Cindy’s Dad had an interesting idea one time that we all got to enjoy the benefit of for quite a few years. (When this guy thought of an idea to get something done, you usually paid attention to it. This is the same guy who helped my Dad equip the back of our van with that bench and table that turned into a bed.) For a number of years, he was the township supervisor for Bath (the town that I have mentioned in earlier stories where I grew up). It may have been during this period of time, but regardless, he got the news that a school district was getting rid of a school bus that was in decent condition. His idea? To have a number of families go in together on the purchase of this bus and make it into an RV of sorts that all of those families could use whenever they wanted to. I have no idea how many families went in on it, but ours was one of them (I believe quite a few others from my parents’ Euchre Club that they were a part of went in on this bus-turned-RV as well). Thus began an interesting process to watch this RV take shape…..
It was somewhere around my sophomore/junior year of high school when this project began. It took at least most of the summer that year to do it, but I remember quite a few trips over to Cindy’s house to help work on this thing. I remember being old enough to actually do the help of an adult, but only two things stand out in my mind about that phase of the project: tearing out the green bus seats (which I totally enjoyed doing–there’s something about knowing I sat in seats like that as an obedient little kid that made me want to take all my aggression out on them as a teenager) and painting over the yellow color on the outside of the bus (again, pent-up aggression that probably came from waiting at the bus stop and seeing that yellow-colored beast coming down the road towards me to take me someplace that I didn’t want to go to be with a bunch of kids I didn’t want to be with….wait, this sounds too much like Calvin & Hobbes).
So when it was all finally finished, it really was a sharp-looking RV! Some of the seats towards the front of the bus had been reupholstered and repositioned for bench seating at tables (like back-to-back restaurant booths) with the capability of the tables being lowered to the benches to become beds for sleeping. I’m fairly certain that there was a small kitchenette of some sort towards the back, with storage for luggage, camping gear and food stuff on the opposite side of the kitchenette. I don’t remember it having a toilet, so as much as us teenagers would have liked to give it a nickname like “The Rolling Turd”, it just wasn’t meant to be.
Quite a few of these families that went in on the bus-turned-RV were all part of an annual trip to a fantastic German/Austrian-based town called Frankenmuth in Michigan, which they did every first weekend of December. They took the newly-constructed RV every year for that trip, and I remember joining them in the RV for the first time my first Christmas out of high school (and I seem to remember that that may have even been the last time the RV was taken for that trip).
My last memory of that RV is when our family went with Cindy’s family in the RV down to Cedar Point in Ohio and stayed in the campground that’s right there on the funpark grounds. It makes a world of difference staying there on the grounds vs. a hotel somewhere close by! You can stay in the park right up to closing time and not have to drive anywhere–just walk back to your campsite. Then you can get up in the morning and enjoy some breakfast and still have time to be one of the first through the gates when they open. If you get an opportunity to do something like that, take advantage of it!
Funny thing about that trip, though, is the fact that my Dad never got on any rides. He never did like that kind of thing. I can remember plenty of times at the county fairs where he just walked around and watched us kids have all the fun. I believe he did the same thing at Cedar Point. In fact, he may have just stayed back at the campsite and took it upon himself to be the official fire-stoker. Of course, Cindy’s Dad would have gladly joined him in shouldering that responsibility and probably did.
That’s a good memory to end the RV with…..