What Others had to Say

When last we looked, Monday had arrived, but the North Carolina group hadn't. Time passes.
Tuesday dawns. The crack of Noon is heard across the land. and about three o'clock (or thereabouts), a strange but insistent beeping noise is heard outside my house, accompanied by furtive rumblings, as if the Jolly Green Giant had eaten at Taco Bell.
Quick as a flash, I sprang to my window, threw up the sash ... no, ... that's the one about christmas. :) Well, anyway, I looked out the kitchen door to see this wierdo bearded hippie-type person easing down my driveway in a gaudy color psychadelic 70's bus!! Gack!! So THAT is what Richard Palmer looks like!!
No. that was Neil, driving Nicole's bus (named Cassidy. it's a she). Richard's 67 camper, painted as a large rounded american flag, with a nose-mounted spare tire (with a yellow happy-face hubcap on it), had already passed behind the house. Oh, horrors!! Invaded by Hippies!!! Hmmmmmmm ... I'm gonna have to be LOTS more careful about who I tell where I live!! :) Richard was sort of like a taller version of Neil, with lighter hair. And many body piercings. elbow rings, neck rings, .... ;) Reminds me of my nephew Jeff (a psycology graduate from Auburn) .
The Entourage consisted of: Richard, the leader (eh?) or at least, driver of the leading vehicle. Jeffifer, rider of the passenger seat in Richard's bus. Neil, driver of the 2nd bus. but not the owner. Nicole, owner of the 2nd bus. who rebuilds engines and works on her bus, but doesn't drive it. CC (CeeCee? SeeSee? SiSi?), a passenger in the 2nd bus. Danielle, another passenger in the 2nd bus.
Of course, I can't swear that's where CC and Danielle were riding. By the time I got back there, they had all tumbled out into the yard and were milling around, stretching and yawning.
Richard's bus was a 67 pop-top (tiny square, straight up) camper. I think he said it was done by Sportmobile. The distinguishing thing (to me) was a looong triple window on the middle of the driver's side .... glass for about five feet! This was an inserted window, not the normal segmented windows of the kombis. The bus was painted win red and white stripes with a blue field at the rear (but no stars. I asked why no stars. they laughed). The spare tire is mounted on the front and the hubcap is painted yellow with a happy-face on it. Grateful Dead sticker are all over the bus. Inside is the still-very-very-nice paneling of the cameper, and even the roof-vent pipe for the sink is still there and working. Some slightly-more-than-minor rust here and there, but it was running well and looked very loved. :)
Nicole's bus was a 70 bus. The paint job, while not quite as startlingly eye-catching as Richard's, was "different". :) It started at the front with a golden sun-face on a blue sky background. The sides of the bus were more blue sky, turning into green fields, then into dark black night with starts and moon and ghostly (nekkid wimmen) spirits on the rear hatch. A big green frog on a lillypad adorned the driver's side in the middle. Also a bus that showed a lot of love and attention.
All in all, VERY much the stereotypical Grateful Dead Tour Buses. :) And Tour Busers.
They set up shop and got all the best camping spots behind the house. And started looking worriedly at Nicole's bus. It seems she'd been losing quite a bit of oil on the trip down. Like a quart every 200 miles Next thing I realized, the engine was out and sitting on a milk crate. Yup. Punctured pushrod tube. The explanation involved something about a different bus (with this engine) being run off the road in Boulder, CO (musta been a previous life) and rolling several times. It was too late by that time to get any parts, and they were looking at my lawn and shrubbery with hungry gleams in their eyes, so off to the food place we went.
After quieting the abdominal rumblings abit (don't kids eat regularly anymore??), we toured the town in my bus, showing the wonderous palaces of pleasure and wealth and basically all the crap that local folks call "home". :) Not much to see, but they were gracious enough to make some noises of appreciation and wonderment.
Watched some vw videos that night. and everybody turned in.
Next morning, I got a nasty note from my local chipmunks ... they were NOT pleased about these people camping in THEIR yard and disturbing THEIR feeding pattern. I'll have to work on that. :)
Off to the local parts store. upon arriving, he had only the pushrod tubes, NOT all the stuff he said he had when I called. Typical. So off to the OTHER parts place we go, stopping first at a Hardee's for some small sustenance (to keep the passengers from chewing on my upholstery .... boy, hippies sure do eat a lot more these days!). Lots of old farts were staring inside Hardee's ... bet they ain't see none o' them califernya hippies in nigh onto thirty years!
This other place is a vw junkyard and repair shop. He had all the stuff they needed. But the visit was extended due to a wandering tour of the junkyard and all its old buses and cars. Lots of "Hey, look at this!" and "wow. neat." I had not been to the place in about six or seven years and he had really expanded his collection of wrecks. Some didn't really look like wrecks. One particular 1974 bus was really nice looking and appeared to be very much out of place: bright shiney paint and no visible dings or dents or missing pieces. But I didn't look at the engine.
Back to the house and commenced the engine re-assembly.
Many hours later, the sound of an air-cooled 1600 vw engine is heard across the yard. :) A few minor glitches along the way, but not tooo bad for an side-of-the-road shade-tree half-fast driveway repair. Especially since *I* didn't have to do anything: Nicole seems to LOOOVE getting all dirty and greasy ... sort of like Pigpen, in the Charlie Brown comic strip. And Neil and Richard were hovering around helping and offering advice. Well, Neil was helping. Richard had most of the advice. ;)
Clean up the kids once again and off to eat we go. Picked up my nephew who had never seen (1) real hippies, or (2) a split-window bus. He was suitably impressed by both, although i'm not sure exactly in which direction. :)
Back to the house and as it was kinda late, we started watching slides of my old buses and a 24-year-ago trip to the grand canyon and so forth. this passed the night until late (lots of slides) ... and besides, they couldn't make up their minds whether to trip to stay at a KOA campground right beside Elvis' house, Graceland, or mush on through to a possibly- free state campground about 15 miles away. Since it was four more hours (at least) to get to Memphis, another night was spent in beautiful downtown Tookalooka.
Up with the dawn, kicking butts and taking names; Finally got all the kids away and ready to travel. THEN I get told "How do you tell when you've been visited by a bunch of Deadheads??? ... easy: they're still there!!" . :)
We pulled out in convoy, and no sooner hit the first redlight, when who is standing around a broken-down car, but the local Gendarmes. They stared, but it was a grinning stare. :) Both very young officers. A while later, I had to turn off to come to "work", and the last I saw of them, they were headed down US-82West toward the river. They are supposed to hook up with US-43North and go up to Winfield, AL where they will pick up US-78West and follow it to Memphis. As a matter of fact, they might possibly be getting close to Memphis right about now.
So if you see a red, white, and blue split-window bus followed by a really strangely painted 70's bus (you'll recognize it by the smiling (frowning) sun painted on the front. or maybe the naked nightly spirits on the rear end), wave and shout ... it's them. :)