North on US 287 just across Wyoming state line
I'm the only person on this bus outside of the driver. It's only black and white outside except for a small ball of light where the sun should be. From where I'm sitting it seems like the bus is always a little bit over the center line. I may ask later if I can drive this bus. Also I should have brought more shit to read... and eat.
The sun came out for a couple of minutes to shine on these cavey mesas south of here. But it's starting to snow again now and I was feeling bleak. I remembered immediately I'm not bleak, only landscapes are bleak, and in fact I was not feeling bleak. It's mighty unusual to ride through Wyoming. For me it's unusual to ride anywhere, and I've been spotting places I hit on my way down through here.
Outside Plains Ice Cream Museum Souvenirs
I realize that if this was a story I was writing I would not choose Fargo as the destination of the protagonist because it seems too literary cute. Future generations (should I be so lucky) would be tested on it and analyse the implications of the name in their english classes. I also noticed that I don't like to whip out the laptop until the bus has stopped, a remainder of my days unable to write more that a few sentances when I'm driving until I notice the pisser in the back has been in use constantly for the last five minutes where it had remained empty for the last two hours except for the bus driver's daughter.
The blind man siting several seats in front of me says he thinks "technology is getting the best of us. I mean it's all good, but I don't know." These words are spurred by a conversation with the fellow behind him about the biometric chips currently being implanted into dogs and cats. "I've got video footage of over in Holland, I mean the Netherlands, of hogs with these chips in their ears and they just come along and scan them an it shows when they got their vaccinations and breeding and all." I smile and pull out my laptop.
Uh, Gillette Hardee's
I'm buying magazines and Coke (not that kind, not in Wyoming) across the street and I'm bying a Mother Earth News and a PC World and Computer Life, and the gal at the counter name is Star, according to her nametag. She says "Get a Mac!" I unzip, whip it out (my laptop, duh) and say "Baby, I've *got* a Mac!" She also mentioned she was on the internet, and I suppose I should have asked for her email address, but it's hard to pick up chicks when you ride the bus. Stupid bus. Back on the bus, y'all- the pig chip guy is asking a french guy where he's from. "You from Q-beck"?
Outside of the Bus Terminal (oddly enough) in Billings, Montana
Everybody stares at me inside because I'm not sitting in a chair but by the Pepsi machine and I'm wearing my hat. I don't mind being stared at because I now have a fully charged laptop battery and a warm head. The driver wears a belt that makes it look like he's armed is trying to locate the owner of a lost doodle bear. I remember the day I spent driving 200 miles in the Willamette Valley looking for a doodle bear. I'm probably the first person to read the particular poetry I read here in Montana, even though a poem written one year and two days ago. The driver better not stop in Glendive or else we're going to be delayed. Our next stop is at 7-11, one I've probably been to before, one with the magical, mystical White Cherry Slurpee... Now the driver tells us a story with a moral about a guy who missed his bus and has to spent another 24 hours in Billings. The guy in front of me was trying to read my screen over his shoulder. I'll write something nasty about him when he's asleep.
Outside Forsythe, Montana
We stoped across the street from the 7-11 at another convinence store and I get off with the driver and one other passenger. I make a bee-linene for the 7-11 and he heads for the closer store, then thinks I know something he doesn't and follows me in. I buy yet another magazine and tell the clerk how much I was hoping for a Slurpee.
"I think there's one flavor working tonight, sir."
"Yeah, but it's not Slurpified."
"Did you try it to see if it was Slurpified?"
"Yeah, I did. Maybe next time through..."
She didn't mention it was 10 degrees and colder and I didn't say how I've only been to Forsythe four times and I was hoping the last time would be my last. The guy in front of me is sleeping on his jacket, which is one of those designer jobbies of which I can't remember the name. I wish I'd brought another battery.
Glendive, Damn it
There's the place I stopped with my sister for three hours while the roads thawed. There's where I put the alternater in that van. There's where we tried to buy a new car rather then fix ours. There's where we bought two cases of oil to nurse our ailing car along. And we haven't left yet.....
Dickenson Paragon Bar Cafe Bowl Steakhouse Open 24 Hours
Even though I'm not hungry, I thought it might be fun to get in a few frames of bowling while everybody else has breakfast. Maybe not. Hell, I ate. I stashed a Snickers bar in my secret coat pocket and pulled the liquid remains out this fine morning and ate that. Eight Am sharp. Billings, Forsythe, Glendive, Dickenson- this Erik fellow gets less sleep then the bus driver. What the hell am I complaning about, this is only my 25th hour on non-linear transportation. I could ride these things for days if I had thought to bring a book that doesn't consume electricity. Or maybe someone to talk to. That's a recurring fantasy/desire/theme in my traveling: to have someone to sit next to on the bus, to bowl with in the morning, to sit in the passenger seat of my car and read the map (unlike others who will sit and NOT read the map, causing me to drive 60 miles out of our way on narrow deer infested twisting mountain roads. "Oh I'm so tired! The map is so heavy." Hell we only moved a couple thousand pounds of flagstone before trying to drive all night.... ) Anyway, my fantasy on this trip is not to be separated from any part of my body or any of my possesions. Thus, I trust no one! Not even the driver. (Take MY ticket will you!?!) Not even the police officer! (Take MY fingerprints will you!?!?) Not even my dad! (Take ME home will you?!?!) Alright, this trip is starting to feel long.
Whereever the hell we are there's a huge fiberglass cow on that hill
One of the best things about this trip is that my natural reflex whenever I see a police car is completely unjustified! Ususally when I'm traveling I'm doing -something- wrong. Usually something vaugely felonious. I'm completely within the bounds of the law today, excepting that concealed weapon, and even that's a grey area. It's been dawn for, like an hour and a half now. Children should not be allowed on buses unless they're exceptionally entertaining. Hell, nobody should be allowed on buses except for the express purposes of entertaining ME. That cow on the hill's supposed to be the world's largest holstein. I wonder if another town has the world's largest angus and another the biggest gurnsey. And then some less fortunate towns have like, the second largest charlais...
Medina, North Dakota
I think the air's too thick down here. It's harder to breathe like, well like the air's too thick. Oxygen's for wimps. I'm sleeping on the roof tonight. I'm courting a nose-bleed too, either due to the change in pressure or that there's a big chunk of mucus back in there and I've been trying to dig it out with the corkscrew on my swiss army knife. Stay tuned for more ways to annoy your fellow bus passengers! (like, hey, bleeding on them)
Fargo Bus Terminal
I was able to convince the driver that although my ticket says Fargo it actually means Wadena. A nice philosophical discussion about denotation, conotation and implied meaning. An practical realist, driving a bus. The longer this trip goes the more (slightly) fictional these ramblings get. Ah well, I'm not talking my way any further then Wadena. Still, it'll probably take us two hours to drive the 60-70 miles. What the hell, it's a cozy bus. A woman at the station here is talking on the phone and she's under the impression she's in Sioux Falls. I hope she doesn't have a connection here in Fargo or she'll be headed who knows where. Ouch, just gained an hour. Alright, here's who it breaks down, it took me slightly longer to drive my car out to Boulder then it did to take the bus back, but going out I went to a concert and had a good night's sleep. And went to Wall Drug. This bus thing may not be the thing for me. Maybe if I got one of them unlimited ride thingies...
Yee-ha! Perham Oasis 6:35 central daylight time
Fuck, that's a long trip. Also: it's hard to type when it's this cold out. Glad to be sitting somewhere not soft and comfortable. I'm such a hard ass. Maybe I should try typing with my mittens on. Or maybe I'll just put this away.