The Vintage Bus Run Begins!

We have lift-off! I’m excited to say that the “Vintage Bus Run” has officially begun. If you’re not familiar with my vintage bus saga, here’s the short version. In addition to the bus Karen and I currently live on, I also own a 1963 Flxible Starliner (the vintage bus) which I am completely restoring from the inside out. There are two main segments to the restoration: the engine/transmission part and the interior/living space part. After a very long and drawn-out process (the first mechanic delayed the process by over a year) the first segment of the restoration is basically complete and the bus is now ready to get its interior. This means that it’s time for me to drive it from Fort Worth, Texas (where it was being worked on by the amazing George Fields) to Nova Scotia, where Craig Dorsey will work his magic and give the interior the streamline design/high-tech style I want. I know that Nova Scotia seems a bit inconvenient, but Craig is the only person I’ve found with the creative vision and high standards I was looking for.

George and I take the bus for a test run in Ft. Worth before I start the drive to Nova Scotia.

Early in the week, I flew from the L.A. area to Ft. Worth. We spent some time taking care of last-minute tweaks and doing some road tests. We had a very minor delay when the wheels (rims) were replaced and the old studs were a bit too short for the new wheels, but this wasn’t a big deal. We quickly replaced the studs and I was on my way!

The planned route from Ft. Worth to Nova Scotia.

During my first day on the road, I got a good feel for how the bus drives with its new engine and transmission. It’s an absolute hot rod! I had a hard time keeping myself within five mph of the speed limit! I had planned on making it to Tulsa, OK the first night, but ended up in Oklahoma City instead. My friend Jerry happens to live in OKC, though, and we were able to meet up for dinner! It’s been a year since I’d seen Jerry last, so it was great to catch up.

Here I am with my friend, Jerry, in Oklahoma City during my first stop on the vintage bus run.

Soon after leaving Oklahoma City, I picked up historic Route 66 and decided to follow it as long as I could. I’ve already driven the entirety of the “Mother Road” more than twice, but I just love shooting the old gas stations and other vintage buildings along the route. Considering I’m driving the vintage bus, it seemed rather appropriate! Plus, I allowed myself extra time during this trip in case I wanted to shoot, linger or deal with any mechanical issues.

The Blue Whale, on Rt. 66 just outside of Tulsa.

Speaking of mechanical issues, I did run into a small problem while driving through Kansas and Missouri. The heat exchanger for the transmission began leaking fluid and I had to periodically top it off during the course of the day. I plan to get this checked out today in St. Louis. Hopefully it will be an easy fix and I’ll be on my way again. If you want to follow the progress of the vintage bus run, check out the Creative Cruiser Facebook page, where we’re posting more frequent updates.

For now, here are some more iPhone photos of the bus on Rt. 66. More to come!