The Bus Renovation Journal #BusLife

Bus Launch “Preflection”

Happy Monday! We’ve had a wonderfully productive weekend on the bus. Since my last update we installed our floors, cabinet shelves and doors, desktops, benches, table, shower, and toilet. We also hooked up the water, propane, and 110v electricity. We still need to do a lot of trim, work out some kinks in the propane system, and move all of our stuff in, but the major construction is done! In the spirit of not counting our chickens before they’ve hatched, I’m going to postpone this week’s bus update for next week, when we’re truly done.

Outside Found | Bus Conversion Project Outside Found | Bus Conversion Project

Then and now

Instead, I’m going to take a second share our thoughts on the challenges of the next few months. We’ve been so focused on construction for the past few months that we really haven’t had much time to think about what it will actually be like on the road, but it’s been on our mind more than ever lately.

Rather than wondering how we’ll spray insulation or construct the walls, we’ve been thinking about…

Storage Space

I feel like we’ve incorporated a LOT of storage into the bus, and all of our stuff should fit pretty nicely. Will isn’t so sure. We’ll see who has better spacial awareness once we get everything loaded up.

Food

Our new kitchen consists of a small fridge, two burner gas stove, and mini Breville smart oven. We’ll have a cast iron frying pan, 3qt saute pan, 3qt sauce pan, stock pot, and a set of baking pans that fit in the oven. I also have a very cool electric pressure cooker that can double as an independent saute pan or slow cooker. I love to cook and have put some serious thought into our new kitchen, but I know that our food is going to change. I anticipate that we’ll do more barbecuing (at least in the summer when it’s hot!) pressure cooking, and sauteeing; and less baking and roasting, at least of big cuts of meat. The oven should be able to handle a few chicken breasts or a small pan of lasagna, but we have yet to see how much electricity it will really need.

Outside Found | Bus Conversion Project

First pot of coffee on our new stove!

Working

We’ve put in a great work space, but working completely on the road will be a new experience that will take some adjustments I’m sure. I’m interested to see how things change once we get rolling.

Outside Found | Bus Conversion Project

Our previous rig. Great for camping, not good for working.

Power

We’ve had our solar system hooked up for a few weeks now and have been really impressed with how well it’s working! So far, if we’re in full sun the panels are able to keep up with all of our electricity needs (even power tools!) and the batteries stay at 100%. Once the panels lose direct sunlight their power output drops significantly, which means we’ll need to spend a good portion of each day in full sun. Luckily that shouldn’t be a problem, since we sprung for that closed cell spray foam insulation!

It will be interesting to see how our habits adjust to accomodate our power needs. Will I cook dinner in the morning when the panels are in full sun? Will we make sure to have everything charged up before the evening? Solar adds a whole new dimension to our lives that we’ve never had to manage before.

Camping?

We’ve been sleeping in the bus for about a week now. While it’s comfortable, it definitely feels like camping. That’s not a bad thing, but I am curious to see if that feeling goes away. I would love to someday feel like the bus truly is home!

Outside Found | Bus Conversion Project

One of us is adjusting quite nicely…

Overnighting

I’m interested to see where we end up staying most of the time. We have family in a few spots, but most of the time we’ll be on our own. Will we end up in RV parks? State parks? Walmarts? Having water and power hookups would be nice, but paying $30 / night would suck.

Driving

We’ve thought a lot about living on the bus, but not about driving it. What will this be like? We don’t have an AC – will we be unbearably hot? Only miles on the road will tell.

Will’s Input

“I’m worried that everything will rattle apart.”

This is terrifying statement that I haven’t thought about yet, so I’m just going to leave that worry to him.

Any Advice?

I know a lot of our readers are avid RVers and skoolie owners themselves. If you have any advice for us in these final days of preparation, we would love to hear it in the comments below!

Are you thinking about converting a bus?

If so, make sure to check out our Big Bus Materials List! It has everything we used, from appliances to light switches to flooring, to do our conversion. Check it out »

You Might Also Like

  • Mike

    Hi, I’ve just read your bus renovation blog top to bottom, and I’m amazed with the amount of work (and the beautiful result) you achieved in just four months! Your posts are very inspiring, as I would love to convert a school bus (or coach; but I love the look of the big American school buses more) to do exactly what you will shortly do: travel the entire North American continent. Your conversion looks amazing, and I hope your road trip is suitably incredible for the stellar effort you’ve put in.
    Thanks for the read, and happy travels!

    • Thank you, Mike! I’m glad that you were able to find the conversion journal, we actually just redid the blog to make it easier to navigate. The road trip is fantastic so far, and we are loving every bit of the bus. Do get in touch if you decide to do your own, we have lots of knowledge to share!

  • Mel

    Hello, I just came across your blog and I never thought about having a storage room in the back. Just curious how driving is, do you have rear view monitoring system? I didn’t see this being covered, but maybe I missed it.

    Thanks,

    Mel

    • Hi Mel,
      The garage is awesome! It’s so nice to have a home for all of our muddy, wet outdoor gear that doesn’t encroach on our living space. I can’t imagine trying to load the bikes into the main room on a regular basis… we did it once and I was cleaning up mud for days!

      Driving is pretty easy. It takes a while to get used to and requires 100% concentration, 100% of the time, but not being able to see out the back isn’t a huge problem because we have great rear view mirrors. We did install a switch activated (instead of gear activated) backup camera, but we only use it if we’re parallel parking or backing into a tight campsite. Hope that helps! 🙂

      Alyssa