Sunday, September 14, 2014

Plans, Plans, Plans

One of the good things about retirement is that you don't have to make plans like when you're a part of the main work force.  However when you first enter into retirement I imagine you have to break old habits.  You know, like getting up at a certain time everyday.  Scheduling out your days, weeks and months to the point of when and where you may take a vacation NEXT year.

This is what I might start off doing when I leave here:

This is the first place I want to stop:

So I won't even get out of Georgia the first night.

This is the second stop:

I'll be meeting a fellow traveler, Ed in Keyser, WV

Then I'll be heading towards Philly Town.  Yah!

Then on to Drayton, North Dakota for the Sugar Beet Harvest.

Then on to Coffeyville, Kansas for Amazon.

I guess  I haven't learned to break old habits.  You may say, "That's not that bad.  That's only three months".  Well while that's true, there's more...  

January 6 - 20, 2015 Rubber Tramp Rendezvous in Quartzsite, AZ

January 17 - 25, 2015 32nd Annual Sports, Vacation and RV Show also in Quartzsite, AZ

February  8 – 22, 2015 Habitat for Humanity building project in Hobbs, NM

May 2015  Escapees CARE Center Livingston, TX.

June 27 – July 5, 2015  Habitat for Humanity Global Village volunteer program in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

And then, who knows what else.  

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Another Awe Sh#%! moment

Here's another Awe Sh#%! moment

If you read my post on May 5, you may remember my tale of troubles on the road.  What I didn't say back then was that while trouble shooting my fuel problems I was on a roll. Thought I'd solved the problem.  All I had to do was disconnect the fuel changeover solenoid and feed directly from the tank.  The sun was shining, Life was good.  Tools in hand.  What could be better?

Awe Sh#%!

In my haste in disconnecting the fuel lines, one of the fuel lines didn't agree with my plan. Not to be out done, I man handled it.  It, not to be out done, laughed at me and said (it did, I actually heard it), "Oh, yeah!"  And just broke off in my hand.

You'll notice the two fuel solenoids above.  One has three ports and one has only two ports and a big hole in the side.  Can you guess which one I broke?  Since then I have learned to be more gentle with Easy and show her more respect.

Just another of several Awe Sh#%! moments that I was able to live down enough to smile as I related it.  Know that there are more to come.  Feel free to share your (speak-able)  Awe Sh#%! moments in the comments below.


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Putting in a heated floor

I HATE being cold.  I hate the thought of being cold.  I hate getting out of bed on a cold winter morning to step on a cold floor.  Even carpet can't really take the cold out of a cold floor.  The most it can do is attempt to mask the cold and it doesn't do a good job of that.

So I decided to install in floor heating in the bus in an attempt to address that concern.  I contacted the kind people at Pex Heating  They were very helpful in getting this part of the bus build accomplished. They even designed the heating system for me free.  They must have thought it was a joke.  I had to submit a design request a couple times before I got a response for a heating system for a 300 square foot school bus.  They're used to designing systems for houses and office complexes. So when someone emails a request for a little box of a living space, probably smaller than some of the closets in their other designs, it's understandable if they were skeptical.

They submitted their design and even contacted me by phone to see if I had any questions.  Being on a budget I began ordering supplies as monies were available.  I have still a few more parts to obtain before the system will be operable but I've gotten the main part, the in-floor tubing down.Here's how that went.

I started by laying down 1/2" foil faced rigid foam insulation.

Next I began laying out the sleeper sub-floor using 1" X 4" furring strips.  
The tubing would lay within channels.

I laid out the 1" X 4" strips with spacers to see how the channels would end up.
The videos Pex Heat supplies give very detailed instructions.
You want to make sure you will have a return without having to cross tubing.

Being careful to round the corners where the tubing will turn.

This is the front section of the bus.
They designed the system in two zones.  This is the front zone.
I wanted three zones.  Their design tech said because of the size of the system I'd only need two.
I'm glad he knew what he was talking about.

This is how the tubing was shipped.

This gives you an idea of how the tubing is constructed.

Getting ready to get to work.

As you lay the tubing down it helps to anchor the turns. 
 Otherwise if it pulls up you will find yourself short when trying to lay everything back down.
They give very detailed videos on how to install it.

Once down it can be covered.

If you look closely at the picture above you can see the first two rows lifting out of the track.  I started with the roll laying on its side and laying the tubing in the track.  Then I remembered one of the videos saying the best way to lay the tubing down was to hold the roll feeding it over hand in front of you and walk on it laying it in the track.  You're not putting any pressure on the tubing because you are actually walking on the 1" X 4" strips and the tubing is in the grove between them. Once I did this the rest of the tubing laid down with no problem.
Watch the videos on their website.

It was also suggested that if you were to lay a metal transfer plate over the tubing you would get a more even distribution thorough out the entire floor instead of just over the tubes.  I had some of the metal ceiling I had taken down left so I used this for the transfer plate.  I was mainly concerned with covering the center walking area as the sides will be covered with cabinets and furnishings.

And down goes the top sub floor.

(Above picture)  As you start to cover the tubing be sure to mark where the tubing is.  Once you cover the tubing it is almost impossible to tell where it is.  I drew lines the full length of the bus indicating where the tubing is before I began screwing the top sub-floor down.  I would not screw anything within two inches of either side of the lines.  If you've done construction work before the norm is to draw lines and screw along the lines.  Here I had to remember to screw away from the lines.

Lines drawn.  And the screwing begins!

And that was just the front half of the bus.

Now for the back half!

Looking towards the back door.

After the floor is down in goes the pre made closets and walls.

The plan was to finish all this and be operative before I started to travel again.  However due to time and financial constraints that hasn't happened.  I have the main part installed and will have to finish the rest of the installation as I travel.  Stay tuned and I will keep you abreast of how it's going.

There's just short of three hundred feet of tubing running through the floor of the bus.  In all I lost 1-3/4" of floor to ceiling height in the bus.  1/2" rigid foam, 3/4" furring strip and 1/2" OSB.  That's a small price to pay for warmed floors.

Here is where all the tubing comes up through the floor.
This will be (unlike the European version) my water closet.
It will house all the water controls for the entire bus including a tankless hot water heater.

Oh, by the way, if everything seems to have gone effortlessly check out my Awe Sh#%! moment here.

Check back to see how I'm doing or better yet sign up to get email updates and watch me finish the bus.


Gas tank access hole!

This is just one of several (sounds better than many) Awe Sh#%! moments.  While putting in the tubing for the heated floor system I was careful to note the two gas tank access holes that needed not to be completely covered over.
Fuel tank access holes.
Well, cruising right along like it was a nice sunny day I had my Awe Sh#%! moment.  As you can see below I completely covered over one of the gas tank access holes like I knew I'd never need to access that particular tank.
Fuel tank access hole missing?
Now I'm on a recovery mission.  Got to go back and find the hole with out damaging the heat tubing I so carefully set in the floor.  The red and white tubes are the hot and cold supply lines for the bathroom vanity.
Fuel tank access hole recovery mission.
I had to unscrew part of the flooring and raise it up enough to cut the hole without cutting the tubing.  I propped the flooring up on a glue can and commenced to cutting. (see red arrow)
A success!
This Awe Sh#%! moment was successfully converted into an OH YEAH!  moment!  But you can believe this was not the first and surely won't be the last Awe Sh#%! moment.  I'll list more for you as the shame eventually wears off.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Counting Down

Getting close to my proposed launch date for "Easy" to restart her whirlwind adventure of traveling the great U S of A.


And I'm no exception!



Thursday, May 8, 2014

Home Again!

If you read my post on May 5, you may remember my tale of troubles on the road.   I made the trip back to Georgia without incident.  The time spent in Missouri was extremely rewarding.  I made many new friends and heard many encouraging stories.

Dee and Gypsy Rose, Katrina survivors.

I had the privilege of working on the above house.  It went to a mother and daughter named Dee and Gypsy Rose, Hurricane Katrina survivors.  You can see Gypsy Rose on the porch in her wheel chair.  She is a very encouraging young lady and has a very bright outlook on life in spite of many obstacles.  You can read some of her story here or here.

More stories to come.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Easy Update

You may remember the naming of Easy back on March 22, 2014.  Well, this is an updated picture of Easy in service at a Habitat For Humanity building project in Springfield, Missouri.

Easy at a Habitat For Humanity building project in Springfield, Missouri.

I made the trip from Jasper, GA to Springfield, MO in a record three days.  640 mile in three days might not seem like a record but let me tell you what happen.  I left Georgia Tuesday April 22, 2014 in good time.  I expected to arrive some time Tuesday night ready to work Wednesday morning.  Arriving in Missouri with only about two and a half hours remaining to my destination I stopped at the Flying J for a final fuel stop.  All fueled up and fed and ready to go I drove another 25 miles and Easy just quit.  I tried babying her.  Coaching her.  Encouraging her and everything else I could think of.  Nothing!  Nadda!  

Right away I sprang into my side street mechanic mode and began analyzing the situation.  I quickly determined it was a fuel problem.  There was no fuel getting to the carburetor at all.  Simple fix. Change the fuel filter.  Duh, NO!  Still no fuel coming up to the carburetor.  I could start it with starting fluid and it would run for a few minutes and then die again  Next thought, the fuel pump must not be pumping. So change the fuel pump.  Still nothing!  Alright, lets try an electric fuel pump.  Still nothing.  By this time it's almost midnight and I decided to bed down there on the side of the road.

Wednesday, a new morning, fresh thoughts and a new approach.  I figured I'd get this thing going in good time and be there for lunch.  Not happening.  Continuing to work the fuel system noting that some of these fuel lines were the original and were 26 years old, I decided to run new fuel lines.  Worked that whole system only for a repeat of the previous day.  Spent an entire day doing that.  By this time I was dirty and greasy and discouraged.  Bit the bullet and spent the night in a motel for rest and a shower.  I called Greg at "We Sell School", where I bought the bus.  Great bunch of folks!  After explaining the entire dilemma to Greg he simplely said, "Sounds like you got bad gas".  How could that be.  I just filled up one of my two tanks with 50 gallons of premium gas.  $175.00 worth of Flying J's best.

Thursday morning I rechecked the fuel line, filters and pump.  Ended up putting the original pump back on.  Looked on the GPS, found the closest gas station was less than two miles away.  Got easy started and took off for the closest station.  Fortunately Easy has two fuel tanks so I filled the right tank at this gas station.  Left that gas station and went the remaining 180 miles without any problem.  My left tank still has about 40 gallons of 25 mile range gas in it that I'm not sure what I'm gonna do with yet.

Lesson for today:  If you have duel fuel tanks, NEVER fill both tanks at the same station.  One of the workers at Habitat also suggested, "Always refill at 1/2 tank.  That way you'll never have more than a 1/2 tank of bad gas".

I intend to write Flying J and relate my experience but doubt that I will get any response.  I'll be sure to let you know if I do.

Other that that, Easy took the trip very Easily!

Close up.

Saturday, March 22, 2014


 EASY... Like a Sunday Morning!

A great song writer, named Lionel Richie, wrote and sang a song called "EASY".  That was the inspiration behind the name I've finally decided on for my bus.  The first line of the song is, " That's why I'm easy, like a Sunday morning".

Part of the plan for the bus is to have a workshop in the rear of the bus.  One of the things I will do in the workshop is make signs.  I got started with this idea by wanting to do the graphics on the bus myself.  I purchased a sign making machine and a new hobby was launched. I will be promoting my hobby on my website and my blog  They are both under construction and probably will be until I get completely set up in the bus but I am able to make signs and graphics by request for anyone that may want something in the mean time.

This is the graphic cut out and laid out ready for application.

Prepping the surface for application.

Graphic awaiting to take it's rightful place on display!

Layout mask still in place allowing graphic to set.

The finished product

Some Other Signs I've Done

RV Campground sign
RV Camping sign

Beware of (friendly) dog sign

Keep off grass sign

Watch YOUR dog sign

Another watch YOUR dog sign

Another (friendly) dog sign

License Plates I've Done

 Window Decals I've Done

In memory of decal

In memory of decal

In memory of decal

This is just a small sample of some of the graphics I'll be doing. Not to forget I'll be doing vehicle graphics for cars, trucks, RV's and boats.  And just about anything else you may want to jazz up.

You may contact me here if you have any questions, comments or special request.

Thanks for looking,


Monday, March 3, 2014

A Neat Little Camper

Here's a neat little camper I found on the internet.

This would make the perfect toad to pull behind my bus!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Schoolie Keyless Rear Door Lock

One of the problems in school bus conversions is how to lock the rear door.  Bruce on Yahoo Shoolie Group used a dead bolt lock on the rear door of his school bus conversion and I liked the idea so much I kidnapped it and expounded on it.

He used a simple dead bolt in the door to stop the action of the rear door latch.

Bruce's door lock, unlocked.
Bruce's door lock, locked.
Bruce's door lock outside.

While I loved Bruce's idea, I have a hard time just doing things simple.  Also, this is my second school bus conversion.  When I did the first one I had a combination/key lock then also.  It was a manual combination lock similar to the one pictured below.  The main reason I opted for that type of lock was if I were camping and wanted to go swimming or just didn't want to have to take keys with me I could just dial in the combination and open the door.  Nothing like losing your keys at the beach or the pool and can't get back into the house/camper. 

Manual combination key lock.

Well, Now I've just got to do One Better!

So I picked up Kwikset Smart-Key digital lock set for half price at a surplus salvage and got to work.

Kwikset Smart Key

Unlike Bruce's installation, I had to use a slide bolt because the outside portion of the lock would have ended up in the handle well and not allowed the handle to swing. The slide bolt moved the loch far enough away to land on the raised portion of the door.  Also by being on the raised part of the door I also needed an extension piece inside the lock as the school bus door is 2 1/2" thick and I still had to add another 1' on the inside for the dead bolt to ride in.

You can see the detailed installation at