Stuck In Richmond

As much as I’ve come to love going to college in Virginia and by extension, the South, there are certain things I don’t appreciate as much as others. For one, the humidity is a bit much. I suppose I did sort of ask for it, given that Williamsburg literally holds the dubious distinction of being a former swamp. However, the biggest factor of all is the sheer distance from home.

Though I deliberately wanted to go to college out of state as a way to go out and see the world and try out living with myself, the long commute home (7-10 hours) does pain me sometimes. As great as Amtrak and Greyhound are as a means of getting around, it still is a bit much for me sometimes to make the round-trip.

This “bit much” turned into a “lot much” last weekend getting home for spring break, due to the unwelcome addition of an East Coast Nor’easter into my life. This break, I chose to take a Greyhound bus rather than an Amtrak train back home, as the latter’s prices had risen to over $175 one-way from Williamsburg to New York. Needless to say, it was on the bus I went!

Leaving campus for the Williamsburg Transportation Station (given a very gracious, free ride to it by a passing upperclassman), I boarded a Greyhound bus that was curiously punctual. Upon arriving in Richmond for my transfer bus to New York, I found that a friend of mine had gotten stuck in D.C., having to book a hotel room after her train up North was canceled due to the weather. I counted myself lucky for having taken Greyhound. If the bus from Williamsburg was any predictor of the future, my trip back home would go perfectly!

It didn’t. I had only had this thought for precisely around 15 minutes before an announcement was let out at the Richmond station that all buses up North were to be canceled until further notice. I suppose all of my transportation luck had dried up with the free ride and on-time Greyhound bus back in Williamsburg. Though very tired and sleepy at this point (I book late trips deliberately so I can sleep on them), I tried to make the best out of my situation.

I met up with another William & Mary student, who would keep me company through the long wait ahead of me. We ate overpriced fast food (at the aptly named eatery “Restaurant”), chatted, and griped together about the annoyances of transportation and weather.

I figure now the delays were for the best, I hadn’t known the brutal Nor’easter winds had been powerful enough to literally flip over trucks. However, the delay was especially frustrating for me at the time, as my bus was to be at 11:45 at night. I had also hoped to catch the Saturday musical showing of "Beauty and the Beast" at my high school. (I ended up catching the Sunday showing.)

My first instinct was to get a hotel or motel room for the night, but the Greyhound staff warned me that if I left, I would not receive any updates or announcements on upcoming buses. Stuck in Richmond, hoping for a bus to bring me back home, my friend and I slept in shifts and griped about weather and transportation. I wanted to get back home, she wanted to start a tour of the South with friends in Baltimore, Maryland. We ended up staying the night in the Richmond Greyhound Station.

It wasn’t until around 11:40 in the morning the next day two buses to New York arrived, promptly stormed by understandably annoyed, fatigued passengers who had also stayed at the station overnight. Slipping onto a bus, I was greatly relieved to finally be heading back home. I sent a message to my friend, who had departed around 2 hours earlier to Baltimore, and wished her a fun trip. As I drifted off to sleep, I took great comfort in heading back home to New York.

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