FROM BUS TO HOME
1 - The Purchase
Downsizing space to upgrade your life is a tough decision to make... and once you make it, you immediately realize it's going to get a whole lot harder! I wish I was joking, but it's an adversity that is definitely worth navigating and overcoming so far. Pointed in the right direction by a collector, we contacted and negotiated a price on Ebay for the bus of our dreams! Just prior to checkout I got a personal loan from a local credit union and pressed BUY IT NOW!
4 - "The Man"
We used progressive for commercial insurance until the Department of Motor Vehicles deems it recreational. Trip 1 to the DMV to register from out of state (even though it's a CA native) proved costly. Thankfully I still had some of the loan $ left for incidentals like this. Of course, they could only give us a temporary registration tag for the window till we have the official weight and return with "the majority of seats removed, a bed, maybe a small kitchen or dining area to prove it's not going to be used for transport". The DMV legit didn't know what all we needed for proof, but that's the word we received. We got it weighed at the dump - that guy was really nice too, but first... we had to take out the seats!
7- The Little Things
We painted a temporary website logo on the sides and back of the bus, added some rad stickers and other minor decorations to windows etc, and of course the "fire missiles" button to ward off all those pesky bad drivers (missiles not included). It's fun to have fun.
10- The Spring/Summer Setbacks
After the burn we got sidetracked on our renovations for months due to other trips, mandated wild fire emergency evacuations (we almost lost Taima!), the holidays, inclement weather and injuries, all of which forced us to miss Skooliepalooza.
However, the Bus Fair in Oregon reached out to us to apply for their event, and after we submitted our application we were chosen to be one of 30 exhibitors for the fair! With this new motivation we went on a purchasing spree to prepare for final VIN verification. However, as we got back into stride the global COVID19 Pandemic shut down all progress yet again - including a postponement of the bus fair (We will see you there in 2021!)
2 - The Pick Up
Though this Crown was built in California, she's resided in the Pacific Northwest for the past few years. Delivery wasn't an affordable option so we coordinated with the owner, booked one way flights to Seattle, took out the loan in cash (Though Ebay insures it's transactions - I didn't trust sending money out of state without keys in hand). We toured downtown, met the seller, got a very, very, brief bus driving 101 course, and off we went on a two night journey home. Check out our expedition in Episode 1 here which included a truck stop sleep over, a mothers day visit at the parentals in Shasta, a hike at Burney Falls, and a long long drive. Once home I removed the crown logos as they apparently sell for a pretty penny online (they will be permanently reinstalled as the last touch of the remodel). Street parking isn't sustainable... where to put it next?
5 - The Seats Removal
Hearing horror story after horror story we were prepared for a nightmare of an experience. We became pleasantly surprised when this task was actually really easy and relatively free. Man Vs Machine: Day 1- We arrived with a plug in impact wrench (I affectionately called it a wench) but had no electricity. Wanting to ensure we at least had the correct socket fit, we tested with a hand torque wrench. The first came out easy peasy. Then another, and another. Three hours later an entire row was unbolted - Sam was hard core and kept going (my broken tailbone rendered me relatively useless for long periods of sitting/crouching/laying - which is most the precarious positions involved).
Day 2- We borrowed a battery powered impact driver (everyone recommended the "wench"). The next column took us 5 minutes. Easy peasy! A couple of bolts on the last few chairs were locked in from underneath with a nut - but we got them out with a little sweat.
8- The "Camping" prep
Not wanting to wait till the conversion was complete (or really even started) to enjoy a sample of bus life, we decided a trip to Black Rock Desert, NV was in order. That's right... Taima is heading to Burning Man! To prepare for the trip we made a makeshift sleep area with chord, pallets and a king sized bed (pillow fort building isn't just for kids!) We taped close all the seat bolt holes in the floor and taped the windows (all in a futile attempt to keep the playa dust out), We put some makeshift shades on the windows using magnets and flags, threw some old carpets on the floors, and cut out a taped in cardboard window slot for the swamp cooler. We also switched a bus seat around and brought in a coffee table for a small dining area. Eventually we want a legitimate modern open concept - but this bohemian setup will be perfect for this first official adventure!
11- The "Social" Distancing
With the Corona Virus' social distancing and sheltering in place mandates stopped Taima's transformation dead in her tracks, we focused our Skoolie attention to social media and updating this epic new website! We were so stoked to hit 500 followers on Instagram!!!!!
Follow along @theoutspiredbus
3 - The Storage
Needing a temporary home while we get all the paperwork in order and secure a more permanent site for the remodel, we knew a temporary storage facility was in our very near future. However, most in our area will not allow vehicles older than 2000. The one's that did wouldn't allow School buses (previous irresponsible skoolie tenants ruined it) or the lots were full. We found one a few towns away - but it was costly as they they were a covered, staffed, security camera equipped place (not a janky field like most) and charged significantly more than fair price, but beggars can't be choosers. I rocked my first reverse park job ( stoked to squeeze into the stall with such limited experience).
6 - The Seat Disposal
The most disappointing part of our chair removal was that we couldn't repurpose all the chairs. We posted on craigslist and similar sites (Free bus seats!), emailed breweries that had the space, and asked everyone we knew to no avail. A couple buddies took a few thankfully but we unfortunately couldn't avoid the landfill despite our best efforts. It cost less than we thought to dump them but it was a tragic waste to dispose of such perfectly good seats. Sadness. We wished we had more time to find a home for them all but we had a trip to plan for and no place to store them...The workers at the dump seemed to fancy them so I hope a couple made it home with them. There's no going back now!
9- The Burn
Taima made the long drive through the California valley, over the Sierra Nevada mountain range and waited in the long line to enter the Black Rock Desert of Nevada. But we perked right up when we woke up to 80,000 others intent on combating complacency and breaking personal and societal boundaries through inclusion, acceptance and unheeded self expression! This avant-garde modern day awakening and theater of the absurd promotes actual unadulterated freedom by giving ourselves permission to let go of our minds and open our hearts.
Unfortunately, the event has a poor reputation among the masses of ill informed non-attendees that judge something they've never experienced and fixate on the rumors of debauchery, illicit drug use, and hedonistic indulgences. But, just like any city, this amazing counter culture has something for everyone, and we had a great time exploring the vibrant art, music and creative abundance completely drug free (Which isn't a surprise since that's not our scene in the default world either.)
The hot and dusty week culminated in the symbolic ritual of burning a large wooden effigy, aka The Man, and from the ashes we confirmed that Burning Man isn't just an event, it's a community that far outreaches the dust of Black Rock or the sands of Baker Beach. It's life, it's love, it's home.
Check out Episode 3 to see for yourself!
11- The DMV