Greetings Fellow Bus Pilots, Wednesday 25 August 2004: What a trip, After being "ready" for about 3 or 4 days we finally got to roll about 10:45 am Wednesday morning. We met up with fellow T.C.B. ( tcb@xxxxxxxxxxxxx ) members Ronnie, Mark S, and Bob & Mary Beth at the Home Depot parking lot in The Woodlands at Noon. After a few minutes of radio checks and chit chat the Texas Coalition of Buses was on its first official road trip! We saw a super beetle at the traffic light from the parking lot right before we pulled out, as soon as I got on I 45 there was a cream over orange late bay getting on at the next ramp. We went I45 N to Huntsville, then north on hi-way 19. We made pretty good time up to the Pilot at Sulphur Springs. We stopped there and fueled up. When we went to start up Mark S had the first problem, his Vanagon would not start. He opened up the HUGE hatch over his wasserboxer and looked inside. I did the same and saw a BUNCH of stuff I only vaguely recognized as car parts. I was thinking this is not good. Mark has me crank it over to see if he has spark and fuel, checked good. He says maybe the ECU is hot? (it was hot the last time temp. unit we passed said 98) He whips out one of 2 SPARE ECUs he keeps nice and cool inside, plugs it in and we are off in 10 minutes! We got to the park at Cooper Lake about 5 minutes after the office closed at 6. We found the camp ground deserted and picked 2 spots Ronnie had reserved and already paid for. We popped the window unit a/c in and set it on 60 and waited for Homer to cool. Mark busted out the Carbachi and we went to work cooking hot dogs and burgers for the 6 of us. We hooked Bob up with Mark's EXTRA window unit a/c. We ate and showered and got ready for bed, I got a unexpected call from Paul S. I was so excited to see his number, I was thinking he had talked his Dr. and wife into letting him go. But bummer, he was just calling to see how we were doing. It was cool to hear from him. I know how bad he wanted to be there. Thursday: When we got up we were surprised to see a beautiful morning, we had been told at the Pilot that it was expected to rain over night. Ronnie had a minor disaster with a catastrophic failure of his coffee pot. Bob and Mary Beth had been invaded by ants overnight. We were able to perceiver and all enjoyed some breakfast. I got a call from Neil. He was waiting for Steve and Sharon and Shirley who I talked to later, and were on their way. I few more phone calls later we all met up in downtown Cooper. Katrina gave out her party favor fans and piece sign necklaces, everyone was wearing their tie dyed shirts. We were greeted by a local news paper reporter (we parked right in front of their office) and the MAYOR. They got info from all of us and took some pictures. We are going to get copies of the paper sent to us. We stopped to fill up Shirley's little gas tank and saw a pretty nice (from across the street) Karman Giha at a used car lot. Katrina took some grief for not buying it, but she wants a early convertible HAH. We went north on hi-way 19 after a little navigational error south to make sure we were line up right. We made our way north after a break or two and some radio swapping we got to Talimena State Park to eat the lunch Katrina brought for everyone. (sorry I guess I did not make it clear that we had it) I took some grief for not going fast enough from some. I tried to go a little faster after lunch. We made our way over the mountains and up thru Poteau, Fort Smith and up the long hills of I 540 to Springdale. (the home of the longest red lights and the screwiest hi-way intersection in Arkansas) We lost Steve and Sharon along the way, but they caught up later. We got to Denis' around 4:30 for PsycoBilly I. Denis' piece of property is beautiful and his house is coming along nicely. He was a great host and made us some wonderful fajitas. (after I yelled at him, sorry dude) We had a blast hanging around drinking and eating and shooting bottle rockets (sorry Neil) I can tell you one thing for sure Jan makes one killer brandy alexander. I thought Katrina did a good job with decorations, the glow in the dark cups and strobe light gave it the perfect party feel. I hope everyone had as much fun as I did. Jumpin Joe made it in around 1 am. The party wound down and we got some sleep. I have to admit I don't have a clue what time it was. Friday: We woke to another gorgeous day. Ronnie and Denis made breakfast tacos for everyone, we lounged around for a hour or two then packed up for the short drive to Eureka Springs. The drive over to Eureka from Denis' was a blast all by itself. We had everyone lined up, rolling thru the hills, the weather was perfect, it was really a great drive for me. We got to Eureka Springs with plenty of time to look around, drop Thor off at the doggie daycare, check into the hotel, lounge around and relax before we went back to the host hotel and realized we LATE for early check in. We enjoyed hanging around the host hotel, seeing old friends and making new ones for a couple hours. We then had to head out to the KOA and party with the Dallas Air Coolers for a couple hours. We washed "some" of the bugs I had been killing for everyone off Homer on the way back from the KOA. We watched some of the weather forecast Saturday morning, It did not look good. Saturday: We got to the show grounds before the registration people, got a good spot right in-front of Steve and Sharons room. The show was great (after the lighting and rain spectacular, at one point I saw 5 bolts of lightning at one time) Steve and Sharon got busted making food for everyone. I still don't see what the problem was, I guess they just wanted us to HAVE to buy food from them. There seemed to me to be more people watching the parade this year and it was BIG fun. I was pretty stoked when Joe and Mark both won awards, and Steve and Sharon won too, I think, I left before they were finished. I did not get to meet as many BSKA as I wanted too, but there will be more chances. I hope this counts as my introduction for them, the rest of the TCB should sign up for their e mail list, it is great, just nearly all about stuff too far for us to go to. We really had a great time at the show, got to see the 44 and the 49 Hebmuler, the baja with the 911 motor in it and allot of cool buses. Katrina and I went out to a nice dinner together saturday night and turned in early. Sunday: We got up at 5 am to go get Thor, and it was COLD outside! Now I know why Denis has a empty pool and wood stove. We met up with the return crew (us, Ronnie, Joe and Mark) at around 7 and headed south. The trip home was pretty nice, the cool weather made easy to just keep going and going, We had 1 ECU over heat and a stop or 2 for oil and 1 flat tire. All probably didn't set us back more than 1 hour. For our first "official" long trip with more than one bus I think it went real well, we had a couple little cliches, but nobody got seriously hurt, and I think we are all still friends. I want to personally thank everyone for their help and not bitching too much when it did not go the way you wanted. We had a blast ! Here is a list of who went and what they drove: Dan and Katrina Martin - 71 deluxe (hou) +1 HUGE dog (Thor) Ronnie Hughes - 71 hardtop westy (hou) Bob and Mary Beth Perring - 70 westy (hou) Mark Sawyer - 84 vanagon westy (hou) Steve and Sharon Chamberlin - 66 convertible bug (dal) Neil McGlothin - 69 bus (dal) Shirley Hall - 67 westy (dal) Joe Barnett - 73 westy (hou) Thanks again to those that went, thanks to the rest of you for reading all this. (now you know why it took so long) Dan & Katrina Martin 1971 VW Bus H.B.B. T.C.B. BSKA Houston,Tx.