With wine tours, baseball games, weddings, golf, concerts, quinceaeras and birthday trips to amusement parks, summer days always are packed with activities.
Instead of rounding up SUVs for an outing with family and friends, Tri-Citians can leave the driving to Mr. Bean Tours.
Gilbert Guerrero of Kennewick, aka Mr. Bean, invested in a small bus two years ago on a whim.
"I've always wanted one, and when I spotted it in Spokane, I bought it," he said. "Driving people to parties and fun times is what I've always wanted to do."
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There are other ways of carrying large groups, including stretch limousines and regular buses.
But Guerrero said his Mr. Bean tour bus is a lot more comfortable than either. Instead of rows of seats like on a school bus, it has bench seats on three sides.
"This way everyone can face each other and talk instead of being lined up in rows," he said.
His vehicle is classified by the state as a limo, which means passengers can drink on board.
"Sure you can drink in a limo, but with stretch limos you sit low and almost bump knees of the person across from you," he said. "And you can't stand up like you can in here."
His bus seats up to 14, and with an almost 7-foot ceiling, few people will bump their heads. It is equipped with tables to hold food and drinks, a flat screen TV, karaoke, a DVD player, sound system and cooler. But it's the small multi-colored disco ball on the ceiling, the fiber optic lighting along the floor and dark-tinted windows that create a party-on-wheels feel.
Guerrero does a lot of runs to wineries and adult venues, but children's parties are just fine too.
"I'll often pick up groups from school or Chuck E. Cheese and either take them home, to someone's house to party more or to a park to run off their sugar energy," he said.
The cost to rent the bus is $100 an hour, and after three hours, there is a $50 discount, so three hours is $250 plus tip.
Guerrero needs at least a week's notice because for now driving the bus is a sideline. His full-time job is working in the office at his brother's mechanic shop.
For more information, call 509-551-0571 or e-mail email@example.com. His website is http://mrbeantours.com.
-- Loretto J. Hulse: 582-1513; firstname.lastname@example.org