I hope everyone recieved their magazine by now.. If not, be sure to contact Dennis.
Here is the story from the magazine.
“You Bought A What?”
“What Are You Going To Do With A Bus?”
by Michelle Badame
And so it began. This was going to be a part of my life that I never thought that on this day I would say "I Love This Bus." In the beginning, I would watch as day-after-day (soon to be night-after-night) my husband, Nick would work on his new venture, very rarely seeing him and not understanding or knowing his desire or "dream" to build a bus.
I knew Nick's father also converted buses in the past, but little did I know this conversion of buses was going to streamline into my life—and so it did. I remember for one year straight my husband would continually ask me, "so what do you think would look good here?" or "how about this color?" I remember my answers to those questions as being simply, "I don't know." I mean what was this thing that was taking my husband away from my family and me? What did he expect me to do actually "like" this thing? I was irate. For two years prior Nick had been secretly planning his dream. I knew he always wanted to do this someday, but for me I guess it seemed like something that would only be talked about and not actually done. So, for two years he was planning something that I was not a part of. That to me was the hardest part. I was not involved in the planning, so why should I be involved in the making? Well, and so it went, day-after-day, night after night of Nick being committed to this bus. His goal was to have this thing converted and ready to use approximately one year later after purchase. He's got to be joking. I mean this bus still had the passenger seats in it! Does he really know what he is doing? And better yet, what in the hell is this thing going to turn out to be like. I am not exactly the "camping" type.
And so it went—still day-after-day, night-after-night. But wait, I see some light. The seats did come out, and oh, how ‘bout that, the whole bus has been stripped! Hmmmm, maybe he does know what he’s doing. Okay, so I was wrong but not surprised. Nick is a hard worker and is very dedicated to his family so I know of his capabilities and determination, but still not
convinced of this whole “bus” thing.
Also, did I mention that “this bus” also has its very own storage facility! What? I can’t even get new carpet and this hunk of metal has its own home! Oh well, I guess that’s what marriage is all about, for better or for worse. And so it keeps on going, day-after-day, night-after-night, daily UPS delivery after daily UPS delivery. But now hold on! There seems to have been some more progress to the “home wrecker.” New siding, or as the “bus” term would be new skins! So here is this bus with a whole new outer shell making “the bus” seem a little less eye irritating. One of the biggest and hardest parts of this phase was the rebuilding of some of the cargo bay doors, which Nick, his crew, and his father all did themselves—what an awesome job they did. Nick also put on all new fiberglass fenders, bumpers, and camera pod. The re-skinning process that took place was done totally with .080 aluminum materials. The bus also received new solid aluminum moldings during the conversion. During this time, Nick installed a custom-made 12,000lb. trailer hitch.
The next step of the conversion seemed to be all the electrical, plumbing, heating and cooling. This is all mechanical stuff that to me seemed to just happen one day, but I know Nick and his crew spent many days, nights, and hours on this particular phase. Being a heating/cooling/commercial refrigeration professional does help though. Yes, Nick, along with the building of “this bus”, does have his very own business that also had to keep going. So, not only was he working on his new project, he also ran a business! (Nick Badame Refrigeration) Things were very, very hectic in the Badame household.
Next, I notice that Nick has begun to plan out the interior layout of his bus asking me where I think the bathroom should be. Reluctant and still irate, I answer, “I don’t know!” Wherever you want to put it I guess.” And so without any help from his angry wife, Nick moves on and continues to plan and develop the interior layout himself, and very well I might add. He
really did know all about these bus conversions, learning these skills from his father. I was very proud of him! The interior consisted of the cockpit area, a salon area, a kitchen, one bathroom, a master bedroom, and lots of storage.
The interior became a very big and important part for Nick. It would be during this phase that even I can say made my eyes finally opened and took notice. Marble kitchen floors, ultra leather couches (ooh-la-la), Corian countertops, a full size shower with an electronic toilet, custom made laminate cabinets that were curved (really fancy!), and the master bedroom. All of this did take some time for Nick to complete, but when he did, Holy Cow! The result was just beautiful.
Well I became a little more know–ledgeable and a little less irate, because what had been produced was this very comfortable, very beautiful, very special home on wheels that could ever be! I was getting more excited at this time because I could now relate to what my husband had created. I knew how hard he worked. I knew of the dedication it took for him, I saw his determination come to life, and I watched at how much this really meant to him.
At this point I will tell you a little more about the type of bus “we” have acquired. This is a 1989 MCI 102C3 seated 40 foot coach with an 8V92 Turbo Detroit Diesel. The transmission is an Allison HT740 Automatic. The bus has intrical steering with a tilt and telescopic wheel. Nick added a black leather VIP wheel. The bus also has Firestone F400 tires.
Next, after the interior came to character, I became more interested and able to help Nick as he now needed color schemes and ideas for the finishing touches. We went with a gray, white, black, silver and almond color scheme for the interior. The exterior was pretty much these colors also with the exception of the almond. There was high quality gray carpet for the living area, hallway, and master bedroom, and black marble floors for both the kitchen and bathroom. Nick decided to carpet the walls in the living area below the windows, down the hallway, and in the master bedroom and vinyl wallpaper was hung in the bathroom.
Next, came the ceiling panels and window valances. They were constructed individually by Nick and then padded and surfaced by an upholstery company using gray ultra suede as the actual covering. The result? Very, very nice. I have to say that the bus was becoming something of a piece of beauty and quite the discussion topic by many people who by this time have seen the remarkable change “this bus” has taken.
Now, you have to try and appreciate this. For a very, very, very long time, our bus did not have an actual exterior paint job. That was going to come, but for financial reasons became one of the last things to be done. The bus was completely painted in a black primer. Now, can you picture this thing coming toward you on maybe lets say the opposite side of the highway! Yeah, and that’s how I felt in it. Like all heads were turning—and they were. I remember on one of our excursions, we were on a hayride with a bunch of families and someone saw our bus in its site and said, “Now who would paint their bus like that?” Well thank god the gentleman next to me knew what it actually was and commented, “That is actually a black primer.” Whew, I was saved. Yeah, it was a little embarrassing at first, but the end result as you can see speak louder than words. The paint job done by StarJet in Columbus Ohio.
By now we are actually able to utilize the bus and take her and our family out on it's first journey. The first trip was to Frontiertown in Ocean City, Maryland, and turned out very well. Even though this was a campground, the conditions we were living in made it seem as though we were in our house. So the experience for me was pleasant. On our second trip, we headed to Virginia and stayed at a camping resort called Bethpage. This was the trip from hell! It took about eight hours to get there and once we got there, we had nothing but problems. You know when everything that could go bad actually does. We were out in the middle of nowhere (which did not help) and it was hot. Our brand new RS3000 Inverter had a software problem that could not be fixed that night so Nick bypassed the inverter and ran off park power. Well, needless to say by now, me and the kids are sweating to death and we were in the dark for the longest time.
But, we learned a lot and in the future were able to enjoy what our Motor Coach has given to us. We took a two-week vacation down to Florida and stayed at the Tropical Palms Fun Resort. Since our first visit to this spectacular vacation spot, we have been back numerous times. This is one of our favorite places to vacation. There is a lot for the kids to do in the
area, and it is very close to Disneyworld. During this two week stay, and having a full-size, counter depth refrigerator, I was able to pack plenty of food for the trip making only one last food run before the two weeks ended. Pretty good when you’ve got kids! Yes, it was like being at home.
Since the completion of the bus, Nick now enjoys helping others on the Bus Conversions Bulletin Board. From time to time there always seems to be another bus parked here or there at Nick’s shop that he helps with their HVAC and electrical problems that they may be having.
In the future, we would love to start another bus conversion-this time 45 footer! Yes, they are time consuming and tedious but in the end, like I have found, the result is quite amazing and extremely enjoyable by all.