We got the bus back YEAH!

Posted on February 11, 2016 by sonjabarrie

So they finally got the bus fixed and we drove down to Landon's Diesel Service, Inc. in Price, Utah to pick him up and bring him home. It's January and we have been lucky with the weather.  It had been snowing and we were a bit worried going over the mountains that we would get buried in snow but thankfully the roads were clear and the bus climbed those mountains like the train that could.

  

Taking Moto Home through Soldiers Pass in Utah.

Now we are chomping at the bit to get out there and explore in him so we set January 24th as our launch date as we have to be at a conference in San Diego the second week of February and this would give us plenty of time to meander our way down there.

This is the bit were things don’t go according to plan, AGAIN; we spent a week working every day and getting stuff into the coach. It’s amazing how much stuff you need (or think you do). Bed linens, towels, dish towels, BBQ, chairs, cat stuff, work stuff… the list is endless. Then in the middle of all this we realize the batteries are shot. Both the chassis (to start the engine) and the house (to make the lights work when there’s no electricity).

Not sure if this is because he has been sitting in the garage getting worked on for three months with no power getting to the batteries or what but they are the original batteries that came with the coach when we bought it and with the cold I guess they were doomed to failure. This entails another trip to the repair shop to get new batteries installed. Deep joy and… even deeper pockets!

It Never Rains but it Pours

Still, the 24th arrives and the final few bits get stuffed into cupboards or bays and we are ready to go, I’m exhausted, it’s so cold outside and so is the bus. Back and forth dozens of times and I really took what I thought was the minimum of stuff to get us through the next 6 months. We shall see if I packed too much stuff when we get back but at least I know I’ve done my best.

Last check through the house, turn thermostats down, close all the bedroom doors, close the blinds, turn off water heater… wait, what’s that drip? Yup, you guessed it, we have a pipe above the water heater leaking and it looks like it has been that way for a few days at least.

I. Was. Gutted!  It’s Sunday and we are ready to walk out the door.

I have someone coming in to check on the house every week so I can get them to work with a plumber to get it sorted, but what to do in the meantime? There really was only one thing we could do as there was no way we weren’t leaving.  I had worked too hard and everything was basically shut down in the house. We decided to drain the whole system, this meant turning off the water, turning on every tap, then going back and turning off every tap so that the only water left in the pipes was just the little bit in basement pipe (we hoped). Well, there went over an hour real quick!

I guess I should have seen it for what it was….an omen.

Instead of getting on the road at 8 am it was now almost 10 am. Well, not too bad in the scheme of things BUT it had really dumped snow all night and there hadn’t been any snow for a week prior so it was pretty thick on the road, the toad, the bikes. Again, I should have taken it as a warning but I’m a stubborn cuss and after waiting so long to get the bus back I was not about to let a leak and a foot of snow stop me.

     

After no snow for over a week this is what we wake up to!

I was a bit worried we’d get stuck and not get out but after clearing as much snow as possible we got on the road about 10:30 am. Everything looks absolutely wonderful as only pristine snow can, it was stuck to all the branches and piled high on walls and rooves. Really pretty. Nice start to the day I thought, I was going to be positive no matter what.

Goes to show you, just because you think positive it doesn’t make it so! We drove about 5 miles and when you tow a car on a dolly you need to pull over and check everything just in case things come loose. Because of all the snow we couldn’t pull over to the hard shoulder and check so the road we chose to pull onto seemed OK with very little traffic. We tightened stuff up and started out again to get back on the freeway only to be told by the GPS to turn left at the next road. It was only AFTER we did the turn we realized where we were, a tiny road with a tunnel that goes under a rail road track, the trouble is clearance for this bridge is about 9 feet and we are almost 13 feet tall.

Will this day never end?

Here we are on a tiny residential road in the middle of nowhere with a snowballs chance in hell of turning around. According to the GPS (again, you think I would have learnt the first time) it tells me if I take the next road it will circle back to the main road. Trouble is this road is even tinier than the one we were on. We duly make our way a mile or two down this road only to be confronted by a gate across the end of the road and a sign saying it was DOT property.

Now you have to picture this, we are about 60 feet long (bus and towed car) and about 9 feet wide including the wheels on dolly for the car. The road is maybe 2 feet wider than that. TOTAL!  As I said earlier it had snowed all night and is in fact had started snowing again.

We cannot back up the bus even without the toad because the road is too narrow and the snow so heavy it’s hard to see the sides of the road. It is FREEZING cold and at this point I am ready to take some of the valium the vet prescribed for the cats to calm them down.

So I duly walk through the gates hoping to find the road continuing on, my heart sinking with each sinking footfall, well I always was the optimist. Yeah, you guessed it, about 50 yards further on the narrow road ended but thankfully the narrow road kinda widened into an area where mechanical machines either usually parked or turned around.

I still walked back to the bus absolutely dejected, I was almost in tears. I’m freezing cold, my feet are freezing and soaking wet, I’m covered in the snowfall and all I want to do is just give up.  The idea of us driving the bus to the end of the road and trying to turn it around is so daunting as to seem an impossibility.

We have to turn around a 38 foot bus on this road???

So before we could take the bus in there, we crawled around in the snow and slush and unhooked the car from the dolly, backed that up and managed to get it turned around though my heart seemed to stop more than once when it slid about on the narrow road and looked like it would go into the deep ditch. We then unhooked the dolly and manually pushed, shoved, cajoled and swore at it till we could get it to a place that was far enough off the road that the bus could pass it. IF we ever got the bus turned around.

Well the car is off the dolly and the dolly is pushed into the snow, now to turn the bus around!

We then drove the bus to the end and of course there were huge rocks there (at least 3 feet high) dotted around which made turning the bus around a real challenge. Cars can do a 3 point turn and get around, in a tight spot I have even done an 8 point turn. When you are trying to turn a 38 foot bus with a bike rack that sticks out another 4 feet in a space that is about 45 feet wide in total it becomes a 32 point turn, at least.

Trying to make sure we didn’t hit the rocks, run into a tree, get stuck in snow or end up in the ditch, I had to run around the bus at least 50 times, in the snow and slush, in light trainers to the point where I really could feel my feet any more. I think I managed to run about 20 miles back and forth, at least that’s what it felt like and my feet were so wet and freezing it wasn’t funny.

Tim was very good as from his position in the bus he couldn’t see the rocks or the ditches or the fences or the snow banks and he really did just have to take my word for it that he could move the bus three feet forward turn the wheels and move it three feet back, over and over and over again.

We managed to get the stupid bus turned around and edged pass the tow dolly. Back on our hands and knees in the snow to get that hooked up to the back of the bus and then I had to drive the car to the end of the road so the bus could pass me and we could get the car back on the dolly.

At this point it is about 12 noon and we haven’t gotten 20 miles from home! I’m soaking wet all over, frozen solid, so demoralized I wonder why I EVER thought that living in an RV would be a good idea.  And I feel awful because this is all my idea not Tim’s, I convinced him it would be a fun thing to do.  None of those blogs I’d read and researched ever talked about these kinds of problems.

Still, we are in one piece, even if it’s a very cold piece. Back on the main road, about 5 miles further down, we pull over to check the toad straps, again, no problems, whew, looks like we are finally on our way.

Hah, what ever gave me that idea? The saga continues…..

 

 

 

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