RTL 1014 made it back to London by ship in less than three months, arriving last March. Mike Quillici, a 2006 UC Davis graduate, didn’t catch up with the bus he used to drive until December, and he went by plane.
Turns out he and his wife, Maria Westendorf Quillici, a 2005 graduate and another former Unitrans driver (although she did not drive 1014), each has a late December birthday, and they planned a trip to celebrate.
“My wife had always wanted to go to Scotland,” he said, “so I said, ‘We can do whatever you want to do, but if we’re going to Scotland we have to go see 1014.’ ”
Quillici worked for Unitrans for more than four years — a student employee who would graduate with a bachelor of science degree in environmental science and a bachelor of arts in geology.
He and his wife and their daughter, Eva, attended RTL 1014’s bon voyage party last Jan. 20 in the Unitrans yard, then, four days later, Mike Quillici returned to see Unitrans load the bus onto a flatbed trailer and send it off to Long Beach.
Afterward, Quillici headed back to work in Sacramento — he is a geologist for Environmental Resources Management — and caught up with RTL 1014 on Interstate 80 in downtown Sacramento, snapping a photo of the tractor-trailer rig as it exited onto I-5 south.
On Dec. 28, he and his wife saw the bus again, at the Ensignbus Transport Museum.
“I thought it looked great,” Mike Quillici said. He noted that Ensignbus, besides giving RTL 1014 a new paint job, had replaced more of the bus shell’s wood and reupholstered the seats.
But not everything was historically accurate. The Unitrans route sign, displayed in the rear window, read “8th/Fremont Cir/Shields” — you can see it in a picture on the Ensignbus website. Problem is, RTL 1014 never worked that line (the L Line).
“We dug around under the seats and found a route card for the G Line (Anderson/Alvarado/N. Sycamore),” said Quillici, who joined his tour guide, Steve Newman, an Ensignbus director, in swapping out the cards.
Quillici said he came away from his afternoon at Ensignbus confident that the company “will care for the bus, preserve it and keep it running.” On that same old engine!
“It’s nice to see the bus end up there. It wraps up the story really nicely.”
— UC Davis News Service