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.

BCO