When a person first steps on a coach, you choose your seat. I went ahead of Bob the first day and considered the setup. I finally settled in a seat a third of the way back, on the right side. (That's where Bob hit his head the first time.)
Daily seat assignments changed. Every morning, the right side of the bus moved forward two seats and the left moved back two. In this circle of musical seats, everyone got a different daily view. (FYI: There were a few people who chose to sit in the back of the bus and never change seats the whole trip. Their choice.)
On the day we drove to Arches National Park, Bob and I were up front with the big bus window right in front of us. At the visitor's center, before entering the park, someone pointed out a road high above us. They said we were heading up that road soon, and so we did.
I couldn't believe our big bus was going up that steep grade, but I found out it was only the beginning of many gravity-defying roads we would be rolling up and down on our trip.
As Dave drove our coach up that first incline, I held my breath. It seemed impossible to me. All I could think was that I was so happy I wasn't behind the wheel, doing the driving.
I remembered driving to Hoover Dam 10 years ago. While on that steep road I white-knuckled the steering wheel and stared straight ahead. Bob kept saying, "Look at that view!" meaning I should take my eyes off the road. "Are you nuts?" was all I could say to him.
This ride was much better. Though somewhat nervous about our steep climb, I could look and admire the panorama.
When we got to viewing areas to see the arches, I started snapping photos. I took a lot of shots out of the bus window, too. With a digital camera, I didn't have to limit myself like I did when I worried if I had enough film for the day. Instead of a dozen shots, I took hundreds knowing I could weed out the blurry ones later. Photos were our souvenirs.
Day five of our trip started with Bryce Canyon National Park. That place was awesome with its reds and oranges. That morning had me snapping away at the magnificent scenery again, knowing we would soon be on our way to Zion Nation Park I wanted to capture every moment of every place we visited.
I hadn't researched Zion and was surprised we weren't going to view it from the rim. The coach would take us to the floor of the canyon. Wow what a ride! It was a series of hairpin turns as we snaked our way down. For me the ride down and back up was a nail-biting experience … I loved it! But no way would I have wanted to drive it.
The Grand Canyon wasn't as grand as the last time Bob and I saw it 10 years ago. Rain clouds obscured some of the view. Up until this stop, rain clouds had parted for us as we approached our stops. Yet even with clouds this canyon was still spectacular!
Time on the bus between sights, meant we got to know our co-travelers. During one chat I found out I actually knew one woman. Mary and I hadn't talked in years, but we were able to pick up where we left off.
Bob continued to have issues with the bus. He bumped his head so many times others were reminding him to "Duck, Bob!"
Once a day I connected with Rebecca or Andy back home on the farm. One time, our daughter called my cell phone while we were still on the bus. Something was wrong.
"Um, Mom, what do you do with a dead chicken?"
The deceased was an old hen, not the one who was brooding eggs about to hatch. "I thought she was sleeping in the grass, but she never woke up," said Rebecca.
"Don't worry. Take the body back by the woods and set it out where the vulture or other scavenger can get it."
I had noticed that hen acting a bit peculiar before we left on vacation. Since she was always a peculiar bird I hadn't mentioned it to Rebecca. Guess our daughter had one of those life lessons we experience daily on the farm.
I'm running out of space now. Next week I'll give you a glimpse of the last half of our Lamer's Bus trip. It's fun reliving it. It stretches out our vacation.
Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; Sunnybook@aol.com; www.susanmanzke.net; http://www.facebook.com/susan.manzke.