Archives for: January 2007, 19


Permalink 07:00:00 am, by Email , 2517 words   English (CA)
Categories: Kooky Schemes - What's happening/Being Suggested, FAQ/FMS, General Shtuff

The Whole Story... (by request!)

For those regular readers, this post is all about the dream... from it's origins to now... (with an update from June of 2008 - scroll down to see that)...

I know, you already know it... but some don't... and I'm going to TRY to be concise... Wish me luck.

Our Dream Together

About four years ago, I had a decent job that I'd been at for seven years without issue. It was a solid company and I was doing very well there both career wise and financially.

Then, in head office's wisdom, they closed down my office to move it to another city... far, far away... leaving me unemployed.

First, thanks to a generous severance package, I had some health matters cleared up (I have very bad kidney problems and I was diagnosed during these "treatments" with hypertension... high blood pressure... and yeah, I'm now on pills for the rest of my life.)

Once my health was attended to, I hunted diligently in my field (IT - Desktop Support) for work... and failed horribly. I took occasional quick contract work, but nothing covered the bills... and my family suffered horribly for my failures. Our debts mounted, things went unpaid and I felt like a "Class A" loser.

Tightening the Belt

I had the occasional "temp" position which helped... but nothing of note and couldn't find anything permanent. We were just keeping our heads slightly below water...

My wife worked and did okay, but her paycheque barely covered the bare necessities. Worse was to come when her company slashed their payroll by decreasing everyone's (including her's) salary. we were hurting. We were hurting bad. We even were several months behind on rent and faced an eviction notice.

Debt collectors (from those incurred during the "good times") were at the door (still are... but I'll get to that...) and we were in a very bad way.


Now, from what I read and understand, it's moments like these (that lasted three years!) that cause families to dissolve... our's didn't. In fact, we were a great strength to each other in various ways.

During these times, with limited "entertainment budgets" (read: Non-existent) and a young "tween" in the house, we sat and discussed our dreams and what we'd do when "things would turn around" for us.

Often, we'd talk about trips... vacations... something none of us have had in years. Sue and I, being "Anglophiles", often talked about going to England... a place I've been to a few times in my youth but Sue nor our little one have ever been to, and where, while there, we'd visit and what we'd do there.


Our little one just wanted a puppy to play with... I'll come back to that one...

One day, while reading the news, I came across an item that saddened me personally...

You see, one of the pure joys I experienced as a kid was riding the double-decker buses in London... the venerable old Routemasters and RTs were my favourite... memories of my "first family vacation" in 1976.

Well, the news item was London Transport's removal of the Routemasters from service.


I had often said that I looked forward to taking Sue and our little one on one of these wonderful old buses... and now, this was not to be.

Now, in all honesty, at that point, things were still fiscally awful... so it's not like this was a "burning concern" really... I often equate the feeling to one that a person might get finding out a favourite restaurant as a child was being torn down and converted into a parking lot.

None-the-less, it set me to "surfing" out of boredom to look at old bus photos... and that's when I came across this one...


Now, don't ask me why... because I honestly don't know... but this bus became a "focus".

It's story, from what I initially learned, was that it was "abandoned" in Santa Rosa, California by two women who were taking it back home to Oregon when it broke down. It had been in "storage" without signs of it's original owners for years outside a furniture shop.

For some VERY odd reason, this bus became "my dream". I wanted to own and save this bus.

Luckily, the weird dream wasn't mine alone... after looking at the photo and hearing the story, both my wife and little one kind of adopted the bus too... without a struggle... which in itself is a bit odd. They both fell in love with the bus and my little one dubbed it "Chitty-Chitty-Wump-Wump" for the movie and the sound she felt the engine would make. (She denies saying it now... but she's MUCH older than she was WAY back then... two whole years older now!)

Those evenings after a meagre dinner we would discuss what "WE" would do with our bus... basically, talking about trips and how we would use the bus...

My wife had visions of taking it to the beach. I had visions of taking it on small road trips. Our little one wanted simply for me to put a sofa, a television and her GameCube in the top deck to play. (No, we don't have a Wii... yet...)

I dug and found out more about the bus... everything I could...

RLH 3 way back when

It's an AEC Regent Low Height... of which only 76 were ever built in the early 1950's. It's #3 of those 76 buses.

It's indeed in Santa Rosa, but ownership is a little convoluted... it's "REAL" owner is still a fellow who's last known whereabouts were in Roswell, New Mexico, but he apparently sold the bus to the women... but they never took legal ownership and abandoned it. Now, the fellow where they abandoned it DID claim ownership after a few years for "storage fees"... but instead of trying to sell it, he moved it into a barn nearby and now it's in the hands of another fellow.

Right now (this moment), the bus is in the barn (at least it's covered) near Santa Rosa and is honestly being used as a very large garbage can. It's most likely going to be sold for scrap at some point if we fail to raise the money.


Our dream never faded with the bus...

Our Puppa Max

After a time, things got better for us... rent was ironed out, I found a long-term contract position that pays okay (not as good as I used to be paid and not in my field, but it's honest work), through a series of contacts and work with animal rescues, we found our little one her puppy, and in general things have improved...

...but not enough to even consider trying to buy the bus and have it sent to Toronto (where we live) which, thanks to some contacts I made, I found would be about a $20,000.00 (American dollars) enterprise.

No Loan For Us

Thanks to the aforementioned "debts" (most of which are still being paid down let alone paid off...) that were incurred during my unemployment, we wouldn't be able to get a loan to do the deal and no one we know is in a position to "lend" us the money... and to be honest, ensuring our lives are secure is our first priority... the dream, sadly, needed to take a back seat when it came to the real "nuts-and-bolts" of our lives.

...but the nagging thought that this wonderful old bus would be scrapped was a bit overwhelming.

So, how to earn $20,000.00 American while ensuring our debts were being tended to and our life was "okay"?

Well, this is what this is... We set up this blog... the site... and all.

Call it desperation... call it trying to make the dream come true... call it simply not willing to give up on something that, in absentia, pulled us through some very bad times as we discussed our plans and dreams to take the sting off the blues... so to speak.

So, here's this blog and site... trying to find a way to earn $20,000.00 USD to see it through... to make a dream come true... and make a whole family happy... and yes, believe.

Now, through the good graces of friends and contacts, we DO have storage spaces for the bus (two to choose from!) while we work on getting it back to health... so it REALLY is only...

  • Purchasing the bus...
  • Having it shipped to Toronto...

...and that's it.

Shipping Buses

We even have friends who are mechanics who are willing to assist and have a contact in England who is THE authority on this type of bus.

We're willing to do the work to get her going... and do it slowly and properly... and earn the right to call it "Our Bus" legitimately.

The "plan" if we're successful in getting the dream to come true is to outfit her as a "day-tripper" for those "day trips" I mentioned... but keep ALL her original parts... once we're too old to do the trips and maintain her, restoring her to her former London Transport glory would be a "retirement task"... then we would donate her (once restored) to one of the museums Sue and I have been fortunate to volunteer for over our years.

So, there you have it... the WHOLE story... minus some "weird stuff" that you can read about by clicking here.

...and if anyone's thinking that the names sound familiar (Sue's and Mine)... well... click here to find out about us.

So, that's it... I have skipped quite a bit... but to many, this is probably REALLY redundant.

A few people seem to loath and hate what we're up to here... and have let us know in no uncertain terms... some feel we're "making it up" and it's some kind of weird "cash grab" (to which I always answer that if THAT was true, I'd like to think I'd aim higher than $20k USD!) but thankfully, the majority have truly wished us well... and some have been very helpful in our quest.

Update: March 2008: Good news and bad news should be added to this post...

The good news is that I finally found work in my field! I'm FULL TIME EMPLOYED and working in computers... and with an okay salary. Basically, it's still not enough to make ALL ends meet, but it's better... and we're doing okay and getting those debts paid down a little faster.

The bad news... but not really... is there's a chance that RLH 3 may have a buyer who will beat us to the punch. They asked for my contact information for the owner and, because they are wanting to restore her, I gave it to them. Better to see "our bus" restored and in good shape then the danger of being carved up or scrapped waiting for us... which at the rate we were going, even with my new salary, could take two or three years to get there..

Basically, since the buyer has not, to our knowledge, purchased the bus... we still have a chance... but time is SERIOUSLY running short!

The only way we have a chance right now to raise the funds to make this dream come true is through something like a corporate sponsorship or to find a kind benefactor who wants to see our kooky dream come true.

To everyone who's been along on this ride of ours trying to get our "Old Green Bus", we all DO thank you... we're not giving up.

It's a beautiful bus... and VERY special... and deserves a good fate... hopefully with us... but if not, provided she's not scrapped, we'll be fine.

Dream Catcher

For more information (if it's needed,) click here to read our frequently asked questions.

Thanks for reading this entry... I hope it explains everything about us, about the bus, and about our dream.

UPDATE: AUGUST 2008 - Well, the "new buyer" hasn't (as far as we know,) done the deal... so we're still POSSIBLY in the running

That said, a while back, we reported that the proverbial fat lady was hitting the crescendo... that our dream was slipping on it's swan costume... it was slipping this mortal coil off to join the choir invisible... least, that's what it SEEMED like it was doing...

Basically, because of the limited success we had, the several "near misses" that led to let downs... and a few other things in life, we decided to "pack it in", so to speak... keep the blog alive as a commentary site, but stop asking for help online.

We took the money we had raised and equally distributed it to several charities and basically decided to keep trying, but without asking for help so loudly online... things like find a corporate sponsor or the like...

To be truthful, one of the MAIN reasons for us kicking around this dream was because, yeah, I really was hoping for success to show my little one that if you try, dreams could come true.

Well, three years makes a BIG difference... and the wide eyed nine-year old has become a "tweenager" with all the sad cynicism that entails...

No longer was it "cool" or "neat" to get a bus... it was kind of embarrassing to her... if we didn't succeed, she'd be ridiculed as the step-daughter of the bus loons and if we now succeeded, she might be (*gasp! horror!*) SEEN in an old bus!!!

So, with a small heavy heart... and as stated, with the realization of the lack of success, the nasty comments about our goal, even the reception from Oprah Winfrey's people and the denizens of Craigslist not to mention The Toronto Star (I won't repost their article,) and even some would-be sceptics... it just seemed that enough was enough, time to call it a day.

Of course, I should have realised that more than a few people would shout NOT SO FAST!!!

I won't go into the ins-and-outs of the matter, but allow me to specify this...

First off, the kiddollo has made it clear that the quest AND the bus are not a TOTAL embarrassment to her and the social stature she has at her school remains unaffected... Sue and I STILL really hold on to the dream... and would LOVE to save our bus... but are now being a touch more realistic (take that as you will,) and might happily settle on any old double-decker to look after... of course, the "eye on the prize" if still Regent Low Height Three... but with the near-buy from the other possible owner, we talked and gave it some thought... and yeah, we'd be happy regardless...

THIS ALL SAID, we will STILL not be "begging" online for either money or help... we will simply keep the dream simmering on a back burner... and if an idea or some possible interest arises... :)

So the DREAM LIVES... but it is still toned down a whack...

Thanks to everyone for their support and help... and keep the ideas and thoughts rolling in!

She's only twelve... I got six years until she's an adult... I might just be able to still make a little "magic" before it's too late!

...and yeah, Sue and I still want to save our old green bus.


D O.U.O.S.V.A.V.V. M
Et In Arcadia Ego


October 28th, 2009

See the "latest post" on the left here... I've decided to concentrate on other work so this blog is kinda done for me... THANKS kindly to my friends and regular readers... and as you'll note, I am still loitering in the blogsphere... and I'm still online... and I honestly haven't given up hope that we will get our dream bus one day! (We've just gotten REALLY quiet about it...)

My Disclosure Policy For Sponsored Posts

Blog-Gone! Thanks for reading!

As of October 28th, 2009, this blog went inactive... basically, the blogger here has moved on to bigger and better...

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