At the crack of dawn we were up and at em, at least up enough to turn off the alarm clock that was preset for us to a techno station at 0700, and to take a look outside at what was pounding against the windows.

Nashville firefighters kept errant drivers from sinking into the drainage.

The rain and lightning and thunder did indeed arrive as forecast, causing an excess of water everywhere. We hear they have been warning the locals about this storm for a week.

From 1400 miles away, I've been working with Mike Palmer via phone on this deal, who is the salesman at Just like every bus has a story- Mike has a great one. Including stints as a drummer for Garth Brooks whole professional career, Mike has worked leasing, driving and selling buses for the latest part of his life. He's very personable, and according to competing salesmen, he is honest.

After our last visit to Nashville, work on removing the JEWS FOR JESUS lettering got started, but was halted when they discovered that I had some sign talent, thinking I would buy it and finish the job how I wanted it. It's still unfinished. They did repaint the front and back, and removed the lettering from the other side.

At 0900 we met Mike at busforsale, where Eleanor had been put to rest inside the dry warm shop the day before. In true real estate agent spirit, he had already powered up the A/C and every light in the bus. It was warm and inviting. We poked around each of the compartments, kicked the tires and ascended 13' to take a look at the expansive rooftop. Ethan climbed in and out of each opening, and tested every seat inside, then he lost interest and took on the job of testing the DVD player in the front lounge. Oh, look at that, I'm talking like a coach owner- I used 'front lounge' in conversation.

Ethan disappeared under the bus to call Mom.

The entertainment system is nice. The 5 speaker Bose acoustimass system has the subwoofer tucked under the dinette seating. As I was sitting, and the Pink Panther was making noise, my butt was trembling. I can only imagine what a rap song would do to a guy if he was trying to eat while the music was pumping. Fortunately, we never play loud music at the Igel house. There is a second Bose system in the rear lounge, and a driver CD/tuner. Who cares about the engine huh? Just turn up the music!

OK, we're not that dumb, although I do feel pretty incompetent when trying to evaluate all of the factors involved in buying a bus. Today's main objective with Eleanor for me was to get a feeling about living in this bus. The feeling is good. I came in with some reservations about the space, the windows etc... But I think we'll be OK. It needs some cosmetic work, and a bigger galley sink, but the shower is good, the toilet is a fancy electric dumper, the mechanicals all seem to have been very well maintained. The engine and transmission reports are good, the history is pretty clear. One of the cabinets contained a treasure trove for a buyer- 2 large envelopes of receipts for work completed, manuals for all of the components and systems- and a custom made binder that was compiled by the driver that picked up the bus when it was purchased new that he made to explain the operations of the bus and every little thing in it. The manual is chock full of color photos and personal commentary, and overflowing with pride. These things alone speak volumes about the history of the bus.

Getting ready to read up on Eleanor.

This picture book has the details about everything, including sinks, electrical, generator, oil changes, etc etc.

After Eleanor, we made it 12-14 miles across the hills and valleys of rural Nashville countryside despite the flushing sheets of rain that were casing minor flooding around every corner. Remember that we have a great stereo in the car, and quality music equals quality driving.

The Kershaw bus, between rinses from Mother Nature

The 'Sammy Kershaw' bus was clean clean clean- but the owner seemed a bit sketchy. He was so overly confident about the bus, his wife's C&W career (Ellie May Kay) and everything that we talked about, I didn't believe it all. Especially the part about the mechanicals of the bus. We looked it over despite the... rain... and then went back for late lunch and to crack open the Eleanor documentation.

Ethan is suffering through an episode of Zack & Cody, but he will be back to reading 39 Clues (vol 8) soon. Now, I've got some reading of my own to do about what could be The Bus. (?!)