Meta Post/Open Thread: Delays and Travel

(Posted by chris the cynic)

The short version, and why this is a metapost, is this: The 6:15 bus left sometime after 7:36, how long I do not know.  The driver was a first timer which is even worse in the dark.  Definitely once, and I think twice, she took the wrong turn.  I don’t know how much time, if any, that added to the journey.  (I couldn’t get the wireless on the bus to work.)  Then came the trudge from the bus station, in another city, to home.

As soon as I finish with this post I intend to pass out on my bed meaning the deconstruction round up is pushed back to tomorrow.  I know that for everyone else sooner in the day would be better, but I personally hope to stay unconscious for a good long time.

The long version I’ll probably post in the comments at some point.  It’s not all bad, just almost all, but on the not bad side there’s an origami dragon.

The prompt is this: Travel stories.  Your worst, your best, your weirdest, anything else that might be interesting.

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3 thoughts on “Meta Post/Open Thread: Delays and Travel

  1. storiteller August 9, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    My favorite types of stories! I’ll just share one, but it’s pretty long…

    When I was in graduate school, I did my graduate research in a very rural area of western Ireland. I wanted to show my husband the area, so we had to do some traveling that was pretty far off of the beaten path. I mapped it out so that we would walk about 12 miles one day from one small town to the other and then catch a mini-bus that would drop us off at our hostel. Getting up early, we walked all day, exploring a run-down abbey with cows grazing in front of it, seeing the ocean, and experiencing a lot of the countryside. We arrived at our destination with about an hour to spare, and got to the bus stop in plenty of time. I had a slight twinge of something being wrong when I realized the bus stop was on the wrong side of the street from the direction the bus would travel. However, as there was no stop on the other side of the street, we stood where it indicated we should.

    A few minutes more or less on time, we saw the bus come down the street towards us – and then continue on into the distance without us. I remarked, “Oh shit…Perhaps it will turn around?” As we both stared into the distance for a few minutes, it was clear that wasn’t going to happen. We both looked at each other and blinked, unsure of our next step. As we were in Ireland, we decided to go to the one place where we would be likely to get an answer – the pub. The bartender was very nice and called the local taxi company for us. Unfortunately, the sole taxi driver in the entire county was at a doctor’s appointment with her daughter and wouldn’t be available for several hours. We found out from the bartender that the bus driver wasn’t the usual person, as the normal bus driver had died recently and his funeral was today. We sympathized with the current driver, imagining that he must be so tore up about missing his friend’s funeral that he was distracted.

    Sighing, we ordered drinks and prepared to wait. As people shuffled in and out of the pub, a couple of them heard our sorry story before one actually said, “I’m going that direction.” Even though neither of us had ever hitchhiked before, we were a bit desperate and accepted the ride. We piled in the back of the car with his daughter coming home from soccer practice in the front. Although I didn’t notice it, my husband noted (and didn’t tell me) that the gentleman had downed at least one pint (if not two) and a whiskey in the short period of time he was in the pub. The ride was bizarrely silent – every question I asked was met with a single or two word answer.

    Finally, he dropped us off at a cross-roads. Miraculously, our missed bus was at the intersection at the same time! I walked over to the bus and the driver lowered the window. I said, as politely as I could muster, “Excuse me – we were waiting at the bus stop and you drove past.” He said, “Were you at the bus stop?” I said, “Yes, and we even waved! We’re going to Pollathomas.” He gruffly said, “I’m not going that direction” – and then drove off in the exact direction we needed to go!

    Needing to get to our hostel before the sun went down and with a very detailed map in hand, we started walking. We were tired, but what choice did we have? After a couple more miles, a car drove by and asked if we wanted a ride. As it turned out, the driver was bringing the hostel owner’s son home after a soccer game, so it was perfect. Later, we found out from the hostel owner that the bus driver who had died had actually left his route many months ago, not just “the other day.”

    The whole experience just got even more absurd the next day, when we chose to hitchhike and ended up mistakenly herding sheep and catching a ride in a VW minivan. But that’s a story for another time…

  2. Lonespark August 10, 2013 at 2:36 am

    I have one, so epic a mighty song was written about it, though not by me.

    Once upon a time, I went with a group of fellow college SCA persons in a school van to Estrella War. We were travelling from the College of Saint Golias (Socorro, New Mexico) to the battlefield at Estrella Mountain. Park in…Goodyear, I think, Arizona. We had to leave late because someone had a test or work or something.

    The good news was we didn’t hit any elk, and the additional good news was that when a cop pulled us over to tell us to slow the frak down so we didn’t hit any elk, he didn’t issue a ticket.

    The weather was horrible. Fog of Doom alternating with pelting rain and lightning all over the place. I drove part of the way but had to give up before I normally would because it was stressing me out and I was afraid I would react wrong and roll the van or something. (The were very keen in our driver training to point out that it’s relatively easy to roll over a 15-passenger van of that type…)

    So I didn’t have to drive through Salt River Canyon. Those who did had nerves of steel and/or a questionable sense of their own mortality. In any case, I salute them. (I found some videos of the drive under good conditions. (Like this one, which has kind of distracting commentary… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqPEy78yISU ) Now imagine it in thick fog on a slick road where you can’t see the massive drops but you know they’re there.

    After the long drive through memorably rough storms, arriving around 4am, we all just wanted to crash and several of us were wondering if we could put off setting up our tents until much later. We were excited to see friends from other baronies/shires/kingdoms and there was a certain amount of euphoria because WE SURVIVED AN EPIC ROAD TRIP!

  3. Lonespark August 10, 2013 at 2:58 am

    We were turned away from the gate. This was because a sizeable portion of the war site had flooded and attendees had been evacuated. Some had found refuge with other groups, and some had gone to motels. As I understand it, this had happened after dark, so that some people woke up in several inches of water. There were empty tents and bins and equipment floating around. And it was cold like the desert in February knows how to be. AFAIK this was related to a broken water pipe and worsened by the rain from the storm.

    The stories we heard later from our friends and from people telling stories around campfires and at court made our trials on the trip over seem pretty minor. Many songs were spawned from the experience, and the bardic circles and competitions were even more amazing than usual. The only one I can immediately recall is “My armor has no metal parts” to the tune of “Camptown Races.” Plastic lamellar FTW. There was a lot of steel wool in use and the market in dry socks was brisk.

    We heard about that later. At 4am we were exhausted and baffled. We couldn’t lie down in our van because it was completely full of stuff with people squeezed in around the stuff, which included everybody’s tents and sleeping bags, fighters armor and weapons, some kitchen stuff and food, some art supplies, drums, etc. We desperately wanted someplace to sleep the several hours until we’d been told we could enter the site. We ended up at Denny’s, like ya do, but it was unsatisfying…I think they didn’t have breakfast? (Heresy! say I, former Denny’s waitress/hostess/dishwasher)

    When we did meet up with our group there were joyful reunions. The King of the Outlands came by at some point. He was going around checking all the camps to make sure everybody was ok and seeing what was needed. I am not sure I have ever been so tired in my life. That whole war was slightly surreal and totally unforgettable.

    Having written this post, now I want to check out fencing practice or some other SCA event. It’s hard in a new place…

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