Getting behind the wheel of a bus is much different than any other car I ever experienced the pleasure of driving. All the problems and stress of life of everyday life seem to disappear as soon as I am behind the wheel, rolling down the road with the motor purring behind me.
Buses were among my first vehicles as a young driver and I learned to appreciate the great view of the road, unhurried driving style (resulting in a longer chance to take in the passing scenery), and their other nuances. However, after not driving an old VW for 10 years or so, I got used to the amenities and luxuries found in cars today. These modern cars drive with much less effort, speeding off from a stop seemingly without breaking a sweat, turning corners with a couple of fingers on the steering wheel, and stopping on a dime without complaining. When I first modernized my primary vehicle after Big Blue, I spent a lot of time looking for a stripped down basic model. Why spend money on amenities I lived without for so long? Power windows, A/C, heat, cruise control – I could do without those! The only amenity I succeeded in avoiding, however, was the power windows, which I never missed. I eventually found cruise control a money saver as it kept the speeding tickets down to a dull roar and the A/C eventually grew on me as well, though even today in my ’03 Jetta I do not use it frequently. Together with all the other standard auto luxuries, I slowly forgot what driving is really about.
Moby’s arrival provided a renewed recognition of what it is to drive and, more specifically, to drive a bus. This type of driving is much more physical than what I grew used to over the years. The struggle to stay in my lane during a windy day, the effort to maintain speed up hill or into a head wind, the upper torso workout required to turn sharp corners, the less forgiving shifting, the roaring engine drowning out most conversation (and the complaining children in the back!), and the prolonged wait to reach highway speeds from a stop are all part of the bus experience which I am thoroughly enjoying relearning. I am happier driving a bus than any modern car because it feels more like I AM driving, not merely directing the vehicle along the road while being gently cooled by refrigerated air. The best aspect of bus driving for me is the “I will get there when I arrive” attitude one adopts in a bus. Since I cannot leave anyone in my dust, there is no point in trying or getting aggravated at other drivers for their stupidity or stressing over the fact the journey will take an hour longer in the bus than another car. I find myself once more noticing the details of the passing scenery, counting cows, or finding a house/store/historical marker that I never knew was there. Of course, there are the people passing me who, for the most part, stare, wave, flash peace signs, or take pictures which always adds a certain level of fun to a trip. The more relaxed attitude also leads to me stopping more frequently to see small towns, interesting roadside attractions, or take the path less traveled. Just put her in the right hand lane and go; we will get there….eventually.