…Oh, Mr. Cross. Going…down?
Ok, ok, so I ripped off Aerosmith.
(Note: This con/trip report is dedicated to Daisy, who left us far too soon, but is always with us in our hearts.)
(Note: Comments by our dogs, Lucy & Winker, are presented in italics)
The Trip To CatCon2: Day Zero, In which we get a bus & a mechanic.
Your Humble Narrator has gotten literally thousands of imaginary emails asking if we ever bought a bus or van like we mentioned at the end of last year’s fake Con Report. The answer is yes, so I’d like to tell you about what we have come to call The Magic Bus, as well as our mechanic, Joe.
In early October of 2008, I bought a bus from a former co-worker at the pizza place I used to work for. It was an average sized school bus, built in 1970 and pretty much exactly like the ones I had ridden to school as a lad. I paid him $1,200.00, 90 pounds of salt pork, two albino budgerigars (both male), a bottle of Yukon Jack and a photograph of Prince Charles dressed up as a cheerleader. He’s a strange kind of fellow, but I could hardly pass up the deal. I do kinda regret that I didn’t talk him down to one budgie.
The bus was in very good shape, but lacking a motor and a transmission. Oddly, this did not prevent me from driving it home, but after that it refused to run any more. It was painted a rather garish shade of purple and my neighbors hated it. This pleased me greatly, so I left it sitting on my side yard for all to see. I even installed lights so it was visible after dark.
The next morning after I bought it…and by “morning” I mean 3:12 AM…there was a knock on our door. Being almost 10% awake, I answered it, hoping that it was not some vampire Jehovah’s Witness or zombie Mormon missionaries, and saw that it was a burly looking fellow in coveralls. His name tag said “Joe” and he cheerily informed me that he “came with the bus” and asked if it was ok if he took it to the shop to put in a new engine & transmission. Ever wary of strange mechanics showing up in the wee hours to screw me out of money on auto repairs, I asked how much it would cost. He told me all repairs were $24.95. “Per hour?”, I asked, hoping he would explain things and go away, because I had to pee. He replied no, that was the total price for all ordinary repairs. I told him to go ahead and fix it up and also give me an estimate on turning the bus into an RV. He winked and said “You betcha, Doc!” and walked off toward the bus. I could not recall telling him my name, but as I mentioned, I was 90% asleep. Then I went and peed before returning to bed, which is always the best order in which to do those two things.
I slept for another 5 hours and when I woke up, the bus was gone and my neighbors were having an impromptu party in the street. Some hours later, I left for work, mildly regretting that I had not gotten a phone number from Joe. Still, if you can’t trust the mechanic that comes with your bus, who can you trust?
The bus was still gone when I got home, but it was there when I woke up the following morning. Grace gleefully pointed out to me that if you listened, you could hear the neighbors sobbing. Joe showed up a few minutes later with a bill for $24.95 and an estimate of $302.73 for the RV conversion…$309.11 if we wanted hardwood floors. Grace and I agreed that this was way more than fair and opted for the hardwood floor version. Joe also suggested that we might want to “snazzy it up” with a digital destination display and wireless internet access. We told him to go crazy on it and send us the bill. We offered him breakfast, but he politely declined saying that “Earth food gave him heartburn”. Joe’s a strange kind of fellow.
A week later, Joe and the bus were back. It was looking really sweet, with a paint job depicting famous wizards from film & literature, plus four different colored tires and tinted windows. Inside, we had a drivers chair made out of a Laz-E-Boy recliner, a small kitchen area, a fold out sleeper couch, a tiny toilet area, another recliner, a big screen tv and a king sized bed. There was also a great stereo system and plenty of bookshelves. And the aforementioned hardwood floor, which was solid walnut.
We took her out for a spin and she ran like a champ. When we got home, Joe told me he would put the bus in storage until we needed it. The rest, as they like to say to shorten things up, is history.
Our trip will start in a few hours, once I am rested up and ready to drive. More blogging soon.
CatCon2: The Trip There, Day 1
(NOTE: The following is all fictional.)
Well, more like Day .35 to be exact.
So, having gotten everything packed and ready yesterday, I slept in the house from 1pm until midnight. Everyone except me went to bed in the Magic Bus about 11 pm. At the Witching Hour, I got up, showered, ate a bowl of Shreddies and, after a quick once over, boarded the bus and started off down the road to the musical tones of snoring women (our dogsitter, Sharon, is travelling with us this year) and dogs. After about a minute of snores, I activated the music program and settled into some Tom Waits.
Our route this year will be avoiding SoCal, Arizona and New Mexico in favor of going across Nevada, Utah, Colorado, a bit of the Oklahoma panhandle and then into wildest Texas for the con itself.
We stopped in Busted Flush, Nevada for breakfast and dog walkies. The diner we ate at, The Cowboy Chowhouse, was a nice place with good food in large portions. The Girls got our leftovers and are now in a food coma. Grace and Sharon are watching “Harry Potter and the Hound of the Baskervilles”, that great Holmes/Potter crossover movie.
Wildlife spotted so far: 3 hawks, a snake and two jackrabbits.
More bloggage later.