My bus left at 12:00am. I stared intently at the ticket before boarding. 72 hours of travel, three days of unimaginable hell. I'm not one to shy away from long exhausting methods of transportation, but taking a Greyhound bus across the country is its own kind of challenge. Lack of appropriate personal heigene, sleep, and movement makes this a really cheap solution to an airline, but usually at a cost to your well being...
"Is this seat taken?"
The gentleman smiled at me, pulling his backpack off of the adjacent seat and motioning for me to sit.
"Not anymore! My name is John!"
I lowered myself onto the seat, reaching out my hand for an introductory handshake. The hand gripping palm squeezing human thing happened.
"Thanks, I'm Enoch."
"What brings you to th-ACHOOLHG!"
A loud and terrifying explosion of mucus erupted from John's mouth, caught by his palm in an attempt to minimize the blast radius. Immediately I thought nothing of it, but each second that passed led me closer and closer to the realization that something was horribly wrong...His palm. Palm. The same palm of the same hand that I just earnestly shook. It was if time had stopped and I became aware of the deepest biological going-abouts of my body: heartbeat, blood, veins, what's that? My throat started to dry, and my tonsils slowly became more noticeable as I swallowed. This isn't good.
Night came quickly, and the sickness started to grow in my body. John wanted to talk about the power of love and understanding, but all I could do was nod my head in agreement and try not to use any energy I didn't have to.
Finally, after three days of riding the bus (time being sped up for your reading pleasure), I found myself back in Phoenix, AZ. The plan: stay with my grandparents for a week and visit. I can imagine myself reading this next sentence as Dustin Hoffman in the movie Stranger than Fiction: "Little did he know, the next week of his life would be spent recovering from a sickness of the most peculiar kind, transmitted in part by John of the Greyhound Bus."
Inflamed tonsils. Fever. Inability to communicate coherently. My brain seemed like it was was made of a dirty smoothie that was being blended every thirty seconds.
The days felt like hours, I was sleeping for the most part. Trying to sleep. In between states of consciousness. In between. Hot and cold. Temperatures I've never felt before, all at the same time.
Then almost as suddenly as it had come, I was well again.
My grandfather was elated!
"It's about time you're out of bed, let me teach you how to make poached eggs."
The days were spent laughing, healing, and making delicious food. Want to know the secret to reheating pizza? Ever needed to know how to make perfect poached eggs every time? Grandpa Ted's your guy.
I had friends in Phoenix that spent time with me as well!
After about a week of cooking, visiting, and laughing, I was now ready to head west. Initially I was going to ride my bicycle to Palm Springs, but after talking to a few bicycle shops (and heeding the stern advice of my grandpa), I decided that I was going to take a bus through the desert to Palm Springs. A good friend of mine was coincidentally heading in the same direction for the weekend, so we carpooled and listed to jiving music on the way!
I met up with my friend, Finn. She's a filmmaker/photographer, and she wanted to record some footage for the next few days, documenting my coastal arrival.
Finn dropped me off in San Bernadino, where I would begin the next phase of my journey along the west coast.
I decided to get a motel, as the area didn't give off a vibe of safety and peace. Finn was unsure about leaving me there.
"I'm 90% sure that the guy in line behind you had a prostitute with him."
The next morning, after sleeping surprisingly well on the questionably clean mattress, I headed for LA.
Finn met me at the coast with a mutual friend/video sidekick, Madison.
Awesome! Made it to the west coast, finally! Now I'll be heading up north to Santa Cruz! Stay tuned for the next/last post of the journey, thanks for following along!