There is an old saying “familiarity breeds contempt” this might apply to some bus owners. We spend an inordinate amount of time in our buses, under our buses, by our buses. We eat in them, sleep in them, travel and work on them, sometimes under the most difficult of circumstances.
There are also creative and very imaginative people in our midst that go the extra mile.
Someone who quickly comes to mind is a friend of mine, Mark Renner, he has a bus he is restoring and although it is some 66 years old, is guaranteed to be a show stopper in a month or so at a bus rally in Blytheville, Arkansas. You can read about this upcoming event here. In a way it is pretty amazing, when you stop to consider that this bus sat in the Arizona desert for over 30 years before Mark discovered it.
Believe it or not, there are some marvelous old buses out there, and the people who maintain them, restore them are creative individuals down to a man, and sometimes, to a lady. Rolling works of art and reminders of a time now long gone, built, maintained, and driven by bus nuts. One by one they are located, brought home and restored, and then they begin a totally new life with a completely different class of riders. (We take ‘em everywhere, they basically ride for free, but we allow them to pay us, with hugs and kisses.)
Other than a boat load of illicit street drugs in the sixties, I cannot think of anything in my life that I have spent more hard earned coin on, other than my bus. The bus has been a steady money-pit for a number of years and consistently ate up my discretionary income at an alarming pace. It has a times maxed out my limits on several credit cards and caused me to not sleep at night on several occasions.
I’ve been at too many times, the first in line at the diesel shop and the last one to leave at the end of the day. Spent far too many days in my shop and very few at the movies. Lately it has occurred to me that we also have a tendency to take our buses for granted. As we spend a lot of time with these objects of our affection, we tend to look at them much differently than the general public. I know that I refer to mine as “an old bus” that I own, and not much more than that (it is after all thirty years old this April). It is my old hoopie, which like an ancient rock subjected to erosion in the wind, has been shaped and molded into something of my own making, truly unique, not another one in the world, exactly like mine. Which my grandson would say is “kinda cool.”
Buses or motor-coaches as some are called, are massive by design, everything about them tends to lean towards the large side of the scale. They are tall, some of them are wide, all of them are equipped with huge tires, that would dwarf the average automobile owner. So when you stop to think about it, “a first time glance or inspection of a coach” would have a tendency to overwhelm some folks. The other day, my bride brought a couple of her friends into our shop and asked me to “give them the ten cent tour” of our coach. Most of the time I will not go out of my way to provide tours of this nature, but you have to remember, “this is the lady who prepares my chow” and I desperately need to make sure she is happy.
This is the point in the story where the sweat equity, all the checks, the updates, the crawling on your belly like a reptile, all of it, comes into play. As I took this couple around the coach, and pointed out the old and the new, the who, what, where and why of it all, I heard ….. “Wow … Wow … Oh wow!” (over and over) … and I just kind of smiled to myself and took it all in.
Good reviews are always welcome and they are nice to hear.