BACK TO SCHOOL

BACK TO SCHOOL


BACK TO SCHOOL

The Mesa Verde “Bluebird” tour bus

During my time driving the Mesa Verde tour bus Bluebird I always had a 45 minute stint waiting for
the guests to emerge from the Cliff Palace tour and the time was most often spent up in the picnic
area. I had been trying to get a picture of the elusive “local” bluebird but without any sucess as they
seem to take off immediately the camera is pointed in their direction. One day I’m sitting at the table
when one lands on the table in front of me…….. and then walks every which way after crumbs…….
sod’s law the camera is in the bus!

Next day I’m armed with camera ……. NOTHING ! ……..but then on day 3, it comes back, hops about
and then sits in a tree over my head where I can finally focus the mini camera and get a worthwhile
shot.

The “elusive” Mesa Verde Bluebird

It seems to have gone very quickly, but its time again to be out scouring the countryside for lost
children and bring them in for another year at their place of learning. This time last year I was very
much the “newbie” and only working for one school district so my ration was fairly meagre to say the
least. This year with 3 school districts and the added bonus of Mesa Verde I should be fairly busy.

Cortez has kicked off with it’s “in service” day and exams have been taken and passed. This week
Dolores has it’s “new look” presented with Kathy as the Boss and Transportation Director, Wes from
Mancos, doubling up as the Dolores mechanic. Not sure how many routes will be up for grabs but
certainly Lena’s is available as she is now with Cortez on a full time basis.

The Team Mancos tour bus ready for a spot of mountain driving

The Mancos team are having a “drive-around” on Friday with all of us taking turns behind the wheel
as we take in all our mountain venues and get a chance to see where the school sports fields are for
the upcoming football season. I seem to remember the away teams were on the road nearly every
other day so this year I hope to get some pretty good trips instead of filling in for everybody else. Not
sure who has retired and who is still on the team but Friday will tell.

More mountain bends in the Telluride area

The Mesa Verde National Park driving lasts until the end of October with the Wetherill Tram operation
closing after Labor Day when that side of the park shuts for the winter. I’m hoping that with some of
the drivers now on full time school routes I will get a bigger crack on the Tour Bus which is without
doubt my favorite task, not quite so fond of the employee shuttle bus run which requires getting up at
0330!!

My school duties opened up with a Friday afternoon run on my well known D11 route and all was
going well until I pulled up at a little boy’s house and he then tells me he has moved and we passed
his house some 2 miles back!! Since then all has gone smoothly having taken over Karen’s Rico run
on the small Bluebird Vision while she is on holiday in Taiwan.

The Rico run sports car

I should have been on a Saturday sports trip to Monticello  taking the High School girl’s Volleyball
team but on arrival at the school no signs of anyone ? Further investigation reveals the first screw up
of the season and its a home game so clearly I’m only going back to the bus barn.

Two weeks on the Rico run watching the start of the fall colors, a week with Cortez relearning some
route changes and then another week driving the old D11 run and a fistful of activity runs with two trips
taking football teams to places far and wide and also the girls volley ball teams to Telluride and
Ignacio.

The girls just keep winning

Throw in another middle school activity of a two bus day driving up a mountain on some very dubious
roads which started off as dirt and then became rocks and more rocks something akin to Pipeline in
the Scottish. Needless to say the two buses chosen for this mission were manuals, and I can now
see why !!

Steep and washboardy

Through the Aspens and into the rubble field climb

Finally after crashing our way up the rubble in 2nd with delicate throttle control we make the stop
point  and let off the climbers to climb Helmet Peak which they all do within the 4 hour time limit….
quite a hike!

Made it !

About 4 miles to the summit

TONY DOWN

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