Riding the Tortoise to the Mountains
Trip Start Mar 12, 2012
57Trip End Jul 10, 2012
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Now, the Green Tortoise buses aren't like normal buses. There are no individual seats. At the back is a large sleeping platform with foam mats where you can nap in the day and stretch out. Then in the middle there are two tables with seats on either side. And at the front there are benches with foam mats on either side, with a little aisle in the middle. This is all because the bus transforms into a sleeper coach, and that was where we were spending our first night. There are even bunks as well. So after driving over the Bay Bridge and out of San Francisco, we had an introductary talk by our drivers, before stopping to get ready for our first night drive. We got into our pyjamas, and brushed our teeth, while the drivers turned the bus into night mode. When we got back, we gave up our day bags to be stowed away, chose our spots to sleep for the night, and got settled. A few of us stayed up at the front to chat and socialise, and have a few beers. Hmm, we never made that mistake again! Being desperate for the toilet and trying to sleep is not a good combination
I didn't sleep too well on my first night drive, just because it was a bit of a weird sensation, very different from just napping in the car. You're lying flat out, tucked up in your sleeping bag, but you're mobing along on this bus. And of course, we all woke up at when the sun started streaming through the windows of the bus. As we cleared our bleary eyes, we found we were on an empty road surrounded by snow capped mountains! We had arrived in the Lamoille Canyon, in the Ruby Mountains, Nevada. A cool start to the trip. We parked up, and stepped off the bus into the freezing cold! It was the first cold I'd experienced since being in Chile, and it was not nice! We quickly got our bags out and put on all the layers we had! Then it was time make breakfast. I hadn't been expecting much, but the drivers put on an awesome spread. We had fresh fruit, and then bagels which we toasted, with whatever you wanted on them; salmon and cream cheese, nutella, peanut butter and jam, whatever! We also had loads of tea and coffee and hot chocolate to choose from, and everyone was clasping their mugs for dear life just so they could feel their hands! However, washing up with freezing cold water was not fun. I really regretted forgetting my alpaca gloves...
After our tasty breakfast, we cleared up, and then got dressed, before driving to the end of the road to do our first hike. With everyone wrapped up warm and in hiking gear, our drivers pointed us in the right direction and off we went! They had warned us we might reach the snow level if we got high enough, but after about 10 minutes of walking, we were hiking on snow! It was a really beautiful place, with the mountains surrounding us covered in snow. We even had a bit of fun, and a couple of our group who didn't mind getting their bums went went sliding down the snow! The hiking got quite difficult at points, as were walking across steep slopes covered in slippery snow. I desperately didn't want to fall and slip down the hillside! But we went carefully, and everyone was fine. Being the big loser that I am, it actually reminded me of a place in the game Red Dead Redemption (my brother will understand). As we walking, the blue skies started turning a dark grey, and then suddenly, it started to snow! It was really quite surreal, I don't think I've ever been hiking in snow before! But that made it extra special.
After a while, our time was up, so we made our way back to the bus, as the snow got heavier and the wind got stronger. We jumped back on the bus, pumped up the heating, and got warm! We then drove out of the Ruby Mountains, and made our way to a special Green Tortoise spot