May 26

Greyhound Bus Station


January 7, 1969
His camouflage jacket reads:
I made love in Viet-Nam not war South China Sea Surfing Association Viet-Nam chapter Pleiku Vietnam 67-68

01-11-1969-bus-station.jpgI found myself in a metaphysical conversation the other day. A plumber made the argument that life on earth could be a form of purgatory, a place between Heaven and Hell. Plumbers fix things and convert situations from hell to heaven and no doubt have time to think “Why am I here?” in the process.

I’m not sure I buy the whole argument, but to be honest I can’t think of a place closer to purgatory than a waiting room, say at a bus station.
The Greyhound station in San Luis Obispo used be downtown, across Monterey Street from the County Courthouse.

Vending machines lined the walls selling, cigarettes, travel pillows, luggage tags. In the Post House restaurant there were magazines. Comic books are sold in specialty shops today and since January 1, 2005, the self-service display of tobacco products were banned in California.
San Luis Obispo likes to take pride in being a desirable destination but most of the folks in these photos are focused on somewhere else.

I recall taking a bus ride from Albequrque to San Luis Obispo in the 1980′s. The passengers were an interesting mix students, ex-cons, minimum wage travelers and a group of tourists from England. All the tourists could talk about was getting to Las Vegas. As they got closer to the transfer they got more and more excited. I guess the desert of New Mexico and Arizona had a limited entertainment value for them. No one got any sleep until they got off, except for the dude with the beer cans under his seat. Glad my seat was a few rows back.

As the sun came up in Los Angeles I had breakfast in the cafe and waited for my transfer. Bought a ticket for a guy who said he had just got out of prison but didn’t have the cash to buy a transfer to where he wanted to go. Having conversations with people you would never get a chance to talk to had you not been thrown onto the same bus.

A real bed was luxury after two days on the road.

Anyone have a favorite bus trip to share in the comments?

Photos by Michael Raphel


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