Taking a Ride on a Greyhound Bus – Orange County to San Francisco

Hey SHABL,

When you hear “Greyhound bus”, what is the first thing that comes to mind?

Ghetto? Shadiness? Halfway house on wheels?

For me it has been all of the above which is why I decided that I needed to give one a try now that I am back in America.

I was pretty stoked when I saw on Greyhound’s website that I could take a bus one-way between Santa Ana (Orange County) and San Francisco for only $45. Couldn’t find any one-way plane tickets for less than $125 for the date I wanted so it seemed like a steal. I was then over the moon when I then read that they had some new buses with state-of-the-art amenities like wireless routers and electrical outlet *on selected routes. The 9+ hours was going to take to get there would surely fly by with all the work I would be getting done on my laptop.

So how did it go? Well, to be honest, I was really disappointed. I was looking for an adventure, some excitement like Rob had on his journey from Indio to Los Angeles. I wanted to sit next to a guy with tattoos on his face and hear stories about prison life or what it felt like to kill a man. Instead I got an entire row to myself and the only semi-exciting thing was that the guy in the row next to me had a Discman. You know, a portable CD player with batteries. I haven’t seen one of those being used in years.

 

Aside from that, everything was pretty mellow. Boring, even. The only scary thing about the ride was the thought of getting left behind at one of the stops. We were able to get off and stretch our legs a few times but in places you would never want to get left behind: San Fernando Valley, Coalinga, Gilroy. I got the feeling our driver would have had no problem at all taking off without everyone on the bus if someone didn’t make it back in time.

The biggest disappointment of all though had to be the fact that I wasn’t *on a selected route. There was absolutely nothing new about the bus which meant no wireless routers or power outlets. LAME. You don’t know how invaluable 9+ hours in a confined space with nothing to do but work is to me at this point. Unfortunately my laptop is a jerk and won’t hold a charge for more than 5 minutes so my plan of getting work done was also out the window.

 

There’s always a silver lining though, right? Had I been glued to my computer screen the whole time I would have not been paying attention to all the gorgeous scenery passing by my window. Spring is a beautiful time to drive through central California. So much color and the clouds were absolutely magnificent on that particular day.

It was a really long day, nearly 10+ hours of travel which seems stupid in comparison to the one hour flight I ended up taking back. I left Orange County around 7:30am and didn’t get in until 6 – an entire day spent on the road and in near solitary confinement. In retrospect I would have totally spent the extra money on a flight just to have those 10+ hours in San Fran. Could have, should have, would have…at least now I know.

[Insert SHABL motto here]

14 Comments

  1. Rob

    April 25, 2012 at 5:56 am

    I love this post and can relate on numerous levels. My battery sucks and I live on an island without power during the day, bought 2 more and should have bought 5 more. The bus photos bring back a mix of memories and I love this video, fyi.

    Would be cool to sit next to him and suddenly go to some underground music festival, I digress…

    • nathan

      April 25, 2012 at 10:09 am

      Double dutch bus is a chicago classic, we would skate to this at the roller skating ring growing up as a kid. Hearing this song brings back so many memories. Kudos for knowing this song Rob. There are people in the states that never heard this before. LOL

      • Larissa

        April 25, 2012 at 11:04 am

        Kudos for knowing this song Rob, kudos Larissa for including it ;) I was actually going to mention your power situation on Little Corn and how I really felt for you after this experience but it was getting too long. If I ever make it to Coachella one of these years I’m totally taking a Greyhound there. I imagine there’d be so many interesting people and potential weekend friends on that ride.

  2. Megan

    April 25, 2012 at 6:05 am

    if you wanted more greyhound adventure you should have joined me on my one (and only) greyhound experience from cincinnati to pittsburgh last year. the only thing that saved me from being raped was the bus driver. no lie. since the power outlets didnt work on my bus, my phone died and i had to call my grandparents to meet me at an earlier stop with their car because i was threatened to be taken from my final stop by a guy who reeked of booze and cigarettes, and of course had facial tattoos…to his house.

    the experience left me traumatized. i did, however, take the megabus from cincinnati to chicago one time and had the most wonderful experience with it…and it maybe cost me like $15 one way. i was super impressed with their service.

    • Larissa

      April 25, 2012 at 11:12 am

      Omg. I just wanted to hear stories and maybe get a lesson in prison tattoos, not put myself in a position to be abducted! Apparently there is some truth to the usual stereotypes. I’m still not ruling them out entirely.

      I used to use Megabus all the time when I lived in NYC to visit family near Philadelphia. So cheap and very impressive – very similar to the good Euroline buses I’ve taken in Europe.

  3. Emily

    April 26, 2012 at 5:12 am

    Your photos actually look like paintings! The funky video was a great way to get me up and moving faster this morning!

    • Larissa

      April 26, 2012 at 11:12 am

      Thanks, just a tiny bit of iPhone appage used to make the colors pop. Nothing like the Double Dutch Bus to get a morning started right.

  4. Aarin

    April 26, 2012 at 7:50 am

    double dutch bus is the best thing to ever hit this blog we used to pop to it back in the day

    • Larissa

      April 26, 2012 at 11:14 am

      Well that is just fantastic to hear. If Rob wants to hire me, I’d be more than happy to DJ any SHABL parties that might occur in the future.

  5. Lee Carter

    April 28, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    We took the Greyhound all over Canada and then down to the USA and honestly its a mixed bag. Its not really as bad as everybody makes out, you just have to turn off any expectation of an amazingly comfortable journey and realise you are getting what you paid for.

    • Larissa

      April 28, 2012 at 10:29 pm

      Absolutely, I always turn my expectations off when traveling by bus – especially after doing so much of it in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. I wish I could say that the Greyhound was even a little nicer than most of the buses I rode on through Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Bosnia-Herzegovina…but I can’t.

      Oddly enough, the plane ticket I ended up getting back only cost $5 more (lucky Jet Blue deal!)

  6. Jeremy

    April 30, 2012 at 9:29 am

    I too tried to give Greyhound the benefit of the doubt recently. I took it from Philly to NYC, a much shorter jaunt than you. I tried to used the Bolt Bus and Mega Bus which sports wifi and outlets, and a much cleaner and more pleasurable ride, but it was booked.

    The greyhound station in philly is grimy as hell and the people that worked there sucked. The bus wifi was also trash. They still suck in comparison to the other newer lines.

    • Larissa

      April 30, 2012 at 11:54 am

      I’m just perplexed as to which routes these BRAND-NEW buses (http://www.greyhound.com/en/buses/default.aspx) service then. They look like they could really hold a candle to the newer lines but if they aren’t employing them into their fleet then they should probably remove that teaser from their site. I did reach out to Greyhound for comment on this but so far no response…

  7. John

    November 7, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    They didn’t have many of the new blue ones back in 2012. Los Angeles Garage got many new D4505s in October 2013. Now the West is dominated by new blue D4505s. The bus you rode was a White ex-Americanos D4505. It’s actually not that old, a 2006. Same model as the new ones just not as new.

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