So we've had a lot of snow (blizzards even) here this winter, and now we're getting tons of rain. This has been an unusually wet winter, and most of the roads have standing water. The ground is beyond saturated.
During the blizzards, we started to store trash (in bags) in my bus. We also did some major housecleaning, and that went into the bus as well. Today, when the rain stopped and the sun came out, we decided to haul off the trash, and since the gas station and the trash transfer station are across the street from each other, I decided to take the opportunity to fill up the tank.
Before I could move the main bus out of the yard though, I had to get the shed bus (the stowaway) out of the way. I had mom drive it so she could get some experience with it. Well, about 10 feet from it's final parking spot, the left rear wheels sunk into mud, and we lost all traction. It sits there now, with the wheel sunk into the mud, waiting for a dry day to get moving again.
pictures: shed bus stuck in the mud
Now some of you might see where this story is heading already. I admit it is tragically funny.
Our driveway is carved into the ground quite a bit due to years of people driving in and out. It is also a bit narrow. Getting the bus in and out of the driveway has been a chore in the past, and I decided to try going out differently this trip. I didn't swing quite wide enough, and took out the mailbox. That's the second time in a month the mailbox got taken out, once by the snow plow. So, after killing the mailbox, I figure we've had our excitement for the day.
After getting onto the street, I started to worry, as I couldn't seem to get the bus up to 2nd gear, and it finally did it when the engine got around 2200rpm. Then, it didn't seem to want to hit 3rd. It took me a while to get the bus all the way up to 4th gear and lockup. After that though, it seemed to be smooth driving. I think I need a front end alignment unfortunately. I got up to 55mph, at 2500rpm, with only a small amount of diesel smoking. The ride was fairly smooth (for a mostly empty bus). Getting into and out of the transfer station was fairly easy. Unloading all the trash was also easy.
As luck would have it, the gas station was mostly empty, so it was trivial to swing in and get pulled up to a pump. Unlike when I took my trip from GA to VA in the bus, the diesel pump at this station had a really nice automatic shutoff when the tank was close to full. I put 20 gallons of fuel into my bus in less time than it takes to put 10 gallons into my little corolla. I really like that fuel pump.
As I tried to figure the best way back home from the fuel station, I realized it would be all left turns, with no spots really adequate for swinging such a large vehicle around. So, I took a right, and took the long way home. This gave me an opportunity to run up to 55mph for a while on several different roads, and to get a feel for her again. It was enjoyable.
Then, I arrived at home. Here's where the fun really began.
I missed the mailbox this time. I swung wide, but not quite wide enough... The left front wheel went up over the ditch bank on the far side of the driveway, but I should have gone another 3 feet out. The right rear wheels ended up coming into the shallow part of the ditch before hitting the right side ditch bank... And the storage box is on the right side. The storage box dug into the ditch bank, then the wheels started spinning on that side. You can't hear that from inside the bus like you can in a car.
Mom got out and looked to see what the problem was. She says the storage box was barely touching the ground. I sent her to get the 4x4 (5000 pound vehicle... but all we had to try with), while I sat there trying to think of a better answer. By the time she got the 4x4 pulled up in front of the bus, the bus had sunk into the mud up to the axle, and the box was definitely in the ground.
pictures: main bus stuck in the mud
We used the 4x4 to go down to the neighbor's house, and got them to bring their small tractor (not small, just the smallest one they have), and they pulled me out of the mud. I don't have pictures of that, as I was operating the bus at the time.
After he got me unstuck, we talked for a bit about the situation, and I asked him what he would recommend for us to do to get the driveway widened at the end and shaped properly for decent ingress/egress. He said legally we are supposed to get the state to do it, but that it takes many months to get them to do anything, and costs a lot, and even then, it won't be how you want it. He then offered to do the work for us, as well as install a 21' culvert, and make sure everything would drain properly. So, when the area dries out, he'll be fixing our driveway for us.
All in all, it has been an interesting day.
I have to say, I definitely liked getting the bus moving again. It's been too long. I definitely need some new tires on the back. I think if the right rear tires weren't pretty much slick, I might not have gotten stuck, as I probably could have kept moving enough. I also learned that hydroplaning isn't a concern in a big bus. I had to hit a large area of flooding faster than I would have liked, and the water just parted (leaving a huge wake) and the bus just drove right on.
Anyway, I'm hoping that in mid april to early may I'll be able to do the roof raise. I can't wait. Then I can fix my clearance lights, and actually be mostly legal on the road.
Anyway, I'll post more if I ever make any progress.