll probably have to wait for one coming at 11pm, but that one only has a few seats left too. Ok. Well.. we waited. Casey was with me. My bus came and took on a few people from the front of the line and they were full. I figured I was going to wait until the next one then. But the driver came back in and got about 10 people more! He had them and their stuff sitting in the aisle and the front steps. I was the last person to get on. He even skipped over a few others. I think I got picked because I was smaller and younger and could handle the floor easier than the others. So I rode the 3 hours to Nashville on the top step of the bus, with my back against the drivers cubicle, with my hips smushed against another woman's hips. A third lady was down by our feet, on the bottom step. I must say I have had more comfortable rides. But none necessarily as interesting :D or at least not many..
A girl sitting in the aisle behind me was singing out songs she was listening to on her headphones. Not quietly either. All around people were talking and swearing. The bus driver took me under his wing and called me Lil' Mama.
Finally around 1 or 2 am we reached Nashville and most of the people got off. It actually took our driver a few attempts to find the station, since this was a temporary one. That made us a bit late. Our food stop in Chattanooga also went longer than intended.
We waited inside the station until we could board again. This time I got a seat and was able to doze a bit. Of course the person sitting next to me was a rather large guy who fell asleep and started leaning on me and snored in my ear for half the trip...
Louisville we hit at about 5 am and continued our journey at dawn. At the stops most people get out and have a smoke. I didn't see very many people not smoking. There was one guy I noticed, who was dressed neatly and didn't smoke. I thought he looked out of place.
In Indianapolis I was supposed to have 30 min transfer time for my bus to Kalamazoo. We got there 45 minutes behind schedule. Of all the greyhound buses that are always late, this one had left on time. I had missed my bus.
The lady at the counter tried to reroute me, but could only get me as far as Grand Rapids that day. Traverse City is another few hours north of there, but it's a small enough place that buses don't run there that often. There were actually four of us trying to get to Traverse City from Atlanta and Chattanooga. That was quite random. TC isn't a common destination. The neat guy I had noticed earlier was one of them.
We sat around the station for a few hours waiting for a bus to Dayton. I sat next to the door with my things, reading a book and charging my phone. Chris, the neat guy, was looking for a plug for his phone charger, so I called over to him that he could use mine. He ended up almost forgetting his phone there. twice :D
I slept the whole way to Dayton. By that time it was afternoon and I was getting hungry. Chris and I asked around and found a place to eat. and we talked. He said his brother was coming to pick him up in Grand Rapids and offered me a ride up to TC with them.
We shared our stories and our reasons for going to Traverse City etc. He said he had lived in the Chattanooga area earlier. I told him I had been to a friend's wedding there.
On the bus to Detroit we decided to sit together so we wouldn't end up next to any weird people.. so we continued talking. He had an iPad and we looked up Finland on Google Maps. At some point in our discussion he asked where in Chattanooga the wedding had been, and I told him Collegedale. He said he had lived in the Collegedale/Ooltewah area. (!) Then he was quiet for a moment, thinking. and asked me if I was affiliated with the SDA church? haha. I said yes, and he said he was too! It's a small world, really. What are the odds of me riding the same bus with another Adventist all the way to Traverse City, and even talking to him and sitting next to him?!? All I can say is God is good :)
Our bus from Detroit to Grand Rapids was about an hour late, but it finally came and we each got our own seats with room to spare. I rode up to Traverse City with Chris and his sister-in-law and got to my uncle's place around 1 am.
With all the difficulties and inconveniences it still was a great experience. If for nothing else, at least as a reminder that God does see our lives and cares about even the little details. He's the best travel agent I know of!