The final writings of the Bus.

Duluth Travel Blog

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Sorry it's taken me to so long to finish writing these, god, I suck.
Well, when I last stopped writing we were at the sock/toilet problem.
So, instead of using either makeshift toiletries, I just decided to find a place to pee elsewhere.
I went to the bed and tried to lay down. I say try because it took several efforts of will to get myself to lay down. My head was filled with images of myself contracting scabies, bed-bugs, lice, tapeworms, elephantitis, crabs, and various venereal diseases. Fortuneately, at that moment my sister called to check up on me. It was now approximately 7:00am.
We talked for about twenty minutes, and she successfully dispelled my fears of the bed.
So, I lay down to take a nice nap, when all of a sudden...
What the fuck!?
I bolted out of bed and looked out the window. The cause of the extremely loud, annoying noise was none other than a pack of roving Harley Davidsons meandering down the street.
At this moment I also realized that my window was open. I tried, in vain, to close it. The damn thing was NAILED open. Great.
Well, I thought, the rest of the traffic isn't very loud. I can deal.
Once again, I lay down to sleep.
I lay there contented, and I was almost asleep, when...
"FUCKING CHRIST!" I yelled to no one.
So, now I was really mad. I mean, mad, mad. If I had been any more mad, that bed would have burst into flames, really Fruma Sarah style.
With my adreneline pumping so much, and the increasing amount of traffic noise, I quickly realized that I was never going to go to sleep. I hopped in the shower, (which only made me want to pee more. That sucked.) and looked through my suitcase for something to wear. I got ready and was on my way!!
So, here I was, downtown Milwaukee, and I had NO idea where anything was. I went to the Starbucks across the street to get a java and ask someone for good sights to see. As I walked across the street, I noticed some people setting up little camps on the sidewalk. You know what that looks like, with the lawn chairs, and the coolers, and the blankets, and all that.
I was really confused now. Is this some strange Milwaukee past-time that I was unaware of??
I also noticed a rather large amount of people wearing leather. Lots of leather. Well, on some of them, it was the real LACK of leather on various parts of bodies that first concerned me.
And on many of their backs was a familiar orange, white, and black logo...
HARLEY DAVIDSON. Then it clicked. I vaguely remembered my uncle (an avid cycle fan) mentioning that there was a convention thing going on in Milwaukee.
That explains the unusually large amount of motorcylces on the road!
I asked a bystander what was going on, and they confirmed my assumptions. "And," they informed me, "the parade starts at 10! You can't miss it!"
Parade! FUN!
I grabbed my java and walked up and down Wisconsin Ave, down to the lake front (beautiful) past the Milwaukee Museum of Art, the Milwaukee Public Museum, and the Harley Davidson Museum. I love Milwaukee. It is so beautiful! The architecture is amazing. I bought a disposable camera and took some pictures. Fun!!
So, I pretty much just walked around exploring for a while. While I toured the gardens of the Pubic Museum, I noticed a pile of rags on a bench. I walked over, and it was a human. He seriously looked like he was maybe 18 years old, and he had covered himself with newspapers. (This was when I had just walked out with my java. Maybe like, 7:30ish, so he was still sleeping) I didn't want to wake him, obviously, my sister was screaming in my head at me, so I just walked away. I still felt awful. 18, and homeless, living in the public museum garden. How bad must that be?
I could write another four hundred paragraphs describing all the stuff I did that morning, but it would take forever and I really don't want to. Just imagine all the fun I had.
I have discovered as long as the person seems respectible, I don't mind sparking up a conversation with them. I must have talked to 10 different people that morning, just walking on the streets and asking questions about the city.
Anyways, 10am came around and I made my way back to the hotel/store. I changed into something a little more.. fashionable? And cooler. By this time the streets were all blocked off and you couldn't hardly walk down the sidewalk because of the mass of people congregated there. I stood outside my hotel door and joined them.
The parade was nothing like I expected. See, to me, a parade means floats and people throwing sweets at you.
In Milwaukee, for Harley Davidson, a parade means over 7,800 bikes streaming past you, making as much noise as possible, for TWO STRAIGHT HOURS.
The parade was freakin' awesome though. Think of every type of Harley Davidson ever, and it was there. Countless sidecars, A two block long police brigade (all blaring their sirens. Not easy on the ears.), an even a 5 seater! I tried to get good pictures of the really hot guys driving by, but none of them turned out.
So, after the first hour of parade, I got tired of it and went up to my hotel room and called a few friends to let them know what was going on, and that I was still alive. I finally went downstairs to get some TP for myself while I was there. And then I relaxed, and tried to figure out what I could do with the remaining 9 hours I was in Milwaukee...
And then I remembered the shopping mall two blocks down.
Oh yeah, I went shopping.
I spent about two hundred dollars that day, and came out with a lot of sweet stuff, my favorite being my Peace Love Beer t-shirt I got from the Brew Store.
So, I walked around the mall and talked to Beth on the phone for a while, ate a bit at the food court there, and then I saw it - the big momma of Jewelry stores.
I couldn't resist. Now, seeing as I was in Milwaukee, I had dressed up a little bit to look nice, and I was about 6'2'' in my new heels (LOVE THEM.) So I wouldn't look out of place in the store... and I decided to play a little game.
I should be an actress. I went in there with my little valley-girl voice and asked for a ring that has a citrine in it, that was it, and he showed me a bunch of obscenely beautiful rings, none below 5,000 dollars. I asked to try a 6,000 ring on, and it fit, perfectly... and I loved it, but my nice indian jewelry man didn't know that.. I looked at it with distain and said, well, it's really pretty, but I don't like cheap rings.
He got all wide eyed and said, I have just the thing for you miss.
And he got out a 12,000 dollar big, beautiful rock.
I almost swooned when I tried it on.
I looked at him and smiled, and said, it's perfect!! I love it!! But I'll have to talk to my daddy about it... he said he was going to buy me a new present... set it aside for me..?
Oh yes, miss, it goes perfectly with your eyes miss, you talk to your father and get back to me, yes?
Oh yes! Thank you!
Haha. Fun times.

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful. I ate at Applebees, rested at the room (I still was going off of no sleep whatsoever) and eventually called a taxi to pick me up and bring me to the station!

The bus to Escanaba, however, was really interesting.
I was sitting in the station, waiting to catch my bus, when I heard a little kid going, "YAY, YAY, YAY, YAY, YAY!!" Really loudly and annoyingly.
I thought to myself, if that little shit is on my bus, I am going to be really pissed off.
Well, I jinxed it. Not only where they on the bus with me, they sat two seats behind me, and the kid had definately made up his mind that he didn't like the bus. At all. Crying, screaming, and squirming out of his father's arms for the first hour. I was just seething with anger. Kids should not be allowed on the bus. I had made friends with this guy, Jason I think his name was, who was really cool. We just chatted about ourselves and different good science fiction novels. He had led a really interesting life - he had hitchhiked all across the West Coast for a year, just partying and living life how he wanted - all Into the Wild like, except with more drinking and drug use. He was on his way home for the winter to work and save up for next years adventures.
I admire him. I wish I was a guy, so I would be able to hitchhike kind of safely. I would seriously have no qualms about taking a little one person tent and just hiking it into some forest by myself and living in the wild. But as a female, and a really weak female at that, I would stand no chance hitching it.
Anyways, the kid and father got off and then I fell asleep. I woke up in Escanaba, said goodbye to my buddies, and transferred to the other bus.
Then I woke up in Iron Mountain at 6:00am, smoked a cigarette and awaited my aunt in the morning mist.
And that is the end of my Greyhound adventure. It fills me with anticipation for Europe. If a little three day trip through wisconsin could be that fun... and who will I meet on my travels? I can't wait!
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So, once again, I am to continue my story about the Greyhound experience.
When we left off I was in the taxi...
So, the taxi driver asked me what my destination was, and I gave him the address.
"are you SURE that's where you want to go??"
Um.. yes?
"Okay then."
We drove off, traffic thankfully at a minimum. This is to be expected however, at 6:30am on a thursday.
I was very nervous about being alone in Milwaukee. Plus, I was in a taxi for the first time. I can't explain how grown up and city like I had felt hailing that taxi. And the driver was a typical ethnic man.. mexican, I believe. On a side note, I did not meet one, not one white taxi driver. Why is that? Anyways.
We drove approximately two blocks away, and I was pissed. $5.00 for a two block ride. Honestly.
Now, I was expecting a decent looking hotel. I knew it was going to be a little sketchy, but I was not prepared when we pulled up to a convenience store. And not any convenience store, oh no. Probably the trashiest place ever. The sign above the door read, "Grand Avenue Market, Open 24 hours, Seven Days A Week." Joy.
I was quietly cursing the afrian-american man for sending me here. Where was I going to sleep? The janitor's closet? Oh no, I thought. Maybe this is how young, beautiful, intellegent, (I know, skip the intellegent part) white women get robbed and raped in the city.
"Are you sure you got the right address?"
"This is 610 W. Wisconsin miss. Take it or leave it. $5.00 please."
Oh god...
I got out, hauling my luggage (which was not light, let me tell you) into the store.
I was quickly assaulted by a barrage off indian gibberish, interjected with the word ma'am every three or four seconds. I made out this much -
"Oh hello ma'am! Youmuhst bee de one who called ma'am! I have a roohm redy for you ma'am!"
The man himself was not an imposing character. Maybe 5'6'', and definately Just-Got-Off-The-Boat Indian.
Um, yes I said. This is where I find rooms, right?
"Oh yehes ma'am, are you alone, ma'am?"
Yes... really, I just need to sleep. I just got off the bus, and I am really anxious to get to a bed.
"No problem ma'am. So no boyfriend or anything?"
No. Now, where are your rooms?
He quickly got me a piece of paper, horribly over copied. You know when you copy something too many times, and it gets all grainy and hard to read? Well, all I could make out is where to put my name and age. Robbi Welty, I wrote. 20.
I signed and checked a box of room rules, which I couldn't read. The room itself was pretty cheap, only $50 a night.
The Indian man, who'se name was Indeen (what a coincedence, huh?) pronoucned In-dean, tried to make small talk while I was filling out the form.
"Me, Ihm from India. Only for a fehw more monds, though. Thehn I yam gedding on the plane and goihng home. You want to see India? Handsome Indihan man for you ma'am!"
I laughed, very amused by this statement. I will consider it, I said, and got my key and left.
The hotel door was located outside the store and directly to the left. "Hotel Downtown."
I was suprised that the place had not only one security door, but two. I felt a little more secure with this knowledge. The "lobby" was one armchair in a very small hallway. At the end was the elevator, which smelled horribly of broiled onions.
I tried pressing the second floor button, which was where my room was located. I was greeted by an awful buzzing noise, not unlike the High Schools fire alarm, and nothing happened. What the hell? I tried again. Still, the same awful buzzing noise. I tried the third floor button. Again, the buzzing noise, but the elevator started moving.
I am really confused by the elevator's logic. Why even have a second floor button if it doesn't work? Maybe it's a mythical floor, like the one in that children's book... the school where the 13th floor is where lost students end up for years and you can only get there if you are misbehaving? Maybe the second floor is where the drug dealers live. Or the onion dealers. That would explain the horrible onion smell on the elevator. Either way, I ended up on the third floor, room 215. Confusing. Anyways.
I easily found my room and opened the door with some difficulty. It did not have a card lock, but a deadbolt. Good.. I thought. At least if someone broke in I would have some warning.
I walked in, and immediately, I started laughing.
It was simple, small, and easily the scariest, sketchiest place I have ever been. There was no furniture besides the bed and a stained, pink armchair. It was definately designed to be an apartment, because it had a small kitchen and a sectioned off bedroom type thing. The carpet was stained, the place smelled faintly of... sex.
The bed looked pretty okay, so I quickly disrobed, ripped open my suitcase and located my pjs. I then ventured into the bathroom, and sat down to use the toilet.
Abort! Abort!
In a modern situation, there is seriously no way that you should have to survive without toilet paper. I quickly weighed my options. I could pee, and use the only towel in there, but then when I showered later I would have to drip dry, which would be worse. I could use a clean sock? Couldn't I??
Fuck no.
Too be continued.
So, carrying on -
I got on the bus and sat next to my missionary man. I chose him because he was the least offensive looking man on the bus. Actually, he was quite easy on the eyes. All right, he was freakin' hot.
We quickly and akwardly introduced ourselves. His name was Kevin. Soon, we were easily chatting about our lives, our dreams, our hopes... not really. But we did settle into comfortable conversation about ourselves, and the inevitable question, "So where are you headed?" popped up. I decided to continue my earlier story.
I explained that I was on my way to Minneapolis, where I would get on a transfer bus to Milwaukee to visit my girlfriend Dolly. I would spend a few weeks with her, and then eventually get up to Marquette University to finish my Library Science Degree. I was 23, and a junior in college. He easily accepted this and then told me about his life.
He has three beautiful girls and a gorgeous wife Helen (He showed me pictures). He is 33. And he was not only a missionary, but a youth worker at the juv center in Duluth. He was on the bus to Minneapolis to catch his flight to Ireland.
Whoa, I said, Ireland!!?
He explained that he was on his way for more youth training in Northern Ireland, and his family was to follow in three weeks.
We talked more, and eventually got to be good friends. We laughed and talked for the second half of the trip, and I was sorry to leave him when we got into Minneapolis. We hugged and parted ways.
Alone again.
I walked into the terminal, and very quickly the anxiety returned.
The terminal was filled with every a representative from probably every ethnic group in the world.
This was Minneapolis at its... worst.
I got my place in the rapidly growing line for the bus, and sat down on my luggage. As I sat down, I heard an announcment over the intercom, "The bus leaving for Chicago is going to be half an hour late."
So I sat there, and a young, beautiful (I mean BEAUTIFUL) Chinese girl got into line behind me. We started talking, and again the question of destination was brought up. I decided it would not be safe to use the lesbian story in this terminal, so I told her I was 23, and going to Milwaukee for college. At the catholic university.
So, I was sort of safe. Nobody hurts Christians, right?
We sat there and talked (she had a horribly thick accent, much repitition involved in the conversation) and she told me her story. Traveling the US on her vacation, she was headed to Chicago to stay with family friends and to see the city. She would stay there for a week, then travel again by bus to New York, then to Boston, then to DC, and eventually end up in Miami where she would catch a flight home.
The bus was more than half an hour late. It was an HOUR And a half late. By the time it got there, people were complaining, and loudly. I did not want to get on the bus with a bunch of disgruntled ethnics, oh no, not me. Angie (That was the girls American name, I forget her Chinese name) and I made a plan to sit together, but by the time we got on the bus all of the seats had at least one person in them. So, she sat down and asked if I would sit across from her. I did, not looking at the passenger. But when I sat down.. I... felt.. her.
She was an enormously fat woman. Ethnic woman. Mexican, woman.
Oh great, I thought. She was taking up at least half of my seat, and I figured it would be horribly rude to move, and I'm a skinny enough person. I can handle this.
So, we got a going and for a long time everything was fine. Until she fell asleep. Not only was this woman fat, but she was a snorer. A MAN snorer. I tried in vain to sleep. The whole bus was quiet except for this woman. I looked around and recieved rude stares from the other passengers. Angie quietly chuckled to herself and told me quietly, "Bahd ruck." Bad luck, indeed. I didn't know that it was about to get worse.
Again, I tried to sleep. Then I felt her shift against me.
I need to explain here how unpleasant it is to feel someone elses body warmth against you, when the person is a total stranger and doesn't speak a word of English. And knowing that it was pure fat against my thigh.. eugh. I shudder even thinking about it now.
Anyways, back to the suspicious shifting.
She leaned quietly to one side....
And ripped a big one.
FUCK, FUCK, FUCK I am thinking.
Did this bitch seriously fart against my leg? Are you fucking serious right now?! SERIOUSLY!?!
If this shit stinks I am going to flip. Like, get up, cause a scene, and JUST FLIP MY SHIT sideways.
So, sitting there, praying to god it was a non-fatal fart, I was quickly disappointed.
That stench hit me like a fucking semi truck on the freeway.
This was an honest to god eye-watering, make you gag gaseous cloud. I wanted to die. The people behind me, also Mexican, loudly said, "Dios Mio holmes, that shit is loco!"
Loco indeed. Loco, indeed.
The woman, noticing nothing, gave a rather loud snort and then fell slient.
Thank god for small favors.
The rest of the trip passed fairly uneventfully. We came over the hill into Milwaukee, the cities welcoming lights a sky glow in the clouds.
The bus terminal was smack dab in the middle of downtown. It was five in the morning, and I had a seventeen hour layover. What was I going to do? I didn't sleep the entire way into Milwaukee so I was fucking bushed.
I found the payphones and a hotel directory, and quickly called the Hilton, which was only a block away. I needed sleep, and a shower, desperately.
When I called, they just laughed.
"we've been sold out of rooms for weeks," They said.
What? Why?
"The Harley Davidson Convention. 105th Anniversary. Good luck finding rooms anywhere in the city."
Fuck, I thought. I am NOT sleeping in this fucking terminal.
I called every hotel in the directory, and no luck.
Then this really nice african american guy who worked there (he acutally had grabbed my bags for me.) came up to me and said he knew of a place that might have a room for me.
He gave me a number, and I called. An Indian man on the other line picked up, and said, "Ello, alsdlkfnleroinakldjoiuwelzalksdjweoiualdsk? How can I help you?"
The conversation is as follows.
"Hi... um.. I was told I could find a room here?"
"Oh yes ma'am, we ave plehtny of room ma'am!"
"Really? That's incredible! I have been looking forever! What's your address?"
"Um, could you repeat that please?"
"610 West Wescunsin Ave."
"Anytihme, ma'am."
I went outside, hailed a taxi, and was on my way.
To be continued.
If you have ever thought about taking a Greyhound bus -
I was horribly anxious about the whole thing, as a young, single girl should be. But it turned out to be one of the most interesting and freeing experience of my life.
I began my journey in Duluth. My sister saw me off, warning me about the possible dangers of the bus.
"Don't sit in the back, that is where the criminals sit. Also the toilet smells awful. Don't leave your purse alone. In the event of needing to use the facilities, BRING YOUR PURSE WITH YOU. Ect, ect."
So, after saying goodbye, I walked into the terminal, carefully chose a seat and started reading. I looked up every now and then to scan the group of faces around me, and who I saw did not impress me. Among the fellow travelers waiting at the terminal were:
- A crazy Indian lady with a purple windbreaker
- A young fellow with an oddly mishapen head, suggesting possible mental illness.
- A green in the face teenager, who made several trips to the restroom in the half an hour wait.
- And a rather smelly middle aged man who matched my mental image of what a trucker should look like. I know he was smelly because he was the man sitting closest to me.
Anyways, I continued reading and then the fellow with the defected head started up a conversation with me. After approximately two minutes of shooting the shit, he asked me if I had a boyfriend.
I smiled, said no, and returned to my reading. By this time I realized my earlier assumption was correct.
I started thinking, "oh my gosh, what if he decides to sit next to me? After all, some men foolishly believe that they have a chance with any female who is kind to them. What if he makes a pass..." My thought train was interrupted as he said, "You're a very pretty girl."
Oh shit. My mind filled with memories of Sherrif Kyle and how incorrigible he had been. This was not going to be good.
So, I went outside to get some air, and of course, he followed me. I sat down on the last seat available, next to a very nice looking middle aged woman and a man wearing a blue missionary t-shirt. The woman noticed me, and we started chatting about where she was going and why, and then she asked me where I was from and where I was going.
With our little challeged man looking on, I said the first thing that came to mind.
"I'm going to Milwaukee to visit my girlfriend."
What? Did I seriously just say that?
The woman quietly accepted this answer and we continued coversation. I snuck a look at the challenged man and found that his eyes were on me, and that his mouth was hanging open.
He said, "You mean you're one of those... lesbians?"
I put on an offended face and said yes, indeed I was.
"Oh. Well, I'm not going to sit by you then!"
Haha. Crisis averted.
Thankfully the bus pulled up right then. I grabbed my luggage and got on board.
Unfortunately, there were no totally empty seats, and most of the seats with only one person were filled with incredibly sketchy, scaring looking folk. I walked slowly towards the back, my sister's warning coming back to me. I spied the man in the blue missionary t-shirt near the back, and quickly decided that if I had to sit in the back, I might as well sit with a missionary. This was going to be interesting.
To be continued.
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photo by: petrarchanprincess