Posted by: adventuressetravels | June 22, 2010

Rideshare Roadtrips

“You’re leaving at two? In the morning?!”

I had gotten in touch with R through craigslist rideshare.  I needed a ride to Bonnaroo and he wanted company on the 5-hour drive from Memphis.  Five hours.  When I booked my Megabus ticket I hadn’t realized it was that far away, but that was as close to Manchester, Tennessee as the discount bus got.

But how would I get across to the state to the festival?  How would I meet V with my guest pass in the sea of 100,000 people?  The more I thought about it the harder it seemed, but I did want to see V, the lineup was pretty amazing, not to mention my friend K’s band was playing too.  No, I’d figure it out. 

I took K’s suggestion on posting an ad on craigslist for a rideshare to Bonnaroo.  Almost immediately I had responses.  That was a relief.  But how to meet up with V when I made it to the fest?  I didn’t have a ticket.  I couldn’t very go in and meet him.  His suggestion of cell phones sounded like a good idea, until I talked to H, who told me about her cell issues at Cochella, another big music festival.  It would all work out though, I had faith.  I did have a ride there, after all.

I gave R a call the day before the festival.  It was the first time I’d spoken to him.  In our email exchanges he’d suggested I crash on his couch the night before because he wanted to leave early, but when he told me that by early he had meant 2am, my heart sank.  V’s flight wasn’t even getting into Nashville until 2pm on the 10th.   I could just see myself waiting at the front gate with all my luggage all day.

“I just want to get there before all the good campsites are taken.  It’s gonna be bumper-to-bumper,” R said apologetically.  Having gone the past few years so he knew what he was talking about.  Like most of the festival-goers, he was camping. Spending all four days of the festival in Centeroo the make-shift tent city that was staked out in a dusty (and many years muddy) field.  I thanked God that I was under V’s auspices and got to stay in a hotel.  Somehow four days of questionable showers and port-a-pottys was not my cup of tea. 

“I don’t want to leave you at the front gate, but since you don’t have a ticket I’m not sure what else I can do.  How are you going to meet up with your friend?”  he echoed my thoughts.

“No worries.  I’ll figure it out,” I replied brightly, with the confidence I didn’t feel.  “Give you a call tonight?”

By the time R came by the apartment to pick me up I’d worked everything out with V.  I’d meet him by the hotel rather than braving the throngs at Bonnaroo.  I still wasn’t happy to be leaving at 2am, but surely there was a coffee shop I could hang out in til V got there and even better, I wouldn’t have to carry around obelisk of a backpack all day.

As luck would have it, R was pretty worn out too and rather than risk trying to stay awake so we caught a few hours of sleep before getting an early start at 7 the next morning.  Apparently Bonnaroo was bread and butter for Tennessee.  Cop cars were stationed practically every 100 feet along the highway and pulled any car over that even looked slightly festival-like.  Thankfully a suburban 50-something, and girl in a shiny white car did not fit the ragtag hippy bill.  Still, R kept the top up on his little white 2-seater, and made quite certain to stay under the speed limit.  We were behind schedule enough, without having to deal with getting pulled over by the cops.

“Someone is taking my spot, I am going to be camped out miles away from the stages” R lamented at regular intervals.  I felt badly, but still was pretty happy that we’d left in the morning.  Truth be told so was R – starting a long festival weekend on no sleep was not an appealing prospect.

We reached Murfreesboro , the little college town about half an hour away from the festival, and the hotel in what seemed like no time.  R let me out at a nearby Panera Bread Company; lunch, coffee, and free internet right next to the hotel.  I couldn’t have asked for a better place to kill the few hours while waiting for V. 

“I don’t feel great about just dropping you off,” R apologized, “but I really do have to get to the festival.  Do you have enough money?  Are you sure you’re gonna be okay?”

“Seriously no problem, I’ll be fine.  Thanks so much.  Just get to the festival.  If it’s anything like as bad as you said, it’s already bumper-to-bumper.  Hopefully I’ll see you there!” 

R was a great guy, I was really happy I rode up with him.  This was the first time I’d tried rideshare on Craigslist.  The site really had it all.  It was my go-to site for apartment hunting,  to look for second-hand stuff to buy or sell, I’d even found my Spanish teacher on craigslist, and evidently a good place to find rides!  Yup, Craigslist is definitely a handy trick for the thrifty traveler to put in their money-saving toolbox.

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