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Author Topic: Bus Layout - Need feedback  (Read 5138 times)
Seangie
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« on: October 05, 2012, 09:31:36 AM »

Hello Everyone!  Happy Friday -

We are finally making some headway and are starting to look at the layout for the front of the bus.  We have 2 different ideas that we like but are open to any suggestions.  We have 4 kids that we will be full-timing with.  We are planning on spending more of our time in campgrounds as opposed to boondocking so we estimate 50-60% of the kids time to be spent outdoors.  There may be periods of time when we have long hauls as my work may dictate where we end up.  We are battling between what will look nice vs. what is more functional. 

We have decided on 2 different designs -

Design A -

Design B -


We like design A because -
1. It looks "nicer" (more of a dining room feel)
2. There is slightly more storage in the kitchen (next to the dinette)
3. More storage overall with the dinette and extra space behind the driver
4. The dinette turns into a bed and offers an additional spot to sleep
5. Windows won't be blocked by recliners

We like design B because -
1. It offers (3) areas of seating in place of just (2)
2. The recliners offer a place to sit back and relax
3. More "elbow room" for us and the kids
4. More comfortable /roomier seating
5. Less cabinets for me to build Smiley
- We will lose about 6" of the front window behind the recliners.

So what do you all think?  Anyone have any experience fulltiming with kids?  Are we overthinking this? 

As always your words of wisdom are appreciated Smiley

thanks!

-Sean
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« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2012, 09:46:57 AM »

If you can find a way to turn the co pilot seat you will gain more seating.  Loose the washer. There is no way it will keep up with family laundry.  Use the area for a pantry.  If your bunks are only two high maybe you could add drawer space under the bottom bunks. You are going to need a lot of storage for a family,

Don and Cary
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« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2012, 10:29:35 AM »

You may have already done so, but if not, you may want to spend some time researching the concerns with seatbelt use when the passenger is facing the center rather than the front. These concerns may be more or less important with small bodies.

I'd prefer not to start a conversation on the subject, nor am I expressing an opinion thereon. Simply that any driver should be educated and informed and comfortable with his/her decision. If you already are, please forgive the intrusion, and I'll go back to lurking.
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« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2012, 11:40:55 AM »

I think B would provide more space for the kids to do things on rainy days.   I agree about the washer.  Most washers in your RV won't do much at any one time and with a family your size it would need to go all the time just to try to keep up.  It would be nice for doing a few things here and there but, overall I think the space would be much more valuable than the work that the washer would do. 

I don't think you would miss the window space except, maybe, when you are on the road.  Otherwise it is just going to be more space to have to cover with blinds or curtains.

We didn't have kids with us on the road but I can assure you that there is never enough storage no matter what you do.
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« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2012, 12:04:32 PM »

    I guess you can have one parent at each dinette to help 1/2 the children at each but would it be good to have the family together at the same table?  If your kids are beyond the stage of needing help at the table, maybe this won't apply.  Same thoughts from me on the washer - and even if it could keep up with the family needs, the water use would be very high.  If you remove the washer, you have storage room; it's kind of like you have two choices -- stop for a laundrette or to fill up with water and dump your grey tank. All things considered, I'd go without the washer (I did).

   Bruce H,  NC   USA
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« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2012, 12:12:50 PM »

Sean:

Looking good. I do not see a stove in your plan?

As far as planning on spending most of their time outside:

1. Are you home-schooling?  #2 would give more "desk" space. (I was home-schooled from grades 1-12, and tuned out super and humble as well!  Wink )

2. As was mentioned, if the weather is tollerable, kids like outside. When there is rain, snow, 100+ degree weather, they will be inside.

Don and Cary mentioned using space under bunks for storage. Here are some pictures of ours. (Just in case you have not been following our amazing and awesome Grin bus build here:

http://www.busconversions.com/bbs/index.php?topic=22081.0

We have 8 drawers under the bottom bunk. Each drawer is 18" wide, 7" high and 26" deep. So the bottom bunk is really a chest of drawers. Total length of bunk is 82" (longer than needed for most kids, but our son is what we call in Texas "full grown", at 6-foot 5 inches.)

Normal commercial RV bunks are only 28-30" wide. Our bottom one is 28-3/4", and top one 27". (Our bus is 1.5" narrower at the top than on the floor. Designed that way from factory.) Vertical space between bunks is 29-3/4". Framing for lower bunk is 1.5" square wood. Top bunk is steel.
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« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2012, 12:42:54 PM »

I disagree about the washer/dryer.  If you use a vented all in one, like the Splendide, you can do a load about every 1.5hrs.  It is very convenient to have incase you're at the beach, or camping away from a laundry to have you're own washer/dryer.  Granted it does take space and about 10gal per load to use, but-then you don't have to be using public washers and dryers-who knows what was in those washers before you.  If you choose not to do the washer/dryer, then have enough storage that everyone can have clothes for 10 days-that will be enough for a normal 7 day wash cycle plus a little left over.

Seating-should have enough seating for everyone when stopped. Have enough sleeping areas where you only have to convert the dinette for guests.  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2012, 01:30:48 PM »

We put hammocks up in our mci7.
We put eye loops where the mount for luggage rack was.  We hang the hammocks 3up tall at night (like a tripple bunk) and take them down to get the space back during the day .  We have 8 kids and this was the best way we could accomidate all of them. 

We have slept in hammocks long before this bus thing so it was normal for our kids.

http://www.treklightgear.com/treklife/sleeping-in-a-hammock-is-good-for-you/] [url]http://www.treklightgear.com/treklife/sleeping-in-a-hammock-is-good-for-you/[/url]
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« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2012, 01:38:40 PM »

We put hammocks up in our mci7.
We put eye loops where the mount for luggage rack was.  We hang the hammocks 3up tall at night (like a tripple bunk) and take them down to get the space back during the day .  We have 8 kids and this was the best way we could accomidate all of them. 

We have slept in hammocks long before this bus thing so it was normal for our kids.

[url]http://www.treklightgear.com/treklife/sleeping-in-a-hammock-is-good-for-you/]http://www.treklightgear.com/treklife/sleeping-in-a-hammock-is-good-for-you/] [url]http://www.treklightgear.com/treklife/sleeping-in-a-hammock-is-good-for-you/[/url]


     That's an interesting article on the health effects of hammocks.  Some things I didn't know, thanks for that.  Also, I couldn't get it off your post but it seems to work here:


http://www.treklightgear.com/treklife/sleeping-in-a-hammock-is-good-for-you/

     PS - I'm thinking a family of 8 children in a bus is brave ... but I'm also thinking that a family of 8 children is brave.  Good luck!
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« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2012, 02:03:58 PM »

Quote
If you can find a way to turn the co pilot seat you will gain more seating.  Loose the washer. There is no way it will keep up with family laundry.  Use the area for a pantry.  If your bunks are only two high maybe you could add drawer space under the bottom bunks. You are going to need a lot of storage for a family


Don and Cary - You think like we do...well, almost Smiley  The Co-Pilot seat is already in place and turns 180 degrees.  Bunks will be only 2 high and we are going to cram as much storage as we can into that area. 

Quote
I think B would provide more space for the kids to do things on rainy days...We didn't have kids with us on the road but I can assure you that there is never enough storage no matter what you do.

Cat - I agree on the more space for the kids.  The 3rd area of seating gives us enough space to "separate" the one turtle in the herd causing all the trouble.  As far as space goes, with our house more than half empty, we are quickly learning how much stuff we do....n't want/need to take with us.  It's painfully freeing.

Quote
If your kids are beyond the stage of needing help at the table, maybe this won't apply

Bruce - Our youngest is 5 now...so we should be good for now...at least we think so, but the extra space will be good to help them with schoolwork.

Quote
Looking good. I do not see a stove in your plan?

As far as planning on spending most of their time outside:

1. Are you home-schooling?  #2 would give more "desk" space. (I was home-schooled from grades 1-12, and tuned out super and humble as well!   )

2. As was mentioned, if the weather is tollerable, kids like outside. When there is rain, snow, 100+ degree weather, they will be inside.

Don and Cary mentioned using space under bunks for storage. Here are some pictures of ours. (Just in case you have not been following our amazing and awesome  bus build here:

http://www.busconversions.com/bbs/index.php?topic=22081.0

We have 8 drawers under the bottom bunk. Each drawer is 18" wide, 7" high and 26" deep. So the bottom bunk is really a chest of drawers. Total length of bunk is 82" (longer than needed for most kids, but our son is what we call in Texas "full grown", at 6-foot 5 inches.)

Normal commercial RV bunks are only 28-30" wide. Our bottom one is 28-3/4", and top one 27". (Our bus is 1.5" narrower at the top than on the floor. Designed that way from factory.) Vertical space between bunks is 29-3/4". Framing for lower bunk is 1.5" square wood. Top bunk is steel.


Steve - Stove top will be an induction cooktop that will stow away.  We will also have a convection microwave oven and our main source for cooking will be outside on a grill.   We are homeschooling...we have from birth and it's awesome to get confirmation that IT WORKS!!!   We have friends that will be opening a school in Mexico City.  So i am hoping to get to meet you someday.  My wife is pushing for a trip to Mexico and I would be delighted to see your bus.  I love the look and all the hard work you have put into it.

As far as the bunks - That is exactly our plan.  We will have 2 sets of bunks and 4 drawers under each bunk.
What is the height of your roof in the bus?  And what is the spacing between the top of the bottom bunk and the bottom of the top bunk? 
I think we are at 6'4" in the middle of our bus.  No roof raise.  Your son probably wouldn't fit Smiley

Quote
We put hammocks up in our mci7

Dave - that is awesome.  We have talked about doing this.  I think we will definitely have hammocks with us but will use them to sleep outside.  The only reason being is that our kids will want their "personal space" to go read a book or if we need someone to take a timeout, especially while driving.   I love that you have 8 kids.  That in itself is truly a blessing.

I think we are 90% on the B plan.  We laughed about going to the A plan when the kids have grown up and moved out of the Bus.

As far as the combo washer/dryer, I am with Tom C on this one.  There is no way that we could keep up with our laundry with the little combo washer/dryer but whenever we have been camping there is always that time when either there are not enough working machines or it is completely busy when must get a load of laundry done.
I am going to look at a brand new machine tomorrow for dirt cheap (vented combo model) and figured if it really doesn't work out it will be easier to sell later and turn to storage than decide we need a washer/dryer after the storage area is already built out.

One last thing is that our middle cabinet will pull out and give us a little more "prep" space in the kitchen if needed.  We took this picture below when we were looking at some RV models and thought we would use the idea for our Bus as well -

Thank you all for the feedback we are truly grateful.

-Sean
www.herdofturtles.org
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« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2012, 04:26:37 PM »

I'll add a vote for "lose the washer" and embrace your inner laundry lover.  We used to think we wanted a washer dryer but no chance now.  Its great to take 3 bags of laundry and come home with everything dry and folded.  That happens about every other week for us now whether we're on the boat or in the bus. 
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« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2012, 05:05:54 PM »

Hi Sean, any chance of converting one of the bays to sleeping quarters or basement play room? it'll give them a space they could call their own. I know space in your suburban is limited, was just a thought. all the best! Van. Wink
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« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2012, 08:21:58 PM »

I would do a front facing kitchen myself,with 4 kids your wife needs a washer and dryer there was never but the 2 of us most the time but she had the washer drier no way she would use laundromat she felt the same about Motels
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« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2012, 09:53:10 PM »

Hey Sean, we've been in our bus fulltiming for a year now. We have two kids 11 and 15. Originally we were going to have the washer but ditched it because storage was too important. People let us use their washers all the time. I did however build my storage cabinet in the bathroom so that I could install a washer in there if we decided we really had to have one. As we travel i find that the kids really don't hang out in the front much, they prefer to lay on their beds and read or watch movies. Our bed becomes a living room that they can both hang out on. We have seating for 8 in the front if we need it, we have a dinette we built, we love it for sharing meals or an extra bed plus we can play games around it. The longer we are in the bus the more things we are getting rid of, realizing we are carrying things in the luggage bays that we rarely use. Good luck. Craig
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« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2012, 10:19:54 PM »

On the "while traveling" seating...

I spent a lot of time driving alone up front...

With a coach that has full stock windows, the other four in the family would be found lazing on some horizontal surface down the back someplace, enjoying the views.

Our style of operation was typically high miler to someplace, vacation style, so, as long as everyone was happy, nothing much else mattered.

As for laundry, to this day, with both parents working, in bricks and mortar living, with a set of machines in the basement, there are certain small victories in dragging the laundry to the laundromat and getting the whole @$^&#@$& job done at once!

There are no right answers, each busnut and the family must decide which compromises they will make for their coach.

Laundry machines, or not?

Sometimes, a tough decision.

happy coaching!
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« Reply #15 on: October 06, 2012, 05:30:25 AM »

The washer dryer question.
After much deliberation we picked up a ventless splendide (7100xc).
After watching it take 3+hours on "cotton express" setting I was pretty frustrated.  But I have figured something out that brings it down to about 2hrs.
removing the clothes after about 50min in dryer.  They will be very hot and damp but the water will evaporate after about 10min.  And bone dry clothes Smiley

Note this will not work on jeans or other dense material.

It does help keep up with light clothes and kids bedding.
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« Reply #16 on: October 06, 2012, 06:48:24 AM »

They have changed the little combo units now they have a element to dry the cloths like a home style, drying was a problem who ever heard of drying with water lol 

I see the small units more and more now in rv's since the change ,the stack able set just takes up to much space for a rv
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« Reply #17 on: October 06, 2012, 08:57:23 AM »

she had the washer drier no way she would use laundromat she felt the same about Motels

 Clifford, were they 120V? just curious Smiley
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« Reply #18 on: October 06, 2012, 03:56:49 PM »

One thing I absolutely despised about full timing was using laundromat's. But I was not in campgrounds much.  I did find laundry's in camp grounds to be acceptable in most places, not 1st choice but acceptable.

When faced with decisions I do a web search such as RV washer reviews,  they mostly use words like compact, smaller, extreme water and energy efficiency , none say perfect for a large family!     

 I was privy to a conversation once,  The Dad wanted one of those big fancy 5th wheel haulers, the mother said if it has a full size washer and dryer on it, you can have anything you want!  Long story short, when mom's happy everybody's happy.  How about a pickup/van for a toad with full size washer and dryer?   4 kids?   2 washers, 2 dryers.
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« Reply #19 on: October 06, 2012, 06:46:16 PM »

Delete the washer/dryer...heats up interior...takes up space...uses too much water and power.  Add 18 inches space behind drivers seat for more driver adjustment.  More dedicated forward facing road seating w/belts?

Larger, fewer dinettes and counters?  Try to let everything do double duty?  More closet/inside storage space if possible.  Excellent pictures.  Curious how you did it.  Thanks.  HB of CJ (old coot)
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« Reply #20 on: October 07, 2012, 02:50:42 PM »

Let me first say that I've grown to "virtually" love all of you on this board...that being said, we love our washer/dryer set... Undecided  We have an apartment sized set that stack on top of each other (not stacker, but a separate high efficiency washer and a matching dryer we mounted on top of the washer). They aren't so small that they are useless, and aren't so large as to take up too much space...24 inches wide and 24 inches deep. Anyway, we do laundy once a week, don't have a hamper...when clothes are dirty, they get thrown directly into the washer. When it appears nearly full, we add soap and run it. I detest laundromats...so does my wifey. Anyway, Sean and Angie have been to our coach and have seen our units. We love them guys! We've been fulltiming for 14 months now and wouldn't have it any other way. Here's a shot:
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« Reply #21 on: October 07, 2012, 03:41:16 PM »

Sean, take the wife and check out the LG combo units at Lowes or HD before buying a apartment size I think you will be surprised how much they hold (22lbs) it takes  much less space,less maintenance and uses less power dry's good does not use water to dry with a very popular unit for the boat and high end rv converters
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« Reply #22 on: October 07, 2012, 03:52:02 PM »

Thanks Scott! Them pictures are worth a thousand words, well in this economy lez see.... lol! any way the Mrs got wind of this and said " why not stack em". My wife... I think I'll keep her! Grin Grin  With the measurements you have given, I cannot see not doing this in ours. We like some here, will be on the pole most places we travel and if not, we now own a capable 7k to get the task done if needed. Nice set of appliances ya got there by the way Wink
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« Reply #23 on: October 07, 2012, 09:02:08 PM »

Van, looks like you should go right ahead and get busy stacking appliances asap, you got the room in the bus for it, LOL.

JC
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« Reply #24 on: October 07, 2012, 10:04:11 PM »

Yea Right? JC Grin Makes me wonder why I only put in a 9 cuft fridge Grin
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« Reply #25 on: October 07, 2012, 10:45:04 PM »

Oh, dear. . . here goes the "Home Improvement" syndrome again!

Where's the Binford model, eh, guys??

 Cheesy
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« Reply #26 on: October 09, 2012, 07:37:31 PM »

Yea Right? JC Grin Makes me wonder why I only put in a 9 cuft fridge Grin

Sometimes I wonder why we have a 25 cuft fridge. Word, we have tons of food, tons of clean clothes, and nowhere to sit. Ok...it's not that bad. Just sayin.  Wink
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« Reply #27 on: October 09, 2012, 07:39:53 PM »

One quick edit:

Van, we have a 9 inch roof raise. Stacking that set would have been impossible without it. I should have mentioned that to Sean...Sean if you're reading this...go with Cliff's combo idea. You want to strangle me if you go out and buy a stacking set, only to find out it won't stack in your coach....and I choose life.  Shocked
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Ed Hackenbruch
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« Reply #28 on: October 10, 2012, 05:39:19 AM »

A tape measure is a very important tool to have in your bus,.....even if you buy one already converted.
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« Reply #29 on: October 10, 2012, 06:44:48 AM »

I agree Ed! I have a tape measure that I converted into a tape measure/cordless drill, took quite some time to do. but for those that are not handy, a little prayer before attempting improvements in our bus goes a long way....

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Remember! " If woman don't find you handsome, they should at least find ya Handy" Grin
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« Reply #30 on: October 10, 2012, 04:28:00 PM »

Our LG apartment-size washer is also a drier in the same machine. It takes about three hours to do the whole thing. This is what we call our "laundry room" in our bus.
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« Reply #31 on: October 11, 2012, 01:54:35 PM »

The Ark had a stacker apartment unit which we removed.  My wife now has an enormous (in bus sizes) pantry that she is very happy with.  It used 24 gal per load of clothing.  That fills the ole grey tank pretty quick. 

Just thinking about 4 children's worth of laundry leaves me a little intimidated.  I recommend lots of shorts, tanktops and flipflops.  Smiley Depending on the isolation of the locale you might want to consider a portable clothesline setup for outerwear and save the dryer for undergarments. 




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Scott & Heather MCI-9
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« Reply #32 on: October 13, 2012, 07:24:25 PM »

Ok Sean, just forget about the washer and dryer.... And buy some large banana leaves.


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Scott & Heather
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http://www.scottmichaelbennett.com/p/our-bus.html
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« Reply #33 on: October 19, 2012, 01:53:42 PM »

More Great Ideas!

Well - It's funny how I intended for feedback on the "living room" design for the front of this bus and someone noticed a washer/dryer in the drawing and that was the main focus of the thread!  Our favorite idea from the feedback so far (and the same thread over at BNO) is to put the washer/dryer under the bus and install a laundry shoot.  We have already purchased the washer/dryer combo unit.  So Scott - You are safe...for now.  With 4 kids - laundry piles up fast.  So the reason for having it is not to keep up with laundry (no way that will happen) but to have the option of just doing a small load so we can enjoy company or I can wash just what I need for work and we can be "lazy" and go to the laundromat tomorrow.  Wifey wanted to lose the washer all together.  It was because of my insistence that we purchased it.  

I love the front facing kitchen idea.  That will probably end up being a modification going forward.  

We are in the process of getting rid of lots of stuff.  We have been able to take our time as we are still awaiting the sale of our house.  I still can't imagine how we are going to make everything fit.  We are all over the shorts and flips and t's and tanks.  It's how we live now.  Not too much of a change.  I don't think we would ever plan on staying somewhere it gets below 30 degrees for more than a night or two.  Chasing the sun is our goal.

One last thing I would like to do is to take the center step of the bus and turn it into a "jumpseat".  The Co-pilots seat seems to ride a bit high (a pneumatic piston to rais and lower that seat would be awesome...anyone done that yet on an eagle?)  So it would be nice to have a jumpseat in the middle that was bolted in with a 5 point harness that one of the kids could sit in if they wanted to keep me company.  Especially at night.  we have one night owl that would love to sit up there after everyone else has gone to sleep.

Thanks again for all the suggestions.  You all are great and make this whole adventure fun and exciting.

And Lastly - Scott - Banana Leaves?    Shocked

-Sean
www.herdofturtles.org
« Last Edit: October 19, 2012, 01:55:41 PM by Seangie » Logged

'Cause you know we,
we live in a van (Eagle 10 Suburban)
Driving through the night
To that old promised land'
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