In just a matter of days, Trevor Spangle will embark on an epic journey across the United States.
For 60 days, Spangle will ride Greyhound buses across the country, from station to station in unfamiliar cities, to collect fodder for a book he plans to publish.
Spangle will leave on June 30 from the Corvallis Greyhound Bus Station. He will return to Oregon on Aug. 29.
The Lebanon resident got the idea for the book after taking a bus from Maine to Oregon in March. It took only five days, and the ticket cost $98.
“When I went on the trip in March I kept a blog about it, and it got me thinking of doing something bigger,” Spangle said.
He believes the culture of bus travel is misrepresented, or not represented at all.
While he says traveling on the bus system is “completely off the grid,” due to the lack of ID needed to take a bus, each person on that bus has a story.
The 25-year-old once sat on a bus with a guy who had been just released from prison in Idaho and was heading home. During the same trip he sat next to a man with a Confederate flag for a hat and a cellphone cover to match.
“I think the political, economic, and social culture of the U.S. is in transition,” Spangle said. “And those people who ride the Greyhound have stronger opinions. They all believe what they believe, and they stick to it.”
“I’m looking forward to meeting people. When I did this trip a few months ago, I realized I have become complacent in the way I lived,” Spangle explained. “I became fearful of Greyhound. It took about 100 miles into it to realize everyone here are just people too.”
The culture of travel is different on the bus, Spangle said.
“I took me six hours to get back on the plane,” Spangle said, describing the rigorous airport security systems. “Yet I’ve never once felt afraid on the Greyhound. It’s a more disciplined way of travel. You have to sit and be patient.”
He is calling the trip the “Greyhound Epic.” On the 60-day trip, he plans to visit Joplin, Mo., to see what the city looks like after the deadly May 23 tornado.
He also is planning to stop in Orlando, Fla., to see the “Holy Land Experience.” The website for the attraction describes the place as a “living, biblical museum that takes you 7,000 miles away and 2,000 years back in time to the land of the Bible.” Also while in Florida, he will attend the Hemingway Days festival in Key West.
How do you pack for a trip like this?
Spangle will have a backpack with three changes of clothes, a tent, and some camping equipment. He plans to use CouchSurfing.net and meet people on the way who will open up their homes for a night.
To help cover emergency expenses and to get more people involved, Spangle has used Kickstarter.com, a crowd-sourcing platform, to start his endeavor. People can make donations on the site to help with the project. The more a person donates, the more involved they can become in the creative process.
Spangle set the goal of $1,000, and has already raised $1,530.
“With the bus pass already purchased, and a little nest egg waiting in my savings account, the major expenses of the journey are already covered,” Spangle writes on the website. “Your contribution through Kickstarter is my way of inviting as many friends and family along with me on the journey.”
The money raised on Kickstarter will help with book publishing costs, and for emergency expenses while he is on the road.
“Kickstarter is about getting as many people involved in the creative process. I’ve had quite a few people donate that I don’t even know,” Spangle said.
The last day to pledge is June 30.
He has had varying reactions to his adventure.
“Most people seem to be worried about my safety. Younger people think it’s cool, but mostly a lot of people are not sure what to think. Then there’s the question of why,” Spangle said.
“Well, why not?”