How Much Did It Cost


The most frequent question I am asked about my bus is “How much did it cost?” Which I freely admit, kind of irritates me. American’s want to know the cost of everything, but at the same time, I always seem to find that they know the true value of nothing.

You ever notice that?

No one has ever asked for instance, “How much does it weigh?” How long did it take to build it? How many miles of wire is inside it? How did you find it?” Stuff like that.

They always just offer up … “How much did it cost?”

Taking all of this one step further, it is like my Daddy used to say: “Son, if you have to ask, you caint afford it.” Lot of truth in that.  Another thing that mystifies me is the “rumor that just because you own a bus” you are made out of money … Simply aint so.

Most of us who reside in the bus community of life, know what they cost. We fuel them, repair them, polish and cherish them, and all of it requires an investment upon our part to make it all work.  Contrary to popular opinion we are not all stinkin’ rich … some of smell a little bad true … But I have yet to meet all that many millionaires driving old used buses.

Now we will run this one up the flagpole and see if we can find anyone who will salute it. The most expensive part of any of this, is believe it or not, is the time. The time is the most expensive part of this endeavor, not the loose change.

You know, when you reach my mile-marker in life, middle age, a small voice inside you says … “Just because you are retired and living the good life. Just because you have reached that particular pinnacle in life, that doesn’t mean you should not take advantage of new challenges and seek out new adventures. You get on this crazy merry-go-round we call life and go for it, and by golly, you should make the most of it. Find yourself a good used bus on the Internet and then go for it!”

When you hear this little voice in your head, beware. This is the voice of Satan. Walk quickly, no run, to the nearest exit and check yourself out!

One night at a bus rally not long ago I asked a guy, “What does a paint job like that cost?” He smiled and said, “Y’know? I really LOVE MY EAGLE and you don’t want to know what that paint job cost, you really don’t.” So as you can readily see, “None of us are immune to this affliction, we all do it from time to time.”

A couple of weeks ago a guy walked up to me at the fuel island and he asked, “Where can I find a bus like this?” and I just smiled my toothy smile and said, “Nowhere, I got the ONLY ONE IN THE WORLD LIKE IT.” Which is true, no one else has one like mine, some are similar, but none are just exactly like it.

Not to be deterred he then he looked me straight in the eye and said it …. “How much did it cost?”

I just shrugged my shoulders and said, “Don’t know, never figured it.” What this guy just doesn’t get or understand is one simple truth. None of this is about money, it is rather, about time. All of it gets down to time, we don’t have enough of it, and we (all of us) are all running out of it in one way or the other.

That is the bottom line … the true cost.

This, I suppose is the best idea I was able to come up with this week. I freely offer it up to share with you, and all you had to pay me was a little of your time. Where can you get a better deal than that?

See you in the fast lane.


End Of The Day

Nice to be home, no more … Construction Ahead … Lane shuts down in 1500 feet and you have some dummy right alongside of you.  Why they pull in there and then homestead the left-front, campout in the fast lane is beyond me.  El Reno Oklahoma, and it feels good to be in familiar territory.  Much has been learned and things will again change.  Change seems to be inescapable in my life, things never remain the same.  So what has been learned at the end of the day?

For starters, “trips to the Southwest in the month of August” should NOT be made.  Northern Arizona has better highways than the southern half of the state.  Remember the right lane is always going to be closed, bet your last dollar on that.  Most importantly keep in mind, men in speedo’s past the age of fifty should not be allowed in campground pool areas under any circumstances.

New wrinkle in my life.  Denny’s has taken over the restaurant chores at the Flyin J truck-stops across the country.  Now you not only get to wait at the fuel counter for your fuel bus/truck needs, but you have the added bonus of waiting forever for your food on the other side of the building.

Truly a marriage made in heaven.

Now it is back to learning where all the buttons on the remote seem to be.  Taking care of the yard and the house, which seem to always need attention.  Discovering that a friend has died while you were gone.  One thing in this world that never seems to take a holiday and that is death.

We will miss him.

But I digress.  Bus did well, we lacked one mile of rolling 3,300 miles on this trip and the fuel mileage came in at 7.1 mpg.  (Now this is kind of skewed a bit, as the generator was running almost constantly because of the heat, so the actual MPG number isn’t available.)  All you naysayers can bad-mouth Detroit’s all you want, but she didn’t use one drop of oil the entire trip, I am here to testify!

We burned something like $1,392.00 of the stuff, stopped about six times to fuel up, and took on about $135.00 worth on average at each stop.  Costs more to operate an old hoopie on the highways and byways of the west these days that is a given.

Believe it or not, by far, food was our biggest expense.

I never thought I would live long enough to see it, but we got socked $74 for a buffet in Las Vegas.  (My grandson says that BUFFET stands for “Big Fat Folks Eating Together.”  Ah, the wisdom of a child huh?) Bargains can still be found, but the hook is a little thing called a “Players Card” you need one of them.  Sign up today and receive as an added bonus, free junk mail for the rest of your life.

Biggest hit on the trip was the new lip gloss that has just come out, it is in the flavor of “Hershey’s Chocolate” and this makes chapped lips almost bearable.  Really liked that.

Absolute worst?

Hoover Dam has a terrorist check point and that backed up traffic over five miles, that had to be the least favorite item on the trip agenda.  On one particular day it was backed up from the top of the dam all the way back to Van’s house, and that is a stretch believe me.

Only encountered one Eagle on the trip, he was hooking it the other way, gave us a big wave and was gone.  Mostly found ourselves in the company of MCI and Prevo coaches, doing the tourist trade in the canyon-land areas.

Met some dork wearing brown shoes and black socks in a campground who insisted the coach was an old Trailways.   Even tho it was explained repeatedly that it was never a Trailways Coach (Amador Coach lines in Sacramento had it for its entire working life).  But Mr. I know everything about buses … had it in his head that because it had an “Eagle on the front of it, it was a Trailways, all them Trailways had an Eagle on the front of them.”

What is that old saying?

“Those of you who think you know it all, sure irritate the rest of us, who do?”  He didn’t get a International Eagles welcome card needless to say.

First trip in years we did not use the CB (left it turned off the entire trip) because of the lack of a profanity filter.  Outside of Ardmore, Oklahoma, the left lane shut down and I had to opportunity to cut off two entertainer Provosts’ and they had to follow an old Eagle for about eight miles thru the construction zone, I liked that.

The old leading the new … Now there is a country song if’n I ever heard one.  There you go Songman, free inspiration!

Have several items to address now that it is back home, and we will have to get back to work on the “I will fix it” side of bus ownership.  Indicator lites on the water spray & fuel transfer switch seem to be the order of the day.  Need a new washer on the toilet flush valve, stop the floor from flooding every time you flush … It is always something when you own a bus.

Wrapping & insulating the air conditioning transfer lines, need a new interior lite, a little of this and a little of that.  Might even consider a new project tow car, something a little out of the ordinary.

Like Van sez … “It is the little things you do that count” and there is certainly a nugget of truth in that.

A good trip, not a great trip, but it was okay.

Made some new friends along the way, saw some interesting remarkable wonders of nature.  Las Vegas has changed considerably since our last visit some ten years ago.  It is now one huge cement canyon of multi-story monuments dedicated to losers.

Incredibly crowded beyond comprehension and of course, sidewalks full of big old gals in floppy hats, cellulite Queens of the fifties walking the strip in huge multi-colored bicycle shorts, and as always …. hotter than hell.

Welcome to Sin City.

Stuck a Abe Lincoln-fiver in a machine and hit it for $25, we left with that, it was later dedicated to the Oil Executives Retirement fund in Eloy, Arizona, a place where six billion people have never been.

The grandson sat down on the poop shooter a couple of times without bothering to put the seat down, that was amusing.  His little sister experienced the same amount of mistakes, only her’s were brodies on the front step.

On the third time (after almost killing herself in the stairwell area) she remarked, “Jeeze Grandpa, after three times you would think that I would learn huh?”  I just nodded my head in silent approval.

Good to be back.

It is refreshing for me to no longer find myself running over curbs, or intently listening for my order number of my food, over the constant din of others.  No more long lonely stretches of desert interstate, mind numbing mile after mile of nothing but miles.

The little voice just to the right of the drivers’ chair asking in the dark “Grandpa, where do butterflies sleep at night?”  A wife whispering in the bedroom early in the morning … “These kids are driving me insane …I wasn’t ready for this!”

Now for the reality and closing somewhat fragmented thought.

“Home is always going be where you park it … As my friend Red would say … You can travel east or travel west, but no matter where you go … There you is.”

See you in the fast lane …  The right one is shut down for repairs.