Kyle found The Bus in a Craigslist ad - Milkwaukee. A bit of a drive from here, but so far everything we've wanted to look at has been. There were all of two photos on the ad, definitely not enough to warrant a 6+ hour drive. We had been discussing a Chicago trip anyway, because I've always wanted to go see the river dyed green for St. Patty's Day, but we couldn't find anyone to go with us so I was kinda 'meh' about the whole thing. So the seller sent Kyle a couple more photos on Tuesday - just of the engine and exterior though, still no decent interior shots. I was about to put my foot down.
Enter Chicago traffic. We headed into town with four axles, so we avoided the toll road. As we drove in, I watched the highways turn red with traffic on my phone GPS. I told Kyle "The Dan Ryan is for people with more time than money." And we sat. For. Two. Hours. By the time we hit Milwaukee, we were an hour later than we planned on - but Dustin, the seller, said that was okay.
An hour later, I was cold down to my very bones, but the bus was ours. Next problem: logistics. We had a trailer. We had ramps. We had a bus that we could not drive, because the brakes were too soft.
Next problem: strapping it down. We had lots of straps and chain, but we still had to figure out the where and the how. Dustin gives us some bad news: his girlfriend has dinner plans, and he really didn't think this would take so long. But we still don't have our middle seat. He asks if he can give us the address, then leave a set of keys on the tire and let us pick up the seat ourselves. In a strange city, after dark, 30 minutes away. Whatever. Fine. I'm too cold to even care.
Midnight, we finally arrive. We've been talking about grabbing some food or maybe a sixpack of celebratory beer to commemorate our big purchase, but by the time we arrive we are both ready to pass out. I apologize profusely for how late we are. We chat with Megan for a minute about what time we need to leave to take the Metra downtown for the St. Patty's festivities, get directions to the station, then we're dead to the world for six hours.
The hard work is over! Now for the fun stuff. We make it to the Metra in plenty of time, but even this far out of town there's only standing room. It's 8am and there are already college kids running to the train bathroom to expel the remnants of last night's party...or this morning's shots. Green is everywhere! We arrived downtown and started making our way to the river. We kept an eye out for cafes, having not eaten since noon the day before, but we also want to get to the river early enough to get a good vantage point.
Okay, it's pizza time. We look up the closest Lou Malnati's - it's finally our turn to have some St. Patty's day beers. Along with the best deep dish pizza I've ever had. Food is wonderful, especially when you haven't had much lately. We sat in the restaurant until Kyle decided to check out the Metra schedule to see when our train left. We had half an hour to walk a mile and a half...on a very full stomach.
Barely any traffic downtown, and we decide that we're going to make an effort to stop and stretch on the way home - and eat when we're hungry! The trip home is surprisingly uneventful, but that night I dreamt of deer standing by the side of the dark freeway and woke up in a panic.
*Not a typo. She really called it a VMW.
We have a bus! Let the story begin.