For my birthday weekend, we decided to take the bus to a private lake for a lot of swimming, floating, relaxing, reading, eating, drinking, napping and passing the time on the hottest weekend of the year. What better way to keep cool? And we wanted to see how the bus performed in the extreme heat. And us too!
Another good reason for this date: timing for the prime viewing for the Perseid Meteor showers was perfect! We would also be far from city lights and creating no light of our own. And no moon, an extraordinary viewing opportunity.
We hadn’t been out in The Mighty Bus since we got back from Michigan about a month ago and it was time to go. In the meantime, Jim has fixed a bunch of stuff on the bus, like the remote start for the generator, the invertor, the electric relay transfer switch (?) and more. So as he said the other day, “The more things I fix on the bus, the more I like it.” We both like the simple, quick meals and fast clean-up. The bus is comfortable and we can read in the evenings.
For this trip, there was no electric or water, but we could run the generator and be quite comfortable, cook and shower. We stocked plenty of ice and beer and food and snacks along with our bikes. Even though it was hot, evenings cooled down nicely and we didn’t have to run the AC at night. Until we get the generator exhaust run right, it’s kind of diesel-y on a long term basis.
We had thought about bringing Carmella, one of the cats. She has been very curious about the bus and all over it. She even has a favorite place to lay. But – she has never been in it when the engine was running. Plus, with the weather; predicting like 102 degree heat, we wondered if she would be too hot and knew we couldn’t leave her in the bus for long. So she stayed home.
We packed it up and headed out on Thursday. How ironic if we went to all this trouble and then the bus didn’t start. But it started right up and we drove down the road past Topeka to our very private and beautiful camping spot.
A swim was the first thing in order, or maybe a beer, I forget. Then we grilled some chicken and settled in for the shooting stars. We did see several, but it became overcast about midnight and we got sleepy. When I woke up about 3:00 AM, it was completely overcast. We could always try again next night.
Friday: Eat, swim, relax, drink beer, repeat. By late Friday afternoon, it was starting to cloud up and looked like we might get a storm. It has been super dry here, the ground was hard enough for the bus, but if we got a lot of rain, we would really tear things up on the way out. Or get stuck, not an acceptable event.
We had grilled our pre-made at home gourmet hamburgers and it was easy to run into the bus when the rain began.
The storm was fabulous. It rained hard and there was lots of lightning. In the course of about an hour or so, it moved through, leaving an incredible double rainbow that lasted a long time, not fleeting like most. That was followed by a series of spectacular cloud formations and dancing light during sunset. There’s a whole set of photos here, the one above is the Mighty Bus dwarfed by the rainbow.
We were starting to get a little worried that it might rain enough to soften the ground but in about an hour, the lightning eased and the cloud line started to move through. It was colorful; powerful and moving, ever changing.
How can I say Thank You Universe? So beautiful, so humbling, so lucky to be able to witness it. We were awed. That night was actually a little chilly compared to what it had been, great sleeping weather.
Saturday was much cooler since the storm had broken the heat. We spent another day swimming, reading and visiting with the owner of the lake. We never did get our bikes out and I never got my laptop out, even to download photos. Good thing, since it turned out I left the cord at home. It was just a wonderfully mellow weekend. Really special and much needed.
Saturday night we just ate some guacamole I made with tomatoes and jalapenos from the garden. That and a few cocktails ended up being dinner.
Sunday was my actual birthday, so we packed it up after breakfast and rolled out. I drove home and all went fine except when we went to dump at a nearby RV park, Jim was directing me from behind and said to turn and I didn’t. The front wheel slipped off the pavement, but after a brief admonishment and correction, I followed directions and got us out of there pronto.
The final step of any trip is getting home and making sure all is well there. We always consider things a success when we’ve come back, spotted all the kitties and they are fine and happy to see us. After we got the bus backed in the driveway (following signals closely this time), we had a beer in the bus to celebrate a wonderful and successful trip.
Carmella joined us for the cocktail hour in the bus. She will go along next time.