A Ceres Bus Trip to Remember
The most ubiquitous bus line in this neck of the woods is the Ceres Liner. The fleet is modern and many of them are air conditioned and have free WiFi. The trip was to be a six hour drive with the driver appropriately tooting his horn every ten seconds or so for the entire journey. Well, after all, the road was lined with human development for almost its entire stretch. There were brief glimpses of distant vistas where coconut palms vied with banana palms for attention when not overwhelmed by the prolific density of avocado or mango trees.
Less than a kilometer before the scheduled half way pit stop we sustained a tire blow-out. It was on the inner right rear I decided since it happened under my bum. The driver and his companion got out to peer under the bus. Satisfied there was no longer an effective inner tire we drove on, gently, until we reached the pit stop. Here it was discovered, the bus was not possessed of a jack. How to lift a huge bus and change a wheel? You stand and stare.
Just as the staring and head shaking was beginning to get a bit boring another bus from the same line, if with a different destination, with much guttural coughing, squeaked to a stop behind us. The drivers met. Soon a jack was produced from this second bus but it proved too small. Underneath the bus the jack would not raise high enough. A collection of nailed together planks was produced to serve as additional height, courtesy the Pit Stop Bar. This time the bus was raised sufficiently to where the wheel, still in light contact with the ground below because the jack and wood plank combo was also barely high enough, could, it was found, be removed if the driver crawled entirely under the bus and kicked the errant inner wheel with his heels until it did, finally, fall off.
Meanwhile safety measures warning other road users of the cataclysmic danger they faced with stationary bus half on, half off the road had been appropriately located. None of this reflector, red triangle business for our boys though. Far more effective are bottles of water with broken off branches from nearby bushes, sticking out of them, suitably placed five yards in front of and behind this huge bus so that unwary drivers of approaching vehicles, blazing away with their horns as they may be, might not happen upon our stationary behemoth and plough into it. Sadly, there was a breeze blowing towards the bus so that the front driver-warning-branch system was repeatedly toppled; this, notwithstanding my self-sacrificing and valiant attempts to remedy the situation on the driver’s behalf. The attached photograph attests to my veracity. Clearly the safety warning system worked well though; how else did drivers avoid colliding with us?
This story is not yet done. No. Before the inner wheel could be kicked off its perch the wheel nuts had to be loosened. But the lever produced by the second bus driver was no more than six inches in length, insufficient to provide the required leverage against unyielding nuts. So what does a driver do when confronted with such challenges which all men present and willing to give it a go had been unable to release? Why, you cast about in the bush of course as if looking for that eternally missing golf ball in the rough. There, does one by pure happenstance, come across a four foot length of bent pipe with an orifice sufficient to circumnavigate the slender, official lever, thereby extending lever power to a more useful length. Happiness is a smiling driver.
Magkita unya ta pohon in the Philippines?