Wednesday, April 15, 2009

LA to Oakland is Cheap Again

Bobby found, via our intrepid signmaker neighbor, a bus service called California Shuttle Bus. It runs between the LA area and the bay area, and costs around $39 each way. I decided to run up to Oakland at the last minute on Thursday, and I ended up on Greyhound ($48). (Both CSB and Greyhound do noon and midnight express buses up the 5, stopping at the Burger King in Coalinga Junction.) I even took the Loose Goose along, feigning ignorance when the bus drivers were like, that's a bike, pay extra next time. This reminded me that I must purchase a large nondescript bag in which to tote the Goose so that people don't figure out that it's a folding bike. Cause, here's another con of the folding bike, then they'll just treat it like a bike and arbitrarily charge you more.
I slept all the way up, a first for this frequent long distance bus rider, and arrived in Oakland early enough to rouse my dear friends for a lovely breakfast at Aunt Mary's, a tasty café near their house in the Temescal neighborhood.
The next day I had a bang up time traveling around San Francisco with another dear friend. We worked on our plans for a midwestern bike tour, happening in August, and enjoyed Mission burritos before visiting the hipster district along Valencia. It looked a lot like Silver Lake, or NE Alberta in Portland. I guess all hipster districts look alike? It's kind of like Starbucks, where you can count on finding what you're familiar with in a new city (which is nice, cause as a hipster I like to see other peacocks struttin it). But really guys, how many shops selling embroider-your-own-owl kits do we really need? Only time and the economic downturn will tell. (Not that I dislike twee design stores, I love em. See me straddle the line between critique and adoration!)
After a smashing good time weekend, Bobby and I piled our bikes onto a California Shuttle Bus and headed back south. I discovered that CSB had tried to charge my bank account $6600 for the privilege of using their service, so my bank blocked that, and when I called CSB they were all like, no way, what? So maybe it was just a fluke, but I'll be paying them in cash in the future. At least they didn't recognize the Loose Goose as a bike, so I didn't have to pay a $5 bike fee like Bobby did.
When the future high speed train zips me up the San Joaquin Valley in mere seconds, I'll be quite happy to switch over, but for now, call me a happy bus rider. What's funny is that the CSB actually supports class hatred of the Greyhound on their website, and I could tell that the people on the bus were not really into the experience, so to speak. There wasn't chatter during the bus ride like there frequently is on Greyhound; no spontaneous community formed around our sharing of the same space for 6 hours. (But I don't like spontaneous community; see, I'm straddling that line between critique and adoration again. Usually if strangers try to speak to me I'm all clammy at first, but then I can't resist cause I like people, I just also like being in my own world.)