HoWie’s First Adventure

Yesterday we finally took HoWie The Bus out for his first adventure! Pete had an appointment in West Branch, about an hour away. Then in the evening he had a meeting of his ham club another half-hour or so further, and he wanted to show his ham friends his new bus. And, since I always do the driving, I got to drive HoWie!

I loved driving HoWie! Much easier than I anticipated, though I need to remember to watch for overhanging branches and things! He drives differently than anything else I’ve ever driven. For one thing he’s pretty wide – 8½ feet I think I read? Or maybe that’s with all those mirrors that stick out to the sides…at any rate, keeping him centered in the lane took some concentration, but thankfully, there’s a mirror for that 🙄.

We can get all the way to West Branch without going through any towns or traffic, so that’s the route I decided to take as I was getting acclimated. When we were just over halfway there though, I missed a turn, and didn’t feel comfortable enough to turn him around on a 2-lane road, so I kept going. I knew the way, it just was a few miles longer, and meant I had to drive through part of West Branch to get to the cancer centre once I got there. By that time I was feeling more confident though, and it went well.

Pete has a break between 2 appointments on his infusion days, and we use that time to get some lunch in town. I had no trouble navigating in town, even in construction. The only thing I wasn’t still real happy with was backing up…though there are mirrors for that 🙄. We then drove back to Pete’s 2nd appointment, and when that was done we headed out toward Mills Twp, stopping at a hardware store on the way to get a couple of things for HoWie.

4 mirrors on each side…plus the rear-view inside!

We got there quite early, so sat in the parking lot enjoying the beautiful weather. Pete did some work on HoWie while we waited for the other hamsters to get there. His friends had various reactions to the bus, from, “You really DID get a bus, I thought you were kidding!” to “It sure is stout.” HAHAHA! But one thing they all commented on was what a great “ham bus” he will make! During the meeting itself I did some more work* (I always work out in the “car” during Pete’s infusions also) and chatted with a friend on Marco Polo on and off, then drove HoWie to Dee’s where the club has a meal together before disbanding for the night. The parking lot is packed once the meeting gets out and I wanted to get a big spot; Pete got a ride with one of the guys and met me there…

*my “work” is moderating, file mgmt, editing vids and pics, keeping up my sites, and other housekeeping and updating tasks for several hours each day

Pete left a little early since we hadn’t driven HoWie at night yet, and it is mostly dark, curvy 2-lane roads, much of it heavily wooded on each side. It didn’t get really dark until we were almost halfway home though, so that was good…but that’s when we discovered some “quirks”.

HoWie has very poor night vision. His headlights are pretty dim. His brights don’t work. The dash lights don’t work. And none of the lights in the back work. I was driving a dark gray bus on dark winding roads with no rear lights. NONE. People were passing me and flashing their headlights at me and I couldn’t figure out why; thought they just didn’t like how slowly I was going (so as not to out-drive my barely-lit headlights). It wasn’t until we got into a town about 15 miles from home that it “dawned” (see what I did there?) on me why I was being flashed at as people were passing me! I WASN’T because I could only go 25-40 mph! So I drove the rest of the way with my panic lights – or whatever those flashing ones are called – on.

This was rough enough. But from sitting for prolonged periods, driving in a position that my body isn’t used to, in a vehicle that I was trying to get used to, etc. my pain levels were setting new highs. With the added stress – and required concentration – of trying to get us home safely in the dark I had developed a headache. And the Amish buggies, which are black, and have minimal – if any – lighting, and I couldn’t see them until I was nearly on top of them…by the time we got home I was a wreck. A painful, hungry (Pete got me carryout which I’d intended to munch on the way home), frazzled wreck!

I have my doubts that we would have made it safely if we hadn’t had the hand of the Lord on us. It goes without saying that we were praying the entire time! And we are so very very thankful for that too! When we got home, in spite of how we were feeling, we were praising!

Anyway. That was our first outing with HoWie, and my first time driving him. And our first adventure with him. Obviously he won’t be going anywhere at night until his lighting situation is fixed! Pete said that the same fuse that manages the dash lights often also manages the rear lights…so that could be all it is. BUT he needs better headlights (also something Pete and do), and the situation with the brights needs to be looked into/fixed. We’re just adding it all to the list!

Meanwhile we still love having a bus, we’re excited about the future adventures – happier ones! – and will be making him into exactly what we need him to be (a ham bus, apparently 😉) in these next weeks! We are not daunted – but we ARE happy that that couple of hours is over!!

6 thoughts on “HoWie’s First Adventure

  1. Hope Pete can put at least a 2meter radio in it so he can chat with others when waiting for appointments. Would love to work him one day on HF!

    1. That’s our plan :). He plans on having a VHF radio and being able to talk on the road or wherever we are. He would love to have contact with you! (N8HIS is his call sign…wants to know what yours is?)

  2. That sounds stressful, to say the least!! Thankful there was no loss to life or limb, and happy that now that these issues have been identified (NOT when you were in a big city or something), they can be remidied! MLIDLU

  3. ,

    So glad you are safe after your first big adventure in the new bus. It sounds like you took the National Day of Prayer seriously and prayed all day. 🙂🙂🙂🙂🙂🙂🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌

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