Route 66 with Bubba the Bus, Day 10: Bakersfield to Alameda: Bus Life As A Solo Female Traveler

“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – it’s the too huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.” Jack Kerouac (On the Road)

When I was a kid, I loved Jack Kerouac’s stories. From The Dharma Bums to On the Road; The Sea is My Brother to The Lonesome Traveler and beyond; they always had one thing in common–the one thing, I did not have: Freedom. I lived vicariously through books and knew that one day when I got off Indian land, I too, would have that freedom, of granite underfoot and new adventures. For the most part, I have been successful in that quest; and I thank the Universe for that.

I woke up in Bakersfield, and with less than 300 miles left, this is the final day of this part of the journey, and it feels bittersweet. This has been a trip of epic proportions, and I have loved it; the good stuff, the great stuff, the hard stuff, the disappointing stuff. I find myself thinking about the trip forward and backward. I think about Chicago, the most beautiful skyline I have ever seen. About Memphis and the amazing BBQ. Nashville with live music pouring out of every nook and cranny. Arkansas, which startled me to the roots of my boots, with their ‘open carry‘ laws and KKK Headquarters. I thought about the Arizona and Nevada deserts, which tested me and then rewarded me with the most spectacular scenery. I thought about traversing the floods of the midwest on the Amtrak to the rolling green of Pennsylvania; the brilliantly blue and never-ending skies of Texas and the cartel run border towns of the southwest. I reflected on the surprisingly and uber-cool Louisville, which I pronounced nearly perfectly by the end of my stay. The magic that is always New York and the unexpected joy and beauty that is Alabama. The beaches and cool breezes of San Diego, Long Beach and Los Angeles to the state capital in Sacramento.

There are so many things I am saying good-bye to right now–it leaves me feeling a bit melancholy; but, new adventures are on the horizon and I am blessed to greet them as they unfold. 

I had been trying to find affordable storage for Bubba for several weeks, and was resigned to the idea of storing him in Sacramento; which would have been fine, as my best friend and former college roommate lives there. But, I have had so much fun driving him across the country, I was sad to store him so far away; but the Bay Area is exorbitantly priced, and my beautiful City of San Francisco, now holds the honor of being the most expensive city in the country, (that’s right New York–you’re #2). While in Laughlin, I phoned a place in Alameda, a brief ferry ride from San Francisco.

I grew up, in what would be considered a Pagan Mythology, by today’s world; a world where we have to label everything. When we slaughtered animals, we thanked them and told them about reincarnation; because we are all connected energetically. Everything consists of energy, as energy makes up the world and allows life to blossom and prosper. It is crucial to allow the energy to flow through you uninterrupted and allow you to be one with the world. This is a law, like gravity; you may not believe in it, but, it believes in you.  The spiritual world and the physical world are not so far apart as we might think. They are entangled and connected, and this trip was filled with reminders of that law.

The woman who answered the phone at the storage space in Alameda had nothing, but, loved the story of Bubba and me and the cross country trek. Then she said, ‘you call me tomorrow around 9:30 or 10:00, and we’ll figure something out.’ At that moment, I knew that Bubba would be landing in Alameda. It’s an energy thang! I put the phone back in its cradle and we--(Tish and I)--went for a drink.

The drive back was peaceful, filled with my own daydreams and thoughts. And then I hit the 580. Not going to lie, that last 30 miles was traumatic and terrifying. I might have peed my pants a little. Bay Area traffic is no joke. I arrived in Alameda, met Treela, (the owner), did paperwork and made a payment–(in which she blessed me again with an unexpected 30% off), and sadly said goodbye to Bubba, until next time. Then I grabbed a LYFT to the Oakland Airport, where I caught the ancient and dreaded BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) back to the City, which I had left a different person, three months previous.

A note about BART. I hate it. It’s dirty with a capital ‘D’ and it worries me; it’s rickety and loud, due to ‘imperfections in the track‘. For example; in the Transbay Tube, the noise can reach over 100 decibels; and this according to studies done by BART. There has been a train fire (thankfully at a station), multiple deaths, brake failures, various breakdowns, system failures and more. BART blamed the equipment failures on aging systems such as 40-year-old cars–and I’m stuck underwater–going from Oakland to SF, in this contraption. I hate BART.

After taking my own life in my hands on BART and emerging like a mole-person at the Embarcadero in the beautiful City of San Francisco; I am overcome with a sense of melancholy; things are familiar and yet, not. It is home, the same but different. This is why they have decompression time for Burning Man!

But, I made it and at the end of this trip, my body is sweaty, my feet are dirty, my hair is messy, my eyes are sparkling and I know I wouldn’t trade a moment. Life is about good friends and adventure; thank you for being present with me.

Until next time…

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