[sixties-l] America via green bus

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: Sat Jun 02 2001 - 23:30:09 EDT

  • Next message: Ted Morgan: "Re: [sixties-l] Elizabeth Gips lived a life graced by God, LSD"

    America via green bus


    Sunday, May 27, 2001

    Botched elections, tumbling stock markets, falling employment, and soaring
    energy costs: This summer, America could use a pick-me-up, and many would
    do well to rediscover the wonders that made our ancestors love this land so
    Even better, see them cheaply. A favorite travel mode of European
    backpackers, the ultra-budget Green Tortoise features cross-country tours
    that combine long-distance transportation with whirlwind sightseeing, all
    for one low price.
    The activities aren't challenging (unless you consider hikes and mud baths
    to be challenging), but the quarters can be. When 35 to 40 international
    tourists squeeze onto a bus, they can't help but get close.
    The buses, which are painted a lurid green, are antique at best. Some date
    from the Eisenhower administration, but at least the uncomfortable seating
    has been torn out and the interiors have been transformed: lots of shag
    carpeting, low benches or seats for lounging and game-playing.
    Most of the passengers are in their late 20s. From time to time, older
    tourists sign up for the adventure, but these folks had better be young at
    heart, because conditions are snug, showers are infrequent, and
    conversation tends to be candid and soul-searching. Meals are cooked
    outdoors as a group, nights are spent in transit or sleeping aboard the bus
    (unless you feel like sleeping under the stars), and you tote your own bags.
    The northern summer route (conducted in June, July, and August) leads you
    through some of the finest sights in America's top half, including Arches
    National Park, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, the Badlands of Montana,
    Chicago, the Snake River in Idaho, and Yellowstone. The things you see
    depend on whether you take the trip west- or eastbound. The 12-day trip
    runs between Boston and San Francisco (the company's home) in either
    direction, stopping in New York City for pickups or drop-offs, and costs
    $469 plus a food kitty of $121, for a total of $590.
    The southern route, which runs in May, September, and October, is 14 days
    and hits places like New Orleans, Big Bend National Park, Carlsbad Caverns,
    and Zion National Park. That costs $499 plus $131 for food, or $630 for the
    two weeks. That's for transportation, entry fees, and food.
    A close acquaintance of mine experienced one of these wacky journeys about
    two years ago, taking the northern tour from San Francisco to New York
    City. Besides the opportunity to bond with shoestring travelers and the
    chance to see so many remote national landmarks, what he loved most was the
    double-take the big green bus received whenever it pulled into a new town.
    It was fun pretending to be a hippie, if only for two weeks.
    The Green Tortoise makes nine-day Grand Canyon runs out of San Francisco
    ($349 plus $111, or $460) that stop in Monument Valley and Zion National
    Park. It also conducts a 16-day National Parks loop ($629 plus $191, or
    $820) that hits Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce
    Canyon, and Zion, among other places.
    For more information, go to www.greentortoise.com or call the tour company
    at (800) 867-8647.

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon Jun 04 2001 - 18:20:24 EDT