So, our plan for celebrating the 4th of July was simple: See the fireworks in the mountains.
We’d rented a condo in a resorty town, and we knew that one of the major firework shows in the area would be on, fire-danger or not. In a neighboring town, they shoot the fireworks off over the reservoir, and have for several years. In years past, it’s been the only show in the area because of the fire-danger. This year, some of the communities were having their own shows, but we wanted to go to the reservoir. Everyone has raved about this particular show, but we’ve never had the opportunity to see it ourselves.
This year, that’s what we decided to do.
In doing some research for our trip, we discovered that the town where we’d be staying has a free bus service that runs all over town and between the neighboring towns, too. We called, and sure enough, they were running on the 4th! Woo hoo!
So, we loaded the car, battled holiday traffic and arrived at our destination. We got checked into the condo and did some exploring. We then found the main bus terminal and found the right bus to the neighboring city, 9 miles away.
Claire was so excited to ride the bus that she could hardly contain herself. She’s only 2-and-a-half, so she had no idea what it all meant, but she knew she couldn’t wait. We’d brought the umbrella stroller with us so that it could be folded up and stored under the seat for the ride, and it worked perfectly.
“Momma! We’re ridin’ the bus!” she’d say excitedly, the whole way there. Needless to say, her excitement was contagious, and it was one of the best bus rides I’ve ever experienced.
The buses were free, were on time, and were clean. All three of my criteria were met. Awesome. And, not having to drive and find a place to park and then play bumper cars on the way home with the other billion people at the show was even better.
We found a great place for dinner, headed over to the carnival for dessert, and found awesome seats at the marina for the show. They shot the fireworks off over the water, and we were so close that it looked like the entire sky was exploding right over our heads.
We weren’t sure how Claire would do with sound of the fireworks, but she did great! She loved every minute of it. She was cheering right along with everyone else.
I knew it would be a late night. The fireworks show started around 9:30pm, half an hour past Claire’s bedtime. Her bedtime on the weekends is somewhat flexible anyway, so I wasn’t concerned about this. The show lasted almost an hour and then we moved with the mob of people away from the marina. I knew that getting to the bus stop and walking back to the condo in the dark would be an adventure.
But, there was a small little detail that I hadn’t really anticipated.
I should have known that after a certain hour, the free bus service turns into the free drunk bus service. I wouldn’t have changed what we did, but I think being prepared for it would have helped me deal with the situation in my head.
For the record, Claire wasn’t the only child on the drunk bus. There were other families that were taking advantage of it, too. Normally, children wouldn’t be on the drunk bus, but the 4th of July festivities had altered everyone’s schedules.
I wasn’t sure how much of it Claire remembered until she was talking to my hubby’s parents the next day on the phone and told them all about it. In great detail. Sweet! That’s just the conversation you want to clarify, letmetellya.
When it was my turn to talk on the phone, I did just that. “Yes, there were two people thrown off our bus last night. Yes, the bus driver was very angry at the ‘bad man.’ [her words...not mine!] Yes, one man was thrown off the bus at the hospital…but that’s because the hospital was an actual bus stop and it was purely coincidental that the bus driver threw him off there. Yes, there were lots of people acting goofy on our bus, and yes, I wouldn’t let Claire talk to them.”
I mean, the last thing I needed was my very verbal toddler getting into a conversation with a drunk party-goer-now-bus-rider. Luckily, I was able to keep her quiet.
At least the drunk bus exists and those people weren’t behind the wheel. In fact, I’d rather sit quietly in my seat, holding my child close and whispering to her that everything is going to be okay, and please don’t talk out loud to the goofy people, and we’ll be back soon, than have even one of those people driving.
So, note to self: If we do this again next year, which we very well may because the over all experience was awesome…be prepared to handle the drunk bus. Because even though it was an adventure, it was more than worth it.