Monday, September 10, 2012

How this bus came to be.

How this bus came to be.

I have always wanted to work and travel.  During my first marriage I didn't get to travel much.  During my second marriage I did travel more but not like I really wanted.  So after I finally got over my second failure at romance I said to myself, "Myself, what's keeping you from traveling now?"  Since I didn't have a good answer (or even a not so good answer)  I decided I would take the plunge.  January 2009 I decided that that would be the year I'd do what I've always wanted to do.  

I was working in Delaware and Philadelphia renting an apartment in Wilmington, DE.  My lease on the apartment would end September 30, 2009.  I decided I would not rent another apartment but live on the road when that lease was over.

The race was on.  I already knew I wanted a school-bus and what I wanted in it.  I had nine months to find and convert a bus into a livable structure.

I knew right off I wanted a 40' bus with a flat front, forward gasoline engine and rear door with underneath storage.  By July I hadn't been able to find what I was looking for.  With two months to go I settled for a 35' International flat front diesel pusher with no storage.  Wasn't what I wanted but happy nevertheless to begin my journey.

Fast forward to January 2011.  Having been to New Mexico and now in Texas I decided that diesel was not for me and I would look for the bus of my dreams.  Belonging to several Yahoo bus conversion forums the name came up constantly.  So I called and talked to Greg, the dad, and told him my story and what I was looking for.  He chuckled and said "I'll keep a lookout but I don't think you'll find anything like what you're looking for".  Two weeks later Greg called me back with a hearty laugh and said, "You're not gonna believe this.  I've found three buses like what you're looking for and since you asked first, I'm going to give you first choice".  Well the rest is history.

Thanks again to Greg (the dad), and Greg and Betty (son and daughter-in-law) at


A few more pics.

 Radiator access.

 Exterior fuse box.
Compared to the one in the International this is an electricians dream.
The fuse box in the Internatrional look like a bunch of deranged packrats wired it.
In all fairness, I know it didn't come from International like that but the school district that maintained it probably could only afford a pair of wire cutters and black tape.

 Ah, air horns.
Cover your ears!

 Entry steps and forward engine cover.
Engine cover well insulated.  Can hardly hear the engine running.
I could hear the diesel of the International 35' from the back of the bus.
Will keep the stair rail for my elderly friends (Me).

 The cockpit.

 The only passenger seat left in the bus.
Bumper pad and stair rail.

 Control panel.
CB radio under dash.

 Only 103,000 miles.

 Overhead forward storage and fire extingusher.

 Lockable glove box with key to exterior fuse box (which I picked the lock before I found the key)
Air powered door emergency release.

 Bus plate.

 Forward heater.

 All American ~ A Bluebird Standard

AM/FM cassette radio with internal and external PA system.
Cable hanging down is for air horns.  BEEP  BEEP



  1. I love your blog. You bus is looking great! I"m curious about what kind of highway speeds you're able to comfortably achieve? Also, what kind of gas mileage are you getting in the new bus (gas powered) vs your old diesel powered bus? Which engine and transmission is in the bus? I'm looking forward to watch your bus progress (subscribed this morning).

    1. As far as highway speeds, she has done 70 with no stress or strain. Actually I'm getting the same mileage per gallon as I did with the diesel. 6 - 8 MPG depending on terrain. And with gas prices lower than diesel, that's a plus! She has a standard 427 ci engine. I know it's a four speed Allison transmission though I'm not sure which model. I can change out the whole engine cheaper than it would cost for some repairs on the diesel. When I was in the backwoods of Nowhere, TX the clutch fan went out on the diesel pusher. Couldn't find a used one nation wide. A new one was $900 if I installed it myself. I knew then that gas was for me as I've worked on my own vehicles all my life. I knew nothing about diesels.

      Thanks for reading. Keep following, 'cause it's only gonna be more fun from here on out.


    2. Thanks for your reply, Leonard. That's good insight.