We are currently back in L.A. after spending a very fun 6 days in San Francisco. We have agreed that San Francisco is far superior to Los Angeles for many reasons but I will get into that another time. This post is all about Greyhound buses.

So we decided to get the Greyhound from L.A. to San Francisco as we thought flying would be too expensive and our original plan of getting the Megabus fell through after it sold out months in advance. So we booked Greyhound without doing enough research… don’t worry… we paid for that little slip up.

Our journey to SF was fairly uneventful… apart from the fact it took 9 hours and was an hour late in leaving Simon, our friend we were staying with, waiting at the less than safe Greyhound station. Whilst waiting he did witness someone getting their bag stolen so you get a good idea about the kind of people that hang around these stations. The L.A. one is situated in the beautiful surroundings of Skid Row where homeless insane wonder aimlessly… nice.

But it was on our return journey that the fun really started. We made our meal stop at 12:30 (which only gives you the option of eating at Burger King by the way) and things were going well. We were making good time. It got to 1:10 when were supposed to be leaving and the driver wasn’t getting up from his table leaving many of the passengers a little annoyed. After about 15 minutes, he lets us know that the bumper is hanging off and we will not be able to proceed for an hour. This was quite annoying. After waiting for the mechanic to turn up and fix the bumper we set off. Now the air conditioning was not working and the bus was spluttering along even stalling a few times on the way out of the car park. This was quite worrying. We all got out and waited for the engine to cool down so we could get on our way. We did this and set off on the freeway.

We made it about a mile down the road before pulling into a truck stop. Here we sat for over two hours while we waited for a replacement bus. No shelter except for some trees, lots of flies and some not very desirable toilets were our landscape for these few hours. After the replacement bus was delayed yet again (the driver first said that it would be there at in an hour… then it was 5:30, then 7:30) the driver said we were going to get back on the bus with the top hatches open and we would deal with the heat – everyone was pleased although annoyed at the fact that we didn’t do this two hours ago. We were back on the road… but for how long?

Not long is the answer to that. About an hour down the road we ground to a halt on the side of the freeway. In the arse end of nowhere if you pardon the expression – about 100 miles outside of L.A. and 30 miles away from the nearest town. Here we stayed for three and a half hours while we waited for another bus. In the desert heat with very little water and no food we stood for this time. The sun slowly set and we were in darkness although at least we were slightly less sweaty. At 11:00 the replacement bus showed up. We arrived in L.A. at 2:00AM (luckily we forced the driver to let us off at Hollywood rather than our planned stop of the Skid row one) and we booked into our motel at 2:30.

The thing that worried us most while we were stuck was the fact that we had no way of contacting our motel to say that we would be late. We didn’t have the number and for the majority of the time our phones didn’t work. Eventually we decided to phone our friend David in the UK (at 3AM UK time) and asked him to look up the number so we could let them know. It all worked out fine in the end and we got our room.

So today we are going to the Hollywood Greyhound office to lodge a complaint and demand a refund.

I am currently uploading some pictures from SF to Flickr but it is taking forever on this internet cafe connection. I may have to try again tomorrow to finish the set including the pictures from Alcatraz.