National Geographic : 1950 Jul
The National Geographic Magazine "What Time Does the 5-o'clock Bus Leave?" Cleveland's Six Oracles Have the Answer Which bus? What route? Thousands of queries a day come in by phone. These women rattle off most replies from memory, but an occasional poser compels them to consult their open files. every 20 minutes for Willow Run Airport. Largest in the United States, Greyhound's new maintenance center here has service facil ities for a fleet of 600 coaches. Every five minutes one bus comes in and one goes out. Two hundred and seventy-five experts keep the Hounds in racing form. For much of the trip to Cleveland the bus hugged Lake Erie's southern shore. Ice smoothed Sandusky Bay and ruffled the big lake's edges with Elizabethan collars. Thinly, snow clad the land. In Cleveland, Greyhound has built a depot with 21 loading platforms working 24 hours a day. The interior reminded me of a modern luxury hotel's lobby. In special restrooms for children, I saw miniature versions of standard equipment, including low-slung basins to let shorties reach the taps. We went to the depot's telephone informa tion bureau where half a dozen women an swer questions over the wires: which bus? when? where? how? even why? What these oracles couldn't rattle off, they found in fat reference books beside them. On the bus to Pittsburgh I heard passengers compare Ohio and Pennsylvania drivers. Someone mentioned those of another State. "Oh, them," said our driver joining the dis cussion. "There you can expect anything; they drive with their bare feet." Once beyond Pittsburgh,* I hit the home stretch. The road to Washington slanted across the hills of western Maryland like the late-afternoon sun. Something Orville Caesar had said to me took on more meaning: "Every highway is a main street through the United States. To ride over them is to see America; it's explor ing; it's adventure." For me it was.t * See "Pittsburgh: Workshop of the Titans," by Albert W. Atwood, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, July, 1949. t For additional articles on States mentioned in this article, see "NATIONAL GEOGRAPIIIC MAGAZINE Cumu lative Index, 1899 to 1949."