Tag Archives: Tycho

Frank’s Wild Years (En Mass)

The next thing I know, we’re on a highway bridge over Littleton, MA. This is an account from the hands, ears and eyes of a non-mecahnic, so I’ve obviously forfeited all the technical details pertaining to the internal bus-hiccups to those who are more knowledgeable. Within 5 to 10 minutes of the bus becoming immobile, we noticed a town cop car pull directly under us to see a magical school bus stranded ontop of a highway bridge. A minute later a state trooper slowly pulled up behind the towney. I couldn’t help but interpret the dialogue the towney had on the radio:

“You won’t believe this…. No, no seriously… Yea. Fuck no, you wanna deal with it? Me neither…”

Mark explained to them (the po’s below us) our situation and apparently they offered to send us a towtruck, but on the condition of us paying in cash. Legitimacy questionable at best, me thinks. To further explicate the fictitious dialogue above, we didn’t see a cop or statey for the remaining hour or so that we were stranded dangerously at the foot of an entrance ramp to a highway. What’s totally interesting, in retrospect, about our interaction with the Law Enforcers, is that we set off in this bus EXPECTING to be pulled over at some point (dare I say arbitrarily?) based on the demeanor of the bus itself. This little interaction only revealed that even the COPS were either afraid, or couldn’t be bothered to deal with us. I’m sure we’ll take that as major cool points in our pockets.

When triple A arrived eventually with a wrecker, we were towed to the nearest Diesel station, where I jokingly asked him (the AAA driver) if he was doing much for the rest of the night. I then re-phrased: was he still getting paid to deal with our bullshit. I’m pretty sure his response was “are you kidding? I love my job..” I like him, he’s a jovial guy. In fact, everyone Dan and I (the only ones with absolutely no automotive knowledge) met in and around the town of Littleton were truly wonderful, stand-up individuals.

We pulled in to the Diesel station at around 8:50pm, just as they (an elder couple whose names I cannot possibly remember) were about to close up shop. Of course, I apologized to them relentlessly from the side lines while we watched the automechanics work. The guy told us “hell, how often do you think we get to see a magical school bus attached to a wrecker roll into our station?” Life truly is all about the stories. The least we could do is give them a good one to take home with them that night. I think they (the couple) were just totally surprised at how unphased Dan and I were about our maiden voyage abrubtly coming to a close. In truth, even up to this point I have had absolutely no regrets or complaints about our situation. We had a totally farcical exchange with Law Enforcers, hung out with a laid-back Tow driver, and heard wonderful stories from that elder guy about his adventures in strip clubs on Sunset Boulevard way back when. I told the Dude if him and his girlfriend weren’t doing anything for the rest of that night (clearly we weren’t going anywhere too fast) that we would love for them to kick it with us. Dan and I told them that we were Musicians by vocation and that we’d love to give them a free show for all the trouble and impositions we’ve placed on them thus far. At this point in the conversation, the bus had been towed across the street to a lot where I’m sure Mark, John and the AAA dude were working meticulously on getting the engine running again. Unfortunately John ushered from the distance for Dan and I to get over there and our relations with the folks at the Diesel station came to an end. I hope our paths will cross again in the near future..

Before we were abandoned at the wrecker lot for the night, my compatriot Dan asked the AAA driver as he was departing if there was a Liquor store around town within walking distance (obvioiusly). Stuck in a bus with musical instruments in Littleton, MA? WWJD or something like that.. Precisely. we set off down the road to catch the package store before they closed, but of course the doors were locked and lights were off 9 minutes before the posted closing time. Oh well. The driver did mention to us that there were some spots if we walked in the opposite direction a few hundred yards. And sure enough we stumbled upon a Thai Bar/Restaurant, when we were informed by the waitress that last call was in 10 minutes. She was kind enough to serve us a cold one anyway. As Dan and I were shootin’ the breeze over brewskies, the bar manager over-heard our funny Connecticut accents and rightfully assumed we were from out of town. Brief conversation insued. He told us check out the Elk’s Club on the other side of the road, to make up a silly story about our father being an Elky and that we might get lucky. We didn’t. Returning to the bus, slightly inconvenienced by our failed venture, Dan and I decided hell, we can always play some music and eat peanut butter and (mutually exclusive) cheese sandwitches all night over spooky stories or something..

10-15 minutes after we got back to the bus, we saw headlights pull into our lot (we were in total darkness, completely bereft of light in order to save battery power) and of course were immediately suspicious. Two figures pull out of the car and walk towards us..

“Massachussetts State Police, listen up! We’ve come delivering beers..”

Of course, the thought in everyone’s mind was “Police officers don’t deliver beer!” It was the Bar manager from the Thai joint! He only knew of Dan and I, so he only brought a couple cold ones for us (presumably as they were closing up the restaurant). We told him and his girlfriend to come kick it with us (instruments at hand) and as he mentioned Foggy Mountain Bottom to Dan (with the banjo) I thought to myself this guy seems to know his breakdowns. I then decided to play one of two breakdowns I knew well on the guitar in hopes that it would convince the couple to stay. It didn’t, but at least we got a couple beers out of it. We finally caught his name this time round, and so Frank wished us a goodnight ere parting ways.

15 minutes later, another car pulls in! Nah, it couldn’t… noooo, Frank? It was Frank yet again! with a bottle of wine and a round of beers for the four of us. Since John and Mark were still optimistic about drivin’ back that night, they opted to stay dry. And so my compatriot Dan and I spent the evening singing songs, spirits ever-lifted, eating mutually exclusive peanutbutter and cheese sandwitches, star gazing at the Massachussets sky ’til bedtime beckoned us. Not a care in the world, and yet somehow we knew, despite NOT waking the next morning at the foot of Cadillac Mountain, we would be returning home with some more than satisfying stories in our pockets for a-tellin’.


On Friday Ali, Peter and myself went by Cheney Tech to see Joe. We put in a little work both back in the refinery and up front in the engine compartment. Peter took some really great pictures, like the one above. We’re getting closer, and with some luck the bus will be running on veggie oil in a few weeks.

1 – Beginning

A walkthrough of the bus before we touched it, then we start to take out the seats.

homeward bound, pt. V

My tolerance for alcohol was probably at it’s lowest it had been for the past couple of years, so by the time we actually set off, I was pretty zonked. Before I passed out, I made sure I called my sister, our friends, Ned, Peter and Melissa drunkenly rejoicing on our successful acquisition of the prophetic yellow beast. I took the opportunity to run up and down the aisles, somersaulting and all. I was very amused at the thought of never having anyone yell at me to sit down and shut up in a school bus ever again. John and I were both in a state of euphoria.

A few hours must have gone by when John woke me up to as me whether I wanted to take over the wheel for a bit, but I told him I was still pretty drunk/hung over, so we decided to take a nap for a few hours. It was absolutely freezing without the bus running. It was at that point that my cold (which had most likely been brewing for a couple of days now) really took a swing for the worst. I woke up to the sight of Chicago at the crack of dawn. The sight was picturesque, to say the least. Unfortunately, I would not be able to appreciate much for the remainder of the journey back home because of the severe cold I had developed early on.

HeadshotAfter making a pit stop for gas, I fell back asleep. I woke up as soon as we made our next stop in Indiana for breakfast. After our routine meal of cracklin’ oatbran, I told John that it was time. Way back when we set off, I had told John that I wanted to have a photo shoot for the front cover of my prospective album that I’m planning on releasing in my fantastic phantasy of celebrity. I think it went well. It was a beautiful day, crystal clear skies with the sun a-shining brightly.

After the shoot, it was finally my turn to take the reigns. I had been fantasizing about driving the school bus for such a long time, so I was especially giddy. After John ran me through the controls, We were off again. It was very nerve-racking at first, but I quickly got the hang of it. I drove for at least a hundred and eighty miles before I got really exhausted from staring at the sun without sunglasses on, as well as the fact that the heat would run relentlessly in the cockpit, despite it not being turned on. I pulled into a rest-stop down I-90 for some good ol’ fashion red bull and (a trucker favorite) No Doz. I also wanted to find out whether there was any good classic rock station we could tune into for the ride. As soon as the cashier rang up the red bull and No Doz, the final cost came to $6.66. Now that’s just silly. “Oh wow, you sure you didn’t want to add anything to that?” he said to me. “Nahhh, I’m not superstitious. This is going to be a fun ride back, though. Oh before I get back on the highway to hell, do you know any good rock stations?”

The next thing I can remember that really stuck to memory was driving over Cleveland on I-90. It must have been the middle of the day, around 4pm, and there wasn’t a single car in sight. Anywhere. This just strengthened our theory that Cleveland doesn’t actually exists. Fuck you Drew Carrey. You lied to all of us. Your a big fat liar. And your not funny.

The reception on the radio was pretty abysmal, so we opted to turn it off. While John was asleep in the back, I decided to be my own radio and sing to myself for the next hundred miles or so. After I had sung every single dylan song I could recall, I found myself driving through Pennsylvania. Now I consider myself to be a jolly fellow. But Pennsylvania… It never ends. By the time I got to exit 265, I was so anxious, I wanted to stab something. Our escapades in Pittsburgh station didn’t help.

Kickin’ it with Kim, pt. IV

We eventually made it all the way to Rochester, Minnesota around 6pm. Kim’s brother picked us up and took us to kim’s “office” of operations and what-have-you. It is worth noting that the ride to kim’s place was very interesting. Like much of Minnesota (I’m sure), very flat, with miles and miles of barren land everywhere you look, driving into the sunset. We got it!And there, over yonder on the horizon, was the only cluster of buildings for miles on end. As we drove into the lot, we caught our first glimpse of the beast herself. At this point, the legend of the old girl has become quite prophetic. Next to her lie a collection of autos which included a stretch pontiac, a used city bus and some mini-school buses. We became acquainted with Kim and Brendon as soon as we arrived. From first impressions, I got wonderful vibes from both of them. a couple of genuinely wonderful folks who truly live life to its utmost. I can only hope that one day I can exert as much passion for life as they do.

Kim's LimoAfter sharing a few brews and shooting the breeze, they took us out for dinner in their pimped out chrysler 300 stretch limo. I felt like a real rock star (just without the lines of coke). We got to the bar and grill and were surprised to see so few people on a friday night (if my memory serves me well). Of course, as it was such a small town, everybody knew everyone else, which was such a wonderful thing to witness. I felt such an intimate sense of community among the folks we had dinner with. Funny story about dinner… I ordered the vegetable burger that was on the menu, and everyone looked at me quizzically. The waitress/bartender/manager lady asked me whether that was just a burger with a lot of veggies on it. Apparently, vegetarianism is a foreign concept to midwesterners. Well, I thought it was funny.

Before we left, Brandon bought us a 12-pack of rochester’s finest bud light for the road. The Bus!After running john through the logistics of the bus itself, we had a fairly emotional send-off. We really did have a fantastic bonding experience for the few hours that we spent there. Kim, Brandon, if you ever read this, John and I really appreciate everything that you’ve done for us. You are all wonderful people and can only hope that we can kick it again soon. Please come visit us on the east coast sometime.