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

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Little Wiring Job

Got the exterior 90% done.  There are a few finishing (Speciality) touches  that I will post as I do them.

Now For The Fun Part

In modern vehicles wiring harnesses are mostly a synergic component.  This is a 1988 wiring harness courtesy of the Bluebird Motor Corporation.

Upper wiring harness.
The upper wiring harness supplied the rear amber and red flashing school bus lights, the rear door exit alarm, the interior overhead lights, speakers (PA system), upper exterior marker lights, tail lights, stop lights and rear turn signal lights.

Lower wiring harness.
The lower wiring harness supplied the rear heaters.

Another view of the both wiring harnesses coiled up until I could dissect them..
I unstrung everything except the rear exterior lights and coiled it up in the corner until I decided what I  was going to do.

Wire splicing
This is the original wire splicing.  The old black friction electrical tape.

Another view.
At least when they did the splicing they soldered the wires.  No way they were gonna come apart.

More wires.
Many of these wires I will reuse as they are in very good shape.  Still very flexible and pliable.  None brittle or cracked insulation.

Numbered wires.
Even though the harness looks like a bowl of spaghetti, It's very easy to trace.  If you look close at these two wires you'll see the numbers 73 & 74.  Each wire is numbered from end to end.  This is at the rear of the bus.  These two wires were to the flashing school bus lights.  They will be reused for overhead backup lights (shown below).

Numbered wires.
This is at the front of the bus in the fuse box.  If you look closely you can again see the numbers 73 & 74.  You can find that wire anywhere along  it's run by that number.

Have you ever backed a BIG RIG into a wooded site at midnight?

Well I have.  It can get pretty hairy!  So I decided a few extra backup lights might be in order. 

Backup lights.
The four amber and red flashing lights at the top of the bus were changed for four white backup lights that are switched and connected to the backup lights that come on when in reverse.  That way I won't drive down the highway forward with glaring backup lights blinding the drivers behind me.  Also when I do backup only the lower back up lights will come on unless I manually turn on the upper lights.

Rear wheel lights.
There are also backup lights in front of the rear wheels that will hopefully keep me from backing into a ditch.

Rear wheel lights.

These rear wheel lights are switched separately from the backup lights so that I may use them also when edging forward in precarious situations.  I'll be able to see exactly where my rear wheels are at all times.  I've pulled into a lot of campgrounds after dark.

There is a red pilot light on the drivers control panel to tell me when the upper backup lights are on and an amber pilot light to indicate when the rear wheel lights are on.

When I was in Mississippi I drove an 18 wheeler.  The company I drove for had rear wheel lights connected to their backup lights.  Saved me many a time backing up into chicken farms in the middle of the night.  Yup, we delivered chicken feed 24/7.  Our feed mill motto, "Chickens Gotta Eat!".

See detailed instructions at

Stay tuned.  More to come!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Moving Right Along

Face Forward.

Redid the front bumper.
Took seven cans for the front grill and bumper.
This is the texture paint I bought at Walmart.
Also available at Homedepot.

Side view.
Still need to paint the storage bay doors.

Standing proud.
Made the yard sign with my vinyl cutter.
The bus when it first arrived in Georgia.

Looks a little different?

A closeup of the yard sign.
Yard signs is one of the things I will do while on the 
road in the workshop at the back of the bus.
See more examples here.

One popular sign among RVer's and Vandwellers is the State Logo sign shown below.

Thanks for looking.

More to come.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Putting Her Back Together

Starting to put her back together.

Face painted with center grey trim.
Putting her makeup on is a time consuming task.  (You girls know what I'm talking about?)  Everything has to be just right.  And if you guys ever tried to help them put it on...  Well, that's another story for another time.  But in the end, after all's said and done, and you step out with your beautiful lady at your side and ALL eyes are on her (and nobody's looking at you) - It was well worth the wait!

Putting the shiney stuff back on.
Putting the metal trim back.  Wasn't quite sure if I wanted to.  It does give it back that distinctive "Hey you, I'm a Bluebird" look.

Big grin back in place.
Bumper in place.  Almost looks like 'he's smiling compared to when she first arrived.  (See below)  Still have to place new marker lights on top.  Changed upper turn signals from round to square park/turn signal lights.

The day she arrived.
Notice any difference?

Texture paint.
What you can't tell in the pictures is that the grey paint is an outdoor texture paint. When it dries it has the look of small pebbles or sand.  Up close the grey areas look like they may be made of some sort of stone.  Really cool looking.

Another look at the texture paint.

Gotta slow down and get er right.
Walmart has this texture spray paint.  It will take me 7 cans for the face grill and bumper at $5.77 a can.  I could have gotten by with 6 cans but near the end I got cocky and over confident and, well you can see the difference.  So the extra can was to repair the rush job.  Still for less than $50 bucks I got a neat looking grill and bumper.  Couldn't have done anything else decent for less.

A close up.

More pictures to come.
(Some more really cool/different stuff in mind.)