By Grant McGee
One time I used an old school bus as a moving van.The problem was it had no brakes.
I know that’s stupid and it was probably illegal. I borrowed the bus from a relative affectionately known as “Coach,” a retired middle school football coach. I had been talking to Coach about a move from Amarillo to Phoenix and the high cost of renting a moving van.
“Shoot, boy, I have a school bus you can use for free,” said Coach. “it ain’t got no brakes but I won many a game with worse odds.
” “NO BRAKES?” I exclaimed. “Calm down, boy, you just gear down to stop.” Within days the bus was packed and Amarillo was in the rearview mirror.
Coach picked the southern route to Phoenix, the brakes wouldn’t be such an issue then like it would if we went through Albuquerque and Flagstaff. The long, downhill grade from Ruidoso to the Tularosa Valley wasn’t so bad.
Then it was time for San Augustine pass.
If you’re coming from the east it’s a long, winding four-lane highway to the summit then this long downhill straightaway into Las Cruces. We trundled up the eastern slope, topping out at 25 mph. We reached the summit.
“Now put this thing in third and coast,” said Coach. Soon the bus was rocketing downhill. The transmission was screaming, “EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.
I thought it would explode. I had this vision of chunky metal, gears and oil blasting through the bottom of the bus.
“COACH!” I yelled, “THIS THING’S GONNA BLOW UP!”
“Boy,” he said. “Would you calm down. Dang, you’d never make any of my teams.”
“THIS ISN’T FOOTBALL,” I yelled.
“Boy, everything’s like football. Now calm down.
” The transmission screamed, but the speedometer held at 55 mph. Soon things leveled out and we were rolling calmly into Las Cruces.
“Touchdown,” said Coach. “See boy? Everything’s like football. Now let’s get going to Phoenix.”
Grant McGee is a long-time broadcaster and former truck driver who rides bicycles and likes to talk about his many adventures on the road of life. Contact him at his blog: grantmcgeewrites.com.