My first paid gig!

I am proud to say that this past Saturday I successfully completed my first paid ride!  Now I know you might be asking yourself, "But Lance, I just read a few blogs ago that you did a Mom's Night Out event?" And yes I did, but since that was technically a "test" ride, I'm not going to count that one.  :)  

This past Saturday, 10/15/16, I actually hosted 2 groups.  The first group, Texas A&M C.A.M.P. (Caring Aggies Mentoring Program) - a group of 12 high school juniors and Texas A&M Former Student mentors - hosted their monthly outing in College Station, TX.  I drove the group from Houston to College Station and back starting at 7:00 AM.  When in College Station, the kids toured the Texas A&M Nursing School and Pharmacy School as part of their experience on campus.  Before we departed, we were able to take a group picture in front of the all impressive Kyle Field. We arrived back in Houston and I finally dropped off our last passenger at 4:00 PM. 

My 2nd ride was for the Cy Ranch Homecoming!  I hosted about 14 high school seniors who started the night by eating dinner at Maggiano's in Memorial City Mall before heading to the dance at the Berry Center.  The night started around 5:30pm and finally concluded at about 11:30pm as I dropped everyone off at one of their houses.  

In all, I say it was a successful first day all around.  The bus was tested throughout the day after taking the long trek to College Station and back and then turning around about 1.5 hours later and having the bus fueled, cleaned and ready to go for the Homecoming event.  

More high's and low's...

This past week was one of highs and lows.  Lets start with the highs and get off on a good note.  

Step 1 of my cosmetic work was started and completed this week.  I converted the area that was originally set up as an ice well (the area that looked like a sink) to be used as a cooler and trash can.  Eric Gavina helped me with the framing and metal fabrication with his expert welding skills.   I dropped if off on Thursday afternoon and picked it up Saturday morning before I drove to College Station for an annual get together with buddies and the Texas A&M vs. Kentucky Men's Basketball game...which A&M won in OT on a basket at the buzzer!  Whoop!

Eric said he spent about 10 hours total on the bus.  Not only did he work on the steel frame inside the bus, but he was able to cut off the black steel grate that was attached to the hitch at the rear of the bus.  I was trying to remove it myself, but the key for the Master lock was broken off in the lock and therefore, I could not.  He removed it and replaced it in a way that if I wanted to remove it in the future, it wouldn't be an issue.  However, I don't think I will be doing that since I will need a place to hold the external generator for the air conditioning that will eventually be installed.  

Personally, I think it looks awesome!  

Now, on to the lows...

Like I mentioned in my previous post, the bus stalled on us as I drove some friends around town last Friday night, 2/12, and I wound up getting it started back up and parking it in front of my apartment. 

From that time, I had been in contact with a mobile mechanic who helped me previously with some maintenance and work on the brakes.  I thought he was going to be someone I could count on and use on  a regular basis.  

I was able to set up a meeting at the bus with him Tuesday morning and he confirmed his initial analysis that it was my fuel solenoid that was causing the issue.  I told him I wanted it fixed ASAP.  He called me later that afternoon to tell me that he needed to go back to the bus to get a part number so he could order a replacement.  

I have not heard from him since.  He wont return my calls or texts.  

The bus stills runs but the engine keeps stalling if it runs for an extended period of time.  I knew this before we left for College Station, TX Saturday morning.  

We left Houston at approx. 10:15am and pulled in to College Station around 11:15am.  We were making good time.   That is until I pulled up to the light at 2818 and Texas and the problem arose yet again.  The bus stalled as I was in the turn lane, so the only thing left to do at that point was to sit and wait for the engine to cool off.  

After waiting for about 45 min, the bus finally turned over and we were on the road again.  We headed to Northgate to meet our buddies for lunch and parked the bus for a few hours before I moved it to our hotel parking lot for the remainder of the evening.  

Sunday, the bus started up and we took off back to Houston.  I knew what was going to happen when I came to a light, so I wound up shifting in to Neutral and keeping my foot on the gas so the engine wouldn't idle.  This worked to perfection. 

I was able to drop my buddy off at his car after going through a couple of lights without the bus dying before finally arriving back at my office to leave it for the night.  It was timed perfect as I was trying to position the bus for final parking location, when, yes, you guessed it....the bus stalled.   

I've taken it to a new mechanic and am hoping to have the issue fixed over the next couple of days.  

I've also met with a company that solely does custom party bus renovations.  I am hoping that they can be a one-stop shop for all the items I am looking at adding on the bus - lighting, handrails, upholstery, etc.