We start with some back story:
We live in Fredericton, which is a city in the south-western of the province. Rob’s parents live in Bathurst (well, Miramichi really) which is located towards the north-eastern section of the province. Neither of us drive so we don’t make the trip all that often (in fact the last time was the previous Summer); and when we do we take Acadian Bus Lines. Funny thing is the bus service is pulling out as of the end of November, so we figured we would make the trek now while we had a couple weeks in between crazy busy 1 and crazy busy 2.
This is not the first time I’ve taken a bus before; since first dating Rob we have taken probably 10 trips on the bus. He’s kind of the expert as he had been taking them long before me, but I’m developing my own opinions about the experience. I don’t mind busses, and spend a lot of time in town going around on errands, but a longer trip is a different thing entirely. I do reccommend that everyone take a bus trip once if only to say you have, but it’s not the best mode of travel. Maybe I’m narrow-minded, but it’s not my first choice.
I should say that everyone in the province should get their fill of Acadian while they can as the company has decided to pull operations at the end of November of this year. They’ve been having trouble with strikes and customers the past couple of years, so it was inevitable. I’m not terribly upset about it because everytime that I have taken the bus I have had erks… mostly due to the actual staff at the terminals–not the ride. The seats are comfy and you get the modern ammenities of electricity (and Wi-Fi in some cases), and even since they redid the terminal buildings a little while ago they look great (see the shot with the oddly comfortable red metal chairs). Mainly my dislike stems from the behind-the-counter-staff… the ones that I’ve had haven’t been all the great with moody remarks and not properly announcing when your bus has arrived and is boarding. You stand outside in the Winter with your bags because they haven’t made an inkling that your bus is ready and then we’ll talk.
Because New Brunswick is fairly behind other provinces in the transportation infrastructure, once we arrived in Moncton to commence part 2 of our journey we had about 4 hours to kill before we could board our train. Now, here’s the funny part; it cost a couple hundred dollars for us to get to Moncton by bus, but only about 20 for us to get from Moncton to Miramichi on the train. As there isn’t a train station in our city the closest one is Moncton, so we were forced to bus for part of the way. It was actually cheaper for us to break it up between the two modes than to continue on the whole way on Acadian… strange. It did take extra hours as I mentioned, but it was a small ‘cost’ to pay for frugal students. I had never been on a train before. All I can say is “WOW!” So much fun 🙂 The train station in Moncton is actually quite walkable from the bus station, which was a plus. It was also really nicely laid out inside and quite spacious. Popular too, as the rest area inside was packed with travellers waiting for our train. For my first trip we got a sleeper car (even though it would only be a couple of hours of travel) so that we would be comfier and have easy access to a washroom (hot day=lots of water drinking!). Rob has some movement trouble too so it was a more relaxing space than in the regular seating. The room was incredibly small; more so than I had anticipated! I actually was considerably claustrophobic for the first hour or so. Barely room for 2 and a couple small bookbags, but everything that we needed. Eventually I taught myself to look out the window and I became less nauseous. After we had been rolling for a while, Rob wanted to show me the rest of the train. I was really disoriented walking around on a rattling surface (especially while going through the ‘inbetweens’, but managed reasonably ok. We made our way to the snack car to see what they had, but I was more interested in seeing how they could operate in such a small space. The woman behind the counter was really nice and helpful when I said that it was my first time, and I peeked into her kitchen. It was the size of my bathroom I would say, which would probably be akin to a regular persons’ closet haha. Way neat! In honour of my first ride, I bought what I thought was a glass of wine… was I wrong!
She gave me a drinking box and a little plastic glass! So cute! I have never heard of wine being packaged this way, but as she explained it works really well for travel. Looking back I assume that it’s probably standard and could be the stuff they give on planes too? Another thing that she had mentioned was that a lot of people get angry when she gives them the boxes… ‘wine snobs’ I said. We brought my drink back to our cabin. It was quite rank if I do say so myself. I can sort of understand why some people don’t like it, but I figure it’s the wine itself, not how it was packaged. If I was smart I probably would have registered the rating for future notice, but I assume that it was quite a dry wine. The last bit that I would like to note today is actually from the last bit of our trip, when we were returning home. The second post about my trip will be about something that happened in between, so you’ll have to wait for that :p For the train home we actually took the regular seating instead of a cabin so that I could experience it all at once and make conclusions then (well….. and cause something funny happened while we were at the train station in Miramichi… and most people don’t need to know about it!). As much space as we had in our 2-person cabin the first ride, it was a mansion compared to the second ride! I didn’t really mind myself; I had a plug for my 3DS and a comfy seat, but I also had ‘airplane children’, and those parents that decide that the ‘kids will be kids’ excuse can make everything better. Children running up and down the aisle, loud noise, and hopping into other passenger’s seats while they use the restroom is really odd, and I can’t believe that some people think that it’s ok. Seriously? Again, stay tuned for the second part of my travel posts; it should be up within the next day or so. This one was a little delayed as I ended up getting a new smartphone so most of my free time has been spent trying to learn it!