July 4th

At the start of June a note appeared on the announcement board looking for drivers to sign up for July 4th. After having a word with the family, I went ahead and signed up. Not knowing what to expect, I asked Carol what would be required. All I could get out of her was that it would be fun; there would be food and very full busses.

The driver’s meeting was held the weekend before and each driver was issued the route plan and a bright yellow “T” shirt. Before the festivities, each driver had one of two routes, downtown or CSU. Upon the completion of the fireworks, each bus basically did the same route, both downtown and CSU. This way it didn’t matter what bus people got on, they would end up close to where they had parked.

My route at the start was CSU to City Park and back, ferrying people from the big parking areas of the college. I just couldn’t understand why I was told that the busses would be full as the most people I had carried at a time was only in the twenties, most toting strollers, coolers or backpacks and kids. When people were no longer boarding at CSU or downtown, Carol called all the busses in to City Park. She had us park in two lines side by side, we were instructed to get out, close our doors and join her for chow.

Upon filling our faces (and using the Porta-Potty) we stood together enjoying the fireworks display.  When it seemed like the fireworks were slowing down, we all headed to our prospective busses (mine being #48 or Fox Trot). None of us started up or turned on the lights until the fireworks had stopped so-as not to be an irritation to the enjoyment of the waning cracks and pops.

When we were given the order to start-up, two motorcycle Police positioned themselves in front of my bus as I was the first in line. I threw open my door to the sight of a sea of faces trying to push on. My bus was filled to overflowing in less than 30 seconds. Closing the doors, I looked up to see Carol backing away from the two Policeman shouting “Move out, move out!” The Police fired up their lights and sirens and all the busses in my line surged forward as a unit through the boiling throng.

Once clear of the crowd and the beginning gridlock, the Police broke off to go help the other line of busses get out. Being as I was in the head of the line, I had choice as to where I was to go first, I choose downtown. The driver of the bus behind me, Barb, decided to stick with me rather than take the turn to CSU as she was having a sight problem. Behind her the busses were alternating between CSU and downtown. After making a downtown/ CSU loop, Barb and I headed back to City Park.

Upon return to City Park, there were still lots of people walking but staying mostly on the sidewalks. The Police were keeping the traffic moving, at a snails pace but at least moving. When I turned into the City Park pick-up area, I was shocked to see how many people were there waiting for a ride. Without exaggeration, there was a solid wall of people lined up along the curb and as deep as our headlights could penetrate! Again, loading took merely seconds and we were off again gingerly nudging our way through the throng, guided by the Police.

Barb and I only made one more run before we were instructed to head back to the barn. Our night was finished out with fueling and washing the busses before completing our time sheets and toddling off home. I arrived home just before midnight to the sounds of some die-hard revelers.

 

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Copyright 2009 Pokie Parmidge