Dad’s on the committee for the Virginia Bus Roadeo (I can’t seem to find information about it online) and I met him in Harrisonburg last year to help some. I had such a good time that I asked him to let me know when he knew about the one for this year. This year it was in Hampton and the weather was so nice that we rode down.
Friday, we left after Dad got out of work. We hit traffic in Richmond and I spent the weekend complaining about it, but I didn’t realize how easy the trip down was until we went home. But I’ll tell you about that later. The traffic made it impossible for us to get dinner until after the meetings Dad had to go to. Unlike last year, though, we weren’t up until super late trying to get buses set up for the following day, which was nice.
The maintenance teams spent Saturday in classes/training, while the operators spent the day taking a practice run through the obstacle course and doing a pre-trip inspection test (doing their usual pre-trip inspection to check for defects in the bus before they go out for their route). We set up these two buses on Saturday morning and Dad needed a better assistant. The first time I read the papers, I thought there were supposed to be five defects, but there were actually supposed to be eight, so we had to scramble to get the last three before people started trying to do their tests. We finally got that sorted out and spent the rest of the day sending drivers through the buses and checking their lists (making sure we understood their notes, mostly). That was fun. And exhausting. Which was a good thing since the time change was Sunday morning and we had to be up early for another day.
Sunday, the maintenance teams had their tests (they inspect the bus like the drivers do, but much more thoroughly and they have a written test), but Dad and I spent the day watching one of the obstacles (the last one) for the obstacle course. The last three obstacles were a passenger pickup (stop next to the curb and the distance was measured), a diminishing lane with a minimum speed, and a stop where the driver was to be within a certain distance of the obstacle. I don’t know if the last two obstacles can be separated. Anyway, it was kind of fun because the barrels for the diminishing lane were bumped pretty frequently and it was usually more than one, so I’d hear “thump, thump, thump” as the bus picked up speed to meet the minimum before I had to go and measure the distance between the bumper of the bus and the obstacle cone. Right behind us was a pair of reverses. And I think I learned something I can use for parking my own vehicles, so that was cool.
We knew there was a chance of rain on Sunday, but we accepted that when we rode down. What we weren’t prepared for were the huge number of accidents just between Hampton and Williamsburg. Traffic was at a standstill for long enough that our bikes were getting really hot, so we had to pull off under an overpass to let them cool off before we could go again. When we took off, we had to stop at the next exit to get oil for Dad’s bike and we were both pretty miserable. We tried to take another route to get home, but it was a toll road and we didn’t have the cash for it, so we had to go back to the interstate. Which was clear for about two miles before we hit another backup. We, fortunately, didn’t have to stop again, but we were glad to get around Williamsburg. It started to rain a little before Richmond and didn’t let up until I got home, just before it was full dark. I was cold, wet, tired, and miserable. When I texted Dad to let him know I was home he said he hadn’t made it yet because his bike was acting up. Fortunately, his friend was on his way to get Dad and I’m so grateful for that.