6-Day Greyhound Trip from Eugene, Oregon to Dallas, Texas (and Back): Part 1 of 3

Sunset from the Maricopa Freeway near Goodyear Village, ArizonaSunset from the Maricopa Freeway near Goodyear Village, Arizona

In anticipation of the highly-awaited total solar eclipse of April 8, 2024, many intrepid travelers planned epic journeys to witness this celestial phenomenon. We made the journey in a way that most people probably didn’t . . .  we undertook the journey by bus. This three-part series recounts the experiences and lessons learned from an ambitious six-day Greyhound trip from Oregon to Texas. Part 1 covers the essentials of preparing for and embarking on such a marathon bus voyage. Part 2 dove into the realities of life on the road, navigating the challenges and simple pleasures of slow travel. In the final installment, Part 3 reflects on the the practical things we learned along the way for anyone who is considering a trip like this.  

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My partner and I knew that we wanted to see the April 8, 2024 eclipse in totality. I had seen the 2017 eclipse in totality from Redmond, Oregon, and it was awe-inspiring, and yes, I had to admit that I became an eclipse chaser after that. My partner missed it, because he and his then-wife had stayed in Eugene, where instead of totality they got 98% (if any of you have seen totality, then you know how much of a difference that 2% makes!!) and then to add insult to injury, his young child had to go to the bathroom at the — absolute — worst time!

So we were determined to make it work somehow. My partner has a long-time friend in Dallas, so we knew we could have a place to stay, we just had to get there. But when we looked into flights, because half the world wanted to be in the eclipse path and Dallas was a prime viewing spot, the flights were gouging expensive — we’re talking nearly $2,000 for a one-way ticket. We tried all sorts of combinations, of driving into certain places then flying, or flying into somewhere near there and renting a car, taking the train . . .  anything we could think of. We didn’t drive ourselves because it would have taken twice as many days because we would have stopped at night in hotels. I was still trying to work (I work remotely so I could do that) and my partner wanted to be able to work a little too, so driving ourselves didn’t seem like the best use of time. The train was almost as expensive as the plane. We were worried about the availability of rental cars anywhere near the path of totality and didn’t want to take a chance that we might not get one. One-way flights were about $1,800 per person and that was more than we wanted to spend. So we settled on a 3-day bus trip using the FlixBus and Greyhound bus service. That cost us about $500 for the two of us, round trip. Neither of us really wanted to be on a bus for 3 days and 3 nights both ways, but we felt like we could survive. Luckily, my partner and I travel well together and we knew we could handle it. And, as all of our friends said, “You’’ll have a great adventure!!” 

Eugene to Los Angeles

First of all, our route was roughly Eugene to Sacramento, Sacramento to Los Angeles, Los Angeles to Dallas. It was 48 hours one way and 51 hours on the way back. FlixBus used to be a separate service but has merged with Greyhound so we took some FlixBuses and some Greyhounds. It was only the first leg of the trip, from Eugene to Sacramento, and we were already late. Our bus that was supposed to pick us up in Eugene was late coming down from Seattle. We boarded almost an hour late. We had paid extra for the seats right behind the driver on the right side of the bus so that we could have the panoramic view. Well, the bus driver told everyone to sit wherever they wanted to. She had some reasons why assigned seats didn’t matter so we ended up sitting in the back and not getting the view. We learned over the course of the trip that some drivers enforce assigned seats and some don’t. It definitely caused problems and confusions when drivers didn’t enforce seats. We were grateful for the drivers that did enforce assigned seats, even though that was the only leg that we had paid extra for viewing seats for.

I had thought I would have some work time — after all, we were getting on the bus at roughly noon Thursday and getting off the bus at about 7pm Saturday, which meant half a day Thursday, all day Friday, and all day Saturday when I was thinking I would have wifi. That didn’t happen. The FlixBus wifi didn’t work; it just never connected for me. The FlixBus was operated by MRT Western, and they were supposed to have 2-hour wifi. I managed to get my computer connected to that wifi but it cut out after just 1 hour. So, no work time.

At 345pm in Grants Pass, in southern Oregon, the driver said it would be just a quick stop to pick up and drop off, and the next stop would be longer for food and drinks. But instead, 6 people went to the grocery store so we had to wait. The driver didn’t stop them from getting off, and then when we got back on the road, the driver said that because we were behind schedule he couldn’t guarantee we would make the connection in Sacramento for Los Angeles. So we were just a couple of hours into our trip and already we weren’t sure if we would make our connections!

Ultimately, we made the connection. Weed, California, was just a 10-minute stop and no food. Chico, California, was fast. Oroville, California, was just a minute stop. Christmas trees gave way to palm trees as we made our way down to central California. With no wifi, I wasn’t working and I had nothing to do. In the days before the trip I had made a 3 1/2-hour Spotify playlist of songs about places. I listened to that playlist as I watched the sun set in northern California. I can’t remember the last time I truly did nothing but sit and listen to music and look out the window. We made it to Sacramento with 20 minutes to spare. We left Sacramento at 1043pm, and settled in for the night. 

The view from the Greyhound stop in Indio, California.

The view from the Greyhound stop in Indio, California.

The stops were all blending together. Trying to sleep through the night was tough, because the seats were uncomfortable but it was also raining so we had the chirp of the windshield wipers catching on the glass, and the guy crunching on lime tortilla chips and tartar sauce that he bought at the AM PM somewhere. Most stations, like Fresno, were little more than parking lots and at night nothing was open. The most fun thing about the trip was the scenery. There’s a lot of beautiful country between here and Texas, and when someone else is driving, you get to do nothing but take it all in.

Desert Center, California

Desert Center, California

Los Angeles to Dallas

Waking up, it was dawn in Los Angeles. We had traded our seats in the front of the bus for seats in the back. It smelled more like fuel exhaust in the back left side of the bus. We had an hour and 10 minute transfer at Union Station in Los Angeles. The only place to get coffee was a Starbucks and you had to have the app to order. It was just a counter behind a glass door, so you had to order from the app and then open the door to pick up your order. It’s cold and rainy and the whole night through, and the driver said the AC was stuck on, so it was getting colder and colder by the minute the whole time we were on the bus. Thankfully, we changed buses and it was better, but it took me a long time to warm up. 


Union Station in Los Angeles

Union Station in Los Angeles

The countryside near Indio is pretty, with some purple wildflower blooms. Misty mountaintops and windmills. We stopped in Blythe, California, for lunch, right near the Arizona border, and saw a sign for Quartzsite, Arizona, a place I had taken a road trip to before.

We got burritos from Albertacos, which is a place inside a gas station. As the sun set behind the mountains outside of Phoenix on the evening of the second day, and we were getting ready to sleep on a bus for the second night, the realization set in that we still had a full 24 hours left to go.

There was a very talkative lady on the bus who was engaging a young man who was traveling with his family to Georgia. It was about 8-10pm and the bus was dark and a lot of people were trying to settle into sleeping. They kept talking about whatever (I was trying very hard to tune them out) and occasionally their voices would raise higher in excitement and the passengers around them would collectively go “shhh!”. All I could think of was hoping that they would stop talking. After she got off the bus, the man she had been talking to said he was glad they talked because she had given him some good advice. I’m glad that guy got the advice he wanted. We drove into El Paso, Texas, at 315am. I can’t see anything but the shadow of the mountains. 

On the third day, we awoke at 840am over the plains of west Texas. Last night at about 4, about an hour and a half into the drive, we met the Border Patrol. They came through asking everyone if they were US citizens and asked us to identify our bags. They had dogs sniff through the luggage underneath. I saw a group of wild pigs in a hill right outside Pecos. 

There’s not much in these Texas towns. A lady behind me told the person she was talking to on the phone that it was “a lot of nothing” and that “it looked like California low-key.” Both true statements. We saw a bit of the hill country with low rolling hills and round-canopied tree tops.

Discomfort seemed to fade knowing we had just a few hours more to go when we could have showers, clean clothes, and a cold beer. Plus I got into a rhythm of using my partner’s phone as a hotspot and even though the internet was still very slow, I was able to get 2 articles written.

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Vanessa Salvia is an accomplished freelance writer and editor with extensive experience creating high-quality content for various mediums. Her work spans writing articles for newspapers and magazines, crafting SEO-optimized web content, and assisting authors in polishing their book manuscripts. To learn more about her services and portfolio, visit vanessasalvia.com.