Posted on July 15, 2016
Miami Part 2- Our Great American Road Trip
Continuing our Road trip…
We got off of the bus first thing in the morning in Atlanta. Bean slept well in the night. I was rested enough to go and look for breakfast. Asking around, we found out that a place to eat was not too far away. We took our two bags and walked down the street, where Bean immediately remarked that this city was dirty and she was ready to leave. I have to admit, Atlanta could do a better job with that area of town. Because I have been to Atlanta many times, I was able to get my bearings enough to know where we were…calling my Aunt Margaret helped too.
After a short time, Bean and I found the Waffle House right near Underground Atlanta, where we visited back in March. For whatever reason, eating grits, eggs and pancakes in the middle of a long road trip was just what we needed. It seemed to be the perfect beginning to the end of long journey. Little did I know what was in store.
We got to the bus terminal about twenty minutes before our bus took off so it was not possible to choose our seats. Bean sat across the aisle from me and I sat up close to the driver. He was so different than the driver we had up to that point. He was a talker and like interacting with his passengers. He chose me to pick on and interact with. It made for an interesting ride.
About one hour out of Atlanta, the bus began to get really hot. I didn’t notice until the last minute. People suddenly started complaining and calling out “Bus driver, turn up the air”. He asked me what I was feeling and I let him know that the air definitely was not working. In looking at the controls, he discovered that the bus was quickly losing power. We were close to the next stop at a little town in Georgia, so he pulled off, told everyone to take a break and get dinner and come back for news about what was next.
As per routine, Bean and I took off walking. We walked around the parking lot, down the block and down the street. There was a great little Sonic like drive in restaurant. In contrast to Atlanta, this place was really clean. I find that many small towns do a very good job with keeping their towns clean. Bean and I chose to eat outside at the little picnic tables and just enjoy our Sunday afternoon. When we began walking again, we met a few of the other townspeople on the road and said hello. A clean and friendly small town.
Making it back to the bus stop, we found out that Greyhound had not made a decision what to do with the bus. Our driver took a poll and asked who wanted to stay and who wanted to continue on to Orlando, the last stop for the route. Everyone, even the very angry man who threatened to call the police because the bus was so hot and the driver didn’t stop and let him out, agreed to continue on to Orlando…and we almost made it.
The bus was so hot. In spite of that, I was going with the flow. I mean, who has never ridden in a car with no air conditioning. I feel when I travel, it is important for me to take conditions as they are because in the future I may be in a part of the world where this is normal. If I can’t deal with it in the United States where it is abnormal, how can I expect to deal with it when I am in say South America where buses with no air conditioning is normal. I know, most people don’t think like me, but I feel that in spite of the rough conditions, the passengers were very understanding
The driver started shaking his head and when I asked him how much power did the bus have, he would not tell me. He pulled off at the next exit and right there at a red light in Gainesville, the bus died. We did not even have enough power to get out of the street and into a parking lot so that the passengers could sit on the ground. Everyone still kept it together as he got on the phone with the company, out of the bus and tried to see if he could get us out of the street.
Try as he might, there was nothing he could do. Our driver had to call the police to escort all the passengers off of the bus and across the street to an Applebee’s. Being myself, I am looking for an adventure. Bean and I take off walking to see what we could see. There wasn’t much. It was after nine o’clock at night. We got word that another driver was finally going to be coming from Orlando, but that would take until after midnight. Bean handled the situation well. She found things to play with…sticks, rocks, and grass. She found another six-year-old to play with. They had a blast coloring together and playing tag.
Many passengers began calling their family and friends to come and pick them up. I was beginning to wonder if I was doing the right thing by waiting out the situation to see what would happen next. It was close to one in the morning when the new bus finally showed up. There may have been 30 people left to go all the way to Orlando. Only myself and one other woman needed to go as far as Miami. She had to get to the Consulate for the Dominican Republic by eight o’clock that morning and she was anxious.
Thankfully, we were all able to rest, our driver and the remaining passengers. We got a short nap and then we were in Orlando for a transfer. Once the new bus showed up, the rest of the trip was smooth. We made all the connections without a hitch. The young woman made it to Ft. Lauderdale in time for her appointment at the consulate. Though we were very tired, we made it to Miami seven hours later than planned, in good health and great spirits. Another day, a new adventure.
Imagining this trip earlier this year, I had no idea that so many things would be happening in the United States. I was thinking of an old-fashioned road trip like the ones we used to take with our parents. As time passes on our journey, I find it a little disconcerting that many of the places we have remaining on our route have experienced unrest in the last few weeks. We are going to keep on traveling, seeing friends and family and believing that our time on the road will be safe and happy. Thank you for all the kind thoughts you send our way.