Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Notes From The Bus

We're back from our bus tour of Washington DC, only the second time Wendy and I have participated in such an expedition, the last time in 2002 when we went to New York City with my parents and a group of senior citizens. This time we joined my sister and her husband with a group of veterans--he being a former Marine.

As usual, my pictures turned out terrible. I just posted a couple here, including one of the bus we rode. It's hard to get a bad picture of a bus, or a good picture for that matter. Then below is a picture I took of the White House. I posted this one because if you zoom in close enough, you'll see someone was watching us tourists.

Our tour leader was a county commissioner with the patience of Job, forever counting passengers after each stop, making sure everyone was there and accounted for. More often than not, there would be a straggler or two. Sometimes he had to resort to his cell phone to track down the missing.

Thankfully, we never received any of those calls though once we strayed from the official itinerary so we could check out the Capitol Lounge, a supposed home away from home for ex-patriate Michigan State University alums. My brother-in-law has a nephew playing for the Spartan football team. After a couple rounds in the lounge, we joked that if Vaughn called us, we'd tell him we were lost and have the bus pick us up in front.

We had a gregarious bus driver, a former teacher, for much of the trip. After watching him maneuver through openings so narrow I thought he'd have to do two wheels, I decided bus driving is a skill akin to being an airline pilot.

He had to put up with occasional crankiness too from the passengers. Once, when we were stopping quite late for dinner and having difficulty finding a dining venue large enough to accommodate all of us, somebody spoke out, "Rumor is we're going to eat the driver."

Another humorous moment occurred when the driver very slowly angled his vehicle towards an empty parking spot, intending to parallel park. He moved so slowly a passenger ahead of me jumped out of his seat, heading quickly to the front. He thought the driver had exited the vehicle and the bus was rolling on its own.

It was a memorable and educational trip as we learned more this time than in our previous trips to Washington. Still, home was a welcome sight. Kinda like the times I accompanied the boys on their school bus for overnight trips. It was good to be in our own house, in our own bed.

When we checked our phone upon arriving back, we found five messages on the answering machine. They were all from the tour leader Vaughn. One said something about meeting the bus at the old post office there in Washington. All the messages were of a similar nature.

Turns out he was dialing our home phone number instead of our cell phone number.


Blogger Carine said...

LOL-I think, judging from your bus tour-I'll stick to "walking" tours. I do remember the days when we had to tour the state for our son's travelling soccer teams. I'm bringing this up b/c I'm sure your "driver" would have been a better dinner than the various McD's we were told we had to eat w/ for the team and all us parents.

1:06 PM  
Blogger Lynilu said...

Soooooo, it seems that "occasional straggler" might be a bit more that "occasional", and have a name! Uh-huh, uh-huh!!!

4:23 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

CARINE--I don't think we ever stopped at a McDonalds if I recall. But even McDonalds would have been better than the continental breakfast at the Comfort Inn. Same thing every morning, morning after morning.

I do recall those post match McDonalds get-togethers after our own sons' soccer matches.

LYNILU--The bus passengers always gave a round of applause to the last one on the bus. And I'm proud to say that neither I nor Wendy ever got that hand.

6:08 PM  
Blogger TechnoBabe said...

That was quite the adventure. There were some interesting personalities all cooped up on that bus together. The bus looks pretty new so it probably was nice inside and comfy seats.

2:53 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

TECHNOBABE--Nice seats, but the intercom system went in and out. That was particularly annoying during the three-hour tour of DC with a step-on tour guide.

6:34 PM  
Blogger Merle said...

Hi Dave ~~ Great pics of the bus and The White House. Glad you had a good trip and now are safely home.
At least Vaughan wasn't going to leave anyone behind with his counting. I hope your cold didn't develop or that it is now gone.
I am glad you pass on a few jokes and get a chuckle or two.
Take care, my friend, Regards, Merle.

4:44 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

Welcome home from a fellow traveler.

6:03 PM  

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