Love, the Bus: Getting our wheels under ourselves
At this hour of the evening, New Hampshire's Whites look like the Carolinas' Blue Ridge. Chartreuse, our bus, made it to the heart of the White Mountains on Wednesday and we have stayed here through the weekend. Unfortunately, it's not entirely by plan, but more on that later. I write from a lawn chair with a mountain view, observing a beautiful sunset after a warm summer day. Oh sweet summer, how I love thee.
Our departure from Lincolnville Beach Sunday, July 10, was monumental. After working towards the day non-stop for nearly 10 months, without pay and while living at home (not the most ideal situation for a recent college grad, but we certainly can't complain), we found ourselves finally on the road. From that point forward, we would be charting unfamiliar territory in an unfamiliar vehicle, leaving our route predominantly up to our viewers.
Love, the BusThree college graduates who grew up in Lincolnville are on a cross-country trip this summer, undertaking a project "Love, the Bus, 80 Challenges for Good." This entails assuming some wild, crazy and creative challenges, producing an interactive web television series, and, they hope, procuring financial contributions for organizations and constructive causes they encounter along a summer's way.
Despite flitting second thoughts and apprehensions, we roared out of Lincolnville Beach behind a ceremonious police escort. We were officially underway. Cutting the tether was honestly easier than expected, and life on the bus has been tremendously entertaining. In one week, we have been on the news now three times (one live!), driven golf balls off the roof of the bus, performed a choreographed modern dance in public, installed a propane system, received a haircut in a Home Depot parking lot, and successfully collected our first waste grease from a Chinese restaurant.
On the production side, things have been a little overwhelming. Working as a team has had its ups and downs, and as we work the kinks out of the structure of our TV show we are constantly learning realities of the road. Fortunately, we stay focused on the larger picture, and flexible to change our methods as the need arises. We're down to one computer, after my keyboard was the victim of a spill, and Corey's screen the victim of a drop. This has dramatically slowed down our processes, and added to our stress. With that said, we've created six updates and one major prologue (representing one video a day — the plan) this week, and are happy about how they are turning out.
Our challenge this week came from a local of the Waterville Valley area: To perform a choreographed modern dance in public. Our cause was the Margaret and H.A. Rey Center in Waterville Valley, an organization dedicated to promoting curiosity in children towards the sciences and arts. Founded by the creators of the Curious George book series, the Center has become a beacon of the area to encourage kids to get out there and have some fun, and learn while doing so.
The challenge was a big success, with huge help from a local dance studio, we rehearsed with a professional choreographer and performed our dance with three back up dancers. Highlights were a sprinkler rendition, a Jesus lift, a spin section, and a move we saw the night before on "So You Think You Can Dance." Fundraising before the performance, and with the performance, and matching those funds with our own, we were able to raise enough to create a scholarship for four children to attend one of the center's Curiosity Camps. Our episode highlighting the challenge and cause, and all of our videos, can be found on our website, lovethebus.tv.
On our way out of town Saturday, Chartreuse, our bus, broke down. After experiencing a loss of power, and a smell of fuel, we pulled over to find our engine spurting diesel and steaming terribly. After the engine cooled, we discovered a broken fuel injector line that was the cause of the problem, and our bus is back at the mechanics. As I write on Sunday evening, we have no idea how long it will take to fix, but we hope to be in Boston by Tuesday. Our spirits remain high, and fortunately Corey's aunt lives nearby; but the road is certainly sending us on some unexpected detours. Learning to roll with them, we remain optimistic that there is reason for all of it.
Love, the Bus
Tyler Dunham is a Lincolnville native and co-founder of the project Love, the Bus. With two best friends, Seth Brown and Corey McLean, Tyler is currently crossing the country in a converted school bus and completing challenges to raise money for organizations wherever they are.