November 23rd, 2010


Keeper sings! and a harrowing tale of bus travel (or lack thereof)

I threw in a bit of vocals and kazoo as I recorded this video during the afterglow party following the 2010 West Coast Ragtime Festival this weekend:

The song is a hit from WW1, When Alexander Takes His Ragtime Band to France.

The trip back was a nightmare. Snowing over I80. The bus driver didn't put chains on despite seeing every other vehicle stopped on the road doing so. Eventually, as traffic came to a crawl, it got to the point where the bus couldn't get traction on the ice. He just floored it, spinning the wheels. Tire smoke entered the cabin.

He sat there for 20 minutes, not telling anyone anything, until a CHP officer came up asking why he was stopped in the middle of the road (while traffic was moving along just fine around us). He told the CHP that the bus had broken down.

A big truck pushed the bus to the shoulder, then a tow vehicle towed us over the summit and into Truckee. However, the bus driver still was convinced that the bus was not working. I told him multiple times that it was fine; he just had gotten wheelspin and couldn't go uphill. Now that we were past the summit, the roads were perfectly passable and I was sure the bus could be driven again. He didn't listen.

So we sat in Truckee, in sub-freezing temperatures, for six hours. Greyhound sent a "relief bus" but not from nearby Reno -- from Sacramento. That bus couldn't make it because of an oncoming storm. Another tow driver came by after six hours and told our driver that with the big storm coming in, we needed to get the heck out of there and he should try to move the bus if at all possible.

So, finally, he tried moving the bus. What do you know! There was nothing wrong with the bus after all, just like I had said. We arrived in Reno 6.5 hours late. Because I was catching a cold, I had paid extra to transfer to an earlier bus -- one that should have arrived at 4:25 instead of my originally scheduled bus that arrived at 6:50. But this "earlier" bus arrived at 11:00 -- all due to driver incompetence.

Greyhound couldn't refund my ticket because of the fact I had done the transfer to the earlier bus, so they just wrote me a $75 gift voucher.

For people who were supposed to transfer to another bus, they were stuck in Reno with no place to stay and no more buses leaving until morning. One girl was in tears because it meant she'd still be on the bus while her family was having Thanksgiving dinner. All because of the idiot driver.