Monday, July 25—left the house at 8:00 am with one backpack, authentic Swiss army ‘purse’, guitar, laptop, digi-media devices, and six whole-wheat tempeh-avocado-carrot sandwiches. My
plan: to get to San Francisco without using a private vehicle and arrive at the airport in time to catch a 10:00 pm flight to Savannah, Georgia. This would necessarily require traveling light. Walking to the RTS stop (Redwood Transit System), I wondered if I’d gone overboard with the sandwiches.
I caught the 8:24 bus (total cost $2.75) from Eureka to Arcata then rode Greyhound ($52.50) from Arcata to San Francisco. A lot of folks pooh-pooh Greyhound. I know —they say the bus is dirty, smelly, full of ‘rough’ people, a drawn out ordeal. Really? The ride from Arcata to San Francisco, actually, (this time) was pretty good, and compared to Chinese buses the experience was quite pleasant. At the very least I could sit in a cushioned seat wider and with more leg room than most airplanes. The scenery’s great, too.
In San Francisco I easily located a BART station (Bay Area Rapid Transit) on Market Street just up from the Greyhound terminal. Before hopping on, though, I needed to spend some time with the guitar. Behind a well-heeled Italian restaurant I found a quiet yet safe-seeming alley, took out the guitar and sang while the eatery’s wait and kitchen staff rotated through smoke breaks. They smiled. From a second floor window, patrons pointed, nodded. Just like old times, Xi’an, singing on the street. It felt so good to sing and play, so good. I love making music.
After forty minutes or so of working out the legs, hands, vocal chords, entertaining folks, it was time to head to the airport. From Market Street to San Francisco International Airport, it was only $8.10 to take the BART. This is a transportation score.
I made it to the airport by 8:15 pm and with plenty of time to catch that 10:00 pm flight. Yes, going from Arcata to San Francisco without a private vehicle is totally doable and
enjoyable especially if you like thinking, looking out the window, daydreaming, meeting and talking with new people. Ranks high on affordability, too—getting to the San Francisco airport from Arcata by Greyhound and public transportation only costs $63.35. It’s good, really.
Why didn’t I fly from Arcata? It’s just cheaper to fly from the City—busing it to SFO saved me almost $300.
Once at SFO I discovered the connecting flight from Philadelphia to Savannah had been canceled
due to weather, and here’s where things got fun. I arrived in Philly 6:00 am and was rescheduled on a connection to Charlotte and then on to Savannah. Though the times were close, I made the flights and arrived in Savannah early afternoon. Unfortunately, while I was landing in Charlotte, my guitar was touching down in Cleveland. So here I sit at Melanie and David’s up late and jet-lagged, lacking my friend and money-maker, my guitar. Folks at U.S. Airways say it should be delivered sometime in the next day or two. So long as I have it by Friday in time to play Spitfire, it’s all good.
Those six sandwiches? I’m eating my last one right now here on the couch. Avocado’s a little brown but still good. Though it was tempting, these sandwiches saved me from spending anything on over-priced airport food. Ha!
Moral(s) of this story? Greyhound and public transportation are reliable, affordable and (gasp) enjoyable. Definitely easier to keep track of one’s guitar on the Greyhound. Preparing six
sandwiches was divinely inspired—not hungry once. And all this has me thinking about music, travel, and performing—perhaps a Greyhound music tour is in order. Maybe do a run from San Francisco to Portland, couch surf. I’d be a real folksinger then. Yeah? Like Betty Chin says, “I don’t organize, I just do it.” Maybe I should just do it, take all this music and love and get it out there and just do it.
Thanks, Betty. You inspired me beyond words last Sunday.