December was a good month

After the 3 rides in 3 days, things didnt slow down.  I completed 3 more rides through the rest of the month of December and all were successful.  

The first was Friday, December 16th for an Ugly Christmas Sweater & Christmas Lights Tour of Houston.  I picked up the group of 14 out in Katy and we started by stopping by one of the more intricate Christmas Lights setups in town.  The house was off of Pin Oak and has now celebrated 10 years of synchronized lights around their house.  In fact, the whole block participates in the synchronized lights! 

After we drove around Katy, we made our way to dinner at El Tiempo on Richmond Ave.  Once dinner was finished we visited the River Oaks area to look at more Christmas lights.  River Oaks is  known for their extravagant displays and is a must if you want to view Christmas Lights in Houston, TX. 

About an hour later, it was time for some bar hopping!  We visited Clutch & Kung Fu Saloon on Washington Ave as well as Irish Cowboy in Midtown.  

Our final stops were in The Heights as we took in some of the lights in that area before we made a quick pit stop at Little Woodrows.  Finally we called it a night and wrapped up by 1:45am.  I think I finally got the bus back by 2:45am.  

For those looking to check out Christmas Lights, I would recommend this site - http://www.houstononthecheap.com/best-christmas-lights-in-houston.

Our next ride was on Thursday, December 22nd, as we continued the Ugly Sweater theme.  We picked everyone up at the Club Quarters Hotel in Downtown Houston before venturing to Chuy's Mexican Restaurant.  After dinner we went back through River Oaks to look at Christmas Lights and cruise around.  

We wound up going to the Gingerman in Rice Village and following it up by going to Clutch on Washington Ave.  The group didnt stay too long there before they wanted to go ahead and head back to their hotel and call it a night.  We ended the night around 12:30pm.  

Our 3rd and final ride of December came on Friday, December 30th.  This was for Windsor's 30th Birthday Party in Galveston, TX.  We picked the group up around 9:45pm and made our 1st stop at the Tremont Rooftop Bar.  After about an hour, we picked the group up, drove up and down the seawall for about 30 minutes before heading back to The Strand and making our 2nd stop at Yaga's.  

The night ended at Bubba's Sports Bar on Tiki Island before we dropped everyone back off  

Cool Bus Test Ride numero dos

The 2nd official Cool Bus ride is in the books and had a few more lessons learned and ideas that crept up in the ol' head to further enhance the bus experience.  

Overall, I think the night was a success.  We met at the Sawyer Heights Lofts by Target on I-10 and Taylor Rd around 9:00 PM and promptly hit the road.  Like I planned, we went to Kay's Lounge first which might've been not such a good idea.  The only reason I say that was because Kay's was closing that weekend, so everyone and their mom's wanted to get in on the action and say their farewells to a long time Houston establishment.  Therefore, the bar was packed and our guests had a tough time getting drinks...so not the best start to the night, but we kept on! 

Second stop was in Midtown at Irish Cowboy.  We probably arrived around 11pm and stayed there for roughly an hour.  We had a few of our bus riders peace out at this point and go about their own way for the remainder of the night.  

Around midnight, I picked the remaining folks up and dropped them off at Rebel's Honky Tonk for some late night country western dancing.  As 1:30 AM rolled around, everyone was ready to call it a night.  So we loaded up and I dropped everyone back off and proceeded to head back and drop the bus off.  

I really wanted to get a feel for what an actual night would be like and entail.  I was very curious as to how the timing of everything would work.  I currently keep the bus out in Jersey Village (290 & Beltway 8) so it takes about 30 min to get to/from downtown Houston.  So i wanted to test out the actual process of driving my car to the bus, prepping the bus, driving the bus to the designated pick up location and running the bus through the night.  Then to finally drop everyone off and return the bus, clean it up, and then drive my personal car back to my house.  

After it was all said and done, I think my head hit the pillow around 4:00 AM Sunday morning. And such will be the life of a party bus driver/owner/Ambassador of Fun.  

A few things I learned on the trip - 1) Make sure their is plenty of gas in the generators that power the A/C, 2) Look in to adding more fans in the bus to keep it cool, 3) Interact more with the passengers, 4) Be careful when pulling up to lights and dont stop suddenly in order to prevent people from falling over in the bus, and finally 5) Get another handrail or support beam across the roof of the interior of the bus for people to hang on to.  

Promo Video Night Out

Tonight we worked with Golden Arm Media out of Austin, TX to film our Cool Bus promotional video and at first glance, I'd have to say it was a success!!!  

We started off by filming a time lapse video with the bus in front of the skyline as the sun was setting over Houston.  We found a great location just outside of downtown on Memorial Pkwy that was perfect!  We did this for about an hour before we went to pick up our "models".  

Cool Bus Houston Video Shoot

We finally arrived at our meeting location by 9:00 PM and were on the road by 9:30 PM after a few shots of the bus pulling up and the group boarding.  We took off around town with the music bumping and lights a flashing.  Our photographer wanted to get some shots outside of the bus as it was driving around town so one of my buddies, Matt Kogler, helped out by driving his car and following the bus around while the photographer got some footage.  

We drove around downtown and decided to drive by Minute Maid Park to get a few shots in front of the ballpark and it just so happened that they were conducting their post game Friday Night Fireworks show after the Houston Astros game.  We were able to get some great shots of the bus driving in front of Minute Maid Park while the fireworks were going off!

After all of our exterior shots of the bus, the photographer boarded the bus and started filming shots of our crew signing and dancing around the bus as we drove through Midtown and Downtown Houston.  As we were waiting on our photographer to get the cameras set up on the bus, our crew made a quick pit stop at the legendary Sunny's Bar.  

Once everyone was back on board and after driving around for about 45 minutes, we made our final stop at Irish Cowboy in Midtown.  As everyone got off the bus, our photographer joined them and was able to get some shots inside the bar as well.  

We finally returned home around 1:30 AM and just when I thought we were finished, the photographer asked to get a few more shots of the interior of the bus with out people in it.  So we went back to our original location of filming the time lapse to finish the last few shots.  

Once it was all said and done, my night ended around 3:30 AM.  I was le tired.  But I am very glad I was finally able get the video filmed and can't wait to see the finished product!