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Travel letters: The places Greyhound can take you

Plus, access to the art at the Barnes Museum, swelling feet on flights and airline policies on seating families.

June 24, 2012

The places Greyhound can take you

Regarding Chris Erskine's Greyhound story ["New Spin on an Old-Fashioned Ride," June 17]: I took a Greyhound bus at age 22 around the western U.S. The last stop on the trip before coming back to L.A. was Sun Valley, Idaho. I thought this would be a great place to work in the winter, and in the limited time I had I went to the hotels to seek a job as a maid. All the jobs were taken.

There was a coffee shop where the bus was supposed to pick us up. I went in and heard a piano player next door. He was about 90 and awful. I took lessons up to age 15, and I figured I could do better than that. I asked the manager if she needed any help for the winter. She asked what I did. Suddenly these words came out of my mouth: "I play the piano."

It's a good thing she didn't ask me to audition because I couldn't have played a thing. I told her that if she sent me my train fare, I would come to work for her. She agreed.

After she sent the money, I looked up my old piano teacher, who said I would have to start over from Day One as if I had never had a lesson (that's how bad my playing was). I took two weeks of lessons, three lessons a day, practiced 16 hours a day (no exaggeration), and had my first singing and playing job in Sun Valley. That started an 8½-year career during which I sang and played all over, including Anchorage in the winter.

Lynn Rosenberg

Long Beach

Thanks for an article on Greyhound. Greyhound is always skipped when articles are written about travel besides air. Trains are unreliable and take a lot more time. And they're not very flexible as to travel times and destinations.

I have Erskine's 4,000-mile traveler beat. Two summers ago, I paid about $550 for two months of unlimited travel on Greyhound. During that time, I logged 15,000 miles on several trips (less than 4 cents a mile), traveling a total of about a month during the two-month period. I was home the rest of the time.

I went to Ohio, Vermont, San Diego, San Jose, Colorado, New York, Nebraska, Iowa and more. Even though each trip was planned, I had the freedom to change my routing when I wanted to (and did more than once). I went to various places to see certain things. I didn't just travel to travel. To get from Omaha to San Jose, Greyhound wanted to route me through L.A. (saved an hour of time). But with my flexibility, I changed my destination to San Francisco instead, traveling through western Colorado, seeing all the scenery there. Then I took BART to San Jose, as it was more convenient.

I hope to do it again next summer, possibly using the entire two months for travel. I am compiling a list of things I want to see and do.

Greyhound is a wonderful way to see America. Yes, it can get tedious at times, but over the years, I have gotten used to it and really enjoy seeing the countryside and meeting interesting people. In a plane it all looks the same at 35,000 feet. A few years ago, I made a Greyhound trip to New York City, stayed there 12 daytime hours and came back home. I enjoyed the entire travel time. Total cost for the trip: $79.

Wayne Collins

Los Angeles

Cheers for arts' access at the Barnes Museum

Having lived in Pennsylvania, I was glad to see Susan Spano's article on the new Barnes ["Art Seen in a New Light," June 17], though I think that founder Albert Barnes is rolling over in his grave and that his will has been completely dishonored. But the flip side is good, because so many more people will be able to see the art.

Stephen Myrick

Bunker Hill

Several years ago, I was in an adult class at Fullerton College. A trip was planned to New York City and Philadelphia. The stop in Philadelphia was just to see the Barnes. Our instructor was in touch with the Barnes, and we paid our admission in advance. Everything seemed to be a go.

When we arrived, we were denied admittance and treated as though we were lowlifes. I have never been treated as rudely in my life. Our instructor was not allowed to talk to the administrators to show the evidence of our planned trip to the Barnes. We didn't get a refund either.

To hear that the public can now view these treasures is a great gift from the city of Philadelphia. So what if they make money off the museum. I say they deserve it for the work they did to get the paintings on view for the art-loving public.

I just hope I live long enough to get to Philadelphia again to see these treasures.

Leslie Richardson


The swell side of flying

Regarding "Shoo, Flip-Flops" [Letters, June 2]: Did it ever occur to anyone that people's feet swell on long flights and that they can't comfortably fit into their shoes, if at all? My feet and ankles swell so much that I can't fit into any of my shoes. So I wear Velcro-close sandals and graduated compression stockings.

Leslie Palm

Laguna Woods

Family togetherness? Not on airplanes

Regarding "How to Sit Tight," by Catharine Hamm, June 10: It seems the newest assault on the enemy (which apparently is the consumer) waged by the airlines to feed the bottom line is seating a child between two strangers rather than with the parents.

A child, warned repeatedly not to talk to strangers, must be terrified, but the "strangers" are in an equally unsettling position. The airlines have joined the utilities, the gasoline czars and financial market exploiters as heartless, un-American abusers of the public. And what do we do? Throw up our hands in disgust and defeat and wait for the next round.

Claudia Heller


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