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Start the Presses: To the Bay Area and back

August 23, 2013|By Dan Evans, dan.evans@latimes.com | By Dan Evans, dan.evans@latimes.com
  • Megabus passengers get on board for a San Francisco trip. (File phot)
Megabus passengers get on board for a San Francisco trip.…

At just after 10 Monday morning, I hiked up the steep steps of a Megabus coach outside the downtown Burbank Metrolink station.

The company, which has most of its routes on the East Coast, recently opened up service between Burbank and the Bay Area. Not being one to pass up an opportunity to travel on the company dime, I did an overnight in San Francisco to check it out.

Muggy air greeted me on the upper deck, belying the tips I had read online about how cold it could get onboard. I found a seat near the middle of the packed bus and sat down heavily.

As the half-dozen people who got on in Burbank filled the remaining seats, our fellow passengers looked on impatiently, waiting for us to sit so the driver could start the engine and crank up the increasingly needed air conditioning.

It came on with a blast, inducing a shiver from my seatmate. Kim Johnson, originally from the San Fernando Valley, recently moved with her husband to the Bay Area suburb of Pittsburg. Down in Los Angeles for a baby shower, she said she prefers riding the bus to flying.

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"Especially with all of the security you have to go through at the airport," she said. "It's all necessary, but it's just so much easier to take the bus."

Johnson, a gregarious and cheerful African American woman, said she loves the conversations she has on the bus. People are just so friendly, she said, and you never know who you're going to meet.

That goes, of course, both ways. Her extended family is connected with the famed Roscoe's Chicken and Waffle chain. There appears to have been a falling out, though, as Roscoe's website only lists Herb Hudson as the founder, with no mention of the Johnson clan.

Johnson parenthetically acknowledged this, noting her family is now running two restaurants — one in Oakland and the other in nearby Walnut Creek — under the name "Home of Chicken and Waffles."

"We can't use the name," she said simply.

Johnson said she still gets tickled about how people react when they enjoy the food. Some tap their feet, she said, others shake their head, and still others lick their fingers.

"And I especially get a kick out of watching white people eat it," she said with a laugh. "What is it? Chicken and waffles? An omelet?"

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