For the next phase of demolition (removing AC units and removing bolts on the bottom of the bus) I knew I needed help. I had a few days to myself to work on a few things. Fortunately, Alan's friend Lucie was available for two days to help. Together, we knocked out so much this last trip:
As of now, my build plans look something like this below. I have made some additional adjustments since this arrangement. But it is coming together. I am enjoying demolition and I am thrilled to begin building in the near future.
The far left is the front five feet for the driver's seat (dark red paper) and steps. The yellow paper is storage area, including a 2 foot deep garage at the end. There will be welded loops for a hammock chair and hammocks inside (for those who want to come join me!)
So I moved on to removing the walling that I could. I ran into more stripped out and immovable screws. I returned to the store to purchase screw extractor sets, which were helpful except when they broke off in the screws.
By the end of the two days, I had a better idea of what I needed. So I returned to Detroit to research and adjust my plan. I have been doing all this alone besides a couple screws that had bolts underneath that Alan helped me with. I do need some assistance, especially during demolition of the floor tracks (also attached underneath) and the heavy ceiling AC units.
All in all, I am glad to have things moving along. I return March 9-15, which will allow me a solid week to make a dent in demolition. I can't wait to finish demo and start building up my new home. This is certainly a practice in patience and incremental learning. Here are the before and after photos, which I will try to remember to complete each time to track my progress.
Over the last month, I hardcore researched buses -- how to inspect a bus, bus sizes, bus conversion ideas.... I cut out proportionately sized, colour-coded furniture and appliances that I moved around on different sized layouts (see image to the left). I scoured the internet for a bus that fit my needs -- and then, it happened.
I knew I wanted:
Since I still live in Detroit, I recruited my friend Finn to take a road trip with me to go grab the bus before I took off for Asheville, where I will be working on it while staying with my chosen family out there (Alan, Maggie, and Rory).
With everything removed and the yellow gone, it really felt like my little dream was really happening. Before taking off, the seller gave me a 100% dad walk-through of all the parts and test driving it. By the time I hit the road a couple hours later, I'd say 90% off my anxiety was gone and I was filled with excitement. I planned to drive 3 hours of the 5 hours drive, which put me in Knoxville and just before entering more mountainous terrain. The drive was much smoother than I expected and the midsize handled extremely well - no worries about back swaying or estimating the length of the bus. It took very little time to become accustomed to the arrangement of mirrors.
By the next morning, I was thrilled to hit the road again. Driving US40 into Asheville was beautiful. I took it slow and steady and had no problems with the turns and hills. I just cruised and let the reality of my future sink in...
What started with admiration for my fam, Alan, and his bus turned in to my own adventure. I was recently visiting him and my other long-term chosen family that it really clicked:
I am a researcher, so when I go down a rabbit hole I dive deeeeeeepp. I've created spreadsheets of available buses with their details, RV appliances, and so much more. As I checked buses out, I noted what I liked and didn't like.
I found that many of the buses I liked sold very quickly. One white bus was from a church with the church's name on the side. As much as I would love the irony of converting a church bus and calling it Grace or Saving Grace with this queerdo spreading the good word of inclusivity and justice, it was not to be. By which I mean, I was going to check it out and they just stopped responding and pulled the FB marketplace ad.
So, many unlocked treasures to dream about. But I reminded myself (and was reminded by others) to be patient. For now, I'll keep admiring and inquiring...