Stylized line drawing of mark playing the flute

The blue bus is calling us.

The blue bus is calling us.

Photo by https://flic'kr/p/8nNmGi

My friend Beau had the dumpiest Volkswagen bus. It was faded blue and only 2 of its 4 cylinders engine fired.

It was a crappy ride but the tape deck worked and it was my chariot to camp the first year I was a counselor. Beau drove me, his little brother, our friend Angie, and a friend of hers.

The drive from Redding to Shingletown was pretty smooth but things got dicey once we got to Manton and had to start driving on unpaved roads. So many steep hills, up and down. Luckily it was a little more downhill so we made it to camp without issue.

Leaving camp was a different story.

The engine started sputtering as we went up the first big hill. We made it over the crest, but just barely. The engine cut out part way up the second hill. Everyone except Beau climbed out of the bus to reduce weight and that got us over the hump.

The third hill was our undoing. We tried coasting down one side and then flooring it up the other. We tried pushing. We tried everything but it was no use. The Blue Bus was stuck.

I don’t remember the particulars but we eventually got a tow truck. He towed us back to the main road and we drove back into town.

I like to believe Beau still has the Blue Bus out there somewhere. I’m sure he doesn’t, but I think of him every time I see one.