Have you ever traveled in Mexico, and taken the bus? Seriously, they’ve got wonderful bus lines, with seats far more comfortable than most airline seats, air conditioned cabins, and video dubbed into Spanish.
Remembering how pleasant that was, we found ourselves musing the other day as to why bus travel in the U.S. has so little respect or appeal to adventurous travelers. Many of the people who come to the Hood River Hotel are what the industry calls “FIT” — free and independent travelers. They drive their own cars, independence in the U.S. of A. being what it is.
But we think they might want to rethink this transit thing. The thought crossed our minds, watching the Greyhound bus circle the block where the hotel is located, and pull to the curb a block away to let off — and take on — Hood River passengers. This dropoff a block from our door is a temporary arrangement, while the state completes a major interchange project. When it’s done, the buses will return to their normal route. Even then, passengers visiting Hood River could easily walk downtown — and stay at the hotel, if they wanted.
The thought got reinforcement the other day, when we passed one of the bus line’s new buses out on the Interstate. Slick.
We mention that because, in this day of higher gas prices and escalating air travel costs, the bus just might be the ticket for you. Save money on travel, spend money on other stuff (OK, like hotel rooms).
We looked at the Greyhound web site, just to get a fix on the possible. They’ve got a one-price pass program — the Discover Pass — that lets you buy 7-, 15-, 30- or 60-day blocks of unlimited travel and unlimited stops.
The 7-day pass costs $246, and the 60-day pass costs $556. That’s less than $10 a DAY to go as far as you want (or as far as you can stand sitting on a bus). But still.
With memories of mail-run travel from days gone by, we checked the Greyhound chart that shows travel time in hours between major cities. Between Seattle and San Francisco, it showed 20 hours. If you drove it yourself, it would take 14 hours dead-heading. So you get 6 more hours to finish “War and Peace.” And when you arrive? You don’t have to pay for parking.
We’re thinking this is the travel deal of the century here — and a great way to visit Hood River. Once you’re here, the boys at Discover Bicycles or Mt. View Cycles can hook you up with local motion. Get your (bus) motor running.