The Highs and Lows of Taking a Midnight Bus from Chi to Iowa

I decided last minute to book a bus ticket to go visit my boyfriend in Iowa for the long weekend. I had to work until 6:00 that night, and the next bus wasn’t until 10:40 p.m., so I figured why not? I’d much rather take it late than deal with the stress and difficulty of waking up early. As an experienced bus-traveller, interesting things happen at any time of day. The bus wouldn’t arrive until after 3:00 a.m. in Iowa too, but I figured eh why not? Adventures await.

Here are the highs and many lows of taking a midnight trip from Chicago to Iowa City—a timeline.

9:40pm - As I got into my Uber on the way to the Greyhound station, my zipper broke off of my NEW Calvin Klein winter jacket. I almost cried.

9:50pm - I walked in to the station disheveled with my coat half zipped up as it broke from the bottom. I see so many agitated and weary travellers at the station, and a long line I had to wait in to check my bag. I was so hot with all of my layers the room was spinning, I’m glad I stayed standing.

10:25pm - We finally board. Even though I checked my bag to be safe, I bring my suitcase on and block the seat next to me, as my extra self would, so I wouldn’t have to deal with any creepy bus-goers. I am a woman travelling by myself, after all.

10:27pm - Speak of the devil. A man gets on the bus and walks towards where I’m sitting. He looks like he’s just going to say ‘Hi’ but he adds a “Hi cutie,” in there. The suitcase on the seat was a good move.

10:35pm - A man sits down in front of me, pushing the seat way back to make himself comfortable. Giving even my 5’1 self very little room. Peeved levels are exceeding.

10:40pm - For the first time ever, we leave on schedule! The lord has given!

11:04pm - The frat bro across from me keeps taking snapchats with his flash on. I heard one man say, “Do y’all see lightning?”  

11:24pm - After driving for a while, I put in my headphones and sit back and relax. Take it from a late night traveller, ALWAYS listen to Nights by Frank Ocean to feel magic.

12:35am - Our first stop—Ottawa, Illinois. We pull into an empty lot next to a Dunkin Doughnuts. The driver gets up to do a headcount and one of the passengers goes, “Hey, can we get some doughnuts?” The driver goes, “No we are NOT getting doughnuts.”

1:03am - The man in front of me has decided to recline both seats in front of me giving me no leg space whatsoever. He periodically snores, then wakes up to talk to someone on the phone. I’m confused at the situation.

1:33am - We stop in Davenport, Iowa. The driver turns all of the lights on and makes sure the weary-travellers are getting off at their right stop. He goes, “how about you sleeping beauty, with your legs in the aisle?” He woke up the joker in front of me real quick. Props to you sir.

2:15am - Our second to last stop before Iowa City, we stop at “The World’s Largest Truck Stop,” to stretch our legs and get something to eat. My anxious tail stayed put in my seat so I wouldn’t be left at “The World’s Largest Truck Stop,” at 2:00am.

2:25am - We’re up and moving. I keep taking sips of water to stay awake. SO close Liv, don’t fall asleep and end up in Nebraska now.

3:05am - I can feel it’s near. I put on my coat and I get ready to get off before the rest of these girls.

3:10am - Freedom from a bus at last. I see my boyfriend as I get off the bus and my tired eyes are relieved. The end of a 5-hour journey.