The bus life blog hasn’t been updated in quite some time. The bus has been completed and we live in it full time now. So much has happened in the past nine months. I will attempt to get caught up on the posts…
When we eagerly removed the swinging arm for the door (months ago) we had no idea that driving would be such a problem. Even with bungee cords and rope securing it as tightly as possible, the doors still flapped around on the road. So while our long term solution is to build a proper door, today we came up with a super simple (but very effective) way to keep the doors secure with some basic hardware from the home improvement store. See the photos for details. It’s always the simplest solution that works the best!
Brad taped off the lights with frog tape to polyurethane the ceiling, and I kinda love the effect… 😃
This is so exciting, something I’ve been waiting on doing for months. We put in window sills today! We wanted squared off windows to look more like a traditional home, but our shuttle bus windows were rounded. We built the frames in to cover the rounded edges, and then with the sills in place, voila! Squared off windows! I’ve started framing in the outside with mitered corners, but ran out of wood, so no pictures of that yet.
I built an oddly shaped shoe cabinet to fit the oddly shaped space next to the dog house (the engine compartment). Plus, we’ll need a place to dump keys, pocket change, and mail when we come in the door, so the cabinet has a tabletop that stretches over the dash. This is somewhat temporary because we decided that long term it would be great to rip out the dog house and built a normal (square) cabinet that stretches across the entire front of the cab, with cabinet style doors to access the engine. That will be so much easier for maintenance than having to take the dog house cover off.
Before and after comparison shot of the tiny bathroom. We’ve come a long way in the last two months!
Some pics of our tiny bathroom (shower / toilet combo). We fiberglassed by hand because of the tiny space and odd angles, then finished with marine paint. It was a very messy process, but one that we don’t regret. The teak wood bath mat was the final touch and fit the dimensions almost perfectly, just needed to cut a sliver off to fit the toilet. We’ll put up a shower curtain as a temporary solution until we can build a proper door (and frame). I can’t wait to take my first shower in there!
The kitchen sink drains through a tube into the shower, then straight down into the grey water tank. I thought that was a clever idea which made plumbing simpler.
Fireplace mortar and tile – DONE! Just have to let it cure before grouting and trimming it out. I don’t know how anyone has the patience and mental fortitude to do an entire shower in tile. Mortar is messy! Our hats off to you if you have.
Now we are without the Cuddlebus for a few days while the mortar dries. What will we do with ourselves?
Our awesome coworker has a tile saw and a lot of DIY expertise, so we took the Cuddlebus for a little trip over to her house and learned the ropes. We laid tile on the base platform for our fireplace. It took about three hours just for this section, but now we feel like we have the basic knowledge to do it on our own. We will finish up the backsplash today, then leave the bus at her house for a few days to let it cure before driving it home to grout. We have separation anxiety already! We will have to be patient, but maybe this means we’ll have some free time to go and see a movie or something. 🙂 What a crazy thought!
Brad is sanding down the walls, prepping for sealant. Once the walls are dry we can put in our new mattress and test it out. Exciting stuff!
The tongue and groove is all in, with a few minor bits to complete around the stove pipe and bottom step. There is so much wood everywhere! Our next steps are to finish window sills / trim, and condition and urethane everything. We plan to be finally moved in and rent free by the end of May (one more month to go) after seven months of build. It’s taken longer than we anticipated, but we are so excited to start spending our free time in the mountains instead of working on the bus!
Cuddlebus is looking desperately in need of a bath… but we love it so much anyway.
I’ve noticed in each of my photos that the toilet is in a different place, but I assure you where it is here is not it’s final place. 😁 Can you imagine the looks of other drivers on the road?
I’m not sure what Brad is cooking up, but I’m mightily intrigued!
Plumbing fix day – I did some quick research and found that you can layer pipe thread compound over the top of pipe tape to help prevent against leaks. Went to the plumbing store, and a very helpful worker confirmed this fact and helped me to choose one that is Teflon based, like the tape, that will work with both brass and plastic. He said that brass fittings are notoriously leaky! So I redid all of the leaky joints and ran another water test. Presto! No leaks! I am officially a plumber now (albeit a novice one, and without the plumber’s crack).
Look at this good looking guy I found, working hard as usual past the daylight hours… We are getting ready to do our first plumbing test. Nerve wracking!
On minimalism – I spent a few days scanning in the last few paper items that I want to preserve. My son’s early artwork and photos of him when he was small. There wasn’t much, but there’s no reason to hang on to the paper when it can all be digitized. Buying a small scanner was a good investment, and can be used in the future for scanning in receipts and paperwork. Brad also went through his many paper maps and decided what to keep. Realistically, any of that can be found online now, but some of them hold sentimental value for mountains that he has climbed and places he’s been. But one must ask themself – is the object necessary when you still have the memories? As a society we put too much emphasis on the value of physical objects. Our filing cabinet paperwork has now been minimized to all fit into a slim binder, and that will have a place in our new tiny home. Everything we keep will be intentional and have it’s place. This is how I like to live.
I like how many challenges we’ve overcome. There have been many. In the moment they are incredibly frustrating. But every time we end up finding a creative solution that is better than the original plan…
It’s amazing how many things change throughout the course of a build that you couldn’t have planned for. We decided to cover up the little kindling storage space under the front of the step. It was too impractical in the end. But now that we have pine paneling across the front it has allowed us to have a more continuous theme. We are putting pine across the back of the main steps as well to pull it all together. Hooray for compromise and adaptability!
Our little cabin is emerging! The pine wall boards are very lightweight and splintery, but are going up relatively quickly. We have just one wall left to finish before the arduous process of cutting down excess, trimming everything out, sanding, and staining / finishing all the wood. Trim seems more important now than ever to cover up all of the uglies, odd edges, and mistakes.
We had such a productive day! It feels like we are on the downhill slope now. Put in the vinyl flooring today, and now it’s starting to look like a real home. We’re ready to start putting up some tongue and groove paneling tomorrow. I can’t wait to see how much that pulls everything together!
Our shower is starting to look less like a dungeon and more like a… shower! We had the option to go with a funky color, but opted for traditional white instead since there will be very little light coming in. I don’t regret fiberglassing by hand, even though I’m pretty sure I’ve lost many brain cells from the resin fumes. It looks great. Also, we took back the porcelain paint and bought marine paint instead. I wasn’t sure if porcelain would be a bad idea for a bus that shifts and moves a lot on the road, so we are playing it safe. Primer is on, and next week we’ll paint another coat of white marine enamel, then a final coat of glossy spar varnish.
I love our garage! This is the view from the back door. You can see our water heater and propane setup.
The garage is done (and everything has a place)! This is the view from the hobbit door over the bed, looking into the garage. We maximized storage space by adding racks to the back of the door for climbing rope and miscellaneous, and the telescoping ladder actually fits perfectly against the lower shelves. It’s great that our gear doesn’t have to take up our living space, and it’s all out of sight.