Cleveland party bus offers fun, safe ride

Tyler Norris

A night on the Rockin’ Cleveland party bus

University Drive was quiet at 10 p.m. Friday night. The only noise came from the driveway outside the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house.

It looked like any other college party. A group of more than 30 people stood in small circles talking and laughing. Then the bus rolled down the street. The brakes squeaked as the bus stopped in front of the building.

The old full-sized school bus was painted blue and grey and dubbed “Morrison.” The rear quarter of the bus bore a 4-foot logo with the words: “Rockin’ Cleveland.”

Rockin’ Cleveland offers bus rides all over Northeast Ohio. The company provides the buses as transportation for parties, bar crawls and any other occasion involving drunken people who need to get from point A to point B.

Students paid a fee of $20 as they filed on to the bus carrying cases of Bud Light, bottles of liquor and backpacks.

The bus was sectioned off into three rooms. The first room was two-thirds of the length of the bus. Seats lined the walls facing inward. A small bar was nestled in the back corner near the entrance to the next rooms. The other rooms sat four to six people.

Everyone slowly settled into a seat or found a spot by the bar. Most were already drinking when they found their seats. A group standing by the bar poured shots into Sheetz coffee cups.

“The party already started before the bus left,” a girl said as someone handed her one of the foam cups.

Riders burst into laughter and loud groans when the first beer spilled before the bus even left.

Soon, a man stood up in the front of the bus and urged everyone to quiet down for a second so he could explain the rules.

“You on the stripper pole, shut up,” yelled a guy toward the back.

The party bus had two simple rules: Use the buddy system while in Cleveland and no bodily fluids on the bus. Any vomit would result in a $150 fine.

“Someone will throw up on the bus by the end of the night,” joked one rider. “Probably a girl.”

The lights went off and the music started. The bus was dark except for black lights above the windows that illuminated the graffiti-style mural on the ceiling.

The bus pulled away from University Drive around 11 p.m., as people sang and danced to a Lil’ Wayne song.

Dancing continued throughout the trip to Cleveland. Every time the bus turned, at least one dancer would fall over onto people sitting along the side of the bus.

The coolers behind the bar ran low before the bus got to Streetsboro. A stop at Sheetz gave everyone a chance to use the bathroom and restock coolers.

A Black Eyed Peas song began to play as the party bus cruised north on Interstate 480.

“Tonight’s gonna be a good good night,” shouted the entire bus as everyone broke out in song and dance simultaneously.

The riders became more excited when the bus came to the stop light at the end of the off-ramp near Progressive Field.

People scattered to find windows. They stuck their heads out and yelled at the city streets. Cleveland knew Kent had come to visit.

“Chug em’ down,” roared a rider from the front of the bus as they approached the Barley House.

“Drink em’ up,” answered a number of bar patrons in staggered timing.

The bus came to a stop directly at the front door of the bar around midnight. Riders filed into the Barley House trying to keep the buddy system.

Bar patrons began returning to the bus just before last call. This time they held gyros instead of beer cases.

“There’s a guy selling them for $5 across the street,” one student said between bites. A number of riders scrambled to find $5.

“He doesn’t take credit cards,” said the same student after another bite.

It is after 2:30 a.m. by the time everyone settled and was accounted for on the bus. The bus was now peppered with sleeping students who used the shoulder of the person next to them as a pillow.

A man from Cleveland who hadn’t taken the trip from Kent hoped for a free ride back. People yelled out the window to the man after they kicked him off.

“Let’s go home,” shouted a student, as he tried to calm the argument. The bus pulled away, leaving the Cleveland resident in a cloud of exhaust.

The bus was calm while at a stop light still in Cleveland. When the light turned green, a girl fell directly on her back. The night was approaching its end.

Most students still talked and laughed for most of the ride home. Students took turns napping. As one fell asleep, another would wake up and rejoin the party.

“Hey, can I get a beer?” yelled one rider towards the bar.

“Beer’s gone,” replied the guy digging in the cooler tucked behind the bar.

The bus quieted, and students got more anxious as they approached Kent. Another bathroom break in Streetsboro rejuvenated a few people.

The bus returned to Sigma Alpha Epsilon after 4 a.m. Riders who were not yet ready to sleep filed into the house to continue the night.

Contact on-campus entertainment reporter Tyler Norris at [email protected]