Greyhound: The biggest mistake of my life

Once upon a time, I made the biggest mistake of my life.

I willingly purchased a one-way Greyhound ticket from Rockford, Illinois to San Francisco, California.

And then, after several weeks of absorbing all that San Francisco had to offer, I made the second biggest mistake of my life.

I willingly purchased a one-way Greyhound ticket from San Francisco, California to Rockford, Illinois.

My first thought upon arriving in San Francisco after a 52-hour bus ride was “I need a shower, and I need a shower now.”

Something, anything, to wash the Greyhound filth from my skin. I felt disgusting.

What I had just experienced was mesmerizing.

The child molester on the run.  The sobbing Vietnam vet. The toothless man trying to sell me acid.

The obese, smelly woman taking over my seat. The couple in front of me almost making love in the early morning hours. Sheriff’s deputies violently arresting a man as he stepped off the bus.

The old woman sitting next to me picking her feet, cackling like a diseased crow. The drunk parolee with a huge knife in his bag. The ceaselessly crying babies.

All this, and I was only 12, 13 hours into my journey.

Yet time and time again, one painfully long layover after another, I boarded the old rickety bus headed towards oblivion with no end in sight.

How about you? How many hours straight did you endure the torture of a Greyhound bus ride? What happened along the way? Would you do it again?



  1. LOL! I was just thinking about your trip as I boarded the bus for Madison! I’m sure my luxury ride couldn’t begin to compare to yours, but I will admit that some of my fellow passengers gave me pause to think…and clutch my purse a little closer!

  2. I’ve been Greyhounding it for years, and I’ve never had an unforgettable ride. I’ve never had anything resembling a pleasant, enjoyable or even tolerable ride, and I remember every painful moment that I was unable to drown in whiskey. It is significant that I have been kicked off of city buses for drunkenness on several occasions, but never a Greyhound. You are right about Greyhound filth. It is the only thing closely comparable to a night in jail, or three nights as I was on my last Greyhound trip from New Orleans to Corvallis Oregon. On that trip, I regrettably smoked a joint behind a gas station somewhere between Sacramento and Chico. My seat mate said something like, “hafamenyewansmokadoob?” and I replied, “sure, what the hell ever.” I spent the rest of that horrible night enmeshed in some hellish hallucination of screaming infants and backseat blowjobs. I have not been on a Greyhound bus since. I’m still convinced that a Greyhound bus seat and a jailhouse toilet seat share about the same probability of transmitting Hep C. to an unwitting patron. Just another good reason to keep your pants on.

  3. I spent seven consecutive days on the Greyhound. Seven. My trip started in Vancouver and I finally ended in Melbourne, Florida.

    I think all tickets should have a disclaimer written in bold at the bottom saying, “You may, or may not, catch HerpaGonorrSyphillAids while using their transit system.”

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