The 47 seater that goes like the wind

Living in the mountains is often full of surprizes weather wise and strangers in the road of a wildlife
variety. This week has been one of those. On the home front, despite the weather, nature has decided
“its” time and things are pushing through and everything is coming into bud.

The bleeding heart is off again as are the clematis and hops are flourishing at the brewery. With the
snow for the most part gone the river is rising and the grass is now turning green from its dormant
state under the snow and of course the weeds are making the most of the spring sunshine.

For those of us up at the crack of dawn and even the butt crack of dawn in extreme cases to drive the
school bus the temps are pleasantly on the rise. However just so that the “bon ami” is kept in check a
crisp 30 mph wind reminds you of where you are and live. This week was no exception and as senior
driver Karen was away I had Wednesday through Friday driving her bus on the Dolores -Rico route
which is our longest run of the day totalling 182 miles for the combined morning and afternoon runs.

Karen has a 47 seater Bluebird Vision which drives like a sportscar and seems to have unlimited
power. Her run leaves the yard at 0550 with a straight drive to Rico to pick up the first passengers.
Thursday morning and before leaving to do the pre trip inspections its time to check the weather.
Well at 0500 its saying 45 and a 20 mph wind that will pick up to gusting 40 by lunchtime.

Behind the wheel of the sporty little Bluebird

Leaving Dolores at just under 7000′ I set off for Rico at 9000′ and I’m enjoying the super headlights
and empty roads as I drive up the valley. The light begins to change as dawn approaches and it looks
like there has been a light dusting of snow  but nothing on the road. I pass a county snowplow with his
lights on parked beside the road but don’t give it much thought. At about 8500′ the snow starts and
some is now begining to settle on the road. By the time I draw into Rico its coming down hard and the
roads are covered.

Pulling in to the Rico stop in a near white out ! 

Thursday morning in Rico

Gingerly set off down the hill and come out of the storm pocket but within 5 miles I’m into another and
near white out conditions. Pick up some “snowmen” who are more than pleased to see a nice warm
bus. They breed ’em tough up here as some didn’t even have a coat……. such is the fashion of youth!

Another 30 mins battling the whiteout and real thick snow I suddenly burst into daylight and sunshine
on the 3 mile straight into town. Friday comes and the same trip is completed in very different
conditions as today is just bright and cold.

Friday morning at Rico

A cracking little bus, I only hope I get to drive it again.


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