Occasionally while browsing around on the RV NET FORUM I'll come across a post about the size & intimidation of driving a large Class A motorhome. People are worried about the sheer bulk of the monster but motorhomes are actually easier to drive than they look. In an earlier blog I had talked about how I was suddenly dropped into the world of large blonky vehicles by having to take over the reins of a large cab-over Ford stake truck one time out in Vernon, British Columbia. That was all ok for me but by the time we bought a motorhome 35 years later Kelly had never driven anything bigger than a full size van up till then.
I'M NOT IN THE DRIVER'S SEAT BECAUSE IT WAS A BIG FIRST STEP & I ALWAYS HAD TO GET OUT & HELP HIM UP
That all changed when we moved to the old farmhouse back in the summer of 1995. Kelly had quit her job in Cambridge so was on the hunt for new employment in our new area around Stratford & St. Marys, Ontario. School bus companies always seem to be looking for drivers so it was one of the first places Kelly applied & of course landed herself a job driving school bus. And a big long yellow one at that!! SNOOP DOUBLE CHECKS THE SIDEVIEW MIRROR TO MAKE SURE WE DIDN'T LEAVE ANYONE BEHIND
The bus company provided excellent training & in no time Kelly had her school bus license & lots of real on the road experience. Between cleaning jobs she drove school bus right up to 2001 when......I started driving school bus as well. I had been driving full size vans for an Airports transportation company based in Stratford for the best part of 13 years taking people to & from Pearson International Airport in Toronto. By the summer of 2000 my patience levels were stretched thin, stress levels were up, heavy traffic seemed to be getting worse by the day, & I knew it was time for a change. On August 25th of that year I made my last trip into the Toronto Airport & that was that. SNOOPY TAKES HIS SEAT & WAS ALWAYS THE BEST LITTLE PASSENGER I EVER HAD
Kelly quickly talked me in to trying my hand at school bus driving so without further ado I obtained my school bus training & license from the same company in St. Marys that Kelly was driving for & away I went. Well, let me tell you.....driving school bus was not something I enjoyed. The driving part was OK but the #!!%^**&!!! teen-agers!!!! I'll maybe write about some of those episodes another time. EARLY SUNRISE ON A FROSTY ONTARIO MORNING
In 2001 the bus company teamed Kelly & I to-gether on a small cube like mobility bus complete with wheelchair lift. We carried an average of 5 mentally & physically challenged kids each day around the ages of 10. Most of the children lived in the country so I did like the rural driving part of the job. Kelly was the aide on the bus & looked after the children's needs. So basically speaking, she rode shotgun on the bus & on several occasions her services were quickly needed. One particular day we had just dropped a young wheel chair boy at a farm near St. Marys. Right behind me sat another boy (non wheelchair) who was fairly big for his age. He was a quiet fellow & liked to watch me drive the bus. I had just pulled out of the farm driveway & was accelerating down the highway when all of a sudden he jumped up, swung round beside me & grabbed onto the steering wheel. He just figured it was his turn to drive I guess. I hung onto to the wheel with my left hand & tried to push him back with my right but he was too big & too determined to be the head honcho bus driver that day. Kelly swiftly came to my rescue & managed to get him pulled back down into his seat & a potentially nasty situation was averted. The young fellow sat quietly the rest of the way home & we never did have that problem again. He never did sit right behind me again either because we moved him back a few seats after that. It was just one of many little incidents that await unsuspecting school bus drivers:((
A SNOW COVERED RURAL ROAD
You may wonder about the school bus photos I have included in the blog. No doubt they need some explanation!! I took those photos back in the winter of 2003 after we had moved to Bayfield & transferred our bus driving jobs from St. Marys to Clinton. Both Kelly & I were back to driving big buses again then. I have an Aunt in Sarasota Florida & we have been sending emails back & forth for about 11 years now. My Aunt has always liked Snoopy from the Charlie Brown days & would sometimes include little Snoopies in her emails. I spotted a Snoopy dog in a local Thrift shop one day so bought it & brought him home. Early one very incredibly cold winter morning I stuffed Snoopy in my driver's bag & stopped on a rural road before my first pick-up. Quickly posed the Snoop dog in a few places around the bus just like a student, took some photos, & later that day emailed them to my Aunt to show her my first student of the day boarding the school bus...........and you know what, I think she believed me:)) IT WAS SOOOOOO COLD THE ICE CRYSTALS WERE HANGING IN THE AIR
Another time I will tell you about a snow ball fight in the bus, teen-agers mooning a police cruiser out the back window, & a public school principal giving me a talking too about letting my bus load of small children have too much fun on the bus...........Yep, that's what happened alright:)) THAT'S A CHRISTMAS CARD FROM MY AUNT JEAN IN FLORIDA THAT SNOOPY'S HOLDING UP. KELLY'S PUTTING LIGHTS ON A TREE TO THE LEFT
TO-DAY'S HUMOR: Two fish swim into a concrete wall. One turns to the other and says, 'Dam!!'
OUR PHOTO ALBUMS http://picasaweb.google.com/stargeezerguy/
I really enjoyed seeing those winter pics of the bus and the snow-packed roads. I grew up in Winnipeg so it brought back a lot of memories of what winter was like.ReplyDelete
Driving a school bus is one of the tough jobs as far as I'm concerned.
The Snoopy pictures were cute (Suzy would have said "precious" or "darling" or something like that, but I don't use those words if I can help it. Unless I'm talking to her about her!)ReplyDelete
The ice crystal pictures were delightful. We lived in Butte, Montana for 9 years, and like Rick said, the pix brought back some memories!
We thank our military for their service, and, in truth, we should also thank our school bus drivers! Their job is important, and hectic! So, THANK YOU BOTH!