If you had asked me when we first bought the bus how long it would take to finish; I would have told you it would be road-ready in a few months. Yet, somehow here we are at month eight of our school bus conversion and still working hard. As many know, back in April on my birthday, my husband informed me that he wanted to buy a school bus to convert into an RV…..from New Mexico. The very next day, he traveled down to New Mexico! Then, that same day he purchased the school bus and began the drive back to Montana. Missed the “why a school bus”? Click here for the full story!
What it looked like at month seven
For reference, this is what our bus was looking like after seven months of work. If you saw the post on where we were at month seven of our school bus conversion build; then you know that by that point, the bus was really starting to take shape. It was beginning to look more like a home than simply a shell. Seven months of consistency and hard work had put us in a position where we had a little of a lot of projects done; including most of the big jobs. But if you want a more detailed look at what we had done by that point, here is the post.
Where we are at now
We have definitely hit the point in our school bus conversion where a lot of big changes are happening daily. Up until this point, we have had most projects about 75% done. Well, now, we are at the point that when we tackle a task, we get to finish it! This has made for some major visual improvements on the bus!
The biggest change that we tackled this month was that we covered up the last of the exposed insulation! The very front and the very back of the bus we hadn’t covered yet. As a result, every time we walked inside the bus, a big to-do of yellow spray insulation was staring us in the face. So in the back bedroom, we covered it with OSB board and shiplap. Then in the front, we built a cool built-in over the driver’s area to make the most use of that space!
Because we are finally at the point where our to-do list is shorter than what we have done, I’ll list what is left to do before we hit the road! Although in all honesty, seeing this list still makes me panic 🙂 We counted our complete list recently; it had over 100 to-dos 🙂
- put down the flooring on the 3 stairs
- build the drawer and drawer face for the front dash unit
- install the projector and projector screen
- finish covering the exposed wiring
- install drawer faces
- build drawers for under sink cabinet
- install kitchen cabinet drawer faces
- install rods on the pull out pantry shelves
- build/install shelves above kitchen countertops
- install the last couple pieces of tile in the shower
- grout the shower
- tile and grout bathroom floor
- install bathroom sink
- build the wall built-ins
- bathroom door
- install curtain rods
- trim to cover the bottom bunk LED lights
- bedroom door
- install latches on the foldable railings
- sew curtains for bunk beds
While this list is obviously far from 100 to-do’s; these are the priorities. In order to make sure that we get on the road; we’ve broken our list down into two parts. The first list needs to be done before we leave. The second is the updates or finishing touches that would make the bus “done” but won’t happen now.
What’s been good
Handy hubby: It has been good to see that all the work is coming together. And that we are beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Also, the excitement of the build is mixing up with the excitement of starting the trip.
Mama bear: I love seeing different projects finally get finished! It feels so good to be able to check things off the to-do list and see the list shrink and feel more manageable.
What’s been hard
Handy hubby: The hard part is that the days are short and this is the final stretch. Plus the last 10% feels like it is taking way longer than it should. As usual per a bus build where everything takes longer than you think 🙂
Mama bear: It never ends. I look at the bus and it seems so so so close. And the reality is; that it is. But somehow these last jobs are taking forever! But it’s been 8 months of hard work, it is winter here and I’m ready to hit the road and enjoy our hard work!
Our first ride!
Although the bus wasn’t completely done, we did take it out for our very first drive as a family this month!
When doing a project like a bus build, you spend all this time working on it, and yet in the back of your mind, you are just praying that when you go to start it up, that everything goes well 🙂 One thing that you constantly think about throughout a skoolie build is that not only do you have work to do on the interior, but you also need to make sure to take care of the bus itself too.
It’s important to not let the fuel sit for too long and to keep everything lubricated. Because of this, we wanted to make sure to take the bus out for a test drive. This was in order to get everything moving on the bus as well as to see if there was any creaking or rattling that needed to be adjusted before we actually hit the road.
Not only did everything go great (knock on wood), but it was so fun and the kids loved it! Ask me again what they think of it after 1000 miles of driving 🙂
When will it be done?
You know the drill by now right? 😉 Since my last post, we have set two different take-off dates and have missed both 🙂
The hope had been to leave the middle of December to be somewhere warm for Christmas and New Years. Then we adjusted the takeoff date to leave the day after Christmas in order to take advantage of the holidays with my parents and sister.
However, obviously, we didn’t make either. Could we have left? Yes. But, we decided not to for a variety of reasons.
The first reason was that in all honesty, every to-do for the bus takes 10x longer than we think it will; even the “quick ones”.
Second, to us, it was worth it to spend the extra few weeks at home to finish up where we still have a house to live in while we work as well as a full workshop full of tools to do the job right.
If you were to look inside our bus on any given day, it’s a disaster. Because we are squeezing in work on lunch hours and once kids are in bed, we are able to get to the task, but not the cleanup. Living in this small of a space with our size family is a stretch for me still. So I can’t quite imagine trying to live on the bus and need to finish projects while on the road.
Third, we recently found out that my step-son is going to be living with us full time instead of just visiting. Therefore, with the kids’ school on winter break, I wanted to wait until the kids start up again in January so we can get him registered and get his books before we hit the road.
That being said…. we’ve picked a new date… let’s see if we make it! We keep saying this is the final one and it won’t be changed! Let’s see 🙂
Have a guess on what our take-off date is? Leave your guess in the comments below.
Thanks for following along on this crazy adventure of ours! Questions for us? Drop them in the comments below! Happy New Year friends!