I arrived at the Greyhound station with plenty of time and, after presenting my itinerary and receiving my ticket, I settled in for the customary hour-long wait. I was a little antsy about the limited buffer of time I have given myself to make my transfer at Union Station in LA and to take my mind off it, I made conversation with a nice lady from Oklahoma over hot cocoa as I hovered in the meager shelter of the Barstow Station roof edge and eyed the curtain of heavy drops rolling off it.
By my calculations I was only going to have between half an hour and 45 minutes to check my bags and make it through security at the airport and that was if I allowed for 30 minutes of slack during either of my bus rides. Under normal circumstances I would have just camped out in Max's living room the night before, but I figured he was probably already in Portland for the holidays.
I watched and waited while my driver took a 45-minute lunch break (the same driver who gave me a hard time when I had to run in to LA to get my Peace Corps papers). 15 minutes after my scheduled departure we rolled out of Barstow onto the wet desert freeway and moments later were on some secondary road heading northwest. This was a troubling development when you consider that my itinerary had me going through Victorville which is half an hour southwest of Barstow on I-15.