|That little bit of snow shown in the pics of my previous posting is nothing compared to what we got the next day. Yes, Sunday rolled around with dancing snowflakes and about 15cm (6inch) on the ground.|
Departure time was set to 7:30am, so I kicked myself into gear to get the bus going and cleared of heaps of snow. It was –6C and freezing cold, with other word, a real kick-back into winter. Would the big diesel start up? There was no plug-in available anywhere.
On the way out I stopped by the coffee bar and poured myself a hot cup.
First I got out the long broom to get the snow of the windshield and around the door. Then I lifted off the engine cover to check on the oil. All fine there!
I flipped the power switch and after letting the computer do its thing, turned the starter. I heard a cough from behind, then another and yet another and then…..then there was a noise like I an old ship diesel came back to life after sitting unused for 20 years.
OK, there was some life.
Gradually, the engine got into a normal heartbeat, YEAH…it was running.
I did some more snow removal and walked back to the warming hotel lobby where I had a hearty breakfast.
Driving around in Spruce Grove this morning was no picnic. Apparently the city managers hadn’t noticed that winter was back, at least no snowplow was in sight. It was hard to get off when the lights turned green, and I had the feeling we were more swimming than driving.
Our return home approx. a 2.5-hr. ride, was scheduled for the early evening, hopefully with the hockey team being Provincial Champions.
Well, at the end of the day, they didn’t make it. But they got the silver medal and I must say they took it in stride. In no way it showed that they were in a subdued mood. Actually, they were making one hell of a noise with their singing.
At 6:45pm we were heading out of town. Luckily, old sol had thawed off the pesky snow, so all major roads were in the clear.
A few girls had to be dropped off in Lacombe, a tiny town just north of Red Deer. The drop-off point was a small Range Road. Turning in there I realized that the road was still full of snow. I knew that there was a T-intersection ahead of me for turning the bus around. Cautiously, I proceeded to the turn, swung the bus around……and got stuck when I reversed. There was no going ahead and no backing up. It was like the inside temperature dropped with 10 degrees – except I got a bit hot under my shirt. What did I do? What could we do?
First I lifted up the tag axle to increase weight on the drive axle. It helped a bit but then we got stuck again. Next, I got out and hauled a pail of gravel out of the service compartment. We always carry gravel with us. With the gravel spread behind and in front of the rear wheels I managed to rock the coach into motion and all-of a sudden we got traction. A high-pitch scream of victory erupted behind me. The girls got ecstatic. Before we knew it we were all back on solid ground, doing the rest of the trip to Red Deer.
Tis is the life of a bus driver.