As everyone has said,
We made it to Union City, Tn with not too much trouble.
Our biggest problem was brakes.
It seems the P/O had new brake shoes, cans, slack adjusters, spiders, cams and drums put on all the way around.
I stupidly took for granted that they had been installed correctly..... my bad.
Since the shoes and slack adjusters were new, I figured the brake hardware had been changes also.
The brake shoe retractor springs, which by the way are not common for most vehicles and so have to be special ordered had been in place so long that they rusted through and left me with a bottom shoe that would hang up when ever I came to a stop. The caused me to have to back up several feet at every stop light or stop sign.
After a period of time, the leading edge of the shoe wore enough that it would re-wedge itself after backing up and releasing. This was gradual and made it so my little 6-71 couldn't pull the hills as well as it had been. It also caused the bearings and tire to get hot... on the last check the tire was at 181°.
We finally found a place to pull off the road at a little abandoned gas station where we jacked up the front axle and took everything apart.
The bearings looked good, although the grease in them was pretty old and dry. The spindle was in great shape, but you could see where it had had a failure at some time in the past and been repaired. the races looked good.
The grease seal was in good shape so I didn't want to remove it and chance messing it up, we weren't close to a parts store that we knew of. I had Cat push grease through as if she were hand packing except the bearing stayed in the hub. Then I had her spin the bearing in the hub and add more grease. This made sure there were no flat spots on the bearing faces or on the race. Finally I had her gob a bunch of grease on the front and back of the bearing to keep as much dirt as possible from getting in while we reinstalled the hub.
Packing the outer bearing was the standard hand packing job that we should all be familiar with.
Meanwhile, I was working on the brake spring problem. I removed the old retractor spring and dug through my pile of parts and found some short heavy coil springs that came in a bag of misc. springs I bought at a flea market.
Using these, I took a hacksaw and removed the pieces of the old springs and cleaned up the bar they attached to. I then widened the face on one end of the spring until I could insert it over the swaged end of the bar. Using vice grips, I tightened up the opening so it couldn't come off again and did the same to the other end.
Using the vice grips again I opened up one of the spring coils and turned it sideways so it could fit over the retainer bar on the shoe.
I made sure the new spring set was a bit shorter than the minimum extension of the brake shoes and put everything back together again.
Cat helped me reinstall the hub and drum assembly and I tightened up the slack adjuster until the drum no longer "rang" when rapped on with a wrench. I then backed it off 1/8 turn and reinstalled the tire and wheel.
We fired up the bus and tested the brakes a couple of times on the lot and headed down the road.
It is a real joy to know that you can stop at a stop light and expect to move again after the light turns green.
On fuel mileage, We put in about 35 gallons in Whittier, NC when I stuck the tank and found only about 3" of fuel in the bottom. We then drove to Adairsville, GA (about 160 miles), and put in another 65 gallons which brought our fuel level to almost 14".
When we got to Union City (about 530 miles) I checked the fuel again and we still have about 9" left in the tank.
Oil consumption was so little I can't see a difference on the stick from where it was when we started and when we arrived. The only oil use I can see is from the compressor unloader and that isn't excessive. I'll fix that someday soon.
On our trip we passed one Van Hool that couldn't climb as well as we could, (He probably outweighed us by 25K), but his mouth was slack and agape as our 54 year old coach made it's way around him. I wonder what his passengers thought when the fancy 2 story bus got passed by an antique GMC!
In the last 20 miles from Union City, A fella with a 35' 5th wheel and a big Ford Diesel kept trying to come around us. On the uphill ride, he could just about catch us, since I would slow down as the rpms dropped. On the downhill side, I would use the grade to pick up speed again and mash on the pedal as hard as I could, walking off from him until he also topped the hill. Then we would run about the same speed with him slowly catching up until the next little hill.
I finally had to back out of it and let him around when my temps started to climb into the 210° range.
I figured it wasn't worth blowing up the engine just for some fun.
And that's the story!