The Alchemy of Traveling

Or, “How to Make Gold from Lead (lemonade from lemons, perhaps) – Using Public Transportation”.

About two months ago, after changing my vehicle registration and mail service to South Dakota, I decided that the easiest and least expensive way to complete the transfer, by getting a driver’s license, was to take the bus. To drive, either with or without the rig, would be very time consuming, and more expensive than ‘leave the driving to us.’ So I went online at Greyhound.com to see what a route might look like, and how much it might cost. A round trip at that time was $154 – a great price; however, as I wasn’t quite sure about the details I waited to buy a ticket.

A couple of weeks later, I again went online to purchase the ticket, and learned that I couldn’t get a ticket online because the route had been changed and I would not be able to get from New Mexico to South Dakota, using Greyhound. After doing some research, I learned that Jefferson Bus Lines could route me to South Dakota, but I’d have to go through Dallas instead of Albuquerque. Again I hesitated, and this time the round trip with Jefferson was $188. As I had planned to buy the 21-day advance ticket to get the best fare, it was necessary to plan out the funds and schedule for traveling so I’d be in position to leave from the bus station in Deming.

Being interested in astrology, I realized that Mercury would be retrograde for most of September, so I bought my ticket just before it went retro, with my departure date of October 5, after the retro. Again, there was a glitch in the routing, so I needed to purchase not a round-trip ticket, but two one-way tickets. Final price $182.50. I was advised to contact the bus line a few days before departure to verify the schedule.

Today I called Jefferson Bus Lines to learn that yes, once again, I would be re-routed to get to South Dakota. This time, through Minneapolis (although I will still be going through Dallas), and leaving six hours earlier than before, arrival time in South Dakota remaining the same. Now I have a ticket that is not valid, and that will have to be replaced at an ‘official’ bus station, not at the Chevron station where I’m to begin my trip.

I report this calmly; however, I was beginning to get a little agitated when I was referred to the El Paso station to inquire about the replacement ticket and the woman there had no idea what I was talking about. She told me to call Jefferson Bus Lines and later gave me the 800 number for Greyhound. After a misunderstanding with the first contact at that number I got a regular agent who was able to advise me about how to get the replacement ticket.

I’m writing this so any of you who might ever consider using the bus networks, will know what you can expect. Hopefully, you won’t have any particular deadline to keep, so you can be flexible enough to travel at the whims of the bus companies! I am trying to keep calm and make this trip a bit of a ‘fun’ trip. I’ve never been to Minneapolis, or Rapid City, which is my primary destination. I might meet some interesting characters and be able to write about them; take some photos, and learn something new. And after I get there I can pick up my mail in person and be taken to lunch!

I’m fortunate to have a friend who is also pretty flexible about taking me to the pick-up point in Deming (even with the changed time of departure), and who is willing to pick me up in Las Cruces, 60 miles away, where I would have an 11-hour layover otherwise.

And while I’m gone the truck will be with the mechanic getting some new parts and an oil change. Then we’ll both be ready to travel together once again, after I’ve rested!

Note: The photo is a hanging I made out of old CDs, found fish line, gifted paint and brushes – all recycled materials. On the backs are the words “Peace”, “Joy”, “Love”, and “Laughter”, respectively. These are the things I try to put into my life everyday.

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