Transportation

Bus, train, boat, pickup truck… whatever it takes to get you there, it’s transportation.


Thoughts on travel hacking

…disappointed that she was in China and her friend didn’t want to experience it …couldn’t care less. Then I realized! She wasn’t with “travelers. She was with “travel hackers.”

It’s one thing to take advantage of a great New Card offer and get $50,000 bonus miles — giving you a free flight from say, the USA to Europe. It’s not easy to save for a vacation and we all need vacations. And a new card now and then is legitimate. But go on that vacation and enjoy the place you’d selected! Travel overland while you’re there and see the place. Take a train or bus and talk to the locals! Experience the place! Savor the locale, the people, the foods, the languages, the experiences.


Slovenia into Croatia by train

2014-10-14 3:19pm I a writing this as I sit, alone, in a six-person compartment on the 3:10 train from the Ljubljana (Slovenia) railway station to the Rijeka (Croatia) train station. As I entered the first available train car, the back-most car, I was at first taken aback and disappointed by the car full of 6-seat compartments. The separate compartments can be nice, but I was disappointed because I’d hoped to meet people on the train. I’d met my Ljubljana friends on a train. This is the first train of my 2014 trip. I don’t want to be leaving. Slovenia is a beautiful area, I enjoy Ljubljana, and more importantly, I love my friends. However, I must leave. Today is my 89th day in the Schengen Area and 90 days is the limit. Earlier today Walking out of my friends’ door, I carried my backpack, strapped to the wheel cart I’d […]


Warsaw to Vilnius on SimpleBus

8:15am
I am comfortably seated on SimpleBus, as our driver makes his way over a mostly (so far) 2-lane road through green countryside. At one point we were surrounded by trees and I imagined how Jews hid out there once. Now, as we near Lomza we are going through open farm fields sometimes separated by Clusters of trees sometimes there is a row or two of tall trees separating the farm and home from the road. I think I see corn growing.

2:31
I replied to Pedro and he texted:
“Ok ok…I am on my way to the station…see you there at the entrance.”
He asked if I found a CouchSurfing host. I hadn’t had any luck and asked if he knew hostels. He said there are at least four and he would help. It is so amazing to land somewhere and not go it alone. (First Michal in Warsaw, then Dorota in Krakow, and now Pedro in Vilnius. This was a very different trip for me!)

3:00
IWhen the bus pulled into the Vilnius Coach Station, Pedro was waiting for me. It was fabulous to be met by a friend. (Technically an acquaintance, but in travels like this, I consider such a nice guy a friend.)

I was in Vilnius, Lithuania — a place I’d never thought I’d get to in my life. What would I find here, in the city (or area) of my family’s past generations?


Bus from Warsaw to Krakow

I awoke at 6am to the sound of Joanna cooking. I was in for another truly home cooked meal. Today was the day for me to move on to my second place in Poland. I was Krakow-bound and a friend was meeting me on the other end of the ride. I sat in a red high back seat on the upper level of my first Polish bus, PolskiBus. It was a very clean, new-seeming, beautiful double-decker. For approximately 5 hours I watched the scenery and did some writing. No friendly conversations with locals on this bus ride.


Free Trolley in Ventura, CA

People come up to Ventura to enjoy the harbor, the amazing Channel Islands, and the fresh breeze — and now the Ventura Trolley will make travel within the area a breeze. Ventura, California is about to become easier for travelers to visit this summer thanks to a FREE trolley system to take you between Ventura’s Downtown and Harbor Village. After living in Los Angeles for many years, I finally got up to the Southern-ish California coastal village of Ventura. I was there to kayak around the Channel Islands and their pristine beauty took my breath away and reinvigorated me at the same time. But while there, I also got to know downtown Ventura — and as I walked around I was sorry I had missed this lovely town for so many years. (I also learned Ventura has two great golf courses and that one is a true Links course. Soon […]


Departing Santa Calalina, Panamá

As many other travelers have learned, it is best to start your travels early in Panamá. I was awake at 6am to start this travel day. I wasn’t sure where my own evening’s destination — and had several thoughts in my head — but it all starts with the almost $5 bus from Santa Catalina to Soná — and it is best to be at that bus stop at 7 as it departs 7:15 or 7:30. Traveling by bus from Santa Catalina, it is always necessary to travel first to Soná. From there, most travelers take a second bus into Santiago, a farm industry town that is at the highway crossroads. (A rest stop on the Pan American Highway acts as the mid-way stopping point for busses between Panamá City and David.) Here is the bus schedule posted at Ellie’s Surf & Shake shop ( Surf & Shake makes great shakes, […]


Ambulance/Fire truck/Bus rally from CA to Honduras for charity

In 2011, 30-something-year-old Murray Johnson and some friends reached out to CouchSurfers to join them driving two donated ambulances down to Honduras to give them to Honduran hospitals. Johnson recently posted: “The experience was so amazing and the donation so needed that we have made the Charity Rally official and opened it up for others to join! You can mix travel, adventure and charity all in one for a good cause. How it works: You form your own team or join a “potluck” team. Your team can be comprised of any number of people. (I am guessing it is best if all of our team members fit in your vehicle though, of course.) Each team secures its own car/ambulance/fire truck/buse/whatever and drive down. The rally organizers work with you to get the vehicle, secure the donation and do the paperwork to have the vehicle imported into Honduras — or wherever […]


Costa Rica: La Fortuna to Monte Verdi

Time to take the “Jeep-Boat-Jeep” from La Fortuna to Santa Elena (aka Monte Verdi). The bus arrives at my hotel gate for me. Yep, the “Jeep” is a mini-bus, just like my hostel companion Sebastian guessed it would be. The first bus is 20 minutes to the lake. Flat boat. Flat water. Beautiful scenery. Man made lake after 1968 Volcano. Then 1.5 hours on stone and dirt narrow roads as we climb toward the clouds. We are going to the Cloud Forest. Here it doesn’t rain so much. The views cannot be caught in a single frame photo. We all comment on the beauty of the rolling green hills and many levels of mountains and fields and textures. We pass some small home or farms, some cows locked in pens and some out grazing. At 11:05 after about 30 minutes from where we packed up the 4 american horse riders […]


Costa Rica: La Fortuna to Santa Elena

Time to take the “Jeep-Boat-Jeep” from La Fortuna to Santa Elena (aka Monte Verdi). The bus arrives. Yep, the “Jeep” is a mini-bus, just like my hostel companion Sebastian guessed it would be. The first bus is 20 minutes to the lake. Flat boat. Flat water. Beautiful scenery. Man made lake after 1968 Volcano. Then 1.5 hours on stone and dirt narrow roads as we climb toward the clouds. We are going to the Cloud Forest. Here it doesn’t rain so much. The views cannot be caught in a single frame photo. We all comment on the beauty of the rolling green hills and many levels of mountains and fields and textures. We pass some small home or farms, some cows locked in pens and some out grazing. At 11:05 after about 30 minutes from where we packed up the 4 American horse riders we are in the clouds. The […]


Tica Bus from Guatemala City

Leaving my great friends in the Guatemala City area was hard. They were amazing. But it was time to move on. A new friend awaited in San Salvador. Pedro and Tere dropped me off at the Tica Bus station on their way to work. I spent several hours in that bus terminal before my bus. However, Tica maintains its own terminals (each with its own hostel next door) so it is safe and comfortable. It was fun to see the people come and go, most on a great adventure or to see family. I felt comfortable and safe on this trip. The staff in Guatemala City was impressive. (Added note: I wasn’t impressed with my next Tica trip starting anew in Salvador and had problems due to lack of information that passengers starting in Guatemala City were given.) The Tica bus terminal in Guatemala City: My lunch in the Tica […]


Caye Caulker, Belize into Honduras: Boat, walk, boat, bus, bus, car…

One post, several adventures. This would be a very full travel day. From sunrise until after sunset I’d be on the road.

By 7am I was on the dock awaiting the day’s first Belize Express Water Taxi to carry me from Caye Caulker to Belize City. The boat was 10 minutes late (which gave me more than 10 minutes to worry that I would miss the boat to Honduras) but did a great job of making up for lost time if any time was actually lost. I was on land again by 8.

Backpack firmly on my hips, I received clear directions to the Radisson Hotel boat docks where I was to find the Pride of Belize, the ferry that would deliver me to the Honduras mainland. And upon arrival at that dock, learned the boat to Belize was departing from another dock this morning, so I hiked back the way I’d come.

The Pride of Belize, the boat to Honduras — a 5+ hour ride — was more utilitarian/cargo than passenger comfort but the crew was great. This was a little engine that could type of boat and crew.

And then there was the bus from Puerto Cortez, Honduras to San Pedro Sula — followed by the bus to my final destination of the night.

I would be traveling from my final night’s destination to Roatan.


On bus from Cancun to Playa

It is 12:21 and I am on an ADO air conditioned bus now a few blocks from the terminal, en route to Playa del Carmen. This is the first time there are others from outside of Mexico, but the bus was nearly full when I boarded so I am not within speaking distance of any of them. The man beside me kept the aisle seat, keeping me from any conversation. So, again, I watch the roads and I write. Only this time I write on the iPad keyboard on my lap rather than with my thumbs on the iPhone. My hand-carry bag is my lap desk.


Bus from Izamal to Cancun

Again, I am the only foreigner on the bus. In fact, the only tourists I saw today were the same couple from the pyramid. Izamal is a day trip for most people and a destination at which to stay resort style with a rented car for others. I wish I had picked up a book to read. The iPhone is useless for reading without Internet. 5 hours with nothing to read. What a waste that is because for 20 years I have mourned having time to read. The bus arrived at 2;40. I zipped up the backpack straps and carried my pack onto the bus taking the first seat on the non-driver’s side so i can have leg room and a view. My pack is on the floor in front of the seat beside me. Space permitting and with a stop in Villadolid I am more comfortable having it on […]