Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Baby Bus Breakdown

Ah, the baby bus. Our new home away from home.

Now, it’s not really a bus, per se. A bus is big and roomy and expensive, and gets really bad gas mileage. A bus is like a small apartment on wheels, complete with a kitchen, a bathroom, hang-out rooms and sleeping areas. You can walk around on a bus and stretch your arms out wide or lie down somewhere fully and blissfully extended.

Behold! The Bus.

Sometimes, in a bus, you may miss out on the scenery you’re driving through. Not a bad thing if you’re driving down Any-highway America, or Central Stripmall-landia. But it can be a bummer when you realize you just missed the purple mountain’s majesty because the blinds were closed and you were busy watching “Keeping Up With The Kardashians.”

If you can’t stand the people in one part of the bus you can go to another part to get away. And if you can’t stand anyone on the bus anymore you hide out in your bunk which, although small, provides you with an alone place –- something I have found to be vital for road survival.

Now the vehicle we bought isn’t exactly a van either. A van is smaller and more maneuverable than a bus. It gets way better gas mileage. But you can’t really get up and walk around in a van. You can lie down, but only the shorter of the species can stretch out their bodies. And you can’t really cook or go to the bathroom in a van without jerry rigging some kind of ingenious device.

Behold! A Van.

With the right group of people, touring in a van can be better than the best experience of your life. The closer setup lends itself to constant bonding. You’re either having intimate discussions, cracking jokes, listening to music together or just digging on the world that you can all see through the window. One time, on an eight hour drive from Lafayette, LA to Marble Falls, TX, my most excellent guitar-playing friend David read all of Bob Dylan’s “Chronicles Volume 1” aloud to the rest of us while we rolled down the road, every once in a while slipping into his best Dylan impersonation, just for effect. It was an eight hour drive, and he read to us for almost the full eight hours. By the time we got to the gig, he barely had a voice and we all had insight into the mind of the master. It was awesome.

Needless to say, with the wrong group of people a van tour can be, um, trying. You can’t run, you can’t hide, and the miles can stretch on and on. I’ll just say that it was in vans that I learned the limits of my coolness.

Now, what we’ve bought is an amalgam of a bus and a van; a hybrid if you will. We’ve basically got body of a Dodge/Mercedes/Sprinter van (three different names, one vehicle), and the interior of an RV. The ceiling is tall enough for most people to stand fully in (except our boss, Ray Benson, who is the worlds tallest boss). Right behind the driver’s seat is a little mini couch. There’s a mini kitchen area and a bathroom area that has a toilet/shower combination so food and the after effects of food and drink are taken care of. And there are benches in the back that pull down into a queen-size bed. The way our Sprinter is set up is the couches in the back are separated from the driver and passenger seats by the kitchen and bathroom area which means, you guessed it, the ability to put some space between passengers.

Behold! The Baby Bus!

Sounds like a bus right. Yes it does…except it’s way smaller, and the gas mileage is an incredible 18-22mpg!

So there you have it, a bit a bout the baby bus. Not to big, not to small – for our little family unit, it’s just right.

No comments: