Monday, November 29, 2010

Bumping along the bottom...

I've recently been debating - although not very seriously - whether or not to sell the bus, mostly because of the speed with which my offspring are growing.  With four and a small dog up, all required camping gear; with the heavy, german-made (and therefore heavy, like their food) camping interior that weighs more than I do, plus the antique dresser of indispensable camping accessories which my wife insists on while wondering aloud how I ever managed without them, it's safe to say that the performance isn't exactly sparkling.  After all, it only made 66 hp when it was new and even if it's still churning that out - well, you can see why it struggles, and that's before you even get to the fun part, of four people actually trying to live out of one of these things.

This weekend has reaffirmed the faith and squashed any such nascent thoughts.  I packed Jay in and set off for some father-and-son time down south, sans mother, sister, or surfboards.  It's easy to forget that the bus has always been in his life - we've always just gone off.   Spending time with Jay in the bus this weekend, I watched him unwind and chill out, and forget the stresses of being nine.

Between Kaka point and the Nuggets, finding sea lions to hassle.
Purakanui falls.  Pretty, eh?
Papatowai beach.  Spooky, cold, shadows in the water.  Can I not surf here?
Catlins rain forest.  Smells even better than a similarly themed toilet freshener.
Pounawea sunrise.  I take pictures while Jay gets to do star jumps.  Character building, see...

So we did bus things: we explored, we tramped, we read.  We forgot about modern things like computers, fuel injection, and overtaking.  I drank beer, he ate his own body weight in ice cream.  Complete strangers wander up and talk about the bus, and then other things.  I can fix any problem short of major catastrophe with my own brain and hands and the tools I carry, and problems are well - expected.  That big front window displays the whole world in glorious panorama, accompanied by the warm bus-sell that only buses have.  And we finished the trip, as usual, with the bus running better at the end than it had at the beginning -  like the bus enjoys it too, and doesn't want to be consigned back to a nice warm garage.  Travelling by bus is a journey, in the truest sense of the word.

And so, the Catlins duly scoped out for further adventuring, we returned home in glorious, faintly dirty triumph, which is of course exactly how fathers and sons should return home.  Tales to tell, hot baths to sit in, more beer to be drunk. 

Bus adventures rock, and so do the Catlins.


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