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.


  1. thats an awesome story! The bus sounds like it totally rocks. I heard a story where a truck got stuck under a bridge and they had to let the air out of the tires to get it going.
    getting lost is part of the road trip experience though isnt it? did you do a revival anyways - wouldnt want the townspeople to get angry and form a mob

  2. Love the story so far can't wait for part 2.

  3. Great too hear from you Gary. I guess you have the option to hold a revival meeting if you need some funding!! You would also find many willing pairs of hands to help you out of tunnels or mud! That looks like a huge truck that you are parked by in the third photo, I don't think it would fit our roads here! Looking forward to part 2.

  4. What a story!! Can't wait for more!! I love the TREASURE BUS -once again I felt like I took a little adventure trip from my sofa :o)

  5. Hi Ben, thanks, yes the bus is cool, Gary really would like to keep it and convert it into a sort of hippie bus with a pot belly stove and I could sell my pots from it, not sure that's practical, but it is fun to dream.

    Hi Tinkerfeet, thanks, I got a kick out of Gary's stories when he go home too.

    Hi Peter, thanks, those trucks are the normal size for trucks driving down the highways here, they just look long next to the bus, which is long in itself. Normal size for those trucks is 65 feet long. Car carriers are 70 feet long and then there are special permits for hauling really long loads like steel and pieces of equipment, etc. Oh, we have joked about turning the bus into the church of the great dividend (to us) ha!

    Hi Cindy, thanks, perhaps some film maker will do a piece on the treasure bus, that would be cool for Gary to be a movie star. (starr). Ha.

  6. Wow, what an adventure Gary. Pretty sure I'd have frozen in that tunnel.
    Great story and looking forward to part two. Hope you miss the heat we are experiencing (90+ and humid).
    Love Peter's idea to raise money. Be safe.

  7. Hi Patti, thanks, I better not tell Gary about Peter's idea, the next thing you know he'll be having a revival. He already thinks we should make it a motorhome or a traveling potter's studio.


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