So, I’m behind on my updates. Trevor finished up all our plumbing. While it was very cold, he crawled around under the bus and installed our water tanks and intake valve. Inside we plumbed the kitchen sink, the washing machine and the tub (a shower head). This will all draw from a clean water tank and then drain into our gray water tank. Our tanks hold 46 gallons each sold that should keep us for a bit.
While Trevor was installing the plumbing, I had been calling around trying to get the bus insured and researching everything we needed to get it registered. This process really deserves its own post but I’ll summarize here. I started looking for insurance probably at least a month ago. After to talking to a number of agencies I found on the web and not getting anywhere, I took the advice I found online in forums and started looking for a local agent. Three local agents and about three weeks later I hit the jackpot. I found a woman in town who didn’t bat an eyelash when I said I needed to insure a converted bus as an RV. She got me a quote on the phone and less than hour later we were in her office signing the paperwork. After weeks of searching the bus was insured.
From there we went to the DMV to register it. Again, not the most straightforward process. Four hours after we arrived at the DMV we did walk out with plates. We had to speak with the Safety and Emissions Department, the Enforcement Department, as well as the normal registration agent. I had previously spoken with someone from Safety and Emissions about the bus and because it had been registered as a blue commercial tour bus before I was told it didn’t need another inspection. This needed to verified. Then we showed them photos of the conversion. We were told we could register the bus as a personal vehicle but if we wanted camper plates we would have to have an inspector come out and make sure the conversion met the requirements for camper plates. Apparently, some campgrounds require these- who knew? Being anxious to finish the whole process and have the bus street legal, we opted to just get the personal vehicle plates.
We’re just about done. The seat for Aurora and me is installed. There are seat belts so her car seat will be secure and I will be safe. Trevor is finishing off the bench as I write this. He also framed in our refridgerator so it doesn’t roll around while we’re driving. There’s a little more trim work that could be done around the bus but it is essentially completed.
Plus we’ve been packing. The kitchen is pretty much stocked. All our pots and pans, dishes, appliances, even our spices are in drawers and cupboards. In the house it’s been a frenzy of keep it, toss it, give it or store it. I have to say I’m pretty impressed with ourselves. We haven’t acquired a lot of superfluous stuff. Most everything falls into the keep it category, with maybe the exception of baby clothes which I have a giant box of clothes Aurora has outgrown that fall into the gift it category. The packing is just about as complete as it can be. Drawers are empty. Storage bins are full.
Our expected departure date is now Feb 8th. Just ten days left. Then the real adventure begins.
So our mattress arrived and the bedroom is pretty much finished.Trevor installed almost all of the trim and it is starting to look very homey in there. I need to make us some curtains to give us a little privacy and maybe we’ll make some end tables but overall that is one more thing that can be checked off the list.
Trevor has also completed all the wiring for the A/C electrical system so that project can also be put on the completed list. We tested all the outlets and they work so finally that is done. The inverter still needs to be secured so it doesn’t move when we are driving but that is it. Our storage shelves have been completed and our ready for our stuff as soon as it gets packed. The stove has been secured to the wall and the propane tank purchased so the list of projects grows shorter and shorter.
We bought a slip cover for the bus seat Aurora and I will sit in. It just needs some love with a staple gun, a couple of seat belts and some bolts to resecure it to the floor.
Trevor has moved onto the plumbing project, something he has been dreading because it involves climbing around under the bus and drilling holes in the floor. The sink and tub drain have been drilled. He went to the metal scrap yard and purchased a couple of items to hold the water tanks so he wasn’t constructing them from scratch. One of them was a fish tank stand previously- here’s to thinking outside the box. We have two tanks, one for clean drinking water and one for gray water. The tanks will be mounted beneath the bus. We also bought a pump to move the water out of the tanks into the sink and tub as well as a water intake valve unit for filling the tanks. We probably won’t actually fill the tanks and test the system until we get moving because we don’t want to freeze the lines.
Once all the plumbing is complete, we will secure the rest of the kitchen/living room so nothing shifts while we are on the road. We still want to build a bench up front as well in the empty space next to the stove. This will give us a bit more storage for our stuff and a comfy spot to hang out. All and all though, it’s looking pretty finished. We have even hung up our map of the US.
Well, it’s snowing outside and we’re anxious to get on the road. The bus is almost finished. Trevor has gotten all the walls up and the frame for the bed completed. I got the reminder call this morning for our mattress delivery on Thursday. All that is left to do in the bedroom is some minor trim work.
We built the bed frame up 24 inches so that underneath it can be used as storage to fit all those things that we are bringing down with us.We mounted gas shocks under the bed to allow easy access to everything we put under there. We purchased these from amazon.com with a giftcard we received for Christmas (thank you Amber, Marty, and Gabe!)
In addition to the storage under the bed we have shelving going in the bathroom area next to the toilet across from the electrical area. This is likely where we will keep our clothes, baby things and what not that we will want to access more regularly. The bottom area is designed to house the water pump we are bringing back to use for irrigation (YAY irrigation!!)
All this storage has got us ready to start packing. It’s time to bust out all the warm weather clothes and get them in the bus. We certainly don’t need them here with this snow falling.
We’re not quite done yet though. The last big project left is to mount the water tanks under the bus- stay tuned for that update. Also, there are still some little things getting done. As mentioned, the bedroom trim needs to be finished. Trevor has a little electrical work that needs to get done- all the DC wiring has been finished but the AC is not yet connected. The shelves need to get installed and some appliances in the kitchen need to secured so they don’t move while we are on the road. Seating needs to get squared away- that green seat you’ve seen hanging above the driver seat needs to be screwed back down so we can secure Aurora’s car seat to it and we want to build a bench in the remaining room up front (which will again also double as storage).
It’s the final month and the bus list is getting shorter by the day. Packing lists and trip planning is starting to occupy more of our thoughts. After months of looking at tiny home design I’m so excited to move onto researching camp sites and border crossings. These final weeks are simply going to fly by. Pan American Highway watch out- the Perry family is heading your way soon!!