Written by Joel Klaassen Wednesday, 16 April 2008 01:09
Life is never dull around here. This past week has been a whirlwind for me. My Jayhawks pulled off one of the biggest miracle finishes in NCAA Final Four history, which I have watched over and over—not to mention all the articles and Web stuff I just had to read.
Plus, I took a bus ride to Des Moines this past Thursday under the guise of saving money and for the experience. I have never ridden the bus anywhere before.
When I was a kid in Minnesota, I saw a movie at the downtown theater where a guy gets on the bus and is on his way to prison with a policeman as an escort. I used to think that is why people got on the bus.
I bought a $40 ticket to ride the bus from Emporia to Des Moines, where I attended the Midwest Free Community Paper convention. I am a board member and had meetings Friday morning. Since staffers Natalie, Elaine and Kevin were also coming to the sessions, which began Friday afternoon, I didn’t want to have two vehicles up there. I rode home with them on Saturday.
My first experience was waiting for the bus to come in at 3:35 p.m. Two police officers showed up before my northbound bus arrived. I found out they were yanking a drunk off the bus and were there to diffuse the situation if needed.
As I boarded, people told me not to sit “there”—where the guy threw up. I said to myself, “This could be interesting.”
No seat assignments are made, so you find your own place to sit. Since there were coats, plastic grocery bags and stuff everywhere, it took me a while to settle in.
Just as I sat down, George, an Emporia State student with whom I shared the adjoining seat until Kansas City, asked if he could sit beside me. “Sure thing,” I said.
We struck up a conversation and I learned he was on his way to Nebraska to visit friends and relatives. He would not arrive at his destination until the next day because of connections.
I didn’t fare as well on the K.C. to Des Moines segment. My seatmate was a young gal who spoke with a heavy accent and kept asking me the name of the town we had just passed. Then she’d phone somebody to tell them where we were. She also kept asking how long it would take to get to Des Moines.
We had a bus driver who was in training. He was on, then off, the gas the whole way. Plus, my window was squeaking, which annoyed me. I found that if I leaned against the window the noise would stop. So I did a lot of leaning.
We hit Des Moines an hour late—a half hour past midnight.
I saw the Marriott Hotel sign from the depot, so thought I’d just walk over there. It was a lot farther than it looked.
The convention was great. We learned how our industry is changing and what steps we might take to stay in the game.
The Free Press won the General Excellence Award for about the sixth time in seven years, which is a testament to the dedication of our entire staff that works hard each week to make our paper top quality.
We took in the Jayhawk parade in downtown Lawrence on Sunday afternoon. I always wondered what 100,000 people looked like in one place.