I'll pick off where we left off yesterday. Dave is in California. Katherine, Lisel and I are in Boulder, CO waiting for the baby bus to get fixed.
I would really love to tell you about the place we stayed, but the non-sequitor might take too long. I’ll just let you know that it was a little independent hotel called the Boulder Outlook Hotel. It claims to be a an environmentally friendly, zero waste facility. I had dreams of staying at a forward thinking, yet affordable, hippie haven. In reality it’s just an old La Quinta. They splashed some funky colored paint on the outside stuck some “recycling” trashcans in the room and called it green. They did however recycle their key cards, which were so busted and beat-up that they barely worked.
And the “elevator” was one of those wheelchair lifters.
But I digress.
So we went to Boulder, but by the time we got there Stewart Beesly from Valley Dodge (who we dearly love) had figured out that there was something much more sinister at work in the Baby Bus. It wasn’t just the master cylinder that was rotten.
It was the entire brake system that was bad.
Rubber parts degraded.
Everything needed to be replaced.
And it wasn’t going to be done by Tuesday.
But that was really no problem, because we had a contingency plan.
If the Baby Bus wasn’t finished, we would simply rent a mini-van and drive to El Paso in that.
Stewart Beesly (who we dearly love) hooked us up with a free mini-van rental.
We rested up a couple of days in Boulder, did some hiking, drove to El Paso via La Veta and the Great Sand Dunes and met up with Dave in El Paso. We played El Paso, Alburquerque and Red River, NM.
And we had a plan.
Katherine, Lisel and I would hang in the lovely mountain town of Red River while Dave drove up to Boulder on Monday and retrieved the Baby Bus. Then he would drive back to Red River on Tuesday where he’d get us. From there we would all make our way to Lovington, NM for the next gig.
Except that the Baby Bus wasn’t done on Monday. Stewart Beesly (who we dearly love) had one part, one sensor, that wasn’t working, and had to order it from national, and they weren’t going to know when that part was coming in until Tuesday morning.
This is when I lost it.
Because we had like three contingency plans.
And they all sucked.
The problem was that we had to return the rental van to Boulder. Sure we could return it to Austin if we wanted to pay a fee of “at least a thousand dollars” (the words of the Enterprise employee we talked to). Considering the money we were spending on getting the entire brake system replaced…well this was not really an option.
The other contingency plans were as follows:
1. We drive the rental van to the next three gigs, ending up in Austin. During our week off Dave would drive up to Boulder, return the van, pick up the Baby Bus, and drive home. That’s 16 hours up, and 16 hours back. Essentially a 32 hour-long haul.
a. He might hire someone to drive with him
2. We drive the rental van to Lovington, NM and Woodward, OK. After the Woodward gig, Dave would drive to Boulder, where he would drop of the van and fly back to Austin.
a. Katherine the baby and I would take the big bus home
b. Dave would meet up with us in Austin and go play a gig that night in Gruene, TX
c. We would pick the baby bus up in a couple of weeks on our way home from Casper, Wyoming
3. We would hire someone to do the 32 hour haul to Boulder and back.
Like I said, all options fell squarely in the category of “sucky.”
And I was kind of over the whole thing. I was tired of going with the flow. I was sick of creating plans A, B, C and D. There was no more cool left in my soul.
Sure, I was resigned to one of the above scenarios. But I was pissed.
And then on Tuesday morning, Stewart Beesly (who we dearly love) rang us up and told us that the part was in, and he was going to try like hell to install it and make sure it worked by the end of the day.
If he could get the bus running by the end of the day on Tuesday then Dave could drive up to Boulder on Tuesday night, return the van and pick up the Baby Bus on Wednesday morning. We could drive it to Lovington, Woodward, OK and then home! No sucky backtracking, vacation stealing, long-haul driving contingency plans!
My hopes were not high.
Dave, ever the optimist, had trusted in Stewart all along. I, on the other hand, had been trying desperately to quash his fool hopes with what I believed were the cold hard facts of the situation. It was never gonna happen. We were destined to be Baby-Busless for the foreseeable future.
It’s a story as old as time. Just when you’ve given up hope that the storm will end, there’s a break in the clouds. And so it was with this tale of traveling travail.
Stewart Beesly (who we dearly love) came through.
After we got the word, Dave was granted the right to do the “In Your Face” dance, which involves the party in the right dancing around the party in the wrong singing “In Your Face, In Your Face.”
I enjoyed every minute.
So here we are, in the Baby Bus…finally! I have to send a shout out to my sister Katherine, who had been the most roll-with-it, fun, enjoyable road buddy ever. She’s not a road dog by nature, but you’d never have known it on this trip. Nothing that happened soured her mood, and she was up for the entire adventure. She even did most of the driving. Soon she’ll be moving to Athens, Georgia, and I know that I’m going to miss her more than I’ve ever missed anyone, ever. But this trip and memories we made on it…above and beyond baby.
So that’s how it all went down. Our summertime adventure. Our road story. Our Tale of a Baby Bus Most Foul.