Someone once told me that the difference between a Fairytale and a B.S. story was that a Fairytale starts out, “Once Upon a Time”, and a B.S. story starts out, “This is no bull”. This story seems to be a mixture of seemingly fairytale qualities and disastrous tales of proportion nearing levels of embellishment that could easily be considered bullshit story quality, depending on whether you are in polite company or the swilling atmosphere of drinking buddies.
Once upon a time, a long, long time ago. No bull, there was this company that desired to have a method of travel for the masses that was cheap, consistent, easy to maintain, and comfortable for its occupants. This company, (let’s call it… say…” Big Dog”) asked; can there be such a thing? They said it must come from the earth. It must feed on fossil fuels. It must have a long life. Magically… it was born… over a million miles ago, “Bus-osaurus”.
Now, one might think that such a thing could not be. How can there be such a lumbering beast that would feed on its own? Well, the answer my friends, is that whatever man wants, man seems to get. Bus-osaurus was bred to serve and serve it would. It would find that the taskmaster “Big Dog” would be surprisingly a somewhat kind and forgiving master and would care for and feed Bus-osaurus throughout its life expectancy.
What Bus-osaurus could not conceive was that when its taskmaster had finished with all that could be squeezed from its youthfulness, “Big Dog” would not retire Bus-osaurus to a well-deserved resting place. Perhaps pastures beautiful with flora and fauna, a place sunny all year, providing a lack of foul weather. A place where rust would not creep into Bus-osaurus’s tired old joints and eat away at its skin like a cancerous plague. Eating away the beauty it once held. Poor Bus-osaurus!
Chapter Two: Life After Servitude
As dawn rustled forth and birds began to chirp their songs of life bringing in the new day, Bus-osaurus, weary from travel, found itself amidst others of its kind. Could this be? Could there be, others that also would be forsaken into an unknown future? They had all been comrades of servitude, Titans of Transportation. What was to come?
Bus-osaurus could not have begun to know what was to become. Legends, stories, myths, and fantasy shroud, nay cloud the obscurity Bus-osaurus fell into. The Stories of Drunkenness! The tales of the masses wielding their lack of respect! Multitudes of unyielding shoe marks, gum globs, chicken bones, and other remnants, left about Bus-osaurus’s hulk-like insults to the greatness Bus-osaurus had once held.
There were also the “mechanics”. Bus-osaurus could never understand why it had to contend with such a varying degree of care. Or did no one really care at all? Thoughts back to a time of pre-delivery, thoughts of the original master danced in Bus-osaurus’s head, remembering those who assembled it. Thinking of the care for each rivet, each seat, and each headlight that had been placed.
It is said that for almost 12 years of Bus-osaurus’s life, it was used as some sort of charter or company personnel transport. This must have been a dreary life, lacking all but the modest of care, abused beyond reasonable monetary efforts. Poor Bus-osaurus fell into an existence of slavery. No milk and cookies except as strewn about by its passengers. No pleasant odors except in its memories. Is the end near…? Can this go on forever? Bus-osaurus wonders how the others must be doing. Oh well, at least Bus-osaurus is still serving.
1. GM originally delivered PD4106-920 to Eastern Greyhound Lines, Cleveland, OH in July of 1962. It carried fleet number 3630 and was part of a 200-bus order built between January and July.
2. Greyhound traditionally replaces 10% of their fleet every year. The coach was probably sold off sometime in 1972. They had one of the best preventative maintenance programs in the transportation industry, so for at least the first ten years of its life, it was well maintained.
Chapter Three: Vroom, Vroom.
Bus-osaurus fell out of favor with its previous owner, Left aside, no longer a desired method of transportation for one reason or another. No doubt placed next to other pieces of abandoned and broken-down equipment. But wait… What’s this? People are pawing over Bus-osaurus. Could there be life after slavery? Could there be someone out there who cares enough to bring Bus-osaurus back from the depths of loneliness and despair from the lack of use? Even abuse would be preferred over abandonment. After all, Bus-osaurus was made to serve and serve well it could.
The day arrived that harkened a new owner. From the sounds of things, excitement is to be had all around. Oh, the plans of traveling to exotic places and the promised smell of exotic racing fuel just couldn’t be any better. Bus-osaurus’s new owner tore into it like a man with a mission. At each gathering, there were discussions about how Bus-osaurus would serve. There would be new seats, OOOOH! There would be new window dressings, AAAAH!
There would be… there would be… a bedroom, a place for the new owner and his wife to sleep, a place to be close and comfortable. Protected from the elements! Protected by Bus-osaurus! What did it matter that there would be holes made, and parts removed? How very great, no longer would Bus-osaurus have to put up with a stinky smelly place that was once a gleaning Lavatory… Oh, it appears it’s called a bathroom and it’s located in a different place than the other now. Maybe they will at least clean it thoroughly.
Bus-osaurus’s existence was one of part-time use, providing leisure travel to and from professional Auto Racing events and the like. It may not have been an opulent existence but at least Bus-osaurus could serve. Besides, Bus-osaurus was weary from the years, and the miles.
As time passed, Bus-osaurus found that its use became less frequent. Its repairs became more and more make-do and less caring than had been. No longer were there joyous celebrations of upgrades beyond the larger diameter tires, beyond the automatic transmission that was installed. Well, at least Bus-osaurus didn’t have to listen to the foul language of its operators anymore as they tried to manage shifts that would grind the teeth from a great white shark.
As Bus-osaurus sat complacently willing away its existence it could not have known that it was slowly being forgotten. Forsaken for a newer technology! What’s this? I think it’s called a fifth-wheel trailer. That’s funny. I have seven well eight wheels when my owner operates me. He likes to think of himself as “The Big Wheel”.
It wasn’t long at all before Bus-osaurus’s use fell to nothing. Left alone to again have its hulk begin to be ravaged by Mother Nature. No longer could be heard the conversations of its owners, only distant whispers and muffled laughter. Muffled by the walls of this new “favor”, Could this… be the end?
Editor’s Note: Bus Conversion Magazine has Maintenance, Parts, and Repair manuals which include wiring diagrams for most buses. Click HERE to see what is available.
Chapter Four: Wind, Rain, and An Occasional Looky-Loo!
As Bus-osaurus sat in the field adorned with the sign abandonment, FOR SALE. I could not understand why no one wanted to take it away from all the foul weather it endured while just sitting there, hot and painful, rain relentless at times. Birds… well birds. Mud hornets built nests all over Bus-osaurus, even in the air horn, the same horn that no doubt once bellowed that Bus-osaurus was coming through.
Tires are no longer capable of sprinting down the highways, and an air leveling system is no longer able to keep up with time itself. Neglect use and abuse were now no strangers to Bus-osaurus, and it was beginning to look like this must surely be the end. The end of it all! Is there no one who wants it, is there no one who cares?
One day, I think it was a Tuesday. Or it might have been a Wednesday, a new beginning was forming. While surfing the “Net”, Bus-osaurus’s potential new owner happened across it. Searching for just the right one! Oh, there were many. Not fully knowing what would be Bus-osaurus’s potential new owner was grappling with value versus desire. Somewhere there had to be “The One.” Was this it? Only a visit would tell. Could a bond take place? Or was this just another White Elephant, Black Hole, or Money Pit?
The day arrived for the visit to take place. Bus-osaurus could not even have known because Bus-osaurus had fallen so far out of favor with its owner that nothing had been prepared. Bus-osaurus sat catatonic in its sunken tire ruts. The grass is mowed only near, not under. Weeds grew into Bus-osaurus’s bays, dust and dirt, thick on its windows allowing only modest light through.
Wah…what’s all the commotion? People! People coming! To see me? Bus-osaurus could hardly stand it. Excitement! Embarrassment! These folks looked nice, and they have a little “Weenie Dog”. I wish I looked my best.
Bus-osaurus owner struggled with the new 8D battery that was replacing a bad one. After a time, it was evident that Bus-osaurus would have to muster itself. With a flip of the switch and a push of the button, Bus-osaurus spun its motor round and round. First a puff, then a sputter, then… Bus-osaurus spit black smoke like had not been seen for a long time. Take that you filthy vermin! That is not a good place for you to hide!
Bus-osaurus could barely hear over the sounds that it made, sounds that had not been heard for some time and a few new ones. What is that foul fuzzy thing in the refrigerator? … I’ll be damned, Bus-osaurus heard. It once had been a stick of butter!!!!!!
These folks left… left like the others. No conversation of joy. Only more insults as the potential new owners tore into Barosaurus’ character. Ouch!
Chapter Five: A Camping We Will Go
Great Joy and Jubilation! The “Weenie Dog” came back. The torrent of activity is more than Bus-osaurus can believe. Is it true… can we be going to a new home? I thought these folks didn’t like me. Eager to travel the road, Bus-osaurus sprang to life, bursting forth onto the asphalt. Man, that feels good. Let’s go! Rattle Bounce, Rattle wobble roll. Fresh fluids are in order Bus-osaurus hears. It is refreshing to have the attention of use once again.
Where are we going? What is in store? Hey, let’s go camping! Bus-osaurus could hardly believe what was being discussed as it traveled more than one thousand miles to its new home. There is no stopping now, all the way, you put fuel and oil in me, and I will take you anywhere, Bus-osaurus promised.
Chapter Six: The Big Fix
Over the next eight months, Bus-osaurus experienced a series of inoculations to rid it of the vermin that had taken up residence. A plethora of high-pressure baths both inside and out. Bus-osaurus nearly got cold from the dousing the engine compartment received. Bus-osaurus sat contentedly listening to the dreams of its new owners as parts and pieces came and went. Bus-osaurus understood the new beginning would only be a dress-over.
No way could it be “Like New” again and was content just to be loved. A little here, a little there, and soon, Bus-osaurus would take its first little trip to the cool pines of the northland. A couple of nights stay they said. Let’s see how she feels. After a fine and uneventful trip through the mountains to and from Bus-osaurus was then taken on its next excursion.
So, who is this guy who is poking and prodding all over? That sounds like a mechanic! New stuff? Weeks of solid mechanical attention? Thousands of dollars in new parts, allowing improved steering, stopping, riding, and comfort? Damn, life is good!
Chapter Seven: The Maiden Voyage
The date was set. The plan was intact. There could be no doubt that the push to make the deadline was becoming increasingly difficult to make as at every turn Bus-osaurus was not willing to let go of those doggone screws and bolts. After all, it had had them since the beginning. It didn’t matter that they were broken and rusted and needed replacing. Man, this guy is determined!
Bus-osaurus was now once again sprinting down the roadways, no longer embarrassed about not sporting the look of a teenager. I Yam what I Yam! and I ain’t no more! If it could work for Popeye, it could work for Bus-osaurus.
It was a Friday and the day had arrived. Loaded up, fueled up. New rubber everywhere and even a couple of new graphics on the side to show a little class and we were ready. My wife and I and our miniature Dachshund had loaded up everything we could think of to take a two-week 4,000-mile Maiden Voyage to visit folks. We had anticipated this trip for some time since we would now belong to the world of “Bus Nuts”, a substantial upgrade from the in-bead camper we were using; we could hardly wait to hit the road. Now that we have a bus, we’re running with the Big Dogs.