En route to Spokane, Washington a Greyhound bus experienced engine trouble and pulled off to the side of the road to await help. This created an opportunity to talk with the passengers — everyday people — about politics and issues that are important to them.
SNOQUALMIE PASS, Wa. – The Friday mid-morning Greyhound bus from Seattle to Spokane was already running late. Passengers waited patiently in line for the bus to arrive, and then to walk to the boarding area, and finally to board. The bus driver stood at the front of the bus after all had been seated, and in no uncertain terms discussed all the reasons he may have to pull the bus to the side of the road should he feel the need. Drinking, sneaking alcohol onto the bus, loud or obnoxious behavior, disturbing fellow passengers, or bothering the driver. The bus pulled out of the station maneuvering through city traffic, onto Interstate 90 and up to the mountain pass towards Eastern Washington.
About 90 minutes into the drive, the bus slowed, and pulled over to the side of the road. You could hear murmurs and whispers about smoke coming from the back of the bus, and the driver got on the radio to headquarters. Those of us in the front of the bus could hear him talking to dispatch, giving details and grumbling that he’d been so close to reaching the top of the pass, if only he’d had made it….now he feared he would have to return to Seattle. The driver got off the bus, checked the engine, and decided to forge on a few hundred feet to a safer place where passengers could stretch their legs and get a bite to eat. The side of the road outside of a convenience store at the summit of Snoqualmie Pass was to be our resting place for the next three hours, until help arrived.
Passengers got off the bus and milled around the area. The small grocery store buzzed with people talking to each other as they stood in line waiting to purchase candy bars and sodas. As they spoke to each other, you could hear stories being told. Misadventures on previous bus rides, tales of traveling woes, explanations of what was waiting for them at their destinations, and how long their journey was to be. Some were going as far as Spokane, some as far as Chicago. Veterans, mothers, children, tourists, students, elderly, the passengers on the bus all had different stories to tell. I grabbed my camera, introduced myself, and asked them – what issues are important to you, what do you want to see changed? These are some of the stories, from those stranded on top of Snoqualmie Pass.