Su Lum: Like a herd of turtles (on the Glenwood bus)
September 11, 2002
My VW Beetle went to the hospital on August 29, due to a warning light on all month and a nasty roar when I turn on the air conditioning.
This was a long affair: drop it off before 9 a.m. and pick it up the next day at 10. I didn’t know how I was going to manage that until I remembered a column Sheldon Fingerman wrote in the Other Paper, in which he said that when his car has to go to Glenwood to be fixed he takes the bus.
I ride the bus in town now and then ? I’d take it all the time if they allowed dachshunds on board ? but had never ventured so far as Glenwood Springs. I called RFTA to get the lowdown, and was pleasantly surprised to learn that there was a bus stop at the gas station right across the street from Elk Mountain Motors, that the bus left 10 minutes after every hour, that the fee was $6 and you had to have the exact amount, unless you are 65 or older, in which case you ride FREE.
The Beetle was deposited shortly before 9, I sprinted across the street to inquire at the gas station where to catch the bus and was pointed to the BUS STOP sign.
The bus came right on the dot, I said the magic word “senior” to the driver who smiled and said, “Come on in,” and we were off.
Off, as we used to say, like a herd of turtles or, as my father would have Spoonerized, like a “turd of hurtles.”
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This bus, it went everywhere. It went up to Wally World, it did the grand tour of Blue Lake, meandered through Carbondale (a lot of icky crap under construction there). From the bus’s height you get whole new views of the countryside; Aspen Glen looks like a millionaire version of the North Forty.
People get on, people get off, most of them regulars greeted by the driver. I have not thought this through. I did not pee before getting on this bus; I have not brought provisions: something to eat, or, worst of all, anything to read. When I alight at Paepcke Park it is almost 11.
There are express buses, but not when I left the next day at 9:15 to get the Beetle. This time, however, I was prepared with newspapers and a book, snacks and Kleenex, bladder empty, and was delivered right at the door of Elk Mountain Motors.
The excellence of the bus service notwithstanding, it’s a long haul, and it seems that there should be some way of matching up commuters on the slow buses with cars that need to be taken back and forth to Glenwood. Like the OSM delivery service (how did we ever live without that?), this is an opportunity for a little side business for some entrepreneur: coordinate with all the car dealers, drive one down, drive another one back.
The Beetle has to go back in a few weeks because someone put in blue antifreeze instead of pink, or vice versa, and now it needs a $200 flushing. So if any of you bus down in the morning or back around 5, let me know!
[Su Lum is a longtime local who runs out of time. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times.]