Tag Archives: RV

Crazy Horse

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“When the course of history has been told

Let these truths here carved be known:

Conscience dictates civilizations live

And duty ours to place before the world,

A chronicle which will long endure.

For like all things under us and beyond

Inevitably we must pass into oblivion.

 

This land of refuge to the stranger

Was ours for our countless eons before:

Civilizations majestic and mighty.

Our gifts were many which we shared

And gratitude for them was known.

But later, given my oppressed ones

Were murder, rape and sanguine war.

 

Looking east from whence invaders came,

Greedy usurpers of our heritage.

For us the past is in our hearts,

The future never to be fulfilled.

To you I give this granite epic

For your descendants to always know-

“My lands are where my dead lie buried.”

crazy horse 

The Crazy Horse Memorial is located in the Black Hills of South Dakota, not far from Mt. Rushmore. As we were planning out our itinerary for this trip this was a stop we were uncertain of. We had heard mixed opinions and there was a lot of conflicting reviews online as to whether this was a stop worth visiting. It seemed that public opinion was found firmly rooted in two opposing camps. Those that raved about this stop and those that felt it wasn’t worth the $28.00 entrance fee.

We really weren’t sure if we were going to stop here until it actually came into view. Gracie really wanted to visit this monument after having researched and wrote a paper on it last year. Our concern was that there wouldn’t be enough there geared toward the younger boys and that they would have a tough time being still and quiet as we walked through the Native American Museum.

But we took a chance, and we are so glad we did. What an inspiring and awesome site.

“The southern Black Hills offers natural beauty and monumental art at Crazy Horse Memorial. Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski, together with his wife Ruth, began the world’s largest mountain carving in 1948, with the goal of protecting, honoring and preserving the history, culture, and living heritage of all Native American people. Their work is continued by the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation, members of their family, and supporters who believe in continuing his vision.

Crazy Horse Memorial hosts over one million visitors each year.

When Crazy Horse visitors step into the museum, they are transported into a place of beauty, inspiration and education. They experience the rich and varied cultures of the North American Indian people coming together in  a blend of special displays, featuring magnificent creations of artworks and artifacts- functional and artistic- spanning Pre-Columbian to contemporary times.

Native American artists are featured throughout the complex and several daily dance performances teach the traditional dances of many tribes.. The mountain produces unique, real feelings for visitors. From the safety of the viewing deck, they can see and hear the drilling and bulldozing work, and occasionally even feel the vibrations  from production blasts.”

As we stepped out of the car we were greeted with this incredible site:

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We headed into the Visitor’s Center and Native American Museum.

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The kids were all excited to see this artifact. Each of them in history and art in elementary school had the opportunity to learn about Wampum belts and then create their own Wampum belt design. Most recently Tyler did this for school.

 

Our first stop was the theatre where we watched a 20-minute video on the making on the monument and how it came about.

It was fascinating and led to a greater appreciation for the work that has been done and is still continuing today.

The Crazy Horse Memorial is a privately funded project that raises money through admission costs, money made through gift shop sales, and private donations.

Although Korczak Ziolkowski, has since passed away, the work continues as his 10 (one has since passed away)  children move forward with his vision, using his model and specs as a guide.

After walking through the museum we stepped outside on the viewing deck.

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The view from outside was even more spectacular,

And the kids enjoyed getting a closer look through the binoculars. (Ozzie loved being able to see what machinery was being used up on the mountain.

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Outside we were also able to see the model of what Crazy Horse will be someday, as they continue to toil their way, a piece at a time, through the granite rock.

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The end result with be awe-inspiring and enormous at 563 feet tall and 641 feet long.

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His head alone is 87 feet by 44 feet; large enough to hold all four faces of Mt. Rushmore.

While on the observation deck we were able to sit and enjoy a Native American program. The presenter shared with us stories and beliefs of his people and then performed a beautiful traditional hoop dance.

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He then invited the kids to come up and learn to dance his people’s traditional hoop dance.

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It was wonderful and moving to see the kids experience such a special moment as they danced in the shadow of Crazy Horse Monument.

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As we were leaving Rusty, Molly and Grace stopped to pick out a piece of granite, blasted from the mountain to create the Crazy Horse Monument.

They had a pile of rubble with a sign asking that you simply donate what you would like for the privilege of taking home a piece of history.

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I can’t say Toby was thrilled that we were taking home three HEAVY pieces of history in our school bus, but the kids just couldn’t resist a deal like that.

We were so glad we took a chance and made a stop there. Just to add our two cents to public opinion:

We found it inspiring and touching. It was thrilling to see the process of such a project and gave us a sense of what it must have been like watching Mt. Rushmore emerge from the granite rock before it was completed. The program was spiritually moving and when the Native American man, dressed in traditional clothing, spoke his concluding words with Crazy Horse in the background I was inspired…

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He looked at us and left this final thought,

“Let us go and be a more compassionate people.”

What beautiful instruction.

What a beautiful place.

Drumroll Please….

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Of all the decisions that had to made during our school bus conversion none created more debate than the question of what colors to paint the bus.

Everyone had a different vision of what they thought our home on wheels should look like. Some wanted to keep it subtle (namely Toby) while others wanted to embrace the uniqueness of living in a school bus with a unique paint job.

For a year we have talked, sketched, weighed and debated everyone’s suggestions. We made a list of twenty possible names, knowing that until we decided on a name we couldn’t decide on the paint job… since they go hand in hand.

The name of our bus was inspired by our dashboard figurines.

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Once we decided on the name of our bus then we need to make decisions about paint colors and design. On one Sunday evening we made the decision once and for all with a design contest. Knowing the theme for the bus, we gave every family member an outline of a school bus and a pile of colored pencils and instructed everyone create their vision on paper. Once everyone’s drawings were completed we voted on our favorite.

The winner was…

RUSTY

with his “Rolling Gnomes” design.

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Once we had decided on the design, the bus was prepped and the paint was purchased, and  it was time to paint!

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We chose a day last week when everyone’s schedules were wide open because this was an “all hands on deck” project. Matt came over and helped as well.

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The first task was to tape off the bus. The little boys helped Toby and I with this job…

which can be interpreted as: Toby and I followed the little boys around the bus re-taping over their tape. 😉

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While we did that the big kids and Matt scrubbed down the roof and prepared it for the blue paint that would cover the top half of the bus.

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Rusty designed the paint job around three primary colors: blue for the sky, green for the grass, and brown for the ground.

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It took us 8 hours to get the bus painted.

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We painted from top to bottom using brushes and rollers.

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It was a hot day but everyone pushed through and worked so hard. At the end of the day our big, yellow school bus was transformed into this:

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We let the paint set up for a few days and then Grace and I had the job of adding the details…those touches of whimsy that would transform the bus into “The Rolling Gnomes.”

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Grace took on task of hand painting gnome silhouettes on the panels where Toby had covered the windows with metal, while I hand painted blades of grass. Then we worked together to add mushrooms to finish the design.

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We are proud to present our converted school bus:

“The Rolling Gnomes”

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The BUS is done!

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One year ago we did it.

In July of 2015 we walked onto the 422 auction lot,

and we bought ourselves a school bus.

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The project began as a seed of an idea in my creative husband’s mind.

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For two years we had been planning a once in a lifetime road trip and were pricing out our different housing options. As we considered the varying costs of hotel rooms verses renting an RV Toby came up with the idea of creating our own RV.

When he brought up the idea of buying a used school bus and transforming it into an RV I was a bit hesitant, but when he pointed out all of the selling points, namely:

  1. The fact it was significantly cheaper than renting an RV.
  2. We could customize it to meet the exact needs for our family of seven.
  3. At the end of our big road trip we would have a family RV to enjoy for many years.
  4. We could work on it as a family and the kids could learn some valuable skills and take ownership in the project….

I was sold!

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The kids were SO EXCITED!

 

This past week was spent finishing the inside of the bus. Tomorrow Toby leaves for Michigan and will be gone until two days before we leave on our cross country road trip, so this week was the last opportunity we had  to complete the bus. Here are some of the projects we were working on:

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Rusty and I learned how to make screens for the windows.

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One of Toby’s big projects was to replace the gas tank on the bus. It was in good shape but the 38 gallon capacity made him uncomfortable with some of the longer stretches of road out west. So, being Toby, he headed to the local junk yard and found a 115 gallon tank off a junked vehicle and brought it home to replace the original tank.

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The girls sewed curtains for all the windows this week.

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Toby’s big “inside” project this week was building all the cabinet doors for the kitchen, master bedroom and front of the bus. When he was done I stained and polyurethaned them.

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And then he hung them.

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Didn’t he do a beautiful job?!

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The outside of the bus was also prepped for paint. The kids scrubbed the whole thing down, rough spots were sanded, all the stickers were removed, and exposed metal was primed before the first coat of paint went on.

 

It has been a labor of love. For 12 months we have worked to transform our home on wheels from a 72 passenger school bus into an RV.

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Toby led the family through the process and the end results are magical.

We are happy to say:

WE ARE DONE!

Here is a look at the inside of our school bus conversion.

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A look into the master bedroom that is located at the back of the bus.

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Isn’t it charming?!

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A view towards the front at our travel seats.

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Our bathroom consists of a toilet and small sink. On the wall is a framed map of our trip route.

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The view from the master bedroom looking forward. We decided to use a car play mat as our kitchen rug. We felt it tied into the license plates we hung on the cabinet fronts, but more importantly it was placed there as a therapy tool for the boys. They both use matchbox cars as a tool for cooling down when they get anxious.

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We look forward to collecting more magnets for the fridge as we travel the country.

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One of the decorative touches added with the completion of the bus…A good reminder for all of us! 😉

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We found these trays at IKEA. They made me smile. We super glued magnets to the back so that they can hang on the fridge and be pulled down to be used as serving trays when needed.

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We also labeled the birds that we felt matched each family member with their name.

 

This week was also spent purchasing paint for the outside of the bus.

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Oh, decisions…decisions…decisions!

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Because we needed special paint that would adhere to the metal of the bus we were more limited in our color choices. This is what we could pick from.

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Choices were made…

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The boys LOVED watching the process.

 

The outside of the bus is almost complete.

Stay tuned for pictures!

A Happy Camper

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I’m back!

I have been off-grid for a week and a half and now find myself with the arduous task of trying to catch up with many long overdue blog posts.

The girls and I spent the last week in the woods with 120 other teenage girls and leaders from church, at our annual Girls’ Camp week. (More on that in a future post)

But prior to leaving last Monday for Girls’ Camp we went camping as a family for the weekend on our skoolie’s maiden voyage.

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The start date of our cross country adventure in our converted school bus is quickly approaching and the goal is to get a few practice trips under our belt before we leave. The weekend before we left for Girls’ Camp happened to be free so we joined up with the Holt family and the Hudak family for a weekend camping trip to Pymatuning State Park.

The kids eagerly pitched in to help pack and prepare the bus for take-off.

The bulk of the work inside the bus is completed (with the exception of a few more cabinet doors that need hung.) Painting the outside of the bus is the next big project on the to-do list, but everything that was needed to be completed prior to taking it out on the road was done so we were clear to roll!

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The littles were vibrating with excited energy as we headed down the driveway on our first skoolie adventure!

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The ride there was a lot of fun with this as my view:

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The girls even bravely took turns at the wheel:

When we arrived we quickly got set up. It is crazy how much easier it is to “set up camp” this way than our traditional means of tent camping. Camp chairs were set up while the bus was hooked up to electric, sewer and water.

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I was able to get dinner cooking in the crock pot while Toby got us set up for the weekend. I must admit that after a weekend of camping with air conditioning, a fridge, running water, and my own toilet I can see how easy it would be to get soft and lose our camping edge. I felt a bit guilty and spoiled by the ease of the weekend!

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We had a wonderful weekend getaway. It was fun camping with friends and the kids loved having buddies around to go off exploring with.

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Our days were spent swimming:

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Fishing:

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The only catch of the day 🙂

 

Going on walks around the campground:

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Making memories around the fire:

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And relaxing with family and friends.

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It was a lovely break from a busy June and a perfect lead-in to a week of camping with all my favorite young women! We all went home feeling rested and renewed…

Thanks in part to luxurious sleeping conditions 😉

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As we were leaving camp we made a quick stop at the Spillway to feed the carp. The Spillway is one of those traditions that has gone hand in hand with Pymatuning camping from our very first camping trip there with friends years ago.

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The carp there are so abundant and condensed that the ducks literally walk across their backs.

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The kids all got a kick out of tossing our leftover bread into the water and watching the fish flop and wrestle over the falling pieces of stale bread.

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I can’t decided if I am more fascinated or grossed out by the experience…

but either way,

it is an experience!!

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It was a lovely weekend with the people I love most,

and a perfect kickoff for many future adventures in our home-grown,  skoolie bungalow!

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Some final touches…

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We are just about to head out on our first overnighter in our converted school bus. The morning was spent packing the bus, removing all Toby’s tools, and decorating it. This is the task I have been waiting 12 months for. I’ve been itching to get my hands on this blank slate and add my creative vision to our home on wheels.

Here’s a peek of what we have been up to this morning:

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We found many organizing treasures at Ikea including these adorable dog tail hooks for everyone’s towels.

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The master bedroom

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The kids covered the fridge in magnets from previous trips and adventures.

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Our HAPPY place!

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Our kitchen/living/dining room.

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Boys bunks are completed and ready for bedtime.

IMG_4081 (2)On the wall of our bathroom hangs a framed map of the USA with our bus trip route highlighted.

 

We are so excited for our first weekend in our tiny home!

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The Wheels on the Bus go Round and Round all through the Town

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That’s right our bus wheels are now going “all through the town”

Yes, We passed our inspection!

Yipee!!

Toby and I were both holding our breath as we waited for news from the mechanic. It seems that the only news we ever get from our mechanic is bad news…very expensive bad news. So you can imagine our shock and delight when he called and told us we had passed and the bus was now street legal. The grand total to make it legal: $39.00. We couldn’t believe it. We have NEVER had a car pass an inspection without something needing fixed or replaced.

It was an unexpected blessing!

The bus conversion work continues to move forward. The inside is nearing completion. We still have cabinet doors to install in the kitchen and bathroom but the doors for all the upper cabinets have been built, stained and installed. We added a touch of whimsy by attaching old license plates (leftover from Tyler’s bedroom border)  to the cabinet faces. I love the punch of color they provide.

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Grace and Molly have finished sewing the curtains for the  boys’ bunks and now they just need to sew the curtains for the bus windows.

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Toby finished building our living room bench. This bench, which sits across from the futon that will serve as the girls’ bed at night, has a seat that lifts to hold the girls bedding during the day when the futon is used as the living room couch.

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We took apart some of the old school bus seats and used the padding inside to pad the bench and then covered it in a durable, dark blue upholstery fabric.

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Near the stairs of the bus Toby covered the wood with cork so we have a place to pin post cards and souvenirs of our travels.

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Next comes the fun part of decorating and adding homey touches.

On Friday, in the midst of strawberry picking, drive-in movies, and visitors, we drove over to pick up our bus. Tyler and I had to leave straight from there to pick up his brother, Sean, but the rest of the crew got to ride the bus back home with Toby.

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Everyone was so excited!

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Toby and I were most excited by the little sticker in the window!

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The remainder of the summer will be spent addressing the final bus projects before we take our school bus turned RV on the road for our 40 day adventure around the United States of America.

Our “to do” list is getting smaller and the anticipation is growing as we make decisions on how we want to paint the exterior of the bus.

This weekend we are taking the bus out on our first trial run camping trip. We are spending the weekend camping with friends and I think this short trip will give us a better idea of what is working and what needs tweaked before we take her on the road for longer stretches.

“The wheels on the bus go round and round all through the town.”

The kitchen is in!

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Progress continues on our school bus!

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On Sunday evening we began the family discussion of what to name the bus. The name of our rolling home will help determine the paint job that will be added this summer. After much debate we have narrowed down our long list of possibilities to a couple finalist.

(If anyone has any bus name suggestions, please share! We are open to other possibilities!)

 The winning name will be announced soon.

This past week Toby finished the electric work on the bus, installing the last of the light fixtures. He also added the microwave and the fridge, which truly transforms the kitchen space into a true kitchen. The fridge is 3/4 size…a perfect solution to a little space while still allowing ample food storage for a family of seven.

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The kitchen countertop is installed. We decided to go with a Corian product that Toby found on sale. With the counter installed Toby was then able to add and hook up our kitchen sink as well as the two burner range top.

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The remaining cabinets for the bus have been built, stained, and hung. Toby custom built hanging cabinets for every available square inch of the bus, knowing the great need for storage we are facing for our cross country trek.

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The bathroom vanity has been built and we found a perfect tiny sink for our teeny tiny bathroom. Thank you, Ikea!

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The light fixture in the bathroom was a clearance find at Keim Lumber. This charming sunflower light with its connected bouncing bumble bee was marked down to $10.00 and adds a perfect touch of whimsy to our mini bathroom.

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The master bedroom is beginning to take shape as Toby builds in our queen size bed frame that will fill in most of the master “suite.” 🙂 He designed it so the frame will lift on hinges, allowing us to use the under bed space for large item storage.

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That is the bedroom door resting on the bed frame and our possible curtains choice hanging in the window…

 

Everyone is starting to get more and more excited as the school bus continues to evolve, and the date for our cross country adventure approaches.

Let the countdown begin!

School Bus Conversion Update!

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Sunshine and warmer weather have finally made an appearance in Western PA,

the result of which is a sudden surge in bus conversion activity.

Last summer we purchased a used school bus at a school bus auction with the intention of converting it into a RV for our family of seven.

This family project came as a result of us trying to price out the most economic way for our family to do a once in a lifetime, one month trip around the United States to visit some of our nation’s National Parks. After pricing out the varying costs of renting an RV or renting two hotel rooms per night for 30 days we discovered that if we could find a used school bus cheap enough we could convert it into a family RV and use it to see the country for less than the other two options…

With the added perk of having a custom designed RV to show for it at the end for future family trips.

The renovation process began with Toby removing all the school bus seats and adding a hardwood floor.

I am blessed to be married to a man who is handy and renovates/builds homes for a living, so this project was right up his alley. In addition to being a capable handyman he also has been blessed with the talents of creativity and being able to think outside the box. He is a great problem solver and good at executing an abstract vision. He is also a master of taking other people’s “trash” and repurposing it into treasure, a skill which has served us well over the course of our marriage, not just with this school bus conversion!

When we began the renovation we spent hours online looking at other peoples blogs, websites, and YouTube videos for blueprint ideas. The problem we ran into, however, was that most school bus conversion blueprints we found were meant for an RV that slept 2 or 4 people, not 7. So ultimately we had to start from scratch and come up with our own design, custom to our family’s needs.

We knew there were some non-negotiables with the design that we simply had to have. First and foremost we needed it to sleep at least 7 with a little wiggle room in case our family grows in the future.

We wanted belted seats for traveling. Rather than reinstall school bus seats (which wouldn’t be the safest or most comfortable for long distance travel) Toby instead found mini van captain’s chairs from a local junk yard that will be installed at the front of the bus.

I knew I needed a full kitchen for feeding my family three meals a day. With that I knew we would need a larger fridge and ample food storage. Adding a full kitchen (with a fridge, cook top and sink) will cut down on our vacation food expenses dramatically.

This need for extra storage is also what led to our decision to not install a shower. When drawing up the blueprints for the bus we knew that we had the option of a pantry/closet or a shower in the same spot. I opted for more storage space since we will be staying at KOA campgrounds most nights with showers we can use there.

We did choose to add a bathroom with a flushing toilet and sink. With this addition Toby had to install a white, grey, and black water tank beneath the bus.

Once we decided on the bus design Toby went to work. Much of his work over the winter months was necessary, but not photo worthy, behind the walls work like plumbing and electric, jobs that were time consuming, and taxing, but necessary. Now that that work is all done the fun, more visible and creative part of the project begins. Toby has now built all the walls, built all our cabinets (he is still cutting out all the cabinet doors) and has added the generator, finished all the lighting, and added the roof top air conditioner.

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The electric panel that will sit below/behind the shelving in our closet.

 

On Monday night, for family night, we spent the evening cleaning the bus, removing all the old bus stickers, and preparing the wood for staining. Everyone worked hard and the cleaning was done in about two hours. Cleaning the bus together allowed for a lot of trip discussion and got everyone excited for the completion of the bus and our big, cross country trip.

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Step one: Empty the bus out so we can clean it.

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Let the scrubbing begin!

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Grace removing all the old seating stickers.

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Tyler and Ozzie cleaned all the lower panels.

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Rusty helping Grace out by lifting her from cabinet to cabinet to clean window rims.

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Molly cleaning the top bunk (Rusty’s bed.) The wire and clips will be used to hang the privacy curtains that the girls are sewing for the bus.

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Toby’s seat. We manages to clean 10 years of grime from his dashboard. He is installing a co-captain seat next to his for me to sit in. The children’s seats will be in two rows behind us.

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The wood: sanded, cleaned, and ready for staining. I love the barn door design Toby came up with to build the bathroom, bedroom and closet doors. I think they are charming. 

 

Toby spent the remainder of the week  staining all the wood in the bus,

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IMG_0577 (2)The view from the back of the bus where our master bedroom is located.

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All stained! Isn’t it pretty 🙂

 

Welding a platform on the back of the bus to hold the generator,

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Installing the last overhead light and the air conditioner that will keep us cool as we explore the hotter southern states,

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The air conditioner being installed…

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The air conditioner (which he installed in the old school bus emergency exit hatch) and our new overhead light.

 

 

Storage containers were added to the outside of the bus,

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And our kitchen countertop has been installed.

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The progress is exciting and our school bus is looking more and more like a home.

Stay tuned as the school bus conversion continues!

“RV there yet?”

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Monday night we did something new and unusual for family night. The RV show was going on in Pittsburgh this week and it just so happens that on Monday the cost was significantly less, due to the “buy one get one” deal on admission tickets, so we decided to take a trip to the city to do some summer dreaming and gather inspiration.

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We are  the process of converting a used school bus we purchased last summer into an RV for our family. Much of the gutting and prepping projects are done, including floors and walls, and we are nearing that critical juncture where detail decisions must be made. Toby is custom building most of the interior and as a result we have the opportunity to really consider what we want and what would best work for our family.

The first big adventure we will be taking with our “schoolbus turned RV” will be in June when we head out on a three week loop out west to visit many of our country’s national parks. Everyone is getting excited by this once in a lifetime trip, but I think Toby is starting to feel the pressure a bit as he considers all that must be done to our bus to make it a “home on wheels” by summertime.

We decided that a trip to the RV show would be a great way to check out different design ideas and walk through different lay-outs to see what ideas we might want to incorporate into our design. We especially were on the lookout  for creative storage solutions, with space being at a premium in our school bus home. 🙂

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The kids were excited at the prospect of an evening in Pittsburgh. The convention center where it was being held is a neat building to visit. Add to the experience a hundred RVs to walk through and explore and our information gathering evening turned into an adventure!

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We had the opportunity to walk through RVs of every size, cost, and design imaginable, from RVs far more luxurious than our own home to small one-person RVs that could fit in our front closet.

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The kids loved the feeling of “playing house” as they walked through these staged RVs for sale.

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Tyler was especially enamored. We didn’t expect that it would be Tyler who would love the experience the most, but he was blown away by all that could exist within an RV. He walked through every one of them, opening every cupboard, fridge, and closet and then casting his vote as to whether we should purchase it or not.

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He finally found the one he wanted to buy. It was the one with leather recliners and a large screen TV playing the Steeler game. 🙂

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Molly was our note taker. As we walked through RV after RV we pointed out features we saw that we thought would work well in our bus conversion and she took notes.

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We left feeling inspired, excited, and perhaps a bit overwhelmed. We have a big project ahead of us,

but what a fun, memory making experience it will be for our kids and our family as a whole.

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T minus six months and counting!

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The Planning Begins!

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Family night turned into a planning night as we dedicated the evening to mapping out the route for our big vacation next summer. This is one of those “once if a lifetime” trips that have been talked about and dreamt about for years. It is now going to be a reality. Toby is busy turning our school bus (purchased this summer at an auction) into an RV. Now we need to begin mapping out our route and booking our campsites.

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So that became the activity for family night.

The kids all weighed in with opinions and wishes. Oh, if only we could see them all! But, alas, we had to trim the fat (so to speak) and make tough decisions. Even with all our cutting, trimming, and refiguring we were left with a 24 day trip around the western United States…and a very full trip at that. We recognize this will probably be the only time we will take this particular trip, especially with our kids getting older, so we are trying to fit as many sites into this trip as we can.

We would love to hear from those of you who are familiar with some of these sites or who have made this trip yourselves. Any suggestions, recommendations, or things you’d do differently? What are the “must see sites” you’d recommend? Nothing is written in stone, so now is the time to share your knowledge and expertise. We’d love to hear it! 🙂

Here is the final schedule we came up with…our itinerary…for our family trip of a lifetime.

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Day 1- Leave home, travel all day to St. Louis, Missouri

in our big yellow school bus turned RV. (Travel= 10 hours)

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(Camp at St. Louis NE KOA)

Day 2- Tour St. Louis arch, drive through my old hometown of Waynesville, MO and onto Branson, MO. (Travel= 4 hours total)

arch

(Camp at Branson, MO KOA)

Day 3- wake early and spend day at Silver Dollar City.(Travel= 0 hours)

silver

(Camp at the same campground)

Day 4- Travel to Independence, MO where we will spend the day visiting Mimi Joy. (Travel= 3 1/2 hours)

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(Camp at Kansas City East, Kansas KOA)

Day 5- Travel all day to Great Sand Dunes National Park in Mosca, CO. (Travel= 11 hours)

(Camp at Alamosa KOA)

Day 6- Spend day at Great Sand Dunes National Park.(Travel= 0 hours)

sand

(Camp at same campground)

Day 7- Drive to Mesa Verde where we will spend the day touring Mesa Verde and Four Corners. (Travel=  4 hours)

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(Camp at Cortez/Mesa Verde KOA)

Day 8- Drive 5 hours to Bryce Canyon National Park. Hike and camp.(Travel= 5 hours)

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(Camp at Cannonville/Bryce Valley, Utah KOA)

Day 9- Drive to Zion National Park. Spend 1/2 day hiking and exploring then drive onto St. George, UT. (Travel= 4 hours total)

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(Camp at St. George/Hurricane, Utah KOA)

Day 10- View Grand Canyon and drive through Las Vegas strip. (Travel= 3 hours)

grand canyon

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(Camp at Las Vegas, NV KOA)

Day 11- Drive to Sequoia National Park. (Travel= 6 hours)

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(Camp Visalia/ Sequoia, CA KOA)

Day 12- Tour Sequoia National Park and drive onto Yosemite to spend the night. (Travel= 2 hours)

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(Camp at Yosemite West/ Mariposa, CA KOA)

Day 13- Tour Yosemite National Park and then drive onto Great Basin National Park to spend the night. (Travel= 7 hours)

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(Camp at Great Basin/Ely KOA)

Day 14- Drive to Provo, UT (Travel= 4 hours)

(Camp at Salt Lake City, Utah KOA)

Day 15- Tour Temple Square/ SLC (Travel time= 0 hours)

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(Camp at the same campground)

Day 16- Drive 4 hours to Rexburg, Idaho and then through the Grand Tetons. (Travel time= 8 hours total)

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(Camp at Yellowstone Park/Westgate KOA)

Day 17- Spend the day exploring Yellowstone National Park and then drive onto Devil’s Tower Monument.(Travel= 4 1/2 hours)

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(Camp at Devil’s Tower KOA)

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Day 18- Spend the day touring Mount Rushmore National Memorial and Crazy Horse Monument.(Travel= 2 hours)

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(Camp at Mt. Rushmore KOA)

Day 19- Enjoy Rapid City, South Dakota. (Travel= 0 hours)

(Camp at the same campground)

Day 20- Visit Wall Drug and Badlands National Park. (Travel= 2 hours)

wall drug badlands

(Camp at Badlands/ White River KOA)

Day 21- Drive 4 hours to De Smet, South Dakota to visit Laura Ingalls Wilder’s home and then onto Mitchell, South Dakota to see to corn palace. (Travel= 5 hours total)

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(Camp at Mitchell, SD KOA)

Day 22- Drive to Nauvoo, Illinois . (Travel= 8 1/2 hours)

(Camp)

Day 23- Tour Nauvoo, Il and then onto Hannibal, MO- birthplace of Mark Twain. (Travel= 2 hours)

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(Camp at Springfield KOA)

Day 24- Drive 10 hours home.

Day 25- SLEEP!! (Yeah, right)

AND

Back to reality 🙂