I-70 to St LouisThis is the first in a series of posts about my eastern USA backpacking holiday. My trip was from Columbia, MO to Miami Beach, FL by bus, train and plane. I had three weeks in the U.S. between the end of the semester and the departure of my flight to Lima then from there on to Chile.

My budget was quite meagre so I had to figure out a cheap way to pass the time. This was my itinerary:

  • Chicago by bus for two days
  • Capitol Limited train to Washington DC overnight
  • Four days in Washington DC
  • 12 nights in Miami (bad decision)

The Megabus To Chicago

I-70 to St LouisThe Megabus system is quite large in the US and they run a direct service from Columbia, Missouri to Chicago, Illinois. Megabus is a Scottish firm and they are dirt cheap so I booked a ticket with them. The ticket cost the princely sum of $1.50, including booking fee! About halfway to Chicago someone actually asked us on the upper deck whether anyone was able to buy the cheapest ticket – I was the only one! Unfortunately, Megabus scrapped this service in Missouri in 2015…

Megabus advertises most of its routes as “From $1 – plus $0.50 cent booking fee”. Apparently, they have one seat for that price on every bus. That is unless nobody else wanted to share how much they paid for their ticket. It could also be that everyone that booked for $1 was sitting downstairs – doubt it!

The bus stops off in St Louis for about an hour, which was enough for a quick walk around downtown.

The Drive To Chicago

From St Louis it is an open swathe of the prairie all the way to Chicago. There were vast flat areas right, left and centre. It was quite fascinating to see the wide open spaces with the Interstate slicing the fields in half.

Most people drove pick-up trucks and SUVs in this region. I saw many pick-up trucks taking the weekly shopping home in the cargo bed at the back of the truck which I found strange at the time.

Another unbelievable thing I saw was the size of some of the people. The further north we got the bigger the people were. To my surprise I saw at least three people that couldn’t actually fit their arms inside the car! The space between the door and their body just wasn’t wide enough! So what did they do? They had to put their arms out of the window. It was quite odd to see it on the interstate, driving at 60 miles an hour.

If you enjoyed this post and want to read a similar story, scroll down to see the related posts section. You might also want to watch some of my other videos on Youtube.

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