Travels with TL: Denver or Bustang

notoriousbarneyThis is not actually about a travel I’ve taken, but one I am planning to take. And I know it is ill-advised to advertise one’s absence from home on the internet while the absence is taking place, but would-be thieves be forewarned: everyone else, particularly the vicious guard animals, is staying in place.

This was even an axiom prior to any inkling of the term “social media.” Back when we just had “media,” and I was a member of it, I was the “Gunnison Gadabout,” writing about the social happenings around town (so, social media — look at me being a pioneer). I have no idea how I fell into that, but there was a need and I was a willing body, so “social columnist” got added to my resume. But even at a weekly newspaper you didn’t publicize people’s travels until they were complete, in order to keep from advertising that a vacant house was available to be broken into.

Maybe in this Brave New World of vacation rentals by owner everyone already advertises their own vacancies. And it’s also the Brave New World of home security, with cameras to catch porch pirates (now there’s a fun term) and inside cameras offering pictures every bit as grainy and ill-defined as bank cameras. I always wonder about that, when a pixillated picture of someone under a hoodie is shown in the media, with the invitation to call police or a news station if you recognize this blob.

I’ve seen commercials for products that let you unlock your front door for your mom, so she can walk your dog when you’re running late, and that will let you answer your doorbell via your phone, even when you’re far away from your front door.

So perhaps it no longer matters that you know I won’t be home. And you might have to really work at it to find something of value to burgle in our house. Not that this is a challenge, you understand, but many of my possessions aren’t even going to be given away in whatever garage sale we’ll be having sometime when the weather isn’t in the negative 20s. (Which sounds very macho, unless you are hunkered down anywhere in the Midwest.)

And this would be a more effective travel post had I done the actual traveling, you know, with slides of all the exotic tourist attractions I took in and Instagrams of all the foreign food I’ll encounter while in Denver.

But the point of telling you now is the Disruption that is likely to occur right here in this blog. I don’t want you worrying about me when I don’t check in tomorrow morning. Not to mention that I’m a trifle worried about how you might function without your Daily Dose of TL.

It could still happen, but any post tomorrow will not take place until much later than usual and it hinges on any number of factors. So, for that matter, do posts on Saturday and Sunday. Rest easy, though: all will be right with the world come Monday.

Yes, I am leaving my embracing but cold cocoon here in Gunnison to head to The Big City. What I can’t tell you is whether I am going “up” to Denver or “down.” All these years in Colorado and with many, many (many) trips to and from Denver, and I still can’t tell you which is up and which is down.

Denver is north of Gunnison, so that seems “up.” But it is a half-mile lower in elevation, so that suggests “down.” It is a bigger place, “up.” But it is, in my mind at least, a lesser place, so “down.” There’s Monarch Pass to cross, which starts with a definite “up.” But then there are the breakneck curves of Turkey Creek Canyon, which is indeed a plummet “down” to the plains.

I’m going to Denver, all right?

To get there, I am taking the bus. If we don’t count a childhood trip on Trailways (I guess there’s no reason to not count it, but I’m not going to — the bus line, the bus station and the bus route west are all decades in the past. Decades. Possibly millenia), I have bussed out of Gunnison precisely one time and bussed into it twice.

I took a bus partway to Pueblo once when my parents lived there (I was met by some family member, I don’t recall who, somewhere along the route), and then came back from Canon City to Gunnison, happy to find myself next to my then-next-door neighbor Mrs. Trujillo.

And once in a failed attempt at a trip to Wisconsin (tune in for a future blog post), I came back on the bus from Denver. Back in those days (about two and a half great-niecphews ago), the Big Bus ran from Denver to Alamosa, so Gunnison passengers transferred to a smaller bus at Salida. Now, I guess, traffic from Gunnison is more prevalent, or maybe there’s two big buses, but the one from Alamosa continues on to Pueblo, so they’re the passengers who have to transfer, while I remain on my “Bustang.”

Yes, that’s what it’s called, and in the picture, it’s big and purple. I haven’t seen this bus live and in person, for a few reasons. Here’s Reason Number One: It leaves at 6 a.m. Reason Number Two: It leaves from the east edge of town, which seems like a silly place to put a transportation hub for people who may not have driving options. And Number Three: I’m generally a Car Person when it comes to leaving town.

But there are a few reasons for joining the Bus People for this trip. Number One: While it’s apparently do-able, with current infrastructure it would take two days and possibly summer temperatures to go 200 miles in my Nissan Leaf. Lynn and I could trade cars, sure, but then there’s Reason Number Two: I can’t stay awake, or at least alert, behind the wheel for four hours.

So I’m going to board the Big Purple Bus on the east edge of town at 6 tomorrow morning. I hope. While there is an option to buy an advance ticket, you can only do so from an app on your phone. And once you activate this virtual ticket, it’s only good for 30 minutes. What are the odds I’d screw that up? So I have to bring exact cash ($40) to give the driver.

That sounds like an opportunity for massive malfeasance, if you ask me, but here’s where Lynn and I differ: she assumed someone on the bus might try to hold up the driver, while I assumed the driver would be skimming proceeds. Anyway, the bus line can decide how it wants to run its business model, but I apparently have to hope the bus isn’t full.

On my trip out of Denver, the bus ended up being oversold by one seat, and no one was willing to wait another day. Eventually a woman agreed to hold her (very squirmy) grandson on her lap from Denver to Salida, in exchange for a free return trip from Alamosa. I don’t want to have to sit on someone’s lap.

And while you might think I could use my five-hour trip to issue a week’s worth of blog posts, I can’t do anything in a moving conveyance other than operate the controls or look carefully out a window.

So, radio silence from me tomorrow morning, and the weekend depends on scheduling and access to electronic devices, about which my family is not very savvy nor up to date. (Okay, that’s a lie, as some of you know, but maybe you don’t all know about the gadget-heads I’m related to.)

Once more, unto the breech. Farewell!

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