Saturday, May 12, 2007

It Begins!

After a year of planning and saving, Julia and I finally bought our bus yesterday! A pretty sweet 3rd anniversay present. :) She's a looker....

Found her on craigslist. It's a 1988 International Harvester with a transplant Cat 3208 Diesel engine and Allison (automatic) transmission. Perfect length for our purposes - 32 feet bumper to bumper and it has an extra-tall ceiling. Paid $1750 for it. Our bus is at Southern Oregon Diesel right now in Roseburg getting a basic service before getting picked up by our seller and delivered to our house in Eugene this Wednesday! WOW! Still in a little bit of shock.

We went down to Southern Oregon Diesel yesterday nervous out of our minds about our pending purchase. We scheduled a 30 minute inspection before we committed to buying it but we ended up spending 3+ hours with the guys there listening to country music, learning how to drive the thing, getting oriented under the hood and rolling around the underside checking out the air brakes and everything. They were over-the-top helpful, very generous with their time and only a little condescending... ;)

I spent today hacking the bushes and trees back from J's mom's driveway so that we can actually park the bus in the spot where we're going to work on converting it. She is 8 feet wide after all. In order to fit the bus up there, we're also going to have to move the mailbox. Of course, moving the mailbox from it's spot has proven harder than we originally thought - more digging and jiggling scheduled for later this evening.

Once we get it up there, first thing's first : removing the seats and cleaning our baby out! She has a minor wasp/spider problem that needs to get taken care of for sure. Still not convinced that we'll need a bolt cutter to get the seats out but we'll see. After that, we're going to tape out our floorplan and see how it feels.....

Since J and I have been planning our conversion for a while now, we've had time to gather up a lot of the parts and pieces for our future house. We have a really pretty apartment-sized, blue Intrepid woodstove, a mid-sized 2-way RV fridge, a propane RV stove/oven, an RV kitchen sink, an RV bathroom sink, wooden toilet seat for our composting toilet, two wooden corner shelves and a kitchen cabinet. Everything except the fridge we were able to score FOR FREE (thank-you universe!) so the total cost of the conversion so far has been $20...for our used RV fridge.

Before we start making it too cozy, we need to install the main systems - photovoltaics, internal electrical wiring, plumbing (fresh and grey water) and propane. We haven't gathered any parts for any of this so far. I have priced many of the components and we expect the main costs of our conversion to be in the installation of these systems so it'll feel good to get them over with first! Since BioDiesel is available in Eugene right now, we're thinking of holding off on the veggie conversion until we reconnect with some of our Vegadvocates back in California. (I'm thinking that putting the veg in after the fact of the conversion should be OK as long as we plan for veggie oil tank placement and fuel line placement ahead of time....)

Woosh! Lots to do, lots to learn and a whole summer of hard work ahead of us. It feels great to finally get the ball rolling......

More updates to come!