It Begins......

posted Jul 11, 2008, 10:50 PM by Kevin Coughlin   [ updated Jul 11, 2008, 11:11 PM ]
This should be the kind of statement accompanied by a crash of thunder, or the silence just before the horde of thousands of orcs descend upon our heroes. But.... like every journey, and I think this is going to be an eventful one, it has to start somewhere. While I could point to my fascination with tools and the resultant chip in the floor in the family room that I created with a hammer before I could walk led through a series of paths to this point.... that is just too hard to fathom. Suffice it to say - the conversion is "on". So let's bring it, shall we?
The first part is to gut the old bus interior. There was a bed like platform in the back, some shelves, work surfaces, bulkheads made from 2 inch foam board. Actually the use of foam for insulated bulkheads was pretty good for a fast and cheesy camping conversion. It was easy to work, cut, secure (aluminum foil tape is quite sticky when applied and smoothed out). Some carpet on the floor in spots, and up front two rows of seats behind the driver so you could haul 8 passengers. Add in dirt, dust, a bunch of rat poop, mold (or rat pee in the carpet) and the fact that it is a rather compartmentalized design that has to save out a chunk of space just to haul people. Small, claustrophobic, and not something that makes you think "Ahhhh..... Home!" More like "Ewwwww..... I need a shower!"
My nephews are staying with my inlaws, and they came out to visit this weekend. One of them is very much into building and deconstructing, and generally a bit of a hyper inventor type. Data from the movie "Goonies" is a good match for what he may turn into. Hey, he is only 11 right now. His twin brother is more into computers and video games, so he is staying at the hotel with his grandparents and I've got the other one out here with me.
So - this evening, he and I headed up the hill to the new bus, with a power screwdriver, a hammer, and attitude. We started unscrewing all the wooden fixtures and pitching them out the door. I'm making a big pile of potentially useful wood scraps for later. The foam board was carefully removed from walls and bulkheads and tossed out the side door in a different direction - I will re-use a lot of it underneach flooring and walls as insulation (plus buying a bunch more.... insulation is your friend - I learned that lesson the hard way this winter). With bulkheads gone, and shelves, and the platform (a piece of subfloor and a few braces over the engine) for the bed out of there, it is starting to look like a much MUCH larger bus inside. Tomorrow will be some cleaning, stacking the wood and covering it with a tarp (found a tarp in the bus, even), setting the foam board where it won't blow away, and boxing/bagging the trash.
Carpenter buses of this era have one piece windows. The entire glass pane slides down in between the sides of the bus walls, instead of the two piece kinds like we see today. I am thinking that the best idea is to remove ALL the movable windows, cover the openings with sheet metal, buy RV style or over the road bus (sideways slider) windows and cut holes in the new steel siding only where I WANT a window. Insulation everywhere else.... no more freezing hands touching the walls. I am not sure what to do with the glass left over - it is in really good condition, and safety glass at that. I am thinking that there could be one HECK of a greenhouse made from these. I will also save out a few panes for the custom skylights I will build.
After we finish sweeping and such, I'll shoot some pictures. But I feel good being able to actually say "Yes.... I have started on the new bus".