Tuesday, November 10, 2009
The "It's All Downhill" Story
It was an ordinary day. We were getting ready for vacation at the Chesapeake Bay. To get there we would have to travel south from our house on Rt. 272 which took us over some very steep hills. Our mode of transportation this year is a mid-60s VW Bus. Dark brown on the bottom and white on top. The model we had was a T2 which had a four cylinder 1.6 liter engine located in the rear which generated 48 horsepower (not much). The bus had an automatic transmission and an air-cooled engine. The heater was a series of pipes that carried air heated by the engine to the passenger compartment. Not very efficient. It did have a radio! Packed in the bus for vacation was clothing for 5 people for the week, food for the same people along with games, fishing equipment, beach chairs, sports equipment, etc. A WHOLE BUNCH OF STUFF! On the front were strapped three children's bikes, attached to a hand-made rack that had to be low enough to allow me to see to drive, but high enough so the wheels wouldn't strike the road. On the back were strapped two adult's bikes which helped to balance the bus so it wouldn't tip over. I made sure that I had a clear view through the bus so I could see out the back window. Took quite some time to pack. Time to go!!! Everyone in the bus. Off we went. Smooth sailing until we hit the hills on Rt. 272. We had traveled this route many times so we knew when to speed up in order to make it up the hills. Down the first hill without using the brakes, then up the other side. By the time we hit the top of the hill we were going about 15 MPH with a line of traffic behind us. On to the next hill! The bus had a few features you won't find in most other cars. If you wanted to turn left you would push the turn signal down and as you made your turn, the horn would blow. Great conversation piece. If you needed heat in winter you had about 10 minutes of heat before the bus would start to fill with smoke. That was really different. Limited the length of your trips. Well, we made it to the Chesapeake. Unpacked everything and had a fun vacation as usual. Now, it's time to head home in the bus! Oh, No!!! It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.