Jacob asks the All Important End of Tour Question:
(To the tune of “What do you do with a drunken sailor”)
What do you do with a 36′ blue veggie-oil-converted-hippy-circus-bus that you don’t want sitting on your lawn?
We journeyed, we circus-ed, we left a trail of vegetable oil wherever we went and now… what do we do with our tour bus? Anybody?
So I exaggerated slightly – the bus (along with Jacob, James and myself) rolled into Melrose, Ma for its final stop on Wednesday. It had a lot of difficulty with reversing while running on diesel, so parking took us several minutes of starting, stalling out, rolling back a few inches, repeat.
Nevertheless, us six Criss Cross Circus members (Sairuh, Tara, Lucy, Jacob, James, and myself) who journeyed back to the east coast plus Becca, a friend we picked up in Washington, all made it safely to our various destinations (Colorado, New York, Boston). We escaped the flooding in the midwest, skirted around hail storms, and arrived in Massachusetts just in time to miss the thunder here.
It is a strange feeling to have all of the Criss Cross Circus spread out across the country (and soon the world as several of our members will be heading over seas within the next few months) and I already miss living in a small space with a lot of people. Having an entire bed, let alone a room, to myself is very bizarre! Definitely keep yourself posted if you want to hear more from us – Milo and Molly have been dreaming up big things for the Criss Cross Circus book and we’re all excited about getting that out within the next year! It should be quite spectacular.
The Circus bus made a screeching, groaning halt in Iowa City, Iowa for two reasons. The first was the need for more used vegetable oil and the second was the fact that it was no longer going to drive properly, if at all.
As some of our troupe filtered vegetable oil, and some of our troupe made a trip to the auto mechanic the musicians decided to practice on the street next to the bus. This was a very fortunate decision. We attracted some local circus folk who pointed us in the direction of an awesome little park where – a few hours later we performed twice. We met some amazing people including book store owners, a man with a tiny kitten, jugglers, break dancers, hoopers, unicyclers and even some higher-up circus folk who were happy to give us some performing tips. We made a decent amount of money and some other unexpected loot including coupons for free ice cream, a crystal, and blessings from born-again Christians.
For not being on our tour at all – Iowa City was still one of the best places we have stopped thus far, and it was a necessary Awesome Day after a string of difficult ones.
Just to give you a gist of what our tour on the whole has been like thus far: Filled with amazingly awesome people. Just about everyone we have interacted with has been beyond friendly and helpful. We have put ourselves in some tight spots, but so far someone has been there to help us out every time. Occasionally it has felt as though this tour is more about 11 college-aged kids learning how to run a grease-bus across country tour instead of a Circus tour, but the past few days has really broken that down. We have performed four times in the past three days, and we are actually beginning to see a very teeny tiny small amount of money… which will probably need to go straight back into the bus.
One other amazing thing I like to call the Big Blue Bus Effect is this: It feels as though enormous quantities of people are encouraged to come and speak with us randomly on the street due to our giant blue bus. It makes us very accesible to the public at large, having a big blue bus certainly seems to be one wonderful conversation starter.
Dear Insurance Companies,
Why won’t you cheaply insure a rusty old school bus to a fairly large group of college-aged kids so that we can all be equally responsible for a bus in our communal-living type fashion?
You should think about it and get back to me.
The bus passed inspection! Jacob pulled off a small miracle (while missing part of a very important Hampshire Trustee board meeting) by obtaining a fire extinguisher, chock blocks and orange safety triangles with very little time to spare before the inspection place closed. Apparently, the inspection guys were very surprised to see all the work we did on the bus – they told him they hadn’t expected us to be able to do it! Hurray bus! Hurray Jacob!
After days without our beloved bus (it has been at the mechanics since early Friday morning) the Hampshire College farm is once again graced with its big blue presence. Two new shocks, a new right front tire, a new windshield, a new door pane, a new back window, working windshield wiper fluid, a new air filter and a tank partially filled with our very own batch of filtered veggie oil – I think we’re in pretty good shape for leaving on Sunday.
Two important things that need to happen within the next couple of hours:
1. Rust and outside edges of the bus need to be smoothed/sanded/patched
2. Bus needs to be inspected. (And hopefully pass the inspection.)
Two important things that need to happen within the next couple of days:
1. Coolant hose needs replacing
2. Casket near the serpentine belt needs replacing as it appears to be leaking oil.
There are other things, of course, which still need doing, such as installing shelving unit, patching the exhaust pipe, bolting down the beds, installing some seat belts… packing. But all in all our bus is a little shinier, and a little more road-ready and hopefully this will all culminate in a “Pass” on our inspection tomorrow.
Everyone cross your fingers for us!
It is very difficult to think about updating this blog when we have -so much- to do before we leave in less than two weeks! Just to give a quick run-down of all the exciting things that are happening right now:
We have a show scheduled in Boston for the 22nd of May at 10:00pm and I have realized the brilliance of social networking sites (facebook, in particular) for the distribution of information regarding events. If you are interested please check out more details here or, if you are no where near the Boston area but want to keep updated on our movements across country – feel free to keep checking our website, or join this group if you check facebook more consistently and want to get updated that way.
On the bus front we failed our inspection and are working to get the bus in ship-shape order so we can pass and be on our way! Additionally, we are slowly learning about grease and filtration while traveling. Oh, and of course most of us are learning to drive the bus as well.
In terms of money, we are tenuously poised right now, and we’re trying our best to make as much as we can before we leave.
And thanks to college, we are all hectic already with finishing up the semester! It will be a whirlwind of excitement for the Criss Cross Circus over the next two weeks, after which I fully expect this blog to be chock-full of amazing, circus adventure-filled posts that you should all read regularly.
On Wednesday, April 30th the Criss Cross Circus ventured down the road a ways to Amherst College and there we had our first performance! Performing as a part of something larger (a whole tour!), as opposed to a one night only show, was a thrilling experience. With our bus on campus and our first performance down, we’re well on our way!