Monday, April 8, 2013

G is for Greyhound Bus Trip, 1969

Theme ~ My 50 Years in America 

The Greyhound bus rumbled out of Denver on its way to Salt Lake City via Wyoming. The year was 1969, and I was traveling to Idaho Falls to get a divorce from my first husband. I will write more about how I came to go West in my post N is for New Mexico. As I settled in on the bus, I thought back on my trip through Colorado with my friend Bill. 

After leaving New Mexico, we drove up into the Rocky Mountains to Independence Pass, where I stepped on the Continental Divide and knew that, at 12,095 feet, I probably never would be this high up in the world again. We spent a night in the old silver mining town of Leadville, which, at 10,152 ft (3,094 m), is the highest incorporated city in the United States. Then we continued on to Denver where this, the next part of my story begins.

As the bus left Colorado and turned onto Interstate 80 at Cheyenne, Wyoming, I felt I had left my known world behind, that this bus trip was the beginning of a completely new phase of my life. I believe the entire trip was over 500 miles, most of it through the Great Divide Basin, the rough steppe country of Wyoming. I people-watched as we rode along the barren landscape where only a few lonely ranches were spread out along the way. I watched silent people with strong brown faces, lined from sun and wind, no one speaking to anyone else. 

When we were kids, my brother and I used to play cowboys and Indians, not having the slightest idea what the real issues were, just firing off our cap pistols and chasing each other around. And now, here I was, in the company of these people that had been such a large part of my childhood imagination.

My brother, definitely Indian. Me ~ Tarzan? 

At one stop, an elderly woman came on board and sat down close to me. She, it turned out, was quite talkative. She told me she lived with her son and his wife on their ranch and now she was on the way to the grocery store. "What, you take a Greyhound bus to the grocery store?" "Yes," the woman said, "unless you drive, there’s no other way." "How far away is the store?" I asked, curious now. "About 100 miles down the road," she replied. I remember our conversation about her trip to the store so well, this was my first lesson in how little distances mean when you live in the Western United States.

As the day drew into evening, a young marine struck up a conversation with me and soon moved to the empty seat beside me. He had served in Vietnam and was not happy about the situation at home. While I could understand opposition to the war directed at the government, I never understood why veterans were treated so badly. Many of them were drafted, after all. So we hit it off and he took my mind off what lay both behind and ahead.

Finally, toward midnight, we arrived in Salt Lake City, where we both were changing buses. We had some time and decided to go for a short walk outside the terminal. And there, in the dark, we were greeted by a magnificent sight. 

The Mormon Temple was illuminated and the Angel Moroni shone brightly golden from atop his spire. I knew nothing about the religion of the Latter-Day Saints, but I would learn more after I arrived in Idaho Falls, where both my landlady and my attorney were of this faith. Since it was night, I didn't see anything of the beautiful state of Utah, but I will never forget the sight of the Temple.


Note: The Salt Lake City Greyhound bus terminal has since moved to another location, but in 1969, it was located across the street from the Temple.

Source: Wikipedia ~ For photos other than mine.


  1. Love the photo of you and your brother, how cute! I've always wanted to travel through the West, it was fun to feel like I was on this bus trip with you. :)

  2. Inger
    You see the vast distance people travel in the West and the government expects us to drive electric cars???

  3. I also took some Greyhound bus trips years ago. They were always an adventure.

  4. taking a bus to get groceries. wow. bless them!

  5. I took a Greyhound bus trip of 600 or so miles from Florida to Georgia and thought I'd go stir crazy (I was 17 or so).

    Then, a seven year old boy traveling alone sat down beside me and talked to me nearly the whole way. I think our talking relaxed him and me. (I had a younger brother, too, so he reminded me that younger kids can get scared traveling alone.)

    I swore I'd never take another trip that long again on a bus. You can't always count on having a good seat partner.

  6. sounds like a wonderful trip!!!

  7. I guess you decided to move west after your divorce for a new start? My dad was VP of Greyhound so this brought back memories for me. I don't know why the vets got treated so badly either - it was my generation that went and I lost some friends. Nice post. sandie

  8. I love going on this adventure with you!!

  9. When mom came to Utah many years ago it was on a Greyhound too! Thanks for sharing your journey!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  10. Bus travel gave us the opportunity to see the country. I've heard it's coming back. The buses are more luxurious and have free internet connections. Interesting story.

    Mary Montague Sikes

  11. I didn't know there was a first husband. I learn something new about you every day. The photo of you and your brother is great.


  12. @ Inger .. I've never seen the Mormon Temple - so that was an interesting shot...

    But your travels so much more so - a hundred miles to shop .. gosh I bet they were very careful with everything and used every morsel up ..

    Loving this journey with you .. cheers Hilary

  13. What an amazing journey. Fancy living so far away from the nearest shop! We have a shop on the corner of our street, about two minute's walk. Can't conceive of living like that lady. Love the photographs.

  14. Across country on the Greyhound was pretty much the way to go. I did one trip and it was interesting, meeting people.

    Sounds like your trip was more on the side of being an adventure!

  15. I am so enjoying this adventure of yours . . I'm suddenly grateful for the entire alphabet - because, i know there is still more to go.


  16. Intressant läsning om tranor är vackra. Våra kommer varje år, är nog samma par hela tiden, hur hittar de??

  17. Oh you LOVE keeping us hanging!! Don't you?! lol
    Interesting story Inger about that long trip to the grocery store. I'll never complain again!!
    You are relating this story as if it was yesterday. Thanks for sharing.

  18. 100 miles for the groceries ~~~ heck why not! We drive all over the place now so I guess distance just doesn't factor in for us, North Americans ~~ so used to "FAR AWAY"!!
    Love your story-telling Inger ~~~ I'm waiting patiently ~~~ can you hear me tapping my fingers?


  19. Pretty brave of you to get out there and take a trip across America like that. I've been to Independence Pass too, though my stop was at dusk, so I didn't get to see quite as much as you did. Cool photo, btw!

  20. You and your brother are adorable. the Mormon Church is majestic. Thanks for sharing the pics.

  21. I love the old photos! What a great memory you have--although based on the stress you were going through at the time, I can see how and why you remember it.

  22. I once road a Greyhound Bus and it was no where near the fascinating trip that you had!

  23. This was lovely thank you for sharing. I've travelled quite a bit on the Greyhound, from Alberta, Canada to Vancouver, and back. My experiences weren't quite as pleasant as yours. One trip there was a woman who looked like she was on some sort of drugs. She was mad because I'd refused to give up my seat for her, there were plenty, she just wanted the extra space. For the whole trip (in the middle of the night) she threatened me, called me fat (although I'm not), talked about beating me up when we got off, and all while her maybe five year old daughter was right there. The bus driver actually ended up pulling the bus over! I felt like I was a child!

    Anyways, sorry for rambling.

    Have fun with a-z/

  24. Wow, nice story of your travels. Love the photo of you and your brother. Precious.

  25. The stories of your life here are just wonderful. I can't imagine taking a bus to get groceries! Great to see the pictures you when you were young too.

  26. I enjoyed reading another snippet of your life. People who haven't been to the west have no idea how barren it is and how far you have to travel to get places. Everything is so congested east of the Mississippi.

  27. When they talk about 'wide open spaces' they really mean 'wide open spaces'!! I have not seen the Mormon tabernacle in Salt Lake City. But imagine our surprise, if not disbelief, when we came upon the newly erected Mormon tabernacle, not dissimilar to the one in your photo -- in Preston, Lancashire in the UK!

  28. in the late '60s my family moved to Northern California for a very brief time, and I stayed with my grandparents in Southern California to finish school. I took a 500 mile Greyhound Bus trip more than once to move between the two homes. I haven't thought about that in a long time, but I kind of enjoyed the rhythms of resting and reading and staring out the window. The picture of you and your brother is just a wonderful photo, Inger!

  29. I remember my first view of the LDS temple in Salt Lake. It was when I was 13, not yet a Mormon at that time, and sat on a bench near the temple amazed at the massive size and beauty of it.


Thanks for leaving a comment.. ~~ Inger


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