J.R. Tolkien

"Not all those who wander are lost." - J.R. Tolkien

Thursday, October 22, 2015

How to travel from Louisville to Chicago and Atlanta for only $1

Life’s an adventure and I’m always on the lookout for a new one.  My craziest, riding in the back seat of a stranger’s motorcycle sneaking into a foreign country.  A dumb thing to do, but a great story to tell.    

My new adventure, traveling to Chicago or Atlanta for $1 on a Megabus.  I usually write about things I’ve already experienced but I’m going to be an armchair blogger (think armchair anthropologist) on this one.  This means I’ll be sharing information gathered from a friend who experienced it.  With a deal this great, I just couldn’t wait to share it.

How it works

Megabus is a discounted bus service offering cheap tickets in 9 countries, 34 states and the District of Columbia.  From Louisville you can travel to Chicago, Atlanta, Chattanooga, Indianapolis, or Nashville. From Lexington your options are: Atlanta, Buffalo, Chattanooga, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Erie, and Knoxville.  From those cities, you can then venture on to other destinations in the U.S.

Megabus does not have a physical office, everything is done online or over the phone.  To find tickets for $1, go to their website, choose a departure location, a destination and a travel date.  The site will generate a few different prices.  More than likely you will not get a $1 bus ticket on your first try, though for $5 - $40, it’s still a bargain.  Play around with your dates, travel later in the week or even a few weeks or a few months later.  The further out you travel, the better chance of scoring a $1 ticket.  Your chance of finding $1 tickets is higher if your dates are flexible.  Even if you bought a ticket and later can’t travel on that date, $1 is a very small investment!  If you see $1 tickets, buy it right away, it can go very quickly.

The bus
Inside. Source
Megabus does not have a bus terminal, so you’ll be dropped off and picked up at designated bus stops.  For Louisville, pick up and drop off is on the north side of Jefferson Street, between Roy Wilkins Ave and S. 8th St.  This means no shelter and no facilities.

It’s a double decker bus with reclining seats and seatbelts.  Bathroom is on the bus and they’ll make stops at rest areas for restroom breaks.  For today’s tech addict generation, there’s free Wi-Fi onboard and outlets for charging.

The verdict

There’s mixed reviews on this, varying from region to region but most agreed it’s good for short distance travel.  New York Times reporter Seth Kugel sums it best, Megabus is good leisure travel for the: truly flexible, comfort-be-damned, all-out budget traveler (aka me).

My friend enjoyed it better than Greyhound and never had a problem.  But here are some problems you may come across and some solutions:
  • Mechanical problems & breakdowns happen - bring a lot of patience
  • Toilet breaks are on the bus or at a rest area - bring hand sanitizer and wipes 
  • It’s not always on time - bring entertainment
  • The temperature on the bus is cold - bring a blanket or jacket
  • There’s luggage restrictions - bring less baggage 
  • The seats are not comfortable - bring a pillow
  • Wi-Fi is spotty – bring a book
  • For all other problems that arise - bring your sense of adventure.  
The bus ride itself will be an adventure but think of all the other adventures that lie ahead with this $1 investment.  When you arrived at your destination, rent a car or use public transportation for inner city exploration.  Let Megabus take you to larger cities like Chicago and Atlanta, where you can fly out to more exotic world destinations at a cheaper rate than from Louisville.

Happy adventuring friends.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Super Party at Yelp's Art in Action 2015

If you're dreading the week ahead, here's a midweek super party to look forward to, Yelp's Art in Action 2015. Best part, everything is FREE.  I went to the first event last year and loved the lively artistic vibe, the interaction with vendors, unique performances (think fire breathers, graffiti artists), delicious food samples, and special drinks from local vendors.  I highly suggest this for lovers of local businesses, unique entertainment, food, fun, and the arts.  All my friends that went last year are coming back and you should too to make next week a lot more exciting.

What to expect this year:

Food samples from Joy Luck
  • 15 food vendors
  • 20 featured drinks
  • 12 interactive local business booths 
  • $20 off a Taxi 7 ride for those not wanting to drive 
  • 5 performances
  • 3 DJ services 
  • 1 unforgettable event
Now that you know how awesome this is,  here are the details.
  • Location: The Gillespie
    421 W Market St
    Louisville, KY 40202
  • Date: Wednesday, 10/21/2015 
  • Time: 7 p.m. - 10 p.m. 
  • Cost: FREE. There's a $10 suggested donation to a local charity, Fair Event Vendors Alliance)
  • 21+ or older only, so bring your ID
Before you go:
  • RSVP is required through Yelp.  Sign up for a free Yelp account here.
  • Deadline to RSVP is: 10 a.m., Wednesday 10/21/2015 or whenever capacity is reached.
  • To increase your chance, make sure you have a clear profile photo.  Look for an email from Yelp as a confirmation that you're in.  
  • More detailed information from the Yelp event page here.   
    Wait there's more:

    This famous chef will be preparing your food at the VIP hour.
    • FREE Yelp Elite Giveaway Experience.  Basically an invite only VIP experience an hour before the event, with free VIP giveaway bags, exclusive entertainment from Swing '39, food demo by Chef Bruce Ucan of The Mayan Cafe and a first taste of Ballotin Chocolate Whiskey & Fond of Louisville. 
    • Deadline to enter the giveaway: Tuesday, 5 p.m., 10/20/2015.  Enter the giveaway here. 
    • Another way to get into the VIP experience (and a free lunch) is sign up to volunteer here. 
    Hope you can make it and see you there!

    *Photo cred: all photos from Yelp. 

    Saturday, October 10, 2015

    Amazing Seafood from the Seafood Lady

    One of my favorite things in life is discovering amazing food at the most unexpected places.  On this dreary Friday, my day is brightened by the discovery of amazing seafood from the Seafood Lady.  This Florida native makes the seafood at Joe’s Crab Shack looks like the work of an amateur. 

    To find the Seafood Lady, don’t bother looking for the sign.  Instead, look for a large crowd of people gathered around a nondescript food truck at the corner of E. Kentucky Street and Shelby Street (especially around noon).  The food truck is at the corner next to an abandoned shack.  There’s no sign on the truck, it’ll look like this.

    The line might look long but most people already ordered and are just waiting for their food, so make sure you ask where the line begins.  Seafood is the star here and you can choose from the following options.  You’ll see the menu by the order window and homemade signs of specials that day.

    I ordered three boxes of the Half Combo Plate, $15 each which included 1/2 lb of Snow-crab cluster, 5 Jumbo Shrimp and 2 sides (corn, potatoes, sausage or boiled eggs).  The lady in front of  me advised that the Full Combo Plate at $25/box can easily feed two but it’ll be hard to share once you got the food!  Everything is made fresh to order so expect a long wait.  I came at 1:00 and I waited 40 minutes for my food and oh boy was it worth the wait.  

    As soon as he handed me the plastic bag with three Styrofoam boxes inside, I can smell the buttery goodness and the spices oozing from the inside.  After an agonizing 15 minute car ride back to the office, my eyes were feasting on this:

    It tasted even better than it looked.  The shrimps and crab legs were fresh, succulent and seasoned with a buttery creamy spicy sauce.  There was a little bit of soul, a dash of cajun and a lot of flavor in one box.  One bite and I'm transported to the coast.  Seafood any fresher and you would have to catch them yourself.

    My sides of corn and two boiled eggs completed the meal and made me happily stuffed.  For the amount and quality of the food, $15 for a meal is a bargain.  It'll be hard to find a deal like this at any seafood restaurant in town.

    For lovers of seafood, this place is not to be missed.  The neighborhood has a bad reputation but bring your common sense anywhere you go in Louisville and you'll be fine.  If you're apprehensive, bring a friend.  The owners are nice and everyone I met are friendly and welcoming.  One of the rewards of venturing off the beaten path is a delicious surprise.  

    The Seafood Lady
    103 W. Oak st. Louisville, KY. 40203
    Louisville, KY 40203
    (502) 210-9381

    Wednesday: 12 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
    Friday: 12 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
    Saturday: 2:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. 
    Her story

    *Updated: New Location as of 2/19/2017

    If you go, here are a few things to keep in mind:
    • It's cash only. Currently accepting Visa, Mastercard and American Express
    • It's first come, first serve and some days food run out early.  Food are made to order so be patient, it can take a while. 
    • To avoid the crowds, don't show up right when they open
    • Only get the fries if you eat it right away, otherwise it won't taste good.  The best deal is the $10 fish sandwich, 2 large pieces and 2 sides. 
    • You scan schedule delivery through Be Right There Delivery .  The service area is very limited though. 
    • They just moved into a larger space at the corner of 1st and Oak St.  
    • Check her social media page, Instagram and Facebook for daily updates and location.