Holy moly has it been a wild ride the last six months. Between all this pandemic craziness, kids home, an overseas custody battle, online schooling for kiddos, and this school bus conversion; life has been busy 🙂 As many of you know, back in April, my husband informed me on my birthday that he wanted to buy a school bus…..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!

We are now one week away from our 6-month mark of owning our very own school bus and joining the skoolie community. Therefore, I thought it would be a great time to jump back on and give an update on where we are at after 6 months of working on our school bus conversion.

What it looked like initially

In hindsight, I am so grateful that we purchased a bus that had already had the bus seats removed. We saved so much time, headache and many dump runs by purchasing a bus with that part done! In addition to seats already being removed, the previous owner had actually partialy built out this bus.

However, one of our favorite parts of choosing to do a school bus conversion is that there is so much flexibility in what you want to do for the layout. Because of the endless options to customize this bus to perfectly fit our family and needs, we decided to remove all of the previous owner’s build-out and start fresh.

What it looked like after gutting it

The process of our school bus conversion up until this point was the hardest! It was our first experience of the reality of a skoolie conversion; nothing goes as quickly as you think it will. For example, by the time our bus resembled the large photo above, we had already reached the date that we thought the bus would be done 🙂 Looking back on these photos, it’s hard to believe how far we have come since then.

Where we are at now

Oh boy, so much has changed since our two-month mark. At this point, very little is completely “done”. However, a majority of our to-do’s have been started, if not almost completed. I’m not going to get into every tiny detail of what we have done in these areas, but figured instead I’ll give the bigger items:)

Entryway:

  • lights installed/working
  • bi-fold front door taken apart and redone as a single door
  • front panel/heater/console removed
  • front lower cabinet built
  • front dashboard built and installed

Living room:

  • lights installed/working
  • two couches with 5 pull-out sections built
  • under-couch drawers built
  • electrical panel installed
  • shiplap on walls
  • new flooring installed throughout the entire bus

Kitchen:

  • lights installed/working
  • fridge installed
  • fridge cabinet and lower drawer built and installed
  • kitchen cabinets including a pull-out pantry and kick toe drawers have built and installed
  • kitchen countertop built from MDF wood
  • kitchen epoxy countertop made
  • kitchen faucet installed
  • kitchen plumbing installed= running water!
  • shiplap on all kitchen walls
  • penny tile backsplash installed

Bathroom:

  • lights and fan installed/working
  • water heater installed
  • plumbing installed/working= running water for sink and shower!
  • shower floor sloped and drain hole done
  • shower has concrete boards and redguard
  • shower ready for tiling

Bunk beds:

  • lights installed/working
  • 4 bunk beds built
  • shiplap installed on all beds
  • underbed drawers built

Bedroom:

  • lights installed/working
  • shiplap on all walls
  • built-in shelving unit built and installed

Roof:

  • solar panels installed and working!!!
  • solar system installed and functional!
  • rooftop deck built-needs foldable railings still

Sewing:

  • 4 zippered bedding sets for the kid’s bunks
  • 1 zippered bedding set for our bed
  • bottom couch box cushions for both couches

What’s been good?

Handy hubby: Oh the fun part 🙂 Seeing the lights work, seeing the countertop done and now most recently, seeing the bus primed with all the shiplap has been amazing!

Mama bear: I feel like we have finally reached the point in our skoolie conversion that each new part gets more fun. The bus these last few months has finally reached the point that it is easier to include the girls in the build-out and they can play in the bus while we work. We finally reached the creative part of the bus build. Designing the floor plans, choosing materials, beginning to do finish work and sewing zippered bedding for the beds and couch cushions has been such fun for me! Plus, I have been able to do this part along with Glaucio which has been great!

What’s been hard?

Handy hubby: Mentally, the hardest part for me was the specing, and putting the solar/battery system together. However hardest overall was mainly overcoming the overwhelming feeling that there is so much left to do. Regardless of how much progress we make.

Mama bear: It doesn’t end haha 🙂 I keep thinking that we are almost there. In reality, we almost are. But our initial goal of 2.5 months from start to finish is obviously way off. So, I would say for me, the feeling of constantly thinking we are almost done, and then realizing that for every task we complete we discover 10 more that need to be done has been difficult 🙂

The other really hard part I struggle with is the mom guilt. We make intentional time with our kids daily. However, we haven’t done the normal outings that we would usually do as a family because of working on the bus. For me, the mom guilt of spending so much time on the bus and not going places has been hard. However, I’m trying to remember that we are spending time together, just in different ways. In addition, remembering that the second we hit the road, we will have more time together and intentional time together as a family and a couple than we ever had.

When will it be done?

This is the question we hear the most 🙂 I wish we had a definitive answer! I feel like every time I give a response to this question that seems reasonable, the bus steps in and pushes our date back again 🙂

At this point in time, October, we are really hoping to leave by the latest, the beginning of November. Don’t quote me on that 🙂 However, as I sit here writing this, we are in the midst of painting the bus! With Montana weather starting to cool off, we have to take each day at a time. But, we are hoping to be done with the painting by the end of the week! This puts us closer to being ready to hit the road 🙂

Thanks for following along on this crazy adventure of ours! Questions for us? Drop them in the comments below!

XO,
Morgan

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