I didn’t fully understand the situation. I knew we’d be ‘camping’ on a bus and grilling and watching races.
I didn’t know the bus would “go-in” on a Wednesday or Thursday. I didn’t know the bus would require a pre-race day running to see if it would start and stay started.
I didn’t know a test drive was required to determine if the bus would continue to run once out on the road. To see if it would keep running while driven, and if not, to fix whatever seemed to be wrong. And lastly, as Jeff put it, “to make sure the wheels on the bus go round.”
The first two were accomplished without me, which was fine. The last one, made me laugh thinking of that old school bus song. Historically, Jeff had been a great tour guide, so I was looking forward to getting a first ride around the local back streets.
We climbed in the remarkably less stinky bus. Jeff cranked the key hard to started the engine. It coughed a little, but then chugged to life with a roar. I didn’t remember school busses ever being that loud, but, then again, a lot of the usual interior was missing. Plus, as it turned out, it was a bit of muffler, too.
I sat on the side bench, next to the door, in view of Jeff, and happily settled in. It took a while to get out of the driveway, which seemed a little more rutty to me than usual. Seatbelt-less, I slid off my seat little when Jeff turned the corner onto Roger’s Highway. I grabbed hold of the bench, slightly embarrassed and sat myself back into the seat.
He didn’t seem to notice my floundering, but I watching him wrangle the shifting and the wheel and the spring-loaded driver’s seat. I grew concerned. Driving that thing was taking tremendous effort and a good deal of his strength. I was remembering a skinny, hippie bus driver I had once, and didn’t recall him having that much trouble controlling the bus.
Having crested atop a slight hill, the stuttering beast picked-up speed on the flat-away. I was launched into jumping bean mode. Catapulted; repetitively airborne. Landing with ungraceful “oomph”s.
Honestly, I was flopping around, bounced off of and back into my seat with no chance of steadying. There was no point in trying to speak. Having ridden up many long rises on wooden roller coasters where it was fashionable to create warbled screams for fun, I intuitively knew I’d be incoherent.
It’d be like shouting into a fan, while riding a bike downhill on a dirt road. I would have had to catch my breath, first, anyway. The way this experience was going didn’t seem like it’d lend itself to that likelihood, anytime soon.
About three minutes into our excursion, I finally got the chance, when Jeff necessarily downshifted at stop sign.
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