July 14, 2009

Buses, Trains and Automobiles

I’m always out of town now. I’m constantly documenting where I’m going and what I’m doing when I’m out of town, but never how I get there.

Since I turned twenty-one, I have developed an aversion to flying. I can’t tell you why, exactly – but if I don’t have to fly anywhere, I won’t do it. So I resort to the many different ways of transportation to get me across these great United States.

Megabus: Far and away the most hassle-free and pleasurable traveling experience. Super cheap fares (I just got back from Minneapolis for NINE DOLLARS), clean double decker buses, and get this – Wireless Internet. You can’t beat that. However, they’re the way of transit I’ve had the most trouble with as well. Our bus up to Minneapolis at the end of June broke down outside Janesville, Wisconsin. We had to wait close to three hours for a new bus. That bus had no A/C on the upper level. On our return trip, our bus for the ride home missed our stop completely, and we had to wait another two hours there for a new one. That bus didn’t have internet, even thought it said it was supposed to. Little complaints, I know. I guess I get what you pay for.

Amtrak: The most comfortable way to travel. Big seats, footrests, power supplies for electronics, and cars dedicated to looking out the window. It’s all pretty cool, but it takes FOREVER to get anywhere. For a guy like me who’s really impatient, that’s not good. It’s great if you want to see the country, but not ideal if you are planning on getting somewhere exactly on time. In our case on our return trip from New York, we chose to stay an extra day because they wanted to bus us three hours away to get to a train. No bueno, Amtrak.

Emily’s 2005 Saturn Ion: Okay, a close runner up for best way to travel. In the past year, this is probably the car I’ve spent the second-most amount of time in next to mine.


Actual car not pictured. It’s pretty close. I swear.

It’s a beast. After all of the miles Emily’s put on it just going back and forth from Chicago to Minneapolis, not to mention the east coast drives AND the upcoming Canada excursion, it’s proven reliable and also fun to drive. There’s a bonus of being able to stop where you want with it too. The only things that keeps this from the top spot is the lack of internet, comfortable sleeping spots and the lack of a tape player or auxiliary port for uninterrupted iPod stereo access. You can’t always win, but I’m grateful for being able to go along for the ride.