Saturday, June 12, 2010
GPS Woes In Treasure Bus
Gary here, I arrived in California on Tuesday, June 1, 2010 to pick up our Treasure Bus at the storage yard where it was stored the previous seven months and wondered if it would even start. Our Treasure Bus is our storage unit and our moving van all rolled into one vehicle which enabled us to move on a shoestring. I checked the oil, other fluids, tires, batteries and much to my delight the bus started right up. I drove to a weigh scale and found out the bus weighed 24,000 pounds exactly, just under the legal limit for a bus that size, another good piece of luck. I headed out with high hopes and a fair amount of trepidation over my upcoming 2500 mile trip across the United States.
Our treasure bus is a 1987 GMC diesel forty feet in length with a bluebird body. It has 8.2 Detroit Turbo Diesel engine with a Allison 4 speed automatic transmission with a retarder to help slow the bus coming down hills, and has air brakes. In the first photo I am driving along mile after mile on a real hard seat at a maximum of 61 mph. In the top middle you can just see a fan which gives a little air circulation in the front where I am driving. Thank goodness I'm not driving across the country in the middle of summer. Still it's hot and sticky. Behind me is a pair of seats for my makshift mattress with sleeping bag for a bed, underneath is my ice chest, a few tools and some bags of clay Linda had me haul. Then there's my trusty new GPS on the dash that I just had to have. I convinced Linda I really needed it for my bus trip from California to Florida, since I'd be driving solo.
I realized I should have listened to the GPS in Mobile Alabama, I got off the highway thinking I'd gone the wrong way, next thing you know there is a sign that says tunnel ahead, cars only, no trucks. Well there was no place to turn around and I figured I wasn't driving a truck, so what could I do but go forward. Next thing you know I am in a tunnel with one inch to spare on either side of my mirrors. Cars are honking at me to go back, cars are honking at me to get out of the tunnel. There was no way I could go back or get out unless I went forward, so I went for it, forward. I've been through tunnels before, but in all my years of driving a truck driving, that was the tightest tunnel I've ever been through. After that I figured I was home free.
I found myself in a quaint Victorian neighborhood with the skinniest streets I have ever seen in my life. I thought driving in New York city was bad, that was like a turnpike compared to the neighborhood I now found myself in. People started coming out of their houses, asking where the revival was going to be. Kids started following me down the street. You see the signs painted on the bus say, "Grace Baptist Church Santa Maria, California" and the front of the bus has a sign saying, "God is Awesome". I found myself wishing I was sitting on a tractor in the middle of a dirt field, I hate city driving.
All the while the GPS is telling me to turn around. No way was I going to turn around and go through the tunnel again. So I snaked the bus through the cars and kept going. Sorry I didn't take any photos of the tight spots, I had all I could do to make it through those situations without the police coming along and calling a tow truck, which was something I really wanted to avoid. Next time I'll tell you about my police profiling experience in New Mexico, so stay tuned to this channel for that. Comments and suggestions are welcome.