We Bought A Bus!

For the last couple of months or so, we have been toying with the idea of getting a vehicle for our trips. We weren't 100% sure if we wanted to find a vintage cab-over or a motor home to make road accommodations easier. After spending time browsing Craigslist, we would call to find out the vehicle had been sold. Or we would drive to look at it, to find that the condition of the vehicle didn't match the price. We finally found a possible prospect in northern Idaho.

Susan and Jeff drove up to Hayden, which is just north of Coeur d'Alene last Tuesday. They were there to look at a 1962 GMC Private Coach. The seller hadn't used it in quite some time, it had been sitting in storage for ten years, and it would still run (bonus!). Before hitting the road, there were some items that needed to be taken care of right away. As you can imagine, having a bus sit for ten years, the tires weren't really road worthy any more. On Wednesday, we hit up Les Schwab, and they had three tires in stock. We waited another day for them to get the other three in. There were some electrical components that were a little less reliable than we would have liked, but some fuses and wiring would get that squared away. Chappie wriggled his way out of the back window of the truck, so we had the pleasure of chasing him down. The bus was also full of dead hornets. Those got vacuumed up before hitting the road too. That would have been way less fun if they had still been alive.

Before we brought it home.

Before we brought it home.

IMG_20180516_122224_01.jpg
Yumm-o!

Yumm-o!


On Thursday, we were on the road. We had to make a stop in Kellogg, at another Les Schwab, to have the tires tightened. For something like this, we definitely didn't want to take a chance having something go terribly wrong. Just down the highway, we stopped in Wallace when the electrical started to act up again. Without the gauges working, we would have been taking a bit risk of blowing the engine. After checking more fuses and wiring, we called it a night.

At the Les Schwab in Kellogg with the new tires :)

At the Les Schwab in Kellogg with the new tires :)

Friday morning, we got up and hit the road again. Friday was much less eventful. We made a stop in Missoula to have the radiator blown out, and then were on our way again. We made our pit stops throughout the day without having any more real issues. The weather in Pocatello was terrible with thunderstorms, wind, pouring rain, and flash flood warnings, but we got through it. We were able to make it all the way home, which made for a very long day (about 13 hours). As you can imagine, when we pulled into the driveway, we were so relieved to be home. The icing on the cake was realizing the power at home was out.

At the Idaho-Montana border on I-90

At the Idaho-Montana border on I-90

Here are some pictures of what the bus looks like now. We have found that it appears to be a custom build (as many motor homes this age would have been). The outside is in pretty decent shape, but the inside, while it isn't horrible, is very dated. There has been a little bit of leaking where the seals have given up. It has an air conditioner and a solar panel, but they may not be the most efficient models available any more. We are looking forward to making the inside more comfortable for us when we go on the road.

IMG_20180521_113459_01.jpg
Velvet, for your comfort

Velvet, for your comfort

Chappie calls dibs on this room

Chappie calls dibs on this room

IMG_20180521_113522_01.jpg
IMG_20180521_113535_01.jpg
Solar Panels!

Solar Panels!

IMG_20180521_113504_01.jpg
Harley will just sleep on the couch then

Harley will just sleep on the couch then

Home...wait...I'll need new glasses to watch this TV

Home...wait...I'll need new glasses to watch this TV

IMG_20180521_113533_01.jpg
A big patch of lichen growing on the roof.

A big patch of lichen growing on the roof.

Same amenities as home!

Same amenities as home!

IMG_20180521_113511_01.jpg
IMG_20180521_113530_01.jpg
Air Conditioning!

Air Conditioning!

Theres an awning too!

Theres an awning too!

Work in Progress: Part 1

It's been a few weeks since the fun, multiple day journey from northern Idaho to home with our new-to-us vintage bus. If you missed the blog about that delightful trip, be sure to check out our blog archive! Also in that blog, there are pictures of the interior. As much as we love the outside of the bus, the inside reminds us a little too much of permanent waves, plastic covered couches, and bell bottoms (and not in a good way).

20180518_103001_1526661038851_001.jpg

We've been working on basically gutting the bus to remodel the interior. We've been removing parts of the inside, because we think a find like this bus deserves a second life. So far, we have removed the carpet, taken out the mattresses (Chappie doesn't get dibs any more), and the couch is out. We did find a little bit of rot behind the couch. While that is a bummer, we're still extremely pleased with the bus and its potential. Considering the other vintage vehicles we were looking at and the condition they were in, we still think we made the right choice.

Carpet's out!

Carpet's out!

Chappie thought he had dibs on the beds, but now he's going to have to sleep on the floor!

Chappie thought he had dibs on the beds, but now he's going to have to sleep on the floor!

This is where the couch was

This is where the couch was

And hopefully, it won't be too much of an issue :/

And hopefully, it won't be too much of an issue :/

Since we are going to be taking this on the road and need to be able to transport our art, we need to be able to tow a trailer. We've taken off the bumper so we can add a trailer hitch. The bumper was also a bit crooked, but now it's looking better. So that we can be ready for the Reggae Festival next month, we are going to go with a receiver hitch. It's not quite as exciting as taking out the guts of the bus, but one of the nice things about older vehicles is that they are a bit more owner friendly than new vehicles.

Digging around in the rear...of the bus

Digging around in the rear...of the bus

Bumper's off so we can re-mount it, hopefully straight this time

Bumper's off so we can re-mount it, hopefully straight this time


New receiver :D

New receiver :D

Be sure to keep checking back as we make progress. We are looking forward to having a bus that's inhabitable and ready to be on the road. We're also pretty stoked about the process. We're hoping to have enough of it done so we can use it for the festival, but it won't be completely done by then. You can come see us at the Northwest World Reggae Festival (NWWRF) July 27-29 in Oregon! Check out their website for more info www.nwwrf.com