Posts Tagged ‘travelers’
Posted on June 3, 2010 - by Nadia
Summer Patterson is headed back to Paragon Lanes in Dickerson, North Dakota, after visiting Spokane for her grand twins’ third birthday. She manages the café at the bowling alley she and her late husband have owned for decades. Business is booming along with the rest of Dickerson’s oil field frenzy. She bowls with her women’s league team every Thursday. “I still enjoy it,” she said. “But the score isn’t what it once was.” She’s curled up with a pillow and one of the passel of new novels she bought at a used bookstore in Spokane. “I don’t know if I’ll be taking this bus trip again.” Since she turned 70 her joints don’t sit for long periods the way the once could.
Steven gets off in Shoshoni, Wyoming. A shaman and spiritual healer from Australia, he is riding a wave of hospitality and open doors in America. He hopes to spend time with Shoshone elders, sit in on a sweat, and maybe, if his luck holds out, see a Sun ceremony.
Robert and the nicotine club engage in a tug-of-war banter with the driver who is trying to make up for time lost to road work in Wyoming. “Are we going to get a smoke break, soon?” asks Robert. “Not until we make up some time,” the driver answers, for the third time. And Robert returns to his twin tasks of orchestrating a smokers’ coupe and making the blind guy laugh a lilting, happy giggle.
Lightning Lonnie Smith is only on the bus because his car broke down in Denver. He’ll be back to get it next time he comes up from Colorado Springs to coach at his boxing club. A two-time world boxing champion, Lonnie knows that plans can change.Smith takes title from Costello He lost his chance to fight for team USA when Jimmy Carter declared an American boycott of the 1988 Olympic Games. “Jimmy Carter cost me my Olympic gold, he said matter of factly. Lightning Smith has moved on from that.
The sleepy guy from Browning is headed to Texas to give his girlfriend some space. “It’s been getting too crazy up there,” he said. He texts her at every stop, thumbing through pictures of her on his phone as the bus hurtles through the deep southern Colorado darkness.
You make new friends on Greyhound, then wave them goodbye at the side of the road or a shuttered middle of the night depot. My 31-hour ride from Missoula to Clayton, New Mexico, was long but unmarred by the wierdos, creeps or inappropriate urinaters I’d been warned about. The baggage handlers at Denver cheerfully accepted my gratuity for watching over my bike and trailer boxes, freeing me to crash the bar scene at the Ritz-Carlton with Sandra Fish. I look like a homeless person, lugging my blanket and packs around, but the waitress at Elways is nice and we spend a couple of hours taking journalism.
I return to the station a couple of hours before my 11:50 p.m. departure time so I could prop myself up against my blanket and lounge on the floor with my new pals. Security guards order a woman to stop cussing in front of so many kids. Bus wranglers tell to the rest of us to stop bunching up and form a single-file line. It felt a little like a refugee camp.
The sun rose brilliantly across the green prairie of the Kiowa National Grasslands and Clayton slowly stirred to life as I stripped bubble wrap and rebuilt my bike and trailer. Tomorrow, with any luck, I’ll hitch a ride to Kenton and get this journey started.