I have worked in the hospitality industry for many years and part of the reason I enjoyed it so much was that it gave me the ability to meet new and interesting people all the time. It would also give me the freedom to plan trips with vacation time or to use two or three days off at the end of one week and two or three days off at the beginning of a week. I have taken road trips all over, flown around the country and even took a Greyhound to a friends wedding in Omaha once upon a time.
The one and only trip on Greyhound and it is a trip that I will never forget. We went through many small towns and picked people up at gas stations, bus stations, KMart and fast food places. There was this one stop that a guy got off and stood next to the bus before suddenly kicking the sides of the bus. Now the bus driver had gone into the McDonald's and missed this little show and before he could come back out, the guy went running towards McDonald's and around it and than chased a car through a parking lot. Then he did one more lap around the McDonald's and back to the bus which he than climbed on went to his seat and acted completely normal. When the bus driver came out a few people met him outside the bus and told him what happened and he talked to the guy to make sure he was okay and since he seemed normal he let him stay on the bus.
Another leg of that trip we stopped at a truck stop for a pickup and the driver said we could get off for a few minutes to get food, drinks, bathroom breaks, etc. One guy goes inside and comes back out with some food and a few things in his pocket and after getting back on the bus started asking anyone and everyone if he could borrow their ticket which of course nobody would do that. Just as we were getting ready to pull off two of the workers ran out and told the driver the guy didn't pay for his food or the other things. So, the driver ask him about it and he denied it and than he finally admitted it and the was kicked off the bus and the police were called. While all this was going on the guy walked across the parking lot and talked to an old man who let him climb into his pickup truck and away they went. We finally had to get back on the road and we heard that they had caught him shortly afterwards and he was still with the old man.
I met a lady who had been riding the bus, with her 4 kids, since Mexico and was actually going somewhere in Canada and I couldn't help but feel sad for her because she was exhausted and still had a very long way to go. The whole trip seemed like we were going through the twilight zone and to top it all off, as we were coming back into Nashville our driver said he had never driven into Nashville and didn't know where the bus station was. Thankfully a few of us knew and we talked him in and gladly got off the bus and headed for home. I'm glad I did it but I don't know if I ever will again.
I used to run around with some great people named Chad and Leslie, who lived in Shelbyville Kentucky and we spent many days and miles going to see the Grateful Dead here and there. We always had a blast while seeing the country or just staying around their house and having fun. One of the trips from their house back to Nashville I picked up a hitchhiker on the road and while talking his experiences while hitchhiking we saw a cop behind us who after a few minutes turned on his lights and sirens, which freaked us out since we both had long hair, beards, tie-dyes, wild eyes and driving a '65 VW Beetle. He suddenly whipped around us and we saw Ky. State Troopers come out of nowhere and stop this car in the middle of the interstate and get the guy spread eagle on the road. Turned out he had lots of cocaine in his car and I'm sure served many, many years for that.
Chad once gave me a rain stick, that I still have to this day, and soon after that we lost track of each other. He had started to make the rainsticks along with didgeridoos and drums while going to shows and was becoming quite the artist the last time I saw him. I recently did a search online for him and came across his website and as it turns out he went on to became an amazing artist, got married and now him and his wife create these amazing pieces of art. I have yet to touch base with them but I will soon and perhaps think back to our adventures and all the good times we shared. I look forward to buying a didgeridoos from him since I had planned on doing that about 13 years ago.
Well, that is not even the tip of the fun times I have had with friends, family and strangers while traveling around this great country of ours and I hope to have more soon with even better stories to tell.
If anyone has a travel story they would like to share, please feel free. I would love to his quite a few.