It’s our longest bus day yet. We board the buses at 9:00 am. Today we cross the plains from Oklahoma City to Denver. When I am tempted to complain a little I stop short in my tracks. Here we sit on fancy buses with a very pleasant bus driver, comfortable seats, plentiful air conditioning, a restroom at the back, electric outlets every four seats, and even WiFi internet access. If only the pioneers had it this good.
The couple across from me quietly read a book together from cover to cover, one brother keeps his brain alive with cryptographic word puzzles, and a sister works on an intricate cross-stitch of Christ, the two behind me sleep gently, Audrey and Lauren are checking out Facebook posts,Randy is watching the latest Mormon Messages on You Tube, I finish listening to “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” and make great progress on the little dress I am knitting for Sadie’s birthday.We nibble on snack bag items we received when we boarded the bus... candy bar, granola bar, chips, an apple, and chocolate mints.
After four hours we revisit three Timberline Restaurants in Wichita, Kansas. They have closed the restaurant to the public and again have lunch ready and waiting for us. (We stopped at this very restaurant two days ago on our way to Oklahoma City.) This time it is barbecued beef brisket and garlic mashed potatoes. Delicious!
Within 45 minutes we are all back on the buses.
After six hours our bus driver, Al, leads us in stretching exercises. That’s “just what we do” on Al’s bus.
To keep himself occupied and alert, Al quietly listens to Tabernacle Choir recordings, one of which Audrey gave him. I think he has fallen in love with this group of people. In appreciation for keeping us all comfortable and happy, our bus captain presents him with a Book of Mormon in which we have each written a "love" note to him.
After eight hours, it's time to eat AGAIN! It is difficult to burn off any food while sitting on a bus, thus, we are pretty reluctant... until we see the pie. Ward Members from the Fort Hays ward feel so privileged to serve our meal. And we sing two songs to express our thanks.
After twelve hours, all eleven buses converge on one very welcomed rest stop. We’re not in Kansas anymore! We step off the bus and notice the cool DRY air of Colorado! I immediately stretch out on the inviting green grass. Many line up to use the flush toilets, cold drink machines are emptied, others take a brisk walk, some toss a ball around, Audrey and Lauren play four-square with two others. Darren can be heard in a distance playing his ... I’m not certain what it is called, but it’s kind of like a small version of a bag pipe.
After sixteen hours we literally drag ourselves out of the buses and into Denver’s Marriott. I grab my room key ...and cheer! We’re on the ground floor! No waiting in line for the elevator tonight.
All is well.... all is well.