One of the Greyhound rules is that you can’t see the routes on a map. While jumping on the next bus has worked at a few stops, we had to worry about getting home and, thus, finding an appropriate return route. Using what Bing provided us with our sole reference, a four-year old German travel agency map of Greyhound routes, it seemed that we could make our way up the I-81 corridor. Not exactly. So we ended up on the Detroit bus, which took us north to Wytheville (“with-ville”), where we got off, before heading northwest across towards the Ohio valley.
The day started wrong for me back in Hickory, NC at the hotel. Worst coffee ever. Really gross. And since we couldn’t return to the Waffle House where we had met Daje (one of our rules), we left for the bus station without breakfast. We caught an early lunch in Winston-Salem so we were well famished by the time our late bus got us to Wytheville, VA. The ride here was little adventurous. I sat next to Alfonse, a quiet young man who. His English was poor, and I think he avoided conversations so as to hide it. I did get from him that he was okay, that he had enough to eat and that he was headed to Michigan. I felt awful for his trip, because just behind us was an obnoxious and loud man who was also going to Michigan and who wouldn’t shut up. Alfonse gave no indication of annoyance. Approaching Wytheville, I asked him if he was getting off the bus, to which he replied no, he’d sit tight. Obnoxious Man and his conversationalist, a lady across from him were discussing the merits of the McDonald’s at the stop, and it seemed that a lot of passengers were getting off there to eat, as it was already past 7:00, with the next stop not for another 2-1/2 hours. I slipped Alfonse an envelope and wished him well. As we walked away, I noticed that Alfonse had gotten off the bus and was heading for the McDonald’s. Glad he would get something to eat.
Wytheville presented a problem for us. The Greyhound options thereafter are limited for us, and Jay got it into his head that if we could only get to Christianville we could get on a Bolt Bus to go all the way back home. Greyhound doesn’t serve Christianville, and Bolt doesn’t serve Wytheville, thus the dilemma. Jay’s plan was to ask about for buses or other ways to Christianville, and some kindly soul would offer us a ride. We tried this at three gas stations, and with only an offer to go to downtown Wytheville and lots of suggestions on how to walk the 40 miles to Christianville. So we wandered into the Denny’s at the Flying J truckstop, where Brandy was our server.
Brandi is some kind of special. First of all, she is very attentive and patient with a confused
order. Next, she has a great sense of humor, tinged with mischievousness. Most importantly, she’s willing to go along with a drawn out joke. She’s another of the lovely people we have met who are just happy to share, to laugh, and to entertain our adventures. For Brandi, this started with a long discussion about the merits of various Denny’s vegetables. It next took on the dangerous turn of leaving it up to Brandi to decide our next steps. Then, Jay enlisted Brandi in our scheme to help others. And finally, Brandi had to serve me my lost breakfast after dinner. It was all very confusing to Brandi, but she went along with it all and enjoyed it with us.
Jay and I figured out three scenarios for getting home and numbered them 1, 2, and 3. We asked Brandi to choose a number, to which she hesitated. But on bringing me another coffee a few minutes later, she threw it out there: “Three!” she said. Three it was, then, which means we stay the night in Wytheville instead of 1) hitching a ride to Christianville or 2) taking the midnight bus to Lynchburg. Settled that.
While I took a call outside, Jay went to work enlisting Brandi into our mission. He convinced her to let him pay for the meal of the lady beside us, not letting her know who it was. When I came back in, Jay asked me, “Is that lady in grey paying for her meal?” I faced the cash register, and all I could see was Brandi at the register with her. A moment later Brandi came back and declared mission accomplished, and she seemed very satisfied with it.
Next, Brandi had to put up with my incomplete meals for the day. After dinner, while Jay ordered desert, I decided upon either cheese fries or breakfast. Kinda nice to be able to order breakfast 24/7, which is why God invented Denny’s, I figured. Brandi looked at me with a motherly tone and said, “You really want me to put that order in?” Yes, I replied, that’d be two eggs over easy with hash browns. Soon enough, I had a gorgeous breakfast plate in front of me. I said grace over it, which Jay said was a most unique prayer ever: “Lord thank you for this meal and the one we already ate.” I was just being sincere.
Brandi is from Wytheville, and she was as happy to make fun of it as she was to make fun of us and our problems with buses, destinations, and makeup breakfastses. She’s has a lively spirit, and we are so glad to have met her. We sure hope she enjoys her envelope, and that she continues to make the day better for everyone she meets.
God bless ya, Brandi, “You’re a fine girl”!
(Yes, that’s a song by Looking Glass – and Jay’s title for this post)