Making Plans: Getting into the Project

Up until this point in this blog, about all you’ve seen are photos of a dirty, 20-year old bus. Well, you’re going to get a lot more dirty old bus pics in the coming weeks but I thought I would let you in on my vision and share our plans for what the thing is actually going to look like.

Driver-Side Cross-Section.
Passenger-Side Cross-Section

I feel like our design is pretty utilitarian but also cozy. A few of my favorite design elements so far are the combination power control panel/book shelves, wood stove and our combination settee/couch/guest bed. You’ll notice we have our freshwater tank inside; we plan on living aboard in subfreezing temperatures in the Rockies next winter so the I figured it would be best to keep as much of the water system as possible inside.

Power will come from any of four options: 1.) Our House batteries will be connected to the Starting Batteries via solenoid that isolated the house bank from the Starting bank. The idea being that we charge all of our batteries while we drive, but we only pull from our house bank while parked. 2.) Run our gasoline generator. Noisy, but we can charge our house batteries (or starting batteries in a pinch), run a welder, make some daiquiris, etc. 3.) Plug into shore power. Plug our 30 amp generator plug straight into a power pedestal at an rv park. 4.) Solar! We might not have solar panels to start out with but we will have them by the beginning of next winter.

In other news, all of our seats have been disposed of (we actually made $28 in scrap value for the frames!), got rid of most of the cushions (drove 45 minutes to the dump and paid $3 to get rid of them), our ceiling is almost out and the floor is coming up too.

Via con Dios school bus seats, thanks for all the fun we had together.
Austin in destruction attire.
most of the ceiling down and gobs of fiberglass insulation thrown out.
The VIPs of the project so far: a prybar, 3.5 inch Ryobi angle grinder and Mjolnir, my old blacksmithing hammer from my friend Brandon Vaughn at VooDoo Forge.
At the end of the day, I still had enough curiosity and gumption for about 20 more minutes of destruction. I figured why not tear out some floor and see what our sheet metal floor looked like. Some rust, but not as bad as I thought it might look!
A horrible little rust-monster. Looks like Austin will be breaking out the MIG welder after all.

Our next steps will be to finish removing the rotten ply wood floor, grinding off some rivet heads on the sidewalls and tearing those out (hopefully this will be a great, somewhat safer opportunity, to teach Sarah how to use the angle grinder) and going back with our electric sheet metal shears and cutting the last major price of ceiling sheet metal off just aft of the 2nd interior rib. We may just leave the driver’s area ceiling as purely “stock school bus” to save some time and keep some of the original aesthetic (hence the idea of just cutting the sheet metal rather than removing the rivets that hold the driver’s ceiling in place).

Thank you for reading our blog so far! We love getting your feedback and really appreciate all 200 hits so far during this project! I’m really looking forward to getting to more creative (and less destructive) projects in the next week or two! Stay tuned…

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