Minnesota Farmer


Good-Bye Old Friend
September 30, 2014, 8:45 am
Filed under: machines, School bus | Tags: , , ,

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Today I will say good-bye to an old friend.  Bus 11, now bus 1, will be leaving the fleet today.

The bus is a 1996 AMTRAN Genesis 66 passenger, short of wheel base and quick to turn, a bit under powered and COLD in the winter, but still a good old bus.

We’ve been through a lot together.  There have been repairs both major and minor.  Lots of children have ridden lots of miles on that bus, over 300,000 miles of country roads.

I had been assigned a newer bus for the start of the season, but the computer went out on that bus during route friday morning.  The replacement bus I was to drive had a wheel alignment problem and was unsafe to drive since the front end bounced so much.  So they dug into the “ready to head down the road” list, and I got my old 11 back.

My foot still knows just where to go to hold the speed at 50 mph.  The seat belt still wants to hold me a little too tight so I cannot reach some of the controls.  The interior lights still turn off by themselves after about 5 minutes. I knew just how much to press the foot feed to keep from sliding around snow-covered corners, since I had over done it so many times.  I know everything that she can do.  I have joked many a time about fixing this bus with a stick of dynamite, but I never meant it.  So despite her problems, I’ll miss the old girl.

Bus 11, like several other buses in the fleet, was not inspected this past week and thus cannot legally haul school children after the end of the month.  The safety inspection makes sure that at least once a year school buses are fit to drive.

I’ve had several other buses through out my years of driving, ‘The Duce,”  bus 20, and a host of replacement and out-of-town trip buses, but old 11 was special.  I got to know her better than any other bus I ever drove.

So good-bye old friend.  I have no idea where you will go from here, but you left me lots of memories.  Now it’s off to make new memories with another of your kin.

Michael

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