It’s awe-inspiring what one can buy from a public auction website. At least we were surprised when we discovered that a 1998 Blue Bird TC-1000 short bus could be had for less than 5 grand. Surprised enough, in fact, that one week later we were behind the wheel of a rental car speeding toward Apache Junction School District headquarters just outside Phoenix.


Less than 10 minutes before they closed we pulled into the lot and were handed the keys to our “new” pride and joy by the transportation supervisor, who wasn’t nearly as excited as we were. He probably assumed we had plenty of experience driving buses; confidence that quickly dissipated as we asked him every stupid question imaginable. And with that, we were off…but this time we weren’t speeding anywhere.

With Justin passed out between two seats, I put the pedal to the metal and rattled our dusty little gem into the sunset. A quick stop at a truck stop earned us two Arby’s sandwiches and a truck wash; but we weren’t impressed by the results of either. The Arizona sun hadn’t been kind to the cashier, nor our paint job.

A cool 9 hours later we pulled into the driveway in Newport Beach; greeted by our friends who were in disbelief until they saw the flashing lights and Justin hanging out the front door like a train conductor. Not sure the neighbors shared our enthusiasm, but we were just getting started.