Day 17

Sun 2013/06/09

Daily mileage 6.62 Segment 190.3 Total 502.2

Route: Ride the bike from the hotel to the Fordyce bus station, bus ride back to Marshall, bike ride back to the hotel where the car is, stay over night, head back home.

I was unable to get ahold of anybody at Greyhound last night, and the web page took me through a frustrating maze of options before telling me I had to buy the ticket by phone. I rode to the bus station (here), and arrived almost 2 hours before the bus’ scheduled departure. I was hoping for either the bus station to have a person present who could help me (they didn’t) or arrival of another bus to help me with ticket purchase options (no other bus). The bus station (sic) was an Arkansas government office, which was closed (okay, it was Sunday) but nothing posted anywhere relevant to ticketing or operation of the buses. I am able to get through the Greyhound ticket office by phone this morning, and purchase a ticket by phone from an agent. Everything seems okay.

The 12 passenger bus arrives about 10 minutes late, right when some fairly heavy rain starts, and after loading my bike, the driver will not accept the Greyhound ticketing information. I have to come up with another $29.50 cash, exact change (with my bike on the bus) or I don’t get a ride. I happen to have $30.45; he gets $30. Ripped off by bus driver! After an interesting but hilly ride through Southern Arkansas, the SCAT bus drops me off at their office in Malvern AR (which is closed). The driver says I can take up the $30 issue with them when they are open Monday through Friday. Thanks for nothing. I am picked up a little later by a “real” Greyhound bus, where the ticket confirmation information I got on the phone is accepted. We do a milk run to the Texarkana bus station, where we stop for a while and I change buses. When asking about a refund (or at least a credit) for my SCAT ticket in Texarkana, the Greyhound ticket agent is polite and sympathetic but not helpful. I will later make numerous phone calls to numerous people at Greyhound and the cheapo SCAT commuter bus company in an attempt to get my $30 back. That’s another story for another day. The driver from Malvern to Texarkana had no problem with my bike, but the new driver in Texarkana wants the bike in a box. The station agent smooths some feathers, and I am able to load the bike on the bus myself “at my risk”.

Instead of going from Texarkana to Marshall, the bus goes South to Shreveport, then West to Marshall, TX. I have my maps with me, and look at some of the alternate route I missed by going over that nasty bridge East of Vivian.  I probably took the better route.  I get to Marshall after dark, and after spending 20 minutes setting the bike up again, ride 4 miles in the dark back to the hotel. I am a little uneasy about night riding, but it works out and I get there safely without incident.

Ha ha: riding up one of the hills on the shoulder, there is a traffic light with a warning sign connected to radar. “Intersection ahead, watch your speed: 7 MPH”.

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