Flying Cupboards and Forest Fires

Idaho / Aug. 11, 2012 / by Amy
Flying Cupboards and Forest Fires

Our drive from Missoula to Boise this week was a very long one. Google maps will tell you that it should take about seven and a half hours, which I’m sure is very true, unless you’re driving in a bus. 

The journey took us closer to twelve hours, though that did include severals stop for gas and lunch. It was a somewhat more eventful drive than usual, however, as the bus started to come apart inside and we were motionless on two separate occasions due to road works and then forest fires. 

Now, first let me tell you a bit more about the bus coming apart. When we drive, the inside of the bus shakes, and when I say shakes, I mean everything that isn’t tied down will move during the journey. The microwave, for example, constantly needs to be pushed back in place to prevent it from shimmying right off the counter. 

But all this, we’re used to. Things move and we’re now all accustomed to what noises are caused by the normal movement of the bus. 

When there was a loud cracking sound during this week’s journey though, I knew that it was not part of the characteristic din everything makes. So, after springing round to found the source of the noise, I was rather shocked to see that the front of our equipment closet, complete with two drawers and our mirror, was no longer fully attached to the wall. 

Rather, the bottom was hanging in the middle of the corridor, while only the top remained attached. As we were going round a bend at the time, there was an oddly surreal moment when the whole facing looked like it was floating in the space between where it should have been attached and the closet on the other side. 

Gelb pulled over as soon as there was the chance after my somewhat incomprehensible shouting that ‘the cupboard, it’s off the wall, it’s floating, the cupboard’s coming off!’

After pushing it back into place, all seemed fine and we went on our merry way. I suppose it’s just one of the quirks of living and traveling in a bus that was converted by someone who doesn’t seem to have believed in the elegance of the right angle. 

As if that wasn’t excitement enough, after driving towards a smokey horizon for quite a while, we were stopped at a point in the road where smoke was billowing over the top of the mountain. We did get the chance to watch a helicopter go up and down, dowsing an invisible fire with water from the river next to us. 

Once we were allowed to pass, we drove through a section of forest that was teeming with firefighters and covered with thick smoke. We even saw a few trees that were still on fire. 

We couldn’t work out whether or not it was a controlled fire but it certainly wasn’t raging when we drove past so either they had taken control of an unexpected forest fire, or they were in control the whole time. 

Either way, it was quite a sight to see the brilliantly bright red flames eating a tree from what looked like the inside out. 

All this meant that our journey took longer than we hoped but I suppose swinging cupboards and forest fires are all part of the experience of Bus 52.