I walked over to McDonald’s at about 9:10 p.m. with an anxious, but good feeling that had been forming all week. With the semester coming to a close and everything starting to really get overwhelming, I needed a break. I needed Lawrence, Kansas.
I was heading to Lawrence to cover the NCAA Divison I Midwest Regional cross country meet for FloTrack.org.
This wasn’t the first time I had taken the bus.
I took it once earlier this year to go to a meet in Minneapolis. However, even with the fact that I wasn’t a newbie, I still had that anxiety-filled mentality. I probably looked at my ticket a hundred times making sure it sure it said Nov. 14 and that it said 9:25 p.m. and not 9:25 a.m.
The bus arrived and as soon as it stopped and people started getting out to stretch and to get something to eat at McDonald’s, I could see I was a bit of an outsider.
I walked onto the bus with eyes I had never seen before staring at me with each step I took. As I walked toward the back of the bus, I saw all types of people. From what appeared to be middle class, to people that were clearly fighting to make ends meet.
When I sat down in my seat, I couldn’t help but think of the many different stories there were in a bus that just barely fit over 80 people.
One of the men was telling another how he was traveling to San Jose, Calif. He was homeless right now and someone was going to give him a place to stay and help him restart his life.
After six hours of sitting on the bus, five hours waiting in Kansas City for the next bus and another hour to Lawrence, I had arrived at my destination. The bus dropped me off at what looked like an abandoned railroad station, then left.
It was 8 a.m. and I hadn’t slept all night. It was freezing out and hotel check-in wasn’t until 4 p.m. which left me with a lot of time to kill.
I decided to head to the University of Kansas.
I was planning on going to the library, finding a spot to sleep and crashing for a while, but I read the campus map wrong. I opened the door to a building and started following a crowd of people that looked like they knew where they were going.
I followed them into another room, which turned out to be a giant auditorium filled with students where I somehow ended up taking a calculus test.
After the test, I checked into my hotel where I slept until the next morning. After preparing my notes for the day’s meet, I took an Uber car out to the meet and as soon as I got there, I realized I didn’t have cell service.
Thankfully, the University of Kansas sports information director had a Wi-Fi hot spot he let me connect to, but it only worked from about a 30-yard radius.
That meant I was locked to that area, which made live-tweeting a bit more of a hassle than it had to be, but it was no big deal.
The races concluded and I interviewed a slew of runners. I always love interviewing cross country runners because their egos were non-existent.
By the time I had finished writing the rest of my notes, I was pretty much in an empty field with no cell service or data.
I could see a few of the meet directors still talking in the parking lot, so I rushed over and told them my situation, and threw in the fact that I was writing for FloTrack. Somehow, I was able to talk myself into letting one of them take me back to my hotel.
Over the course of three days spent in Kansas, I ran into a lot of weird situations, but no doubt, Kansas treated me well.