Saturday, November 12, 2005
Aging with Grace
This is D305. The "D" is for diesel. I love diesel engines. There is a feeling you get when driving diesel that is a combination of sensations you feel from the accelerator passing through your shoe and into your foot...and the glorious sounds emanating from beneath the hood. I had temporarily driven a diesel bus my rookie year (1982) and loved it. The only drawbacks with diesel are the slow getaways from a stop and the messy job of putting the fuel into your tank. That stuff seems to be mix of oil and gasoline.
This is the first bus I drove that had tinted windows. Hats off to the genius who first had that brainstorm! The students on the inside can see out, of course, but those on the outside have no idea they are being waved to, yelled at, or signalled with a certain finger. And most importantly, this was my first bus with air-conditioning. It is impossible to describe the difference that makes on a hot or even warm day. It takes irritability and short tempers and replaces them with comfort and solitude. Well, not exactly solitude, but it had an incredible calming effect on the kids and the driver.
D305 has two air-conditioners. The one in the back was great. It blasted ooodles of frigid air and could almost chill the entire bus by itself. The front one, however, had only one speed...slow. The air was wonderfully cold, but you had to get right up to the vents in order to feel it. As a result, little of the cold air reached the driver. It did have a fan installed on the dash which helped somewhat.
I drove this baby from September to May last year. I was semi-happy with it. But it has 123,000 miles on it and I never knew when something important might decided to quit on me. It is solid as a rock and has a great "feel" to it...something only a school bus driver could understand. But when I got another chance to upgrade this past August, I gleefully left 305 behind.
Next, the story of D450.
Posted by Tim Perkins at 11/12/2005 03:12:00 PM