One Good Trip

A friend and I were discussing this “Alaskan Gold Rush ” television show that is currently making the rounds on the Discovery Channel.  These poor saps, six guys from Oregon, are running all of this dilapidated very used equipment and mining for gold in Alaska.  Their collective dream is to find or discover the “Glory Hole,” a hidden ancient waterfall where all of the glacial ice age gold is supposed to be.  Each day these hearty souls go to work and chase their dream.

They do this on a tract of land in Porcupine Creek, Alaska, which is supposed to have something like 15 million dollars in gold reserves.  They have gone through some $270K and so far, after close to four months, they have found only about $8K in gold … So much for that dream eh?  Tonight (Friday) will be the stunning conclusion and I suppose final “count up” on how much gold they have discovered (check your local listings).

All they really had to do was ask Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Bros.  “All the gold in California, is in a bank in the middle of Beverly Hills, in someone else’s name.”  Old CD, but still fairly relevant taking into consideration today’s economic conditions.  I am fairly sure that bankers secretly dream, but I don’t think it is about buses.  For some strange reason, the DVR let me down last night, and now I have to wait on the final count up (how much they found) which won’t be on until Monday.  Sometimes life, just like the current price of diesel, is just so unfair.

Some men desire riches and fame, others search for gold and precious stones.  A few jump out of perfectly good airplanes or push the edge of the envelope every weekend on every conceivable thrill seeking high-octane machine designed by man.  Often they climb to the highest peak or scale the face of a seemingly impassable granite rock formations.

When asked why?  They just reply because it is there … the only explanation forthcoming logical or otherwise.

Kevin Costner had his “Field of Dreams” and I am sure if you did a search you could find a million more.   One of my favorite episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond is when Marie (the mother) asks Ray “if he had another Happy Dream last night” to which he replies ……. “Maw!”  Most men live lives of quiet desperation, and some of us, dream.

Which brings us to the bus guys.  As a natural progression of things, my friend and I, we ended up talking about what bus guys dream about.  What is it that hearty men of challenge, those Mr. Good-wrench – Snap On Wanna Be’s and mechanical know-how Guru’s who consistently major in minutia want out of life?

The owner of a second hand bus, he wants for riches and gold, but not for personal enrichment, but rather to just keep it on the road and out of the shop..  A bus nut secretly dreams of making a trip …. JUST ONE TRIP … where everything goes just swell.  Nothing goes wrong, that mythical journey down life’s highway that is for the most part relaxing and uneventful.  Where every turn is a left turn and the passing lane is never shut down in fifteen hundred feet.

Who hasn’t dreamed over a cup of coffee at Denny’s late into the night of forty-five feet of luxury, lined with Maui Wowie Teaky Wood from Hawaii and every electronic gizmo there ever was, at the flip of a rocker.  A shop big enough to hold a Goodyear blimp and a little room left over for the John Deere lawn tractor.

While we are at it?

Here is another insightful observation I will share with you.  I haven’t a clue to what women dream about, other than this, “it isn’t me.”  (I know that one for a fact.)   I can assure you, I know what a bus guy dreams about.  Stainless steel, no rust and a non wrinkled side.  Shiny aluminum wheels that you don’t have to polish, bright lit LED’s, tagged and labeled wiring in the bays, instrument lighting you can actually see after dark, a nut or a bolt that breaks loose the first time without nut-buster.  A dump valve that doesn’t leak yesterdays groceries when you open it up.

Bus guys in the quiet moment of the day dream of ….. Miles and miles of highway and no cops or D.O.T., a cold start that is smokeless on a chilly morning, an air buzzer that never goes off, or if it does, it runs a minute or two and then quits, a grandchild who doesn’t slam the front door.

Bus nuts pine for … 79.9 diesel and no line at the fuel desk, a wide expanse of open ground, an occasional uninhabited parking area for a U-turn when he is lost, and plenty of room at the back of the lot, when the day is over and he is tired.  Hot, black coffee, two sugars, and no conversation at the beginning of the day.

You can always spot a bus guy, there are a number of different ways.  Here are just a few, in no particular order:

Your favorite salad dressing is Dello 100.
You have pulled down all the pictures of Lonnie Anderson, Dolly Parton and JayLo, and replaced them with bus posters from MAK Publishing.
The word Re-tread takes on a totally new meaning other than early retirement.
When you are eating out and you hear the word “Chrome” you automatically turn your head in the direction of the voice that said it.
Your wife insists that you “clap your hands” (so you cannot pick anything up) while visiting the truckers accessories section of the truck stop.
All your ball-caps and your underwear have Eagles on them.
R-U-S-T becomes a dirty four letter word.
You drive all the way to Florida to visit the world’s largest chrome shop.
The aroma of diesel smoke in the morning smells better than fresh coffee or donuts.
You admit to your true age but you lie about fuel mileage.
A toad is no longer a reptile or in the frog family.

Then there is reality, and our bus ….  “Some men climb a mountain, some men swim the sea, some men fly above the sky, they are what they must be”… Baby The Rain Must Fall, Glenn Yardbourgh.

Another bus nut recently summed it all up for me rather nicely on the BCM Bus Board.  He said:

Any trip that you make it home is a good one.
Any trip that you make it home on time is a great one.
Any trip that you make it home on time & can reuse the bus is an EXCELLENT ADVENTURE!

One thing about bus ownership there is never a day goes by, that something happens, good or bad.  Little tail-wind, no traffic, full tank of fuel, these are good things.  Looking down at the gauges and the alternator reading four volts, well, that aint a good thing.  You get out the spare wire and alligator clips, wire cutters and you rig up something to get it on down the road and back to the house.

Sometimes you get lucky, and and it all works, and it is just like the man says … you get home ‘’on time and you can reuse the bus again at sometime in the future.”  And then there are other times, that is what Coach Net or AAA are for.

Our last trip out, we blew the servo on our coach and had no throttle, 800 RPM and that was it.  Six hundred and forty miles from home in Roswell, New Mexico, the home of space aliens, feed lots and few diesel shops.  We spent what most consider an afternoon of some serious head scratching pulled over next to the curb and I finally wrap my head around it and got it figured out.

Fortunately we came up with a way to nurse it home on nothing but the cruise control and resume feature.  Limping home on New Mexico State #390 ( a great little two lane by the way, if you have a throttle) I looked at the wife and said to her, “I would like to make one trip, just ONE LOUSY TRIP where I didn’t have to work on this monster.”  But my bride, bless her heart, she has heard it all before.

Many, many times before.

She just smiled that smile that she has, nodded her head, and went back to her I-touch and video poker.  Women do not share the same dreams as men.  I have conclusive proof that I will gladly share around the truck-rim campfire some night at a bus meet to be named later.

One trouble free trip … It is a nice thought, perhaps if I may?

A nice dream.

Much like the boys searching for the Glory Hole up north, I haven’t personally reached that elusive pinnacle of motoring pleasure, but I am going to keep shooting for it.  It’s buried out there somewhere on some highway that I have yet to discover.

See you in the fast lane … Watch those right-handers.