We’ve had countless good days in the Bustache. But this post is about the worst day we’ve ever had in the Bustache.
It was early March, and Steve and I had just spent the weekend with my sister and her wife in Joshua Tree. For those of you who have never been there, Joshua Tree is in the desert about 180 miles east of LA. It’s a weird and wonderful land with wacky trees and wonky rock formations – as if it was created by Dr. Seuss himself. We hiked, climbed rocks and cooked some of the most delicious steak we’ve ever had (in Bustache, of course!).
We left for home on Sunday, but first, we needed to make a pit-stop in Santa Monica. Our good college friend (actually, the co-owner of Peach!) was in town for work!
When we left JT (yeah, that’s right. We’re cool enough to initialize!), it looked like this:
But as we drove further west, it looked increasingly like this:
Rain is Bustache’s kryptonite. Steve describes Bustache’s handling as “squirrely” (probably due to the steering column… it is on the “to replace” list). Thus we have thought better of riding him in wet road conditions. In fact, we have specifically cancelled trips because of possible inclement weather. But we had no warning this time around. And we had no choice; we had to keep going.
After sitting in the normal LA traffic and the abnormal “SoCal Storm 2011”, we made it to Santa Monica in a LONG 6 hours (it should have taken us 2.5). We were looking forward to curling up in a warm restaurant booth and chowing down, but as we exited the freeway we discovered one more obstacle to overcome. Today was the LA Marathon – which started and ended in Santa Monica… in the rain. It was a madhouse downtown. Here’s some photos documented by the LA Marathon website:
Many of you are familiar with the “agility” of the vintage VW bus… it pretty much doesn’t exist. And some of you are familiar with SoCal rainstorm phenomenon… it also pretty much doesn’t exist. When we experience any weather that doesn’t include sunny skies and white puffy clouds, everyone freaks out – roads flood, people forget how to drive and unwieldy umbrellas threaten to poke out eyes and scratch cars. Give us an earthquake any day! – We are not equipped for the rain.
As such, every block we circled, every turn we made, every stop we skidded to, made driving feel like a make-it or break-it situation.
Disclaimer: At this point, I have no more photo documentation. I will do my best to recreate our experience through Photoshop*, but please allow for some creative license. :-(D
*To give you an idea of what to expect, here are Steve, Westi and me driving in the Bustache:
We had a destination… the hotel of our friend. And after 45 minutes of navigating a rainy, event infested southern Californian metropolis, we finally made a very difficult (and some would say irrational) decision. We were going to valet park the Bustache.
We pulled into the valet parking lot. The parking attendant looked around with a bit of worry. The lot was filled with BMWs, Lexus’ and Mercedes.
“May I have your keys?” the attended asked nervously.
“Ummm…” Steve considered, “Perhaps I should park him myself?”
The Valet Attended nodded in relief. “Yes… that would be nice. Thank you.”
After several attempts (without power-steering, I might add), Steve maneuvered Bustache into the largest space he could find. Just as we were about to exit our vehicle and pay $60 for our space, I heard a knock on my window.
“It must be the attendant saying we can’t leave a dog in our bus,” I whined to Steve.
But when I looked over, I saw the smiling face of our friend!
Apparently, while she was in a taxi on her way to the hotel, she saw this:
Seeing the chaos that surrounded her, she commanded that the driver let her out.
“I know them!” She said. “That’s the Bustache!” And she jumped out of the cab with luggage in hand.
I cannot tell you the relief we experienced as she climbed into our bus. Thank goodness the Bustache is easy to pick out!
We had been on the road for almost 8 hours already. But our adventure was only half over. After we escaped our valet prison and got some grub with our friend, we still had to make it 60 miles south to Orange County…
Stay on the edge of your seats for the Finale (and more fun Bustache cartoon drawings!)!
What’s your worst rain/snow/sleet driving experience?