Thankfully our disastrous first Greyhound journey has proved to be the exception rather than the rule, and it has been a pretty reliable and efficient way of getting around. Our Discovery Passes are excellent value for money, and we haven't had any trouble getting onto the bus we've wanted.
Our Greyhound yesterday was the first of the fancy new models we've travelled on. It featured extra legroom, power sockets and wi-fi. To celebrate, and to allow you to share in the tedium of a long-haul bus journey, we made a minute-by-minute blog of our 12-hour trip from Sacramento to Eugene in Oregon.
07.20: We're on the bus and leaving... 20 minutes late. But since this is the only bus to Eugene until this evening, and we woke up at 5am to be on it, we're just glad we have a seat.
07.21: The breakfast pastries are out. How much sugar is it possible to cram into a single Big Texas cinnamon roll? Thirty-three grams apparently!
07.30: That bad smell can only be coming from the toilet at the back of the bus. Aargh - why didn't we get seats closer to the front?
08.13: Nearly left a passenger behind in Marysville. Oops!
08.30: Trees. Grass. Sky. More trees. Oh, mobile phone mast!
08.45: An eight-minute stop at Orville coming up.
08.48: Ah, it's spelled Oroville. Nothing to do with the talking duck.
10.03: The landscape is becoming lusher as we head north. Lots of farms and the occasional adult superstore.
10.25: On the move again after waiting ten minutes to be given the green light along a stretch of new road in the process of being laid.
10.39: Yet another stop, but not long enough to get those cups of tea and coffee we're craving...
10.46: 'It's Ozzy!' One of our fellow passengers has used the stop as an opportunity to get a photo of our driver, saying he looks just like Ozzy Osbourne. Yeah, he does actually.
11.23: Apparently the driver's a she! The voice on the Tannoy was suspiciously high-pitched. Anyway, we're getting a new driver at our next stop.
11.54: All this time gives us a good chance to roughly plan the next bit of the trip, so we've got the map out and are checking bus times online.
12.10: However, while the bus is zipping down the freeway the internet's stuck in the slow lane...
12.16: The forested hills we're now driving past have reminded us of Redwood National Park. We're not able to visit it unfortunately as the Greyhound doesn't go anywhere near.
12.43: We're now making our way up and around the hills. Our ears are popping and we're being thrown all over the place as the bus takes the corners.
13.00: Ready for lunch. But we have to wait until we stop - possibly not for several hours.
13.22: Rather nice to see some clouds for the first time in a while. Oh, and the snow-capped peaks are quite attractive.
13.29: Looks like a rest stop. Are we stopping for lunch?
13.30: No. That's the smallest Greyhound depot we've seen.
14.29: We've just entered Oregon and have said our goodbyes to California.
14.41: Still no sign of lunch. We're sure the driver said we'd be stopping in 30 minutes but that was 60 minutes ago...
14.58: We're ten minutes from our lunch stop, allegedly.
15.25: At last! We've got until five to four. Or was it four to five...?
15.57: And we're off again, after polishing off a couple of foot-longs in Subway, nervously glancing over our shoulders at the bus in the parking lot.
17.32: Have we spent our entire lives on this bus? It feels like it.
17.40: Roseburg - our last stop before Eugene. Woo! But the bus is running 40 minutes late. Boo.
18:55: Ben is snoozing. Karen is very bored. We were due to arrive half an hour ago.
18.58: Are we here? Er, the driver just said the next stop was Salem, but we thought it was Eugene.
19.00: Bus station says Eugene. Hooray!