This story begins some rainy day in March. I'd been in Oregon for 5 months of dreary, grey skies and incessant rain, and I was absolutely sick of it. After searching Craigslist for a DR650 for weeks and coming up with nothing local, I decided to do a meta-search and searched the entire country for them. One ad caught my eye:
"This is 2001 DR650se. This bike is trail ready and street legal, what more can you ask for!? Perfect for this upcoming riding season?!
This bike has seen the Continental Divide as well as the Western Trans-American Trail. This bike will walk away from KLR650 and keep up with any Honda 650. I have been averaging 44-48 mpg around town, better on longer trips.
It has 10,5xx miles on it, a blast to ride. Has a tm40 pumper carb, properly jetted, upgraded front and rear progressive springs (will hold up to a 270lb rider), front fairing, skid plate, engine guards, pro taper aluminum bars and risers, Ims tank, renazco seat, pro moto billet rear rack and side guards, TUSK Handguards.
Price is $3000 cash OBO"
It seemed like a good deal for the money! 3k is a bit steep for the age and miles, but I'd save a bundle in addons! Of course it was in... Oklahoma. But hey, I needed to get out of the house anyways, right?! Right. Emails were exchanged, plans were made, and Greyhound Bus tickets were purchased. Ride the bus to Oklahoma, check out the bike, if it's kosher, ride it back to Portland. If it was no good, I had a list of 5 or 6 others to check out, but no real concrete plan.
So I hopped on a bus on April 4th and began my journey!
Idaho was still a bit chilly...
I had a bit of difficulty convincing the owner that, no, really, I was on a greyhound from Oregon. No, I'm not a scammer. I'll be there in three days, please don't sell it to anybody else. A phone call with the bus idling in the background seemed to do the trick, and I settled in for three days of absolute hell.
I hadn't been a Greyhound customer for any length of time since I started owning my own vehicles, sometime in 2006. The passage of time has not been kind to this company. Somewhere along the line, their ridership more than doubled, and somebody forgot to inform them. Overbooked busses - sometimes by twice the capacity of the bus - used to be the exception, but are now apparently the norm.
I dealt with a child who would not shut up for the majority of 36 hours. She would scream and wail, and start giggling as soon as her mother paid attention to her. After days of no sleep, screaming children hit my hindbrain like an icepick. Mechanical failures on another bus meant every seat was taken, and even routine non-transfer stops became the worst game of musical chairs, where if you failed, you had to wait for the next bus, even though you'd paid $200 for a ride. Heaven help you if you happen to notice how the drivers are driving at night, in the snow... swerving and swaying, speeding... yikes.
There were a series of mindbogglingly incompetent failures including a lack of drivers which would have resulted in over 50 people being stranded for 6+ hours while waiting for another bus. Instead we ended up 3 hours late due to being put on a longer route. We were told a bus would be waiting for us at our transfer point, Denver... and then that we'd need to wait 4 more hours once we got there, because oops, that bus had to leave. At one stop, where they switched drivers, there was terrible communication. They switched what door we left from without being organized or informing people properly, and the clusterfuck caused panic as people scrambled to get a spot in line. For the inconvenience of being delayed 7+ hours, we were given meal vouchers consisting of a soda, small bag of chips, and a "triangle sandwich". I was rudely brushed off when I explained that I was a vegetarian, and I can't eat a ham sandwich.
Also, there was the Most Idiotic Restroom Ever:
I don't think I like ANYBODY this much!
Regardless of the snafus, overcrowding, and other various bullshit, I did enjoy the views. The scenery was gorgeous, and even though I was unhappy with my conveyance, it was good to be on the road again. Moving. Progress. Sunshine. I'd missed all three, and like old friends, I welcomed their company.
One leg of my bus journey through Oklahoma, was fantastic. I was the only passenger on a nice, modern bus with wifi and outlets. I spent a great deal of time talking with the bus driver, who had driven busses for over 20 years - mostly charter busses for tour groups, it seemed. He knew a lot about the surrounding areas that we drove through, explaining history, and how a town which I sadly don't remember the name of was more or less completely destroyed by a tornado, except for the concrete grain elevator and a couple of other heavily-reinforced buildings. The concrete pads that used to be foundations for buildings took on an entirely different meaning with this information.
Before I knew it, I found myself in the same town as my future bike: Norman Oklahoma. As I got there a full 7 hours after I'd intended to, I grabbed a "cheap" motel room and made plans to meet up the following day to look it over.