National Geographic : 1950 Jul
You Can't Miss America by Bus I did attend a daily organ recital in the Taber nacle of Temple Square. The building seats 8,000 persons. It has such remarkable acous tics that a pin dropped at one end could be heard at the other-about 200 feet. At the top of a shaft in Temple Square hover sculptured gulls in memory of those birds whose timely arrival saved the earliest Mormon settlers from starvation. Gulls wiped out a cricket plague threatening destruction of pioneer crops. Near the Square, Greyhound has erected a dog 27 feet long over its bus center. The depot's pillow stockpile sometimes has as many as 10,000 on hand (page 10). The ladies' rest room is walled with Tennessee marble and ballroom-size mirrors; the men's features shower baths for 25 cents, towel and soap 10 cents extra. The "morgue" in the basement holds all unclaimed baggage and articles left on buses or in the depot. I noted hundreds of suit cases, oddments of clothing, books, umbrellas, half-empty bottles, rucksacks, sleeping bags, and cameras; and an absent-minded musician had walked off without his bass viol! 12,000 Feet Up in a Bus I made the trip in two days from Salt Lake City across Colorado to Denver, stopping a night in Grand Junction. The first leg took us over 7,440-foot Soldier Summit, through a rocky, steep-walled valley to Castlegate with its coal mines, and on to the fruit-growing plains just east of the Utah border. On the second leg next day, driver Herb Denham realized that some of us wanted not only to see the spectacular country but to photograph it. He frequently waited while we turned our cameras on such subjects as Glenwood Canyon. At Loveland Pass, 11,992 feet above sea level, he gave us five minutes to take in the snow-covered grandeur of the mountains. Once a visiting French architect beside me jumped up with his camera and cried, "Halt, just here." And Denham did. Despite numerous delays caused by pas sengers, we reached Denver only a few minutes late. A turntable in the terminal spun the bus 180 degrees, obviating much backing in a limited space. On a tour of the Trailways depot I men tioned the "morgue" I'd seen in Salt Lake City. "You should see ours," said an official and led me there (page 15). Some of the items: a lady's pink corset next to a football helmet, one white shoe in a brown paper bag, a violin strapped to a pillow, snare drum, alarm clocks, ironing board, cav- alry saber, baby buggy, sewing machine, false teeth, a glass eye. The baggage man told me that once he even had a live baby on the shelf; a forgetful mother left it on a bus. For most of a day a friend and I drove into the hills west of Denver. In the Park of the Red Rocks we walked along the aisles of a natural auditorium capable of seating more than 10,000 persons. Gigantic upheavals of Dakota sandstone formed its rust-colored walls, a deep-blue sky the ceiling (opposite). We wound with Bear Creek Canyon to the alpinelike hamlet of Evergreen, then swung around to return to Denver by another route. Standing by Buffalo Bill's grave on the summit of Lookout Mountain, I gazed over Golden, former capital of Colorado and supply base for pioneer mining camps. At the town's edge stands the Colorado School of Mines. Across the Cornlands of Nebraska I went north to Cheyenne from Denver, and Wyoming's winds virtually blew my bus into Nebraska. The bus flattened out with the country and streaked due east to Grand Island. Light snow dappled the brown fields, all level as a lake. One had the impression that Ne braska never altered, never ended, and every where raised corn.* Getting off at Grand Island to spend the night (page 40), I passed a tired soldier going straight through from coast to coast. "Grey hound," he moaned with feeling. "Next time I see a gray dog, I'm gonna kick it." In all fairness to bus travel, I found it fun when taken in stages. To make a journey of several days without a break turned it into a grind. Omaha's Greyhound depot, one of the new est and most modern in the United States, has air-conditioned telephone booths with plastic walls to discourage "doodlers." In the three-level garage covering much of a city block, I watched reconstruction of bodies, repainting, upholstering, assembly of gargantuan springs, and even the rebuilding of batteries. An Omaha friend took me to dinner in an excellent restaurant above a corner of the stockyards, often second only to Chicago's in total livestock receipts. Over juicy steak I bragged of all the bus traveling I'd done with out a single flat tire. We had a puncture on the way back to my hotel. On the express bus for Chicago, we crossed the Missouri River, poked through Council * See, in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE: "Colorado, a Barrier That Became a Goal," by Mc Fall Kerby, July, 1932; "Grass Makes Wyoming Fat," by Frederick Simpich, August, 1945; and "Nebraska, the Cornhusker State," by Leo A. Borah, May, 1945.