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Author Topic: Commencement of Full-Time  (Read 1927 times)
Tikvah
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« on: October 30, 2013, 07:07:22 AM »

There comes a time in every life, every journey where you feel like you can draw a line and say, my journey started here.  High school or college graduation is called “commencement” because this is the point where real life begins.  Does life begin after graduation? Or, does it start with that first new job?  Or, how about when you first move from your parents home into your own apartment?  Maybe life started long before graduation; it started your freshman year with new schedules, new responsibilities, new friends.  Although the starting point is vague, we tend to recognize that on one specific day, something changed.  A long awaited day has arrived, and after this day, everything changes.  The tassel moves from one side to the other and now my life is my own.

Today, was a kind of commencement.  Today is the day we have waited for and yet the day we feared.  When did the journey begin?  I guess that's a bit vague.  But today, it really began.  We started our bus and headed south to escape the cold.  It's been frustratingly cold and wet for many weeks when our desire was to get work done on the bus.  We're not ready.  We're not prepared.  But we have to go.  As we crossed the line from Michigan into Ohio on US-23 Amy and I were overtaken with the realization that we have “commenced”. 

Where do we go from here?  We're as lost as a couple kids just out of high school.  We don't know where the road might lead.  We have excitement, anticipation, and fear.  For three years we've wanted to build this bus and experience the freedom of living wherever the bus is parked.  For three years we invested too much money and too much time into big this rig, only to have problems that cost even more when we started moving.  Five months ago, we took a step to drive the bus to Muskegon to have a place to live while I worked.  Amy and I have both struggled with the words, “this has been the worst summer of our lives”.  Why?  Many reasons I suppose, some of them valid, some just emotional.    We weren’t ready.  The bus wasn't ready.  A week before I accepted the job, we still did not have running water in the bus, or electrical of any kind, or even a place to sit.  We worked our butts off getting the toilet and shower to work and set up some make-shift furniture, but those projects just proved all the more that we really we're not ready.  We drove to Muskegon, stayed at a run-down, over-grown campground and I went to work.  Amy worked at cleaning up the campground in trade for our stay and I worked at my job in a dark, filthy, factory in the heart of a dark, filthy city.  The owner was a good man, but nothing could have been worse.  We were separated as a couple for the first time in years by work.  The money was ridiculously low, and the financial reward non-existent.   But, Muskegon was, indeed, a stepping stone.  It forced us to test drive the bus life.  We found, even without the basics, that we enjoyed living in the bus. 

Money continued to be tight, so we sold the house.  That sale was nothing short of a miracle.  That's a story of it's own.  We sold.  We sold everything we owned.  The house, all the furniture, all our belongings, all our tools, every picture, plate, and broom.  It was all gone.  Not a profitable sale, but a sale that brought freedom. 

I left the job in Muskegon, the weather was turning cold, and we had much work to do on the bus before we could hit the road.  We left with no real heat other than portable electric heaters.  No real power inverter system and no real bus furniture.  We needed time before we commenced this life on the road to get the bus ready.  So, we headed to Grayling where my dad has a shop, tools, internet, and everything we would need while we work for a few weeks.  And it rained.  It rained, and it rained.  Cold, damp, constant rain.  Not one productive day – not one!  We decided to make one last visit to Cheboygan, get a few things moved around and say goodby to old friends.  And it rained.  It rained, and it rained.  Cold, damp, constant rain.  Not one productive day – not one!

Today we left Michigan!  Today was commencement!  Today the umbilical cord was cut.  We crossed into Ohio with the realization that today we are living in freedom.  Freedom from debt, freedom to go anywhere and do anything we wish.  Today our only home is the bus.  There is no turning back.  Today it begins. 

Where do we go now?  That is a question that I can't answer.  We have some thoughts, some ideas, but no real plans.  We actually plan to leave the bus with someone we met on the bus forum in Pennsylvania for a week or so while we visit Brian, Crystal and Ben.  He's so cute!   Then, we plan to return to the bus and head – south – we think.   But, we will go where the road takes us.

A foundation in our lives for the last five yeas has been to learn to trust the Lord.   That learning process has cost us our home, our business, our friends, and our identity.  The price is greater than I would have ever imagined.  It is greater than I thought possible.  And yet, the price is insignificant.  It's a price I've accepted, and I'm willing to pay.  In reality, the price is nothing.  It's a free gift that very few are willing to touch.  We have determined in our hearts to take the gift of trust and see where He leads us.  There is no doubt in our minds that He will lead us down paths that defy imagination.  But, this is what we signed up for.  Today is commencement!  Today it begins!

 
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I couldn't repair my brakes, so I made my horn louder.
1989 MCI-102 A3
DD 6V92 Turbo, Alison
Tons of stuff to learn!
Started in Cheboygan, Michigan (near the Mackinaw Bridge).  Now home is anywhere we park
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« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2013, 07:25:26 AM »

Dave, congratulations and best wishes to both you and Amy.  You have found out, or soon will, that you don't own things, they own you.  Your outlook and faith will serve you well.  Enjoy every moment and do the things that will make a difference 100 years from now.  There aren't many that meet that criteria, but you will find the things that do.

God Speed!
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« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2013, 08:26:49 AM »

Thanks for sharing! Please keep us posted on your adventures. We hope to soon follow in your path - full timing commencing in 2014. We still have to sell the brick and mortar, stuff, etc. We also have the same heady mix of emotions: fear, uncertainty, doubt, exhilaration, excitement, faith and hope.

www.mightybus.wordpress.com

Jim and Wendy
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« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2013, 08:40:09 AM »

The best of luck to you and your family.  What a story.  You might consider Arizona for the winter months.  Perhaps campground hosting?  You could work on your bus in perfect weather with little chance of rain and there are lots of places to pick up RV furnishings and supplies.
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« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2013, 08:55:28 AM »

   Yeah, best of luck!  The Management has been reading the story of a woman who got rid of everything but clothes to take her between washing machine loads, one chair, one table, one plate, one fork, one spoon, one knife.  If she invites you to dinner, you bring your own plate, knife and fork.  This has really impressed The Management and she's "thinning things out".  When she retires (@ 60 - yeah, I gotta child bride) in five years, she'll be ready for bus living.
   As other people have said, it's liberating to get away from things.  And, if you do it right so that you don't have to do it again, the day after you're finished with your bus work (yeah, I can hear 200 people laughing down the InnerWeb wires right now), it's behind you.
   Best wishes with your journey and "your journey"! 
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Bruce H; Wallace (near Wilmington) NC
1976 Daimler (British) Double-Decker Bus; 34' long
6-cyl, 4-stroke, Leyland O-680 engine

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« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2013, 09:20:02 AM »

Hi Dave, what a wonderful narrative, heartfelt and we can all identify, on both sides of retirement, lvmci...
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« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2013, 12:50:24 PM »

Congratulations to both of you.  A very thoughtful story indeed.   Happy Trails.  John M
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John M.
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« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2013, 12:50:44 PM »

Great read! good luck and God speed...enjoy your travels and each other...post adventures from time to time
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Doug
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« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2013, 03:47:59 PM »

Dave & Amy -

Great story, great theme, great adventure ahead!

You might consider attending the big rally in Arcadia, FL over New Year's.  Bill & Brenda have taken over what Jack & Paula started, and are doing a wonderful job.  Lots of fellow busnuts to meet, visit and swap stories with - not to mention getting ideas for your own rig.  Several board members from this and BNO show up, you can put names to faces.

Till then. . . Keep heading south, keep it under 300 miles a day, take the little blue highways and enjoy the journey!

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink
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RJ Long
PD4106-2784 No More
Fresno CA
Tikvah
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« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2013, 04:05:51 PM »

Everyone... Thanks so much for all the encouraging words.  The day has been successful.  One of our members has allowed us to leave the bus in his drive while we visit family in Vermont.  He offered without meeting us in person... very kind and generous!   Thank You Jason!!!

RJ, I like the little blue roads... until this afternoon getting to Jason's house  Grin
With all the hills, I realized I was leading a parade, then we had to do a little switch-back turn and this 40 footer with car and dolly couldn't make it.  Ever try to back up a car and dolly?  LOL

I'm a little apprehensive about the trip south from here through the mountains.  My 6V92 towing my Impala is under-powered and really slow on the hills.  What happens after first gear won't go anymore?  So far it's cool enough outside that the engine is running cool.  but once we get to Virginia those hills get even bigger.  I might need a push.

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I couldn't repair my brakes, so I made my horn louder.
1989 MCI-102 A3
DD 6V92 Turbo, Alison
Tons of stuff to learn!
Started in Cheboygan, Michigan (near the Mackinaw Bridge).  Now home is anywhere we park
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« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2013, 04:28:32 PM »

Dave, great to hear you heading out. Don't rush those hills, evryone behind you can wait. I have the same setup as you and we just take our time, Bus does great. Look forward to hearing about your adventures. Craig
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The Hollands!
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« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2013, 04:30:18 PM »

I often wonder if my Turbo is working.  I don't hear it and it just seems really slow.  Would the bus run if the turbo didn't work?
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I couldn't repair my brakes, so I made my horn louder.
1989 MCI-102 A3
DD 6V92 Turbo, Alison
Tons of stuff to learn!
Started in Cheboygan, Michigan (near the Mackinaw Bridge).  Now home is anywhere we park
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« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2013, 04:35:28 PM »

I wonder the same questions everytime I leave home....mnts up and then down....1st gear from N.wilkesborro to boone.....I could never head far,far west....
Va don't have no mnts Cheesy unless they head into other states....NE TN here if you need anything from here to Boone...let us know...we live on the "non colored" roads off the blue ones  Grin ....
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Doug
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« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2013, 05:06:46 PM »

What happens after first gear won't go anymore? 

Don't worry.  I pulled a 14% grade in my 8V71 N pulling a 35 ft. trailer, just under 50,000 lbs.  I didn't have full throttle, an air filter needing a change, but ran 1900 rpm with no engine heat.  Would have pulled that all day.  Oh, did I mention 4 mph?  Just take your time, and watch those rpm's and the scenery!
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« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2013, 05:12:24 PM »

Dave, If it looks like a stall have Amy follow you in the car until you get to a downhill. I have a 6V-71 and will pull a Buick Century, it will be slow but steady.
Congrats to you two and have a fun time.

Dave5Cs
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« Reply #15 on: October 30, 2013, 05:17:36 PM »

Dave,

Glad you all are finally rolling. Good for you.

I totally hear you about the back roads. We take highways whenever possible, just because you have room.

Have fun, and take it slow. Buses are not the fastest vehicles. We feel slow sometimes, and that is with our setup.

John
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MCI 1995 DL3. DD S60 with a Allison B500.
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« Reply #16 on: October 30, 2013, 06:10:24 PM »

Dave & Amy, Me and Martha wish the both of you the best of luck on your adventure. I would love to do the same thing sometime in my life if I can talk Martha into it LOL. We will have to get together when you come back and do some more bus chatting before you pull out. Have fun in Vermont and don't worry about the bus we are in a safe neighborhood. Jason
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« Reply #17 on: October 30, 2013, 09:22:28 PM »

I'm a little apprehensive about the trip south from here through the mountains.  My 6V92 towing my Impala is under-powered and really slow on the hills.  What happens after first gear won't go anymore?  So far it's cool enough outside that the engine is running cool.  but once we get to Virginia those hills get even bigger.  I might need a push.


Dave -

Those hills in VA are speed bumps compared to what we've got out here on the West Coast!  From where I live, I've got to climb 6% grades to go anywhere out of this valley!

If you're concerned about the power output of your 6V92, I suggest you detour thru Luke's shop in NJ, or Joel's Choo-Choo Garage in Chattanooga, TN and have it checked out.

In the meantime, when climbing grades, downshift the automatic MANUALLY!  Don't let the Allison shift by itself, or you'll get no performance out of the coach at all.  Try to keep the revs between 1800 - 2000 on a partial throttle, that's where the Detroit's happiest when pulling.  Reading this might help - automatics are covered at the end:

http://busnut.com/forum/index.php?action=articles;sa=view;article=41

One last thing:  Remember Aesop's Fable of "The Tortoise and The Hare?"  Well, you're now driving a Tortoise, and if you try to drive it like a Hare, you'll be terribly disappointed.  So enjoy the journey - you've earned it!

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink
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« Reply #18 on: October 30, 2013, 09:50:33 PM »

Fjord Tortoise ?
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« Reply #19 on: October 31, 2013, 02:39:09 AM »

Surprisingly, we've recently counted and I think we are on year 5 since we went full time, 4 since we sold the house.  No real regrets.  you should have told us you were coming to Ohio.  We have a minimal campground of sorts, parking lot with water, sewer and electric near a creek and acres of corn and soybeans.  And not too far from where you came thru if you went down 23 then caught the turnpike towards Vermont.

Hopefully, all will go well on your trip south. Watch the gauges, pay attention to the bad drivers in front of you and take it easy.  Go to the Bus Rally in Arcadia.  It will be an excellent experience, you'll meet many great busnuts, and make great and knowledgeable friends.  And we'll be there, God willing.

We leave in about 2 weeks.  my foot is already itching, and it's cold/wet here.  We'll go down i65 this year, but eventually, we'll make it to Arcadia by Dec sometime.  Lots of friends to visit going down.
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Tom
1991 Eagle 15 and proud of it.
8V92T, 740, Fulltime working on the road.

Fran was called to a higher duty 12/16/13. I lost my life navigator.
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« Reply #20 on: October 31, 2013, 05:04:40 PM »

I know I will hear some flack on this  BUT, I have seen a tow car helping push a 4105 up a mountain,  Myself  My tow pushed my eagle 2 mi to a garage when I lost a drive shaft,  tow bar will hold, drive with care,  maybe see you both in Arcadia,   arcadiarally.com   Bill
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Bill & Brenda Phelan
Lakeland florida..........Host of the ARCADIA RALLY
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« Reply #21 on: October 31, 2013, 05:56:33 PM »

Bill,
Your not alone, I know of a bus company that uses a HD Ford Diesel pickup auto trans, to push their buses home when not too far out, they use an air compressor in the pickup bed for brakes and a William air throttle connected the the air throttle on the DDC. Not real quick but it gets the job done.  Grin
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« Reply #22 on: November 01, 2013, 10:49:20 AM »

Dave & Amy

Glad you made the jump!  We too are into our first 4 months of fulltiming.  It is only by Gods grace that we have been able to pull this off.  And it gets better every month.  There are still challenges but the rewards are amazing. 

Looking forward to meeting you both.  Let us know when you are headed south.  We plan to be tooling around the southern states and at Arcadia on the 26th.

We have a 6v92 Turbo and we pull a 8000lb van.  We have made it through the hills of west VA up to Boone with no issues.  Very slow at times but you just gotta through your hazards on and enjoy the ride.  Keep your RPMs up and watch your temps.

Keep it going and God bless you both!  Will be praying for you.

-Sean


www.herdofturtles.org
1984 Eagle Model 10S
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'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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« Reply #23 on: November 01, 2013, 02:53:35 PM »

Dave & Amy

Glad you made the jump!  We too are into our first 4 months of fulltiming.  It is only by Gods grace that we have been able to pull this off.  And it gets better every month.  There are still challenges but the rewards are amazing. 

Looking forward to meeting you both.  Let us know when you are headed south.  We plan to be tooling around the southern states and at Arcadia on the 26th.

We have a 6v92 Turbo and we pull a 8000lb van.  We have made it through the hills of west VA up to Boone with no issues.  Very slow at times but you just gotta through your hazards on and enjoy the ride.  Keep your RPMs up and watch your temps.

Keep it going and God bless you both!  Will be praying for you.

-Sean


[url=http://www.herdofturtles.org]www.herdofturtles.org [/URL]
1984 Eagle Model 10S


Congratulations and the best of luck to you folks.....hopefully we will meet someday!

We plan on pulling the plug in about a year and it seems like forever.....

Mike and Lori
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Mike and Lori
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« Reply #24 on: November 01, 2013, 04:11:33 PM »

A good place to have your first winter is in Florida. It is very RV friendly with lots of RV types. Plus the weather is great with lots to do. Good luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
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« Reply #25 on: November 01, 2013, 04:37:52 PM »

Fjord Tortoise ?
That's the Norwegian spelling of Ford Taurus.     Grin
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Mark Morgan    near Brandon, Manitoba, Canada
1972 MCI-7     'PapaBus'  8v-71N MT654 Automatic
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« Reply #26 on: November 01, 2013, 05:50:22 PM »

Wow

That was a really good story, thanks for telling it. Selling everything your own and moving into a wheeled home takes a lot of courage so congrats.

Seven years ago I did the same thing. Best decision I ever made.

Hope your road does not have to many bumps!

TM
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Steve & Kristen Full time nomads since '06 - PD4106-674  8V71/V730
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