4/9/18, “Magic Bus”


Hi Everyone,

I hope that all is well with you. I’ve been on the road again, to visit one of my daughters and celebrate her birthday, in LA. I do that every year. LA always seems like a fun city to me, and there’s lots to do. And usually the weather is warm and balmy in Southern California, but it was chilly this time (but it was snowing in NY while I was there, so I can’t complain too much!!).

My means of transportation to get LA is a little bit unusual. I have——a rock star bus!!! That sounds crazy, I know, but it has been a VERY useful and fun vehicle in my life. Years ago, when my kids were really little, we took them to a dude ranch in Wyoming, and rented the bus and driver to get there. It is a very long drive, but the bus was supremely comfortable. We didn’t sleep on the bus, but it made it much easier to travel all day and into the evening (without stopping to eat). And we all liked it so much, that we rented the bus again the following year, when we went to Wyoming again. Then we took it skiing a couple of times in the winter, and drove to LA. Eventually, it became an important means of transportation, when I began doing TV movies first for ABC, then NBC, and we were doing miniseries. I had to go to LA frequently to consult on them, but didn’t want to leave my kids at home repeatedly, so I took all 9 children along!!! Travelling with 9 children, all very young and close in age (at one point I had 4 children under 4, and 4 car seats in my car), 2 people to help me, my husband and myself, was like moving an army, with all the equipment—cribs, strollers, a pram for the youngest baby, toys, clothes, playpens, high chairs—-trying to put all that on a plane was an absolute nightmare, and the ‘rock star bus’ was so easy, and still is. From San Francisco to LA by plane takes about 5 hours, door to door, without delays—–and there are ALWAYS delays to and from San Francisco, because they only use one runway in bad weather, so short distance flights are either very delayed or cancelled. I’ve spent as long as 8 hours in the SF Airport, waiting to get a flight to LA, or on the way back. And it takes only ONE hour longer to take the bus from door to door. And that little extra hour is well worth it.

The beauty of the bus is that you can do whatever you want, sit around barefoot, lie down, sleep, read, eat, make phone calls, watch a movie, talk on the phone, answer emails, you can take as much luggage as you want, or bring home shopping in shopping bags, without having to pack it in a suitcase. It’s a totally relaxing easy way to travel, and I still use the bus whenever I go to LA. No airport stress, no delays, I can sleep, or talk on the phone, or do whatever.

Eventually, after renting the bus every year, we decided to buy it, about 25 years ago, after renting it for 5 years—so the bus isn’t new today, but runs like clockwork, we maintain it well. We had the same bus driver each time we rented it, and he still drives us today. I redecorated it when I bought it, and it’s all done in durable navy velvety fabrics and brown leathers, dark wood paneling, and navy carpeting, with a beige fabric ceiling. All the seating is very comfortable. There are 2 main rooms. The front room seats 16 people, with two long couches (where even a tall man can stretch out to sleep), two big brown leather club chairs with a round table between them (to eat or play cards), a dining table with two banquettes (perfect for Scrabble, other games, or a meal—or homework, or editing!!), and a big comfortable chair at the front of the bus where you can watch the scenery go by. There is a bathroom (with a shower in it too), and a full kitchen. And in the ‘back room’, a big round dining table, with comfortable banquettes all around it, and 4 comfortable club chairs. There are 2 TV’s to watch 2 separate movies in back or front room. You can eat, sleep, shower, dress and get where you’re going, without ever leaving the bus, with big luggage compartments below. The bus is the same size as a Greyhound bus, about 44 feet long. There is no sleeping accommodation, because we didn’t want it. The back dining room used to be the bedroom, but we did away with that in the beginning. There are too many of us, or there were, to camp out on the bus. But you can travel very comfortably for long distances for many hours, with everything you could possibly need on board—-even Internet access now, stereo system, etc.

I used to get teased a lot about my ‘rock star bus’, but it’s one of those luxuries and self-indulgences that I really love, and have hung onto, even when the kids grew up. My children still love it. It’s an incredibly comfortable way to travel. I don’t have an airplane—but I have a bus!! With long security lines, and the stress of travelling, delays so much of the time, and crowded conditions on the plane, going by bus sure is easy.  I just spent a wonderful 3 days with one of my daughters in LA, had a smooth easy trip down, read and slept for part of the trip. I had a ball in LA with my daughter, and we did some shopping, and I brought my bags back to SF, without worry about how heavy my suitcases were, or how many I had. I chatted on the phone for part of it, and enjoyed the peace and quiet as we drove through the agricultural heart of California, with miles and miles of corn, nuts, and all kinds of crops growing. It’s way more comfortable than a plane!!!

It’s one of my famous means of travel, and I’m sure it makes me look a little eccentric as I pull up in my bus—but it’s cozy and warm in a snowstorm (and has the bathroom and kitchen, so you never need to stop). It’s just plain fun…..so if you see a bus whiz past you somewhere, it may not be a Greyhound—it may just be me on my magic bus!!!


Have a great week!!


love, Danielle

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3 Comments so far
  1. Elizabeth Humber April 14, 2018 8:51 pm

    You never cease to amaze me!! The bus sounds incredible…practical and FUN. I’m a huge fan and have been reading your books for many, many years. I’ve read all but four (not counting several of the new ones). I’m so glad you started this blog way back when. It’s been a pleasure to read. So often I think to myself, “I can really relate to that.” as you and I are about the same age and seem to think alike regarding a number of things. I enjoyed seeing you with Robin Roberts a few weeks ago. Thanks for sharing your life with all of us and writing books that I always look forward to reading.

  2. susan auburn April 15, 2018 9:46 pm

    I just wanted to say that it sounds like great fun on your magic bus Also could you send me a list of your movies,i have about six or seven.I also I have many of your books,hard to keep up. With regards sue auburn

  3. Sue Settle May 10, 2018 10:12 am

    I am so sorry about what this person did to you. If you want something badly enough, get off your butt and work for it. We should not expect others to carry us. I am one of your biggest fans. Could you post some pictures of the Paris house on your next blog? Do you also own a house in the Ozarks? I would love for you to write about my home state of Mississippi, we get put down so much. We are a poor state but have many well educated people that don’t get recognized. We also give to many charities and earn the right to be called the hospitality state. I am a teacher and work at Corinth Middle School. I love to teach reading and try to help my students enjoy it as well.