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Author Topic: Decided to write bus off for this year!  (Read 2785 times)
belfert
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« on: September 07, 2006, 08:13:12 PM »

I've officially given up on my bus for this year.  Unless I win the lottery there just isn't any way it will be remotely usable in 2 weeks and 5 days.

I basically have to tear down my bathroom walls and start from scratch because they are totally out of square.  No bathroom means no bus.  No, a portapotty isn't good enough.  My intent for this evening was to finsih the walls, lay the vinyl in the bathroom, and do the shower tomorrow.  Now the walls might not be done for several days which puts me three or four days behnd.  I didn't have any slack in my schedule to get this finished.

Brian Elfert
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Brian Diehl
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« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2006, 08:24:51 PM »

I'm very sad to here about your troubles Brian.  I know how dissapointing it can be to miss a really important deadline.  You sure there is no way you can just jury rig something for this trip that would allow you to use the bathroom for now and then rebuild after you are back?  How about just putting some plastic up on the walls you have now and just shower using plastic to keep your wood dry?  My brother-in-law used his bathroom in his house that way for a few months while remodeling the bathroom.  It worked okay for him and might be an option for you.  Put some "stick down tiles" on the floor to get by until you can do something permanent.  All hope may not be lost!  Remember that the shower hardware comes off and the toilet will unbolt from the floor after your trip.
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« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2006, 09:02:46 PM »

The first year I  used my bus, all I had was a toilet and a mattress on the floor, privacy provided by a large cardboard box.  For the last year my shower has been a half done wall, and a shower pan, but all waterproofing has been via visqueen plastic.  Not aesthetic, and definitely not comfortable to use, but it does work.  I have been surprised by the number of opportunities where I have been able to use other showers and toilets during my trips.

Maybe your situation is different, but I hope you can see your way to not giving up on your dream for this year.  You have been remarkably active, you have been very thorough and intelligent in your research (as I surmise from your prolific questions).

I wish you luck whatever you decide.
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« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2006, 10:08:54 PM »

One of the first walls I put in was my bathroom wall.  And it is visably out of square.  But- I actually like it since it makes the sink area a bit bigger.  All I did was to have the dinette on the other side of the wall made with the lower cushion out of square also.  But then again, what is square in the bus?  Just get things ready for this trip and worry about getting it perfected after you get back.  More important that you get out of Dodge for awhile!  Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
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« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2006, 04:21:24 AM »

Wow if everyone gave up as quick as you did, there would be NO busses on the road!

Now enough of this whining! Get back out there and put SOMETHING together for your trip! Once your gone and use the bus, you'll want nothing more than to hurry home and do some more!

It's a way of bus life!

Ace
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Casper4104
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« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2006, 05:24:18 AM »

Ok Brian,  I haven't been following you that closely.  I assume there's some trip you're planning to take in "2 weeks and 5 days" ?

What vehicle are you going to use for the trip?  Does that vehicle have a bathroom? Are you going to cancel the trip?  Over a bathroom?!?!  There are bathrooms everywhere!

I've taken 2 week motorcycle trips with just a bike, a tool roll and a bedroll.  It's really not bad - there are facilities everywhere.  You can shower in most any truck stop for a few dollars - most are decent - some are really nice.  They will usually have mens' and womens'.  I once talked a heavy-duty-cutie at a truck stop counter into givng us 4 free showers after I bought a measly 50 gallons of diesel - and I had a working bathroom!

There are potties everywhere. Rest areas-restaurants-laundromats(probably need one of those once in a while anyway)-Dr's offices-DMV's-construction sites-bus stations (Ok, maybe we can't recommend bus stations).

The Navy really isn't a job, it really is an adventure, and that ain't becuase of the 5 star accomodations, and that's a Petty officer 2nd class talking.  What are you going to brag to the youngun's about?  "We didn't have a perfect bathroom"  "We ate out foie gras on Ritz Crackers - with no Caviar!"  "My first Mercedes Benz was second hand!"

Now quit your sniveling, duct tape a portapot to the floor and get out there!   Grin

Let us know what you decide to do Brian - we're all pullin' for ya'

Casper
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belfert
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« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2006, 06:12:31 AM »

Ok Brian,† I haven't been following you that closely.† I assume there's some trip you're planning to take in "2 weeks and 5 days" ?

What vehicle are you going to use for the trip?† Does that vehicle have a bathroom? Are you going to cancel the trip?† Over a bathroom?!?!† There are bathrooms everywhere!

I'm thinking of either cancelling the trip or flying out there.

It ain't just the bathroom.  There is no electric or plumbing done either.  No seats installed yet although that is only one hour job.  I figured if I could have the shower installed by the end of this week I could get the electric and plumbing done in time, but that won't happen now.

Brian Elfert
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« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2006, 07:36:06 AM »

Brian,

I know what your feeling like!     And, I know what level of Standard you are trying to achive!

But,..........You have to let some things slide. So, the bath walls are not right. It's acceptable in a coach. Fix it after the trip....

There is nothing worse than a personal let down. But, that is something that your not doing to someone else...

Get over it!  and take the trip as is. After the trip you'll be recharged and resetting thoose goals more realisticly.

Don't Give up!

Nick-

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« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2006, 07:39:49 AM »

Hi Brian  Just read Nicks tag line in his signature and hit the road.
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« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2006, 07:48:39 AM »

Brian- One more-when I went to the first bus conversion convention at Laughlin in 1995, I did have the bathroom in and my bed, but that's all.  But there were others there that were using the bus as a metal tent with nothing inside except what could be tied down.  Throw a mattress on the floor, tape a porta potty to the floor with a sheet on a rope for privacy, get a Coleman propane stove and a few el cheapo pans, couple of Coleman coolers, some folding chairs, maybe a couple of electric camping lights-what more do you need?  You can gradually upgrade, but use it now! Lots of us have done just that
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
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« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2006, 07:51:45 AM »

You don't need a palace to go to NV. There are so many ways to make it functional for the trip. Throw up a couple sheets of plywood for privacy, or just a a bed sheet. It's just a bunch of guys going anyway, right? Pocket screws to secure the plywood to the floor and ceiling. Use a blanket or tarp for a door. Easy in, easy out when you get back and have time to do it right. Why do you need vinyl on the floor? †Even if you do, why does it need to be glued in. Mine isn't.

Hell, I put 5 years and 25K miles on my bus before I even †had running water or a toilet!

What's wrong with a porta-potty. There are rest areas every 100 miles along the interstate, and you have to stretch your legs or change drivers every couple hours anyway.

Or just hook the toilet up to the tank, and use a 5 gallon bucket to supply water when you use it. You don't need running water. If you gotta have a shower, get one of those plastic bag showers and hang it from the bus roof when you get there. Shower outside in the sand. A simple piece of plywood to stand on. Rough it a little! It's the desert!

I just don't get it. If it's mechanically ready to go, then go! Make do with what you have!

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Craig Shepard
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« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2006, 08:01:39 AM »

Brian, I'll second Craig's advise.† Make do with what you have.† You'll surprise yourself and have fun in spite of not having everything ready.† Go buy some batteries at Wally World and a battery powered lantern.† I've got a hardly used porta potty if you want to use that.† I also have a 5 gallon jerry can for water if you want to borrow it.† You can use your bus this trip and you can have a great time.† Figure out the absolute essentials you must have and get them done this next week.† Then if you have any time left work on the non-essentials.† It won't be perfect and it won't match your dreams/ideals you setup for yourself, but it will still be good.† I've got some extra sheets you can borrow for the trip if you want to borrow them as well for privacy screens.† You can do it!
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belfert
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« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2006, 08:12:28 AM »

Hell, I put 5 years and 25K miles on my bus before I even †had running water or a toilet!

You also rebuilt your bus from the ground up. †I decided to buy a newer rust free bus to avoid that. †I just way underestimated what it would take to get a usable bus by my definition. †I never expeted to be 100% done this year.

Quote
I just don't get it. If it's mechanically ready to go, then go! Make do with what you have!

I don't know what I want to do. †It doesn't seem hardly worth it to burn $1500 worth of fuel to drive a bus 4000 miles that has no more conveniences than a car or truck. †Actually less conveniences than a car/truck if I have no working A/C. †We wanted a bathroom for fewer rest breaks and the bunks so we don't need a hotel along the way.

The toilet is already plumbed into tank so I suppose I could do the 5 gallon bucket of water thing.

Maybe I'll keep plugging away for the next three weeks, but I don't want to do it in vain. †I really need my other friend to help more, but he is working on a rocket project that is the whole point of the trip.

Brian Elfert
« Last Edit: September 08, 2006, 08:14:06 AM by belfert » Logged
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« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2006, 08:27:03 AM »

Brian I agree with all the others here! You've spent way to much time, $, effert, blood, sweat & tears from doing your researchto the point your at now, to just give up! Don't give up ! Plastic tarps are cheacp at Wal-mart or Big Lots! They'll make great temp walls or go with what ya got! Electricity? Hey again Big Lots sells thoise big heavy duty extension cords that have like 5 plugs on the end one of those a couple smaller cords and a power strip and yer "wired baby" run temp romex wiring from the generator or breaker box to the A/C units ! I know you know where the Flying J's are, they have free showers for fueling customers, then as said above make an outside shower when ya get there a cheap tarp & a 5 gallon water bucket hung from the bus will do the job! Look we all understand that you planned to have yer bus "ready" for this trip, and we understand the guys sharing it for the trip haven't been able to help! But hey don't let it stop you from enjoying what ya got you've spent way too much to get discouraged now! Besides taking it in rough form may help give yer buddies an incenitive to make a way to help finish it for the next time! Hey it's a bus not rocket science enjoy it! Temp it and roll with it! Go, Go, Go Go, Go!

Smiley Wink Cheesy Grin Shocked Cool Roll Eyes †Brian get yer but in gear and enjoy that bus NOW! Roll Eyes Cool Shocked Grin Cheesy Wink Smiley [/color] [/size]

GO! GO! GO! GO! GO! [/color] BK †Grin
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« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2006, 08:59:24 AM »

Yeah, I underestimated the time it would take, too. I said 3-5 years. I'm now at 6 and counting, and loving every minute of it. We've put 35K miles on it. It's now functional, but by no means close to being done.

The A/C is the only thing I see that would be a show stopper, and I gotta say, I might not do it without A/C. However, it is the end of Sept. Things are cooling off out there, and you might not need it in a couple weeks.
On the other hand, you might. Really hard to predict the weather across WY this time of year.

I thought you had the generator thing solved by ordering a PowerTech?  So, run an extension cord up through the floor and tie a temporary line to the A/C unit. Plug in the cord and turn on the gen and your good. So what if it's a bit noisy. Fix the muffler later. As long as it's exhausting outside, and is safe and the radiator gets fresh air.

We still don't have good lights inside. I used some of the 120V flourescent lights from the baggage bays. They're all on a single power strip (that's right, power strip. No separate switch.) which is plugged into the single extension cord I have running from my inverter. I run my lights, microwave, refrigerator, tv, vcr, and dvd off the single extension cord. Works fine.

And last, if you're quibbling about spending $1500 for fuel, you might have jumped into the wrong hobby.  If you can't afford to put diesel in the bus for a 4000 mile trip, you probably shouldn't be converting a bus. On the other hand, if you do the math on motel rooms, food and gasoline to do this trip, I think you'll find you're within $300 of your fuel expense.

My opinion only, and that's how I justify all the money I put in mine  Cheesy

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Craig Shepard
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belfert
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« Reply #15 on: September 08, 2006, 09:12:07 AM »

The A/C is the only thing I see that would be a show stopper, and I gotta say, I might not do it without A/C. However, it is the end of Sept. Things are cooling off out there, and you might not need it in a couple weeks.
On the other hand, you might. Really hard to predict the weather across WY this time of year.

I thought you had the generator thing solved by ordering a PowerTech?† So, run an extension cord up through the floor and tie a temporary line to the A/C unit. Plug in the cord and turn on the gen and your good. So what if it's a bit noisy. Fix the muffler later. As long as it's exhausting outside, and is safe and the radiator gets fresh air.

The A/C units are mounted and I have been using one of them.  I just need power.  I suppose I can temporary up power if need be.

Quote
We still don't have good lights inside. I used some of the 120V flourescent lights from the baggage bays. They're all on a single power strip (that's right, power strip. No separate switch.) which is plugged into the single extension cord I have running from my inverter. I run my lights, microwave, refrigerator, tv, vcr, and dvd off the single extension cord. Works fine.

I reused the 24 volt flourescent lights in the ceiling and they work good.  They do need to be wired to the battery though.
Quote

Quote
And last, if you're quibbling about spending $1500 for fuel, you might have jumped into the wrong hobby.† If you can't afford to put diesel in the bus for a 4000 mile trip, you probably shouldn't be converting a bus. On the other hand, if you do the math on motel rooms, food and gasoline to do this trip, I think you'll find you're within $300 of your fuel expense.

Fuel money isn't an issue.  I just don't want to dump $1500 into a bus that is simply a steel tent with no more amenities than a pickup truck with a tent that gets twice the mileage.

Brian Elfert
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gumpy
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« Reply #16 on: September 08, 2006, 09:15:41 AM »

One more thing I forgot, but someone else mentioned. Cardboard and duct tape! If you really need walls for privacy, go to the appliance store and get some refrigerator boxes and a couple rolls of duct tape. You can make walls and doors with hinges. With a little work, you could probably even make the bunk beds out of duct tape †Cheesy

We use plastic tubs for our food and cooking / eating utinsels. For cabinets, we found that you can't beat the little plastic spring clamps from Home Depot and a plastic grocery sack. The clamps are all over our bus. We hang stuff from them, use them to hold up our bedsheet privacy curtains, etc. They're indespensable as long as you have someplace to clamp them to.

You already have your fresh water tank. Plumb a valve on it and run a short hose from it. Take a 5 gallon bucket with lid, and a few gallon milk jugs. When you need water, open the bay door and fill them from the tank. We did this for a couple years. Works fine, especially if your cooking outside on a camp stove.
Keep the covered 5 gallon bucket next to the toilet. Pour a half gallon in the bowl after each flush. When the bucket runs out, fill it from the tank in the bay.

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Craig Shepard
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« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2006, 09:16:13 AM »

and by having †used the bus when it was a steel tent, I really appreciate each little thing I get done. †I find its motivating to use it in a half finished state. †I also find that when I use it as I'm building, I find out design / functionality issues along the way when its still not too late to change / fix them.
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Jim Stewart
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« Reply #18 on: September 08, 2006, 09:26:00 AM »

.. †I also find that when I use it as I'm building, I find out design / functionality issues along the way when its still not too late to change / fix them.

Really good point, Jim.  We've found many things that just didn't work the way we planned. Easy to change now, rather than later.
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Craig Shepard
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« Reply #19 on: September 08, 2006, 10:02:49 AM »

By all means keep your out-of-square walls up for this trip and rip 'em down later. Everyone's giving great advice on making a "steel tent" livable. For the next two weeks, focus on the one thing that'll make your "tent" more enjoyable... if it's power, work on the genset. If it's plumbing, do that. Even if it's all temporary, and only for this trip. And that one thing won't overwhelm you, the way a bunch of little (or big) things will.

Take your bus, enjoy your bus, use your bus. If you wait for it to be functional and comfortable, you'll never use it. And if you never use it... you truly won't know how to convert it. Like Jim said, by using it while you convert it, you'll make different decisions in your final plans.

HTH,
Brian

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Brian Brown
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belfert
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« Reply #20 on: September 08, 2006, 04:51:16 PM »

With all of your encouragement, I'm going to motor on and see what I can get done before I leave on the 27th.  (Probably have to be done on the 24th or 25th to have time to pack.)

I spent a good chunk of the afternoon and evening getting the bathroom as square as possible.  No beauty contests will be won, but the walls are done.  One of my friends came over and we also got the vinyl floor put down.  The shower will probably have to wait until Sunday.

Brian Elfert
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« Reply #21 on: September 08, 2006, 06:01:16 PM »

Has anyone measured how square their walls are in their house? Ask a sheet rock guy. I started out with BIG plans with my bus and quickly had a reality check. What isnít working I just improvise and make do. I find that I still have fun and it motivates me even more. When we get back from a trip it seems that we forget about the ďroughing itĒ and tend to remember what a good time we had.

Quote
And last, if you're quibbling about spending $1500 for fuel, you might have jumped into the wrong hobby.† If you can't afford to put diesel in the bus for a 4000 mile trip, you probably shouldn't be converting a bus.

Well, I take a different approach. The sun hasnít shined on everyone equally. If someone enjoys their bus even if they can hardly afford it, so what, donít take their dream away. Have you ever just sat there in the drivers seat and just imagined how great it will be one day? Right now, I am bus poor, if it were not for the 165 gal auxiliary tank that was full when I got it, then I would probably be parked for the rest of this year. I have found that having a large young family makes bussing look cheap. Anyways, having a POS and no money to fix it can still be fun. Cool
« Last Edit: September 08, 2006, 06:02:55 PM by Barn Owl » Logged

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« Reply #22 on: September 08, 2006, 07:45:09 PM »

OK BRIAN<
Here goes.
I did my MC9 last year in three weeks. I lived in it with my wife and four kids for a year. I had plumbing for the grey water, but my fresh consisted of a garden hose run through a hole in the floor. Black was plumbed as well.
the kitchen was a couple a piece of crap cabinets from home desperate screwed to the floor.
we had a couch some 2x4 bunks built for the kids and a bed for ourselves.
i built the walls with 2x4's and 3/8 plywood for petes sake.
I'm in Bemidji if you want to get serious and build yourself a TEMPORARY STEEL TENT come on up and let's get crackin!
I've been redoing my conversion for four months now and I'm almost done. I even did it righter this time.
seriously, you need to live in the bus to get to know how much room you need to allot for essentials.
Besides just think of the stories you'll have for us when you get back.

Devin

P.S.
I was serious about coming up, I can park you behind the house, and I have almost all the tools.
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« Reply #23 on: September 08, 2006, 08:01:55 PM »

The world needs more people like Devin.
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L. Christley - W3EYE Amateur Extra
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« Reply #24 on: September 08, 2006, 08:07:01 PM »

~"YEA"~
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