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Inside Politics

Express Line dispatch: Time for reflection, laundry

CNN Election Express bus driver Dale Fountain
CNN Election Express bus driver Dale Fountain

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Dale Fountain, CNN Election Express bus driver:

(CNN) -- Crew call: None today, bus idle. Temperature: A high of 14 degrees and a low of minus 5. Today's Express location: Manchester, New Hampshire

Yesterday in Portsmouth, the wind was just howling, but today is a positively balmy 6 degrees. Cold weather is harder on the bus, and hard on the passengers -- everybody's cranky when it's cold.

Today the bus is parked at the CNN workspace in Manchester. Downtime lets us take care of stuff we can't get to while the bus is moving. Since it's a "warm" day, we'll repack equipment on the bus and resupply it with coffee, paper towels, toilet paper, whatever we need. I'll do some laundry and call home to check in with my family.

The bus was cleaned a couple of days ago. After driving from Iowa, the first 10 feet of the bus were covered an inch deep in rock salt. Other networks have buses, but ours looks better than theirs, and I'll race them anywhere in the country.

There seem to be more campaign workers than voters at the places we stop.

On Friday at the Merrimack Restaurant, I was standing outside the bus and a homeless man started talking to me. He was trying to get to one of the candidates, I guess, to see if they could help. It was a real typical story about how we're all three paychecks away from the street. That one really touched me. I wish I could have done something to help. I gave him $20.

In Dixville Notch, a man was giving out "primary harmonicas" on a necklace. They play them while waiting for the primary results. The back of the package tells you how to play some songs. They have "God Bless America," "The Star-Spangled Banner," and "Hail to the Chief."

The reaction from people along the road has been good. People honk or wave as they pass the bus. Some want to see what's inside. To pass time I read or watch TV. With satellite cable, we can get CNN at 70 miles per hour.

Tomorrow, we'll stay here, as far as I know. Monday we're supposed to go to Dartmouth College in Hanover. Where we go doesn't matter to me, I'm just happy going down the road burning diesel

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