An epic Journey
San Francisco Travel Blog› entry 14 of 28 › view all entries
What a trip... Seems like everything that could possibly go wrong went wrong: We were a small group of 12, and the only reason the trip didn't get canceled was that the bus had to be returned to SF. Everyone was nice and talkative, everything pointed to a perfect trip...
Ha-ha. The 2 first days it was pouring down and on the 2nd night after we had done Niagara Falls in mist and rain, and was scheduled for a drive-night, but after dinner, the bus just wouldn't move. We were all chilled and confident with plenty of beer, so had fun with games on the beach. Unfortunately the problem wasn't that simple to fix, and the next day we had to face the prospect of Greyhounding to Chicago... Which we did on the first dry and sunny day of the trip. We spent the most of the day in Bufallo, which is a place I hope never to see again, nothing was happening and what was "happening" closed at 4.30pm. The overnight Greyhound was interesting, lacking a better word, we got split up when we had to change in Cleveland, because apparantly Chicago was the place to go in the middle of the night, especially for a whole bunch of Amish people (didn't know they where allowed to take the bus, but was too much of a chicken to ask them). To cut a long story short, we all made it to a hostel in Chicago, at some point. We were stuck in Chicago untill friday where we reunited with our lovely, but seriously messy bus. I had missed it because even though it was nice with a real bed, showers and a decent amount of time in Chicago, the whole bus thing just reinforced the group-spirit.
Finally, back on the bus, we had to rush to get to the Badlands, where we should meet up with the eastbound cross country, and get 10 more people on and loose 1 guy, who were doing loops rather than cross-country. We got there saturday evening, the nature was absolutely stunning, from the usual green&hilly eastcoast to this ragged, edgy weird rockformations in the middle of nowhere. It was breathtaking. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera... Yes, stupid little Maja left her camera, including wallet and passport, at some random reststop in Illinois... Fortunately a guy on the bus had a cellphone and managed to get hold of the supervisor there, who quickly found the bag, with only the cash missing. What a relief, I don't give a great damn about money, I had enough to last me to San Fran where Anette could help me out, but my camera, existing pictures and the ones I wouldn't be able to take! Passport would be a bit of a hassle as well, but replaceable. The supervisor agreed to send it to San Fran on the promise that I would refund his expenses. more than a week without a camera was imbearable, and I bought some single-use cameras even though I could use one of the guys' who never took any pictures, it's just not the same.
Only 5 new people decided to get on our bus in the Badlands. They all turned out to be nice and blended in the group well. After this we were back on track; we were back on the bus, out in the middle of the Wild West, camping out, hiking in Rocky Mountains, river rafting in Colorado River and such.
Sunday we all felt good and confident that it would be smooth sailing from there, but a little swimstop in South Dakota changed that: A few guys decided to jump into the lake from a (really high) cliff, stupid boys. They spend so much time deliberating the depth of the lake and best angle to jump from, that none of us thought they would go through with it, one guy did, and he got flown out of the place in a helicopter, next day we heard he's got several spinal fractures... So let this be a warning to all possible cliff-jumpers: He didn't even hit a rock, it was purely the hit from the water that hurt him, he's athletic and of the whole group I would considder him having the best chance of making the jump safe... We truly missed him at the rest of the trip.
We went on though, and had a really fantastic time. I can definetley recomend Green Tortoise for a different way of travelling through America, or parts of it, although I would wish we had had 4-6 weeks rather than 2...