Parents around here are so gung-ho (or freakish about their kids' whereabouts) that they have to hold a lottery to pick the chaperones for this trip. I didn't particularly want to enter, but Smunch wanted me to and I couldn't tell him 'no'. And, of course, I was one of the "lucky" ones.
A number of the chaperones decided to drive on their own instead of taking the bus with the kids. I think they'd heard horror stories about riding on the bus. But it wasn't very eventful. We stopped in Tracy, where the kids ate their breakfasts outside Macdonalds. They weren't allowed to buy anything there. They brought their breakfasts with them.
We drove past Manteca, where Smunch played baseball last summer. And we drove through the cute little town of Sonora, where I've heard the Diamondback Grill serves a mean burger, but we didn't get to stop. Finally, we arrived in Columbia.
My four charges (all boys) and I wandered around the stores quite a bit since the kids were allowed to bring up to $10 to spend. I was somehow supposed to ensure that they each spent no more than $3 on candy. Not sure if that worked out or not. You can buy a heck of a lot of candy for $3 though!
They'd ordered hot dogs and sandwiches from a local shop for lunch, so we all planted ourselves in the gazebo shade for a little bit before heading up the hill to the grammar school to learn about school in the West in the 1860s.
Smunch would probably never forgive me if I left this last part out because I'm fairly sure he thought it was the most exciting part of the trip. It was particularly windy that evening and part of our trip was over the Altamont Pass, known for it's huge wind farms...because it's usually windy right there. That night, it was exceptionally windy and it blew open the emergency escape hatch of the top of the second bus (we were on the first bus).
Smunch was sitting with me, up near the driver and right behind his teacher, so he got the whole scoop as she talked on her cell phone and the driver radioed headquarters. Apparently, a dad on the other bus strapped his belt to the hatch and held it down himself for the rest of the way home.
High drama, that.