Waking up, I had a fear, “What if I can’t get on Greyhound?” I’d bought the fully refundable fare so I could travel anytime plus could get a refund.
So I started trying to think of what to do if Greyhound didn’t work. As so often is the case in the USA, Amtrak was not an option. A one-way rental car is now only possible airport to airport so I’d have to get to Lexington, KY which is about 50 miles from Berea. A day’s work. Plus the rental companies now charge about $200 as a fee for one way rentals. So I was going to have to spend $350 to rent a car from Lexington to Pittsburgh. Then I realized there is still a company that gives a one way rental: UHaul. I could rent a ten foot box truck from Berea to Pittsburgh for $350 and unlike the car rental I could take up to three days to get there. Expensive option but an option.
I got the chair car taxi from the motel to the bus stop. The bus arrived and was less than half full. The driver got off, looked at the big box and exclaimed, “There is no way that will fit…but I guess we can try.” We moved one of the only two suitcases in the baggage compartment and it slid right on. I don’t know why he thought it wouldn’t fit.
A long distance bus ride always provides some interest. The ride was fairly uneventful despite the guy behind me repeating, “I am going to kill him! Kill him! He’ll be dead!” for hours of the trip to Columbus, OH. (I checked and still had my pepper spray on hand.) I transferred in Columbus. Taking my bicycle box off I was glad there was only going to be one transfer. It was looking much worse even than before. Coming into Pittsburgh There was terrible traffic and we arrived at the downtown bus terminal an hour late. It was about 8:30 PM.
In general, bus terminal can be sketchy and become more so later at night so I wanted to be out of there quickly. But there was the whole ‘re-assemble’ the bike thing slowing me down. With my stuff spread out on the floor and my bike starting to come together, I met the guys who sell marijuana inside the bus station. The first was from SF and asked me about my trip for a few minutes before checking if I wanted to buy any weed. I declined.
He next tried to sell it to a guy making regular trips back and forth to the storage lockers. That led to a heated exchange as the other guy also sold weed in the station and considered it his turf. After the first drug dealer left, the second came over to survey my bike.
He noted, “Wow! A Surly Long Haul Trucker!” He either had a LHT or another bike by Surly called Pugsley. He asked a bunch more questions about my trip. Then he said, “You must be here for the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O trail to DC. It starts just down the street from here…” He continued on with some info about the trail conditions and assured me despite the forecast rain it would not be too bad, although the C&O could be muddy.
By the time I rolled out of the bus station it was after 9:00 PM. The convention center was next to the bus station so I headed that way for hotels. Finding the Marriott and negotiating a discount I decided it was about as good as I could do downtown with having to bike miles at night in an unknown city.
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