Friday, July 29, 2016

By Bus with Vicki - Part 9

Good morning FFFs!
Did any of you find any extra days lying around? I'm pretty sure I lost a few and thought they might have blown away. I mean, how can it be Friday again so soon?

It's been a good week. A productive one, but a fast one. I have written 6k words so far this week. And yes, they were mostly on one book. Sorry, but "Finding Joy" is writing itself and leaving TCR-6 behind. Maybe next week I can work on TCR-6. Of course there will be at least two days when I won't be writing. I'm working as an election judge again on Tuesday, so no writing then. And I don't write well the evening before since I try to go to bed a little early since I have to be up by 4:30. But we'll see what I can get done. As you may have noticed on the home page of Read Another Page, "Finding Joy" is now past the half-way mark! We're on the home stretch! (Or something like that. ;) )

I hope you are enjoying this story about Vicki. I told you it was long! I guess traveling with Vicki might take a while. ;)

By Bus with Vicki
Part 9

    The hum of the engine, the gentle swaying of the bus, and the warmth of the heater all combined to make her drowsy and before she had thought of a dozen names, her eyes were closed and she slept.

    Looking back at her, the driver relaxed when he saw she was asleep. “I wonder if she’s the kind of kid who gets upset when things don’t go right,” he mused. “Of course she didn’t seem upset when she got to the bus, but you never can tell.”

    The sun was well up when Vicki awoke. The excitement of the previous day, as well as being up in the night, had made her sleepy. For a moment she lay curled up on the seat, blinking. She was traveling, she knew that much, for when she opened her eyes she could see right out onto the road. But she was up awfully high, and in their van at home she couldn’t sleep lying down. “The bus!”
    Her excited exclamation startled the driver, and he looked in his mirror as she sat up. “Good morning,” he greeted her.
    “Good morning! Oh, isn’t this just so exciting?”
    Venturing another glance in the mirror to make sure the girl was talking to him, the driver said, “What is?”
    “That I’m traveling by bus to California! And I’ve already had so many adventures. If nothing else happens along the way, I’ll still have plenty of things to tell my sister when I get there. Did you get to hear about our trip yesterday?”
    When the driver shook his head, Vicki launched into an account of the blown tire, the walk to town, stopping for the fire to move away, and finally about her getting on the wrong bus. “Of course that wasn’t on purpose,” she explained. “I was just so sleepy and I saw another passenger who had traveled with me all day getting on the bus, and I thought it was the right one. I’ll make sure I get on the right bus if I have to change busses again. Do I?”
    “Yep. Just once though.” The driver didn’t add that he personally was going to make sure she got on the right bus.
    Vicki continued her excited thoughts. “I’ve never been in the mountains before. I wanted to watch as they got closer, but because of all the delays yesterday, I only got to see them in the distance before I fell asleep. I didn’t think I would be able to sleep at all on the bus. Before I left home I told Susie and Chrissy, they’re my sisters, that if I didn’t get to sleep on the bus, I’d be awfully tired when I got to Amber’s. So, I’m glad I can sleep on one. Oh, aren’t these mountains pretty? Do we have a long way to go before we get breakfast?”
    “Not too much farther.”
    Scooting to the aisle side of her seat, Vicki looked back towards the end of the bus, noticing that this one was fuller than the first one had been. “Why, almost every seat is taken,” she remarked to no one in particular. “I wonder where they’re all going? There are several who look interesting.” After watching the other passengers for a few minutes, Vicki turned her attention back to the windows and the front of the bus. There were a few cars passing them on the highway, and Vicki chuckled at how far above them she was.
    When the stop came for breakfast, Vicki was allowed to join the rest of the passengers but was firmly instructed that when she returned, she was to sit in the front seat. “I don’t mind if you sit somewhere else after we have gotten on the road again,” the driver told her. “But I want to make sure you are on the bus before we leave.”
    To this Vicki agreed quickly. She didn’t want to get left behind or get on the wrong bus again. Once was enough for her. As she followed the crowd into the station to the restaurant, she saw a girl about her size. The girl had long dark hair and darker skin. There was something in her manner that made Vicki think she was shy. Hurrying up to her as the girl stood hesitating in the doorway, Vicki said, “Hi!”
    The girl turned. A slight smile lurked in her dark eyes. “Hi.”
    “Are you traveling on the bus?”
    The girl nodded.
    “So am I! Are you alone?” When the girl nodded again, Vicki grabbed her hand and pulled her to a small table near a window. “Come on, let’s sit together. I’m traveling alone too. Is this your first time to travel by bus?”
    Shaking her head, the girl whispered, “Second.”
    “Oh, this is my first and I’ve already had many adventures, including getting on the wrong bus.” She giggled. “My name is Vicki Rogers. What’s yours?”
    “Rose Peterson. I’m eleven.”
    “I just turned twelve, that’s why my parents agreed to let me travel all the way to San Jose, California to visit my sister, Amber. She’s married. Where are you going?”
    “Back home. I visited my grandmother.”
    During their talk, plates with hot breakfasts had been set before them. “I always thank God for my food,” Vicki remarked.
    “Me too,” Rose whispered.
    Together the girls bowed their heads and Vicki whispered a prayer of thanks for their food. When they lifted their heads, they exchanged full smiles. Somehow that little act had united them.
    When the call came to board the bus again, Vicki explained to Rose that she had to sit in the front at first, so the driver would know she was there. “I don’t want to get left behind. But once we start going I can come back and sit with you. If you have an empty seat beside you.”
    Rose nodded but said not a word.

Have you ever found a new friend while traveling?
Do you like traveling in the mountains?
Will you be back next week?

Friday, July 22, 2016

By Bus with Vicki - Part 8

Good morning FFFs,
It's quite right now. All five kiddos have decided to sleep in. :) It's been a busy week. We had people in and out of our house all Monday morning, I had election training that afternoon, and then I wrote in the evening. Then came Tuesday. I was able to get some things done that needed done. The four kids who were going to be staying here during the last homeschool convention (in Woodlands) were over for supper. The following morning (after Nephew #1 got up before 6 AM!!!), we discovered that the trailer loaded with all the Light of Faith stuff had a broken spring. Time for Plan B. My brother had to rent a truck to take things down. But that meant there was no room for Nephew #2. So, Sis-in-law dropped him and Ti-K off over here for breakfast while she helped unload the trailer and pack the truck. Nephew #2 was going to stay here with his siblings but Ti-K was going to the conference. They didn't pick her up until almost 1. And we've been busy ever since. It's too hot to play outside. We have heat warnings and the heat index is at least 106ยบ! So, we're finding things to do inside. And we have the kids until Sunday evening.

And in case you hadn't guessed, I haven't gotten anything written since Monday. I should be able to write next week. (I really hope so because both "Finding Joy" and "TCR-6" are knocking on my brain to be written.)

If you shared your votes, thoughts, and comments about this blog last week, THANK YOU! All the feedback has been very helpful in figuring out what I'm going to do. I haven't decided for sure, but I do know I won't shut the blog down. :) If you haven't voted, go read the last post and let me know what you think.

I hope you all enjoy this next part of Vicki's bus trip. :)

By Bus with Vicki
Part 8

"But don’t worry about when to get off, the driver of each bus will be instructed to make sure you get off and on at the right times and the right places.” The station master wiped his brow.
    “But what about my luggage that’s on the other bus?” queried Vicki.
    “I’ve already called ahead to the next station for that bus and it will be waiting for you at your end stop in California.”
    “You’ve gone to a lot of trouble for me. I didn’t mean to make so many problems. And I truly thought I was getting on the right bus. But then I fell asleep. I’m sorry.”
    The older man smiled and patted her hand. “Now don’t you go fretting none. There’s nothing like little ladies like you taking the wrong bus to add a little excitement in an old man’s life. Why, Child, your hand is like ice!”
    Vicki grinned. “That’s because my warm jacket is on the other bus.”
    “Well, we can’t have that, now can we? You just wait right here. Don’t go anywhere.”
    “I won’t.
    In a short time Mr. Lynwood was back with a sweatshirt. “We have a small gift shop over there,” he nodded his head in the direction he had come from, “and I thought you needed something to remind you of your stop here.”
    Impulsively Vicki flung her arms around the older man and hugged him. “Thank you!” The sweatshirt, though it was too large, was warm, much warmer than her light sweater had been. “I’ll always remember you and this place when I wear it,” she promised.
    A horn sounded outside.
    “That must be your ride. Come along. Don’t forget anything.” And Mr. Lynwood hurried to the door of the station.
    Almost before she knew what was happening, Vicki found herself in the front seat of a sheriff’s car, waving good bye to the station master. Turning to look at the officer driving, she realized that he was an older man. “I’ve never ridden in a sheriff’s car before! But earlier today–no, I suppose it was yesterday–I got to sit in a State Trooper’s car for a little while. We had to wait for a grass fire to move away from the road before we could keep going. Are you the sheriff?”
    The officer shook his head with a chuckle. “No. I used to be the sheriff around here, but then I retired. Found out after six months of doing nothing, that I didn’t like it, so I came back to the force. Now I’m just Deputy Conway.”
    “I’m Vicki; well, really my name is Victoria, but I’m only called that when I’m in trouble.” Before the deputy had a chance to reply, she went on. “How are we going to catch the bus? You don’t have any lights or sirens on.”
    “Well, it’s this way. We know the route the bus has to take. Because the bus is so large, it can only travel on certain roads, but we can take the short cuts. And, one of the other deputies has gone up ahead to find and stop it for us.”
    Leaning one elbow against the window ledge, Vicki rested her cheek against her fist in thoughtful silence. “Am I going to make this bus late?”
    “I don’t think so,” Deputy Conway reassured. “They usually have some extra time in their schedule for little delays.”
    Thus assured, Vicki relaxed. Not feeling in the least bit sleepy, for the cold, the fresh air and the novelty of being awake and riding in a sheriff’s car at three-thirty in the morning had awakened her fully, she began to talk. She told the deputy all about the adventures she had already experienced on her bus trip, about the people she had met, and about how much she was going to enjoy staying with her married sister. “I don’t know if they’ll let me ride a bus back home,” she confided. “They might be afraid I’d end up in Alabama or Wisconsin.” She laughed at the thought. “Have you ever gotten on the wrong bus?”
    “No, can’t say I ever did, but I got lost in my patrol car first day as a policeman in Denver.” Finding that he had an interested listener, Deputy Conway told stories of his early days as an officer for the police department. Long before his supply of stories was ended, the flashing lights of a patrol car could be seen cutting through the darkness with the lights of a bus just ahead. “And it looks like we made it.”
    Vicki thanked Deputy Conway and asked him to sign her autograph book. “I got the State Trooper to sign it too. And the station master.”

    With a long sigh, Vicki pulled her legs up on to her seat and leaned back with her shoulder against the window. It was still too dark to see anything, the other passengers were asleep, and the driver wouldn’t talk to her. “Get some sleep,” he had told her after he had been given his instructions about her and she had been seated right behind him.
    “Maybe he’s just been having a bad night,” she mused, trying to see his face in the mirror, but failing. “I did make him wait for me, and maybe he doesn’t want to be distracted. Daddy doesn’t like us to talk to him all the time when he’s driving.” The warmth of the sweatshirt was relaxing. Scooting down, she spread her sweater over her legs and stared up through the large windows into the starlit heavens. “That’s a lot of stars . . . and God knows each of their names.” She yawned. “I don’t think I could even come up with that many names. Let me see . . .”

Have you ever ridden in a sheriff's car?
Have you ever tried to come up with names for all the stars you see?
Will you be back next week?

Friday, July 15, 2016

By Bus - Part 7 and Help Wanted

Hello FFFs,
Yes, you are still getting the next part of Vicki's travels, but I also needed your help, your input, your advise, your two cents worth.

Here's the situation:
After this story, I don't have any other short stories written. I can post a little more of "Dylan's Story" and another section of "Hymns in the Hills" but that's all the new things I have that can be posted. You see, with trying to write two books (okay 4, but two aren't top priority right now), finish my website, write blog posts for Read Another Page, work on the big project of the Bike Trips, plus adding teaching writing this fall again, I just don't have time to keep trying to fit in short stories just for this blog. I was trying to figure out how I did it before. :P I guess I wasn't so focused on my books. And I didn't have a website, or 33 bike trips to turn into a book. 
So, the question is, what should I do about this blog after this story is finished?

  • A.) Keep posting until I run out of new things and then shut the blog down.

  • B.) Post until I run out of new things and then leave the blog up but don't do anything with it.

  • C.) Finish the new things and then start re-posting the old stories from when I first started. 

  • D.) Leave the blog up and post whenever I get a short story written.

  • E.) Post any short stories on Read Another Page instead of this blog.

  • F.) Forget writing books and only write short stories.

  • G.) Open the blog for other writers to "guest post" their short stories.

  • H.) Something else.

Please help! Give me your opinion. I don't want to lose my loyal fiction fans because I'm too busy to write short stories all the time. I don't want to completely shut this blog down as I've been posting every Friday for about 7 1/2 years! But I just can't keep it up. My books are calling louder than the short stories. ;) I have too many other things going on right now. Maybe later I could come back with more short stories, but I don't know. So please, tell me what you think!

I have been enjoying both "Finding Joy" and "TCR-6" as they've been moving along. Not racing this week, but moving steadily. Hopefully tonight and tomorrow night will be productive days too because next week we'll have 4 of my nieces and nephews from Tuesday–Sunday. No time for writing then.

Okay, I'm going to be looking forward to your answers. Thanks. And enjoy the next part of this story.

By Bus with Vicki
Part 7

When she reached the very back, she stopped. Now where could they have gone? “Maybe the driver put them in the overhead,” she thought, catching a glimpse of the doors above the seats. “I’ll go ask him.”
    Staggering back up the aisle and trying not to fall on any of the sleeping passengers, Vicki at last made it to the very front. “Excuse me,” she said clearly, yet quietly.
    The driver glanced at her in the mirror. “Yes?”
    “I can’t find my bags. Did you put them in the overhead place above the seats?”
    “No, I don’t touch the things the passengers bring on the bus, just their luggage that goes underneath.” He turned and looked at her momentarily.
    Vicki gave a gasp. “Oh, what happened to the new driver?” She was suddenly wide awake.
    “The driver that drove us from where I got on introduced me to the new driver when we got to the station, but it wasn’t you.”
    Again the driver looked at her. “Miss, where are you going?”
    “San Jose, California.”
    The driver drew a long breath almost like a whistle before he spoke. “Well, you’re headed for Montana right now.”
    “Montana? But I don’t want to go to Montana. How can that be?”
    “You got off your other bus, right?”
    “Yes, but only for a few minutes. I was going to call my parents, but–”
    The driver interrupted. “Then you probably got on the wrong one.”
    “But I saw Mr. Newspaperman get on this one, and he was on the bus when I got on this morning.”
    “He probably had to take a different bus at the last station.”
    Vicki sat down in a seat behind the driver. It was strange to have a conversation with a man in a mirror, but she couldn’t see the driver’s face any other way. “Well, can’t you just turn around and take me back to the station? The other bus might not have left yet.”
    “That’s about two hours behind us.”
    “Two hours,” echoed Vicki, disbelief written all over her face. “But I didn’t go to sleep. I’m sure I didn’t. At least . . . I don’t think I did.” For a long time she sat in total silence trying to make herself realize that she, Vicki Rogers, had gotten on the wrong bus and was now going, not to her sister’s in California, but north to Montana. At last she spoke. “Do I have to go all the way to Montana?” She was thinking about the money it was going to cost to get a new ticket to California.
    “No, I’ll see what I can figure out when we get to the next station. You’ll be late getting to your destination, but we’ll make sure you get there.”
    The driver’s words were a welcome relief. “Thank you. But when will the next station be?”
    “Not for a while. You might as well go back to sleep again.” The driver looked at her in the mirror and smiled.
    Vicki smiled back. This was certainly an interesting trip she was taking. After tucking her purse between herself and the back of the seat, she curled up right where she was and closed her eyes. “And Mom and Dad think I’m on the right bus. At least they won’t be worried about me. Well, I wanted adventure. Now I have it. A lot of it. They’ll probably never let me ride another bus again as long as I live.” She yawned widely, and shifted a little. “Then I may as well enjoy this trip.” With those thoughts, she fell asleep.

    When she next awoke, the bus was coming to a stop. All was still dark, but Vicki thought she could detect a faint glow in the east. “But it might be a city,” she decided. Stretching, she remembered that she was on the wrong bus.
    Turning around after parking the bus, the driver looked at Vicki. Her headband was about to slide off the back of her head, she had an impression of her purse handle on her cheek, and she didn’t appear very awake. “Good morning, young lady,” he greeted her. “I want you to promise me you won’t step foot off this bus until I tell you to. I’m going to go see what I can do about getting you to where you are supposed to go.”
    Vicki promised solemnly that she wouldn’t stir from her seat without his permission. While she waited, she adjusted her headband and pulled her sweater closer. The warmer jacket her mother had insisted she take was in the other bus. “And here I am going farther north than Mom had planned. I wonder how I’m to get back to the right bus.”
    At last the driver came back with another man. Quietly he called Vicki off the bus. “This is Mr. Lynwood, the station master. You are to stay with him until transportation can be arranged to get you back on the right route. Please don’t get lost!”
    “I won’t. I’ll stay right with him.”
    Moments later the bus had pulled away and Vicki was sitting in a seat inside the quiet and almost deserted station. Though she had many questions, she didn’t ask any because Mr. Lynwood was busy talking on the telephone. Clutching the handle of her purse, the girl swung her feet and  yawned, letting her eyes wander around the empty room. They rested on a large clock. “I didn’t know it was quarter after three in the morning,” she thought. “No wonder I’m still tired.”
    Mr. Lynwood came over. “All right, young lady, we are going to attempt to catch the bus that left here fifteen minutes ago. A friend of mine who works for the sheriff’s department is going to take you in his car. That bus will take you to the station where you should have been had you not gotten on the wrong bus"

Have you ever gotten in the wrong car, bus, train, or something?
What would you do if you discovered you were heading in the wrong direction?
And what should I do about this blog?

Friday, July 8, 2016

By Bus with Vicki - Part 6

Hello FFFs,
Have you had a busy week? Hot weather? Noisy nights? Lots to do? I did. Still have lots to do and hot weather. Last night was noisy because, around midnight, a fierce wind came up and began lashing the tree branches against our skylight and making the entire house quiver. It was pretty noisy because the leaves were wet and they squeaked on the glass while the branches thudded on the roof. Then the thunder came and the rain. This morning I noticed some good sized branches were down from our maple tree.

I've been writing this week. If you haven't visited Read Another Page this week, you might want to check it out as I have progress bars for all four of my books on my home page. (Just know that there are other things that I haven't gotten fixed yet. :) ) It's been rather fun playing around and learning new things. I designed my social media buttons to match my site, and am hoping to work on everything more today.

Yesterday I didn't write. Instead I spent time listening to the audio of "Through the Tunnel." I can't wait to share it with you all when it is finished! The reader has done such a great job!

There are other things I have been contemplating about this blog, about my Read Another Page blog, my book writing, and other things. I haven't reached any decision yet, but I'm thinking. :)

By Bus with Vicki
Part 6

    Startled by something, Vicki blinked in bewilderment. Where was she and what was going on. A low murmur of voices was around her and dim lights were growing brighter.
    Vicki sat up, her headband sliding down on her forehead. It all came back to her when she saw Kayla’s face. “Where are we? What’s happening now?” Reaching up, she shoved back her headband, not caring what it looked like.
    “We’re at the next station. This is where Clyde and I get off. The driver said there would be a short break before you leave again with a new driver.”
    “Oh, then I can get off and tell you good bye?”
    “Sure can,” Clyde said from behind his sister. “But you might want your sweater as it’s chilly outside.”
    Grabbing her sweater, Vicki slipped it on as she followed Clyde and Kayla towards the front of the bus. There the driver stopped her a minute.
    “Wait a minute, young lady.”
    “Yes, sir?” Vicki turned.
    “I just wanted you to meet your new driver. He’ll make sure you get on to the new bus in the morning when you have to change.”
    “All right.” She gave a sleepy smile and shook hands with the new driver.”
    “You aren’t going far are you?” asked the new driver.
    “No. I just promised I would call my parents when I got here, and I have to say good bye to some of my friends.”
    The new driver nodded and turned to another passenger who was waiting to speak to him.
    Vicki hurried to catch up with Clyde and Kayla who were waiting for her near the station doors. “I have to call my parents,” she told them.
    “There’s a pay phone right there,” Kayla said, pointing.
    Fishing out her coins from her purse, Vicki put in the money and tried to dial, but the phone remained dead. “Oh, dear. It’s out of order.” Her dismayed voice full of sleep, sounded close to tears.
    “What?” Clyde moved over. “Out of order? Hmm, it sure is. Let’s check inside.”
    There were no other phones available. The only one inside had a long line of folks waiting to use it.
    For the first time since her trip had started, Vicki felt discouraged. “Mom and Dad won’t go to bed until they hear from me,” she wailed. “They said they wouldn’t. And now I can’t call them. The bus is going to leave before all these people get a chance to use it. Oh, what am I going to do?”
    Kayla hugged the girl. “Don’t fret. Why don’t you let Clyde call your parents, either when we get home or sooner if we can find a pay phone? He can tell them what happened here and assure them that you will call them tomorrow.”
    The despair vanished. “That would be fine. But make sure you tell them I’m okay. But don’t tell them what delayed us because I want to tell them.”
    “Of course not,” promised Clyde with a laugh. “I wouldn’t dream of it. I’ll just let them know you are fine, that the phones were either in use or out of order and that you’ll call them tomorrow. But,” he added, “you’ll have to give me your phone number.”
    Quickly Vicki dug into her purse and pulled out a piece of paper with a number on it. After reading it, she handed it to her friends. “Susie and I wrote our home number on several pieces of paper for my purse, just in case I couldn’t remember the number and lost one paper, then I’d have others.”
    After promising again to call her parents as soon as they could reach a phone, Kayla gave Vicki a hug. “It’s been fun to travel with you, Vicki,” she said.
    “I enjoyed being with you too.” And Vicki beamed at her friends. “We had such an adventurous day, didn’t we?”
    Clyde chuckled. “We sure did. But we have to leave and you need to get back on the bus.”
    “Oh, I’m going to. Don’t worry. I don’t want to be left behind.” Vicki gave Clyde and Kayla one last hug. “Good bye, don’t forget to call my parents.”
    “We won’t.”
    With a wave, Vicki hurried out of the station and into the dimness of the parking lot. The bus was still there and Vicki saw Mr. Newspaperman climbing on. “Maybe I’ll be able to talk to him later,” she thought happily, glad he wasn’t getting off like Kayla and Clyde were. The driver was busy putting some suitcases in the bottom of the bus, so Vicki just called, “I’m getting on now,” and hurried up the steps.
    Dropping into an empty seat, she leaned her head against the window. She had heard one person in the station say it was almost eleven. It gave her a strange feeling to be awake and on a bus so late at night. She yawned and closed her eyes. Since there wasn’t anything to look at, she could just go to sleep again.
    The movement of the bus moments later made her open her eyes. The lights were dim, and she looked out at the station. “I wish it were light so I could see the mountains,” she thought drowsily. “But I can see them tomorrow.” Reaching down for her bag, she groped around. It wasn’t there. With a yawn, she murmured, “I must have the wrong seat.” Though she had every intention of getting right up and moving to the seat with her bags, she couldn’t make up her mind to do it quite yet.
    Finally, rubbing her eyes, she stretched and sat up. “I’ll go find my seat now,” she told herself. The bus was quiet as she slipped from her seat and, swaying and stumbling, made her way towards the back, stopping at each row to look for her bags. They were not to be found. All she could see were sleeping passengers. Even Mr. Newspaperman was sound asleep and snoring softly.

Have you ever had to use a pay phone? 
Where were her bags?
Will you be back next week to find out what happens next?

Friday, July 1, 2016

By Bus with Vicki - Part 5

Happy Canada Day Canadian readers!
And Happy Independence Day a little early US readers!

Can you believe it's already the middle of the year? And here I thought I was going to have a lot written by now. I guess I have. If I were to put all 4 stories that I'm working on together, I'd have another novel that was longer than the TCR books or Gift from the Storm. It just doesn't seem like as much when it's in four different parts.

I was writing this week, but not as much as I had planned. My brain was on shut down mode last evening. I have an idea for a blog post on Read Another Page once summer's over. Speaking of Read Another Page, I wanted to know if you like it the way it is, if you would like some things changed, have you listened to the audio samples that are now on the Audio page, if you've tried to leave a comment since it all got moved to a new hosting site. You see, I'm trying to figure out if it is harder to leave a comment now or if you just haven't been interested in the posts. I would like to get a few things fixed and changed on the site, but I've been busy.

Oh, I'm expecting to be able to proof listen to Through the Tunnel next week. Or at least start listening to it. :) And the first 15 minutes of TCR-2 and Gift from the Storm should be ready for me in a few weeks. Do you enjoy audio?

Now, I told you from the beginning that this was a long story. I hope you are enjoying traveling with Vicki.

By Bus with Vicki
Part 5

    “Oh, it’s another State Trooper! And he’s coming to the bus!” This last was added in a squeal as Vicki hugged herself, her eyes glowing with eager anticipation. “Maybe there’s been an accident or they’re searching for a robber. Or maybe the road is blocked for construction up ahead.”
    After stopping the bus, the driver opened the doors for the officer. Vicki’s eyes opened wide as the State Trooper mounted the steps to stand inside the bus. Everything about him was to her, impressive, from the hat on his head, to his radio on his shoulder, and the bulge of his gun at his side. She couldn’t hear him as he talked a few moments to the driver, but when he turned and looked at the passengers, she leaned forward to catch every word.
    “I’m sorry for the delay, folks,” the State Trooper began, his voice reaching to the very back of the bus. “There’s a large grass fire up ahead that’s gotten out of hand and jumped the road. We’re not letting anyone through until we know it’s under control.”
    “How long is that going to take?” questioned one of the passengers.
    The State Trooper shook his head. “I don’t know. I’ll hear on my radio as soon as it’s clear, and you’ll be the first to go through. But until that time, I’m afraid you’ll have to wait here. Unless of course your driver wants to turn around and go back.” He turned and glanced at the driver who shook his head.
    The radio crackled, and the State Trooper listened a moment before he spoke again. “So, just wait here, and we’ll let you know as soon as it’s safe to go on.”
    “Can we get off the bus?” another passenger asked.
    The officer shrugged. “It’s okay with me, if you don’t go past my car. The wind is blowing most of the smoke in a different direction, so that shouldn’t be a problem. If the wind does shift, it could cause the smoke to move this direction, as well as the fire. It’s not likely, but to be on the cautious side, if there is a change, I’ll be asking you to all stay on the bus.” His eyes scanned the rest of the passengers as though checking for more questions. When none came, he nodded, turned around and left the bus.
    For a moment silence pervaded. Not surprisingly, Vicki was the first to break it. “A grass fire! That’s what that haze is. And to think it’s all happening right now! And we’re stuck! Oh, this is more exciting than even a flat tire!”
    “Do you want to get off and see what you can see from the ground?” Clyde asked, smiling at her.
    Vicki clasped her hands together. “Oh, can we?” she breathed.
    It was the driver who answered. “Anyone who wants to get off may do so. But please remain near the bus so that there will be no delay when we are allowed to continue.”

    To most of the passengers, the wait was long and vexing, but to Vicki, it was another adventure to store away to retell to her family. Eagerly she had peered ahead towards the setting sun trying to see the fire, but she was never sure she had seen it, for there were many hills. Behind the bus, the traffic was stopped, and several times Vicki saw cars or trucks give up, turn around, and drive back the way they had come. For nearly a quarter of an hour, she had gotten to talk with the State Trooper, who allowed her to sit in his car and had even signed her autograph book. Finally Clyde had said, “I think we’d better get back on the bus now, Vicki. It’s getting late.”
    With a long sigh Vicki climbed the steps back into the bus. “I’m so glad we had to stop,” she told the driver, pausing beside his seat. “I never dreamed my trip was going to be so exciting. Thank you!”
    “Well, we aim to please when we can, Miss,” the driver said, passing his hand over his mouth and giving a slight cough as he exchanged glances with Clyde.
    Back in her seat, Vicki discovered she was hungry and pulled out her pie. “Aren’t you glad we were too hungry to finish our pie,” she laughed to Kayla who was opening her own box.
    “Yes. I’m afraid supper is going to be rather late today.”
    “I don’t mind at all.” And Vicki leaned back in her seat savoring each bite of her pie.

    Finally the State Trooper gave the okay to go ahead and the bus started forward. Vicki kept her eyes to the windows, hoping she would get to see at least some of the fire. The sun had sunk behind the mountains and, with the fading light, she was finally able to see the flicker of flames in the distance. “There it is,” she called gleefully, pointing out her window. “That must be the fire that held us up.”

    As soon as the next town was reached, the driver pulled into a gas station and said, “We’re already behind time, so please get something to eat quickly and we’ll be on our way again. If you’d like, you may all eat on the bus. There are several places right here that offer quick meals.”
    No one had to be told twice, for everyone, except Vicki, was impatient by another delay. Within twenty minutes all the passengers were back on the bus and the driver was pulling back onto the road.
    Sitting in her seat, Vicki enjoyed her hotdog and fries from Dairy Queen. “I just love eating at Dairy Queen,” she remarked to no one in particular as she reached for another hot, salty fry. Traveling by bus was more exciting than she had thought possible.
    At last, with her stomach full, and nothing to see out the windows, Vicki realized she was tired. It had been a long time since she had gotten up that morning. Using her sweater as a pillow, she lay down on the seat and stared up at the stars until her eyes closed.

Have you ever seen a grass fire?
Do you like sleeping while you travel?
What's your favorite kind of pie?