March 18, 2012 1:16 PM   Subscribe

My Italian nephew is the proud owner of a Greyhound bus pass. His pass is valid for two months, he speaks decent English, loves nature, and he is not afraid to sleep on the bus. He just arrived from New York City to Oklahoma City, where he will be based for a while. What loops around the US should he travel?
posted by francesca too to Travel & Transportation (18 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Definitely south to West Texas to see Marfa and Big Bend. Then up through El Paso through New Mexico to Santa Fe and Taos, over to Utah to see Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park, then across the Rockies to Colorado Springs, down through Kansas back toward base. There's a lot of nature and culture in that loop.
posted by cross_impact at 1:32 PM on March 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Seconding Big Bend, suggest he take in Carlsbad Caverns if he's going to be in the El Paso area. And White Sands, if he's going to be "in that area", again.

Zion is amazing (I worked there for a summer), and it's very close to Bryce Canyon and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon (the side most people don't visit, it being basically only approachable from the north -- not sure of Greyhound will even get him there).

Northern NM is also pretty great -- Chaco Canyon and the Mesa Verde cliff dwellings are pretty great, as is Bandelier.

I have no idea whether Greyhound will actually get him to any of these places anymore or not. They reduced services quite a bit in the past decade, and I find them much less useful for the kind of travel your nephew is wanting to do than they used to be.

Still, he should be able to get to some highlight locations even with the reduced service. Albuquerque/Santa Fe/Taos... Flagstaff... perhaps then Las Vegas and then on to CA north of San Francisco into the Redwoods region... Lake Tahoe... Maybe as far up as Olympic Peninsula if he has the time...

I'm sure most of that is on Greyhound's service routes.
posted by hippybear at 1:51 PM on March 18, 2012

Best answer: How about east through the Ozarks in Arkansas, see the Mississippi and get some blues culture in Memphis, then roll through Tennessee and go through the Smokies to Asheville NC? Then if he's feeling particularly ambitious, head to the East Coast and follow it down to see Charleston and Savannah, then head to Jacksonville and catch I-10 to see the Gulf Coast (Mobile's pretty nice and New Orleans is a lot of fun). Then head west through Houston to San Antonio, up through Dallas, and back to OKC. That'll cover a ton of national forests, the Mississippi twice, the Ozarks and Appalachian/Smoky Mountains, a couple interesting coastal regions, swamps, and some really fun cities.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 1:54 PM on March 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Is the pass only valid for US routes? Greyhound Canada goes a fair number of places.
posted by BEE-EATING CAT-EATER at 2:44 PM on March 18, 2012

Best answer: I'm not sure what Greyhound will cover, but Joshua Tree National Park in CA is great, and he needs to see some of the Pacific Coast somewhere. I think San Francisco can't be missed, and the redwoods north of there or the central coast to the south (Hearst Castle, etc.) are both very pretty.

I also second the loop around the non-CA parts of the American West; Big Bend, Zion, Taos, the Tonto National Forest.
posted by slow graffiti at 3:34 PM on March 18, 2012

Response by poster: I think the pass is only US. This is great, keep it coming since he has two months.
posted by francesca too at 4:09 PM on March 18, 2012

Best answer: Again, not sure if Greyhound would get him there, but just south of Dallas (and easily en route to someplace else) is Scarborough Faire, one of the better Renaissance Fairs in the country. It starts running in early April and goes through the end of May.
posted by hippybear at 4:14 PM on March 18, 2012

Best answer: Greyhound runs all the way up the California coast to Arcata, near the Oregon border. Redwoods and stunning coastlines totally unlike Italy.
posted by mdonley at 4:37 PM on March 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: He should also check out the buses which Amtrak run where there is no train service; everything in green here - especially useful out west where the transport network is just less dense by definition.

And he CANNOT miss Yosemite - accessible via YARTS public transport!
posted by mdonley at 4:45 PM on March 18, 2012

Best answer: A ha! Here's a useful thing -- a .pdf route map which actually shows the roads Greyhound travels and I believe the places they stop.

This chart of travel times between major cities may also be helpful during his planning.

(And yes, the passes are good in Canada.)
posted by hippybear at 4:49 PM on March 18, 2012

Best answer: Keep him out west with that. The south is really really sketchy when it comes to buses. As in I would be a bit concerned with his safety.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:54 PM on March 18, 2012

Best answer: He should do Colorado, of course. I-70 across the Continental Divide (so across the state between Denver and Grand Junction) is surprisingly great for interstate travel scenery. Even better, it looks like there is a route that travels south of Grand Junction down highway 550 to Durango.....such an awesome trip. Great mountains over there.
posted by fieldtrip at 8:01 PM on March 18, 2012

Best answer: Now is the time to do the southwest, especially Texas, Arizona and New Mexico because the weather is still nice. Save late April and May for places that won't already be 98 degrees.
posted by nestor_makhno at 9:05 PM on March 18, 2012

Response by poster: And he is off tonight for his first adventure toward Fort Worth and SW Texas, exploring the places you have mentioned. Massimiliano will be back here around the 29th!
posted by francesca too at 9:16 AM on March 19, 2012

Response by poster: An update on his first loop: Max visited San Antonio, Juarez, El Paso, Tucumcari (just because the town was mentioned in a comic book) Dodge, Denver. He will be back (to rest I hope) the 28th.
posted by francesca too at 10:47 PM on March 27, 2012

Best answer: He visited Juarez? He's a fearless traveler indeed!

(It's probably not as dangerous as portrayed in the media, although it's certainly not the place it was when I was growing up just north of El Paso and used to go to Juarez for cheap booze and dancing regularly.)

Glad to hear he's out and about. Wishing him continued safe travels.
posted by hippybear at 8:57 AM on March 28, 2012

Response by poster: His parents freaked out when they read comments of the violence in Juarez on his facebook page. Max is now off to Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde, Four Corners, Monument Valley etc.
posted by francesca too at 5:11 AM on April 4, 2012

Response by poster: He visited Tucson, where he spent a night on a lounge chair looking at stars with an astronomer.
Stopped in Las Vegas, telling all his italian friends on Facebook that everybody always forget the Las part when they talk about the city.
He talked all night with a homeless Navaho in Flagstaff, a unforgettable encounter, according to Max, a life-changing encounter.
He is having the time of his life and has encountered nothing but kindness so far on this adventure.
posted by francesca too at 7:05 PM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

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