Thursday, November 25, 2010
Trouble at Donner Pass!
So it finally happened, I finally had my first really hellish ride on the Greyhound and now I feel like I know what it was like to be a pioneer, desperately trying to make it to the east coast, and experiencing terrible tragedy, like sitting next to an annoying dude for hours with only Burger King to eat. Yes, things got bad in the Donner Pass.
Annnyway, after getting dropped off at the SLC bus station I got in line at the gate to wait for the bus... it was not good, everyone else waiting was pretty disgruntled, a lot of people had been on the bus for hours and hours, after numerous delays and re-routings, and seemed pretty psyched to get back on the bus. Unfortunately, the weather was bad and the bus was re-routed because of certain closed roads.
The mood on the bus was pretty friendly, which was good because we were completely full, no free seats on the entire bus.
I tried to sleep as much as I could after leaving Salt Lake City, but the ride was bumpy and I kept waking up. Plus, the Israeli ex-pat sitting next to me kept accidentally cuddling with me in his sleep.
As the sun rose over Nevada I woke up to see... well... nothing. That's right, it was actually impossible to see out the windows of the bus due to all the snow.
Everyone on the bus started getting angry, as the bus slowed to about 10mph, and people started screaming at the bus driver and saying things like "DON'T YOU DARE STOP THIS BUS" and just getting super angry. I was pretty scared that the bus was going to crash, as the road was not visible... After a few harrowing miles, all of a sudden there was a break in the clouds, the sun came through, and we could see. The entire bus erupted in applause and we all were happy that we weren't going to die yet.
Unfortunately, we ended up pulling over in the town of Winnemucca to assess the bus and pick up a new family.
Everyone was way pissed that 6 more people (2 parents and 4 kids) were going to get on the bus, and we were pretty mean to them, until we heard their story... they had been driving and their car flipped over on a snowy road and pinned the entire family (including all 4 kids) inside. Luckily, none of them were harmed, and from then on everyone on the bus started calling the kids "The Miracle Babies."
From then on everything was pretty easy until Reno. It was kind of slow and we were a couple of hours late, but nothing dramatic.
At the bus station in Reno things started getting weird again. Everyone on our bus was pretty huddled together, gossiping and speculating about what would happen next, but everyone thought it would be bad. After an hour and a half in Reno (it was supposed to be 30 minutes) we all got back on the bus, Sacramento bound.
When we first got to the road that led up to the Donner Pass, it was closed and we basically had to park on the freeway (along with a ton of other trucks and shit) for about an hour. Eventually they opened the road and we were off.
Unfortunately, our troubles were far from over. The ride up the mountain was pretty perilous, just slow and snowy... and I got to see people put on snow chains for the first time. Some dudes in the back of the bus started smoking pot and some little kids started crying because of the smoke, it was mad dramzzzz.
We stopped towards the pass at a Burger King, and at that point we were far behind, but progressing steadily. Once everyone was back on the bus and ready to leave the rest stop, the bus's tires started spinning and we were unable to move. As if we were in a scene from a movie, all the men on the bus jumped up and ran off the bus and worked together to push the bus until it broke free of the ice.
After that, against all odds, the worst was still not over! We made it out of the rest stop, but when we approached the freeway entrance there was a stalled tractor trailer blocking the entrance and no one could get by... we had to turn around (which took forever in the snow) and find our way back to the other exit and take the freeway the opposite direction for a few miles.
Eventually, about 7 hours late, we made it into Sacramento. Man, it's rough crossing the country!