I am really glad I started this blog. Whenever I sit down to write I always go back and read my last post first so I can get a scope for what all I need to include…THINGS HAVE CHANGED SO MUCH. Spencer went back to work….for two different employers. His normal work hours are from 8 am to 10 pm with a small half hour break between jobs. He did this for many reasons. He wants more padding in our bank account before we take off on our aventures. Just in case. He doesn’t have the patience to sit and study for hours and hours and hours and hours on end like I do. Consequently….I was constantly telling him what to do. Bleh. Meanwhile, I am not productive at all when he’s around. It has always been this way in regard to housework and projects and activities. when my husband is around I don’t want to do anything except hang out with him……and no it doesn’t count if we are working. So the bus was going nowhere. Now he is back at work and I have taken over the bus building. I have a love/hate relationship with this situation. I mean, I’m a nut so I basically wish he was here to help me work all the time and then when he is we don’t work at all. 😂 If we do, I get irritated with his lack of information quickly….. So now I just do it all by myself.
I haven’t accomplished a whole helluva lot, because kids and no experience whatsoever….but here is what I’ve been up to.
We went to a Skoolie gathering and met a bunch of really awesome other bus dwellers. In preparation, we had to get our seats installed. So first I built a wall. I did this for a few reasons. I wanted to separate the passenger riding area from the house area. In case of an accident anything that comes flying forward will be stopped by the wall. It will give me a shelf area on one side and a cool spot for a wall decal on the other.
Before I could insulate and cover the other side, I had to box in the wheel well. honestly, that was trickier than the wall…but I finally got it done. I used 2x2s to make the frame, faced it with 1/2 inch ply, and used a pack of this green fiber insulation that we got for odd places. You just stuff it in..
I don’t have a photo of it finished, but I just put ply over this, and then we installed a bus seat with seat belts for the kiddos’ carseats. I did insulate and cover the wall, but I left the top open so I can run wire for a receptacle.
Then we went to the skoolie gathering and it was AH-MAZING. I found my motivation there. Really. It was so much fun. The people were great, their busses were fantastic, and the whole thing was very life-affirming. Someone said, ‘We arrived as online aquaintances, and left as family.’ I got so many ideas and so much inspiration by hanging out in all the different busses. I was given an excellent tutorial/safety lesson on my new table saw by an experienced carpenter. At one point I found myself sitting on an outdoor carpet, listening to drums and didjeridus…I was grinning from ear to ear. I couldn’t stop smiling and I just felt so at peace with everything. I know we made the right decision. Our lives have been so much more fun and eventful and fulfilling since we ditched the stick and brick and moved into the bus. Yes, parts of this life are hard, but we are adapting with ease and things are only going to get easier.
After the party was over….it wasn’t. We followed some new friends back to their campground and stayed another night out. They are park hosting at Whitney Lake and it was actually kind of on our way home. It was a very pretty place. There was also a park right behind our campsite. BONUS!
Upon our arrival back home, we discovered our fresh and gray water tanks had arrived! I didn’t waste any time getting the fresh tank in place..I had to modify our bed platform and that sucked, but only because 3/4 inch plywood is HEAVY. So is my bed. The gray tank is going in our basement, and I have begun making room for it down there, but I haven’t put it in yet.
I made and installed some screens for the bus. THE FLIES! I hate them so much. It is becoming a slow simmering lake of lava hatred…….I want them all to leave me alone! There are sooooo many. My neeeeeiiighbor is a horse. I don’t mind her in the slightest….but the flies.
Weeks after installing the screens….I still have flies. I don’t even know what to do about that.
Also at some point, (no idea when exactly I did this….I think it was before the gathering.) I put one of the roof hatch trim pieces back in the bus. I cleaned and painted it first…….
I’m trying to install some type of weather stripping to go around the whole thing, because my ceiling depth changed and these don’t quite sit where they used to…when it is installed you can see those gaps…
So right after the tank thing, my knee became inoperable for a few days……now I realize it was me lifting the plywood and the bed alone that caused the strain…so I had to sit down for awhile and it sucked. I could only handle it for about a day and then I found a small scale project that I could do…….I put in a windowsill next to my bed. We have painted the bottom portion of most of our windows. This one I added insulation to and put the tongue and groove pine siding on it. I made a template of all the nooks and crannies of my window and with a few weird cuts and a moderate amount of sanding……
It’s not a huge project and it doesn’t make a huge visual difference, unless you know specifically to look over there, but this little piece of work really gave me the confidence I needed to proceed with the rest of the bus. I love that windowsill. Seriously. There is something so satisfying about climbing BACK into bed with my mug of coffee and setting it there.
So, the next few days I spent prepping an area on the left side of the bus for cabinets. I had to finish applying my thermal break and insulation and I had to put in studs to attach the plywood to. I had to figure out where they were going and take measurements…..I got very overwhelmed very quickly and sought the assistance of a man that is an expert at building cabinets. His bus is called The Calypso and you should most definitely check it out on Facebook, because it’s a freaking masterpiece. He graciously offered to assist me and drew up some plans after I told him what I wanted and planned to do. They were spot on and absolutely perfect.
The first day I did the toe kick and the rest of the platform. I am using my blue stain pine for the toe kick and 3/4 inch plywood for the rest. My buddy Andy came over and helped me do the platform install and I love him dearly for it. I almost gave him a heart attack or two, but all ended well. 🙂
The next day I put together my face frame. First I cut the tongue and groove off of each side. Then I ripped each piece down to 1 1/2 inch strips. I cut each piece to the length needed with my table saw…..(love that miter gauge!) I used wood glue and a pocket hole jig to attach all of the pieces together. I really enjoy the kreg jig….
Deez bee de tools I used.
So then I brought the frame inside the bus and made some marks to show where to put my plywood bulkheads. I laid it down flat and marked just the front. I used a big framing square thing to make a straight line from that point all the way to the back. It had to be perfectly perpendicular to the frame and they had to be perfectly parallel to each other. More pocket holes and glue and a firm grip and the bulkheads were in.
To get the face frame in place, I used glue and finishing nails. I attached one top corner and then the other top corner. From there it was super simple to get it all glued and nailed down.
I did have a screw up and I suggest making sure your plywood bulkheads are scribed to the back wall properly. Do not ever assume anything is square or straight….. This mistake will haunt me forever. The fix is ugly, although you’ll never see it. I can’t really describe how I fixed it, I just recommend you don’t make this mistake in the first place…..if you do, email me and I’ll do my best to explain it to you.
I also fixed a buck of leaks in our roof. I had to do some sanding and I used job weld because I have tried everything else and this is what a welder friend told me to do……BTW his Bus is called Transcendence and he has a YouTube series about his build. It is amazing. He is a very talented metalworker. I really enjoy watching his videos. I don’t have any photos of my roof work, but it’s just boring patchwork so no biggie. Now, the rain is here and will be for several days so I am taking some time to re-organize the bus and rest my sore muscles. I am devising a game plan for plumbing and waiting on drawer glides (soft-close!) to arrive in the mail. Hopefully within the next 4 days the rain will clear, and I can get back out and cut all the pieces for my drawers. I can’t wait!
I love the sawdust my blue stain pine produces…..