Saturday 2 March 2013

Traveling from McBride

Here I am sitting at the Prince George airport. I have 5 hours to wait before I can board my plane to Vancouver. Originally, I planned to drive up here, that would have meant being able to get a bit more sleep in the morning, and doing some shopping at Costco, but sadly it was not to be.

The weather is always pretty dicey this time of year, and yesterday when I saw the forecast, it became pretty clear that today wasn't going to be very nice for driving, so I had to come up with some kind of plan B. The only other option McBride had to offer was the bus.

Greyhound only has one bus leaving McBride a day. It leaves at 6:10 AM, so right away, I saw my late morning start disappear. The plane I needed to catch didn't leave until 3:30 PM, so I was looking at a prolonged wait in PG.

Getting a ticket for the bus seemed to be an adventure in its self. First, I went to the Farm Store, which was the Greyhound representative. They told me that it was cheaper to buy the tickets online. Saving money always has a great appeal to me, so I drove back home to the Internet.

I found the Greyhound website, put in the information, pressed the button, and waited. Nothing happened, no little graphs or spinning wheels, nothing. When it finally dawned on me that nothing was going to happen, I called Greyhound number on the screen. I explained what had happened, or rather what didn't happen. I was told they could get me a ticket, but it would be cheaper online. They couldn't give me the online price. For a second time I explained that I had tried to buy online, but their website didn't work. They then told me to call their I.T. dept, and gave me the number.

I called the number, explained what happened, the guy also tried to sell me a ticket, but again told me it was impossible for him to give me the cheaper online price. After explaining once again why I was calling, he asked what browser I was using. I told him Safari, and he said I should try Explorer. I don't have Explorer, but Joan had Firefox, on her computer, so I tried that. I got one step farther, but that too stalled.

I thought they probably had Explorer at the library in McBride, so we drove into town. They did have Explorer on the office laptop, that they let me use. II went to the Greyhound site, but only got as far as I had previously done. In frustration, I borrowed the library's phone to call the Greyhound 800 number. I went through exactly the same thing as I had gone through again, finally ending up with the same I.T. guy, who agin tried to sell me a ticket at the same non-online price.

I had had enough of "phone tag", so I hung up and drove back to the Farm Store to buy a ticket. When the cashier went on line, he told me that their ticket system was even worse than the public's online site. He was quite familiar with the impossibility of the public site. In the end, he did get me a ticket to Prince George, but was unable to get me a ticket all the way to the airport, which was the option, I wanted. He did write on the ticket that that was my destination, but he was unable to make it work on his computer.

At least, I now had a bus ticket. I knew I was going to have to get up early to catch the bus, so before going to sleep, I set my alarm for 4:58 AM. I awoke in the dark, and glanced over at my clock radio to see what time it was. I was surprised to discover that the clock display said, "4:58". Wow, I thought, I slept all the way through without waking up, and woke up just in time.

I turned on the light, and was temporarily blinded. I started to wake myself up, then glanced at the clock radio again , it still said "4:58", which seemed strange since some time had passed. It was then that I noticed that I had failed to set the switch back to "TIME" and it was still sitting on "ALARM". When I set it back to "TIME" to my dismay I discovered that it wasn't "4:58", at all, it was "1:30". Having turned on the light, had made my gland stop producing melatonin, so it was another hour and a half before I went back to sleep.

When "4:58" did come around, my alarm did go off. The Greyhound bus was 20 minutes late, but it came despite the wet snow that was falling. The ride to PG was fine, the PG ticket agent, while she thought the handwritten note on my McBride ticket was cute, never the less, charged me another $14 for the bus ride up to the airport, but I am here, it looks like the fog is lifting, and I am happy to be this far along on my trip.

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