Have you ever ridden on a long distance bus? Where were you travelling to?
On Saturday morning, Shirley and I travelled by "National Express" coach right into the heart of London and returned on Monday afternoon via the same mode of transport. Sheffield is 170 miles from our nation's capital city. For the two of us the cost of the return fare was only £42.00 (That's US$52 or AUS$80).
The buses were pretty new and clean with plenty of legroom and it was nice to let someone else do the driving as we read our books or, in Shirley's case, knitted little hats for babies. We had made sandwiches to consume halfway down the motorway and the same on the way back. We were not irritated by other passengers for there was a quiet, respectful atmosphere on board our two coaches.
When I was in my early twenties, I climbed aboard a few Greyhound buses in The States. I guess the longest journey I took was from Bloomington, Indiana - changing in Chicago before carrying on to Minneapolis. I also journeyed between New York City and Cleveland.
However such bus travel pales into insignificance when I recall the return coach journey I took in the summer of 1980 from London to Athens, Greece aboard The Magic Bus. I dimly recall that the journey took over 24 hours - so long that it seemed it would never end.
In northern Yugoslavia in the middle of the night, I opened my eyes to witness the horror of our two drivers swapping over at the wheel while travelling at seventy miles an hour along an arrow-straight road. I am sure I did not dream this.
I also took a long distance bus from Santiago, Chile to Mendoza, Argentina in 2009 - right through The Andes passing close to Aconcagua - the tallest mountain in South America. Long distance bus travel appeared to be a vital means of connection in South America where the rail "network" is patchy or non-existent.
Earlier today I was asked to complete a customer survey by National Express and I found it rather nice to score ten of ten for just about everything. We had no complaints but I guess we were also quite lucky that there were no hold-ups on the M1 motorway because of accidents, congestion or roadworks. That is pretty unusual.