Tuesday, March 31, 2015

This week's progress

Where do I start? I did so much this weekend!

The weekend started with my putting up the final piece of the sidewall of the bedroom. It needs to be redone when the M5 bolts arrive from Hong Kong. Those won't arrive until early April though. Meanwhile I have some from Lowes that I can use to secure the boards nearest to the partition I intend to build at the back of the bedroom.

After that and it was a fight to put the boards up against the side, I attacked the remaining yellow painted areas. There still are a few patches I didn't hit but those are hard to penetrate with a brush and will need to be sprayed. The end result is pretty good. All I need now is the front interior partition and darkened windows to make the bus look quite sinister.

Now the reason for the tricky woodwork was due to my having to work around windows I wished to retain as windows. Also in an attempt to keep the wood flatter, instead of bending it around a small body rib, I cut it around the rib. It didn't seem to make any difference though.

A rather tiresome piece of work reared its head on Sunday. The plywood floor installed by the hillbillies had rotted. I'd regarded it as suspect but poked it with my finger and it flaked up. The problem was that the hillbillies could not be bothered to spend 30 seconds to glue a rubber door seal back into place so water had penetrated and the wood had rotted. I remember fixing that rubber seal was the first thing I did, way back in November. The old plywood was torn up and OSB laid in its place.

Looking in through the back door, the bedroom looks much better now. The room still needs walls and a door at this end and tops on the walls and a door at the other end but it is taking shape. As I have a week off, I'm hoping to get that and the bedroom furniture done by the 20th.

The plan was to take the bus to Lowes on Saturday but when I tried to crank it, the battery was flat. It took 6 hours to get enough charge in to crank it the following day. Thank Heavens my lady has a pickup truck! We used that to pick up supplies.

I will definitely have to get myself a set of coveralls. It's getting to the point where my bus work clothes are getting too grubby to wash out properly. Judging from Saturday, a hard hat looks worthwhile too. I remember dinging my head on the emergency exit as I pulled up plywood. That had me sitting on the floor while the room stopped spinning! The next time, I stood up underneath the wing mirror and clonked my head on the steel bars that support it.

Monday was an important day too. Monday I paid my final rent payment. I intend to get the bedroom livable by April 21st and will move out of my place into it around then. I am so determined I handed my notice into my landlord and bought a pot of paint for the bedroom. The color - Cosmic Pink by Valspar.

Having lived in rented accommodation before, where the walls were lilac in the closet, pink in the bedroom and yellow in the dining room, I intend to have a really cheerful set of paint colors. Boys have blue, girls have pink be damned. I want something happy and cheerful. It's my home and I'll do what I damned well please and hang the bizarre opinions of others!

Those with memories stretching back a few months will remember there were several bunk beds on the bus. I took them out and have not managed to find any use for the steel. In fact the only things that I have recycled from the old conversion have been the sink and the unrotted sections of the plywood floor. Thus, the steel was lying idle until one day my lady's sister's boyfriend wanted some steel. I told him he could have what he wanted. The next day, the cunning soul had come up with a do-it-yourself plow made of that steel, an old railway sleeper and a hand cart. He plowed some of the field ready to plant crops.

Now that's inventive and useful!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

WTF - Your electricity bill is How Low?

In my normal everyday life, people find out how low my electricity bill is and gasp in amazement. Their bills for their houses, apartments and duplexes range from $200 a month to $1,200. Mine is considerably lower. In fact I am on the residential low use tariff and my typical bill works out as:
$10 basic facilities charge. This is what I consider to be a real rip-off!
$4.24 for subdivision lighting. As far as I'm concerned they can take that lighting away - it doesn't help me see to put my key in the keyhole after dark!
5% paid to the town and they charge that on the basic facilities charge, subdivision lighting and actual electricity.
Then actual electricity used which most months is 100KwH. This works out at $10.
So, my electricity bill is mostly 40% actual electricity used and 60% taxes and fees.

Clearly you can see that I'm pretty miffed that I'm saving the environment and being taxed disproportionately for doing so. If I was burning up 1000KwH a month then I'd still be paying $10 for the basic facilities charge and $4.24 for subdivision lighting plus 5% or putting it another way, $100 in electricity for a total expenditure of $119.95. Taxes and fees would make up a tiny portion of the cost.

Of course, moving into the bus means that I will have to be self-contained for power. That means solar panels, wind generators etc. In winter I heat a small room in my rented hovel. That measures 10 feet by 8 feet by 8 feet or 640 cubic feet. My bus measures 24 feet by 6 feet by 7 feet inside or 1,008 cubic feet. Given that I will be in a position to insulate the bus (which I can't with the hovel I'm living in) and the fact that the bus will be partitioned into smaller compartments, the largest being 504 cubic feet, it will be far easier and cheaper to heat.

People love to ridicule me yet I'm usually right about things. I was told I ate $80 a week of groceries. Hardly - try about $50 a month. No food ever goes to waste in my kitchen. I worked and earned the money to buy it so I'm darned well going to eat what I earned money to buy and am certainly not throwing the fruits of my labors in the trashcan. That's insulting! I was told my monthly electricity bill would be about $250. Try $25 (sometimes less). Now they're trying to say I can't live off green power.

Let's look at the facts. If I bought the cheap Harbor Freight solar setup of 3 solar panels in a 45 watt 12v kit for $190, assuming 5 hours of partial sun per day, that would produce 3.375KwH of power. That's enough to power lighting, laptop, tablet, water pump etc as needed for the entire month. Cooking and showering as well as the fridge require different levels of power. A dorm fridge runs at a 75 watt surge. When its compressor is running, it uses 75 watts. When its not, it doesn't. Opening the fridge when the air inside the house is cooler and closing the door quickly reduces power consumption. Over a month at 30% on, that fridge would consume 18,000KwH. A microwave and a kettle use short bursts of power as does an electric water heater.

Clearly, 3 solar panels is not going to do much for 100KwH lifestyle, which is why people are mocking my decision to ignore generators and propane. For the price of a generator, I could buy another solar panel setup and generate 6.7KwH. Indeed, I have enough roof space to put a darned good solar setup that would supply all my power needs. Equally I can put together a wind turbine arrangement that would generate power whenever the wind blows regardless of whether its daylight. Incidentally, wind power generates far more electricity than solar. A single turbine can generate 600Watts On a windy day that could be 14,400KwH.

Before paying for solar panels, I'm going to have a darned good go at wind power. The components are cheap and in plentiful supply. In fact most of the components can be had from Lowes for next to nothing.

The trick is going to be to install sufficient batteries to enable a decent standard of living when the sun doesn't shine or the wind doesn't blow. A decent generator would come in at about $500. That would pay for 5 large capacity batteries.

Watch this space for further developments.

Monday, March 23, 2015


As today was a work day, I didn't get to do much on the bus. I did get to go shopping though and ended up buying two locks for the bus. They weren't cheap but they should be more secure than the locks that don't exist right now.

Next I got some electrical components in order to complete the electrical work on the bus to date. When I got to the bus after work I completed work on wiring all my power sockets into place. This time there's a fuse. I'm hoping a 1 amp fuse will be sufficient.

While working on the bus, I found a pool of water on my kitchen counter. Clearly the seam above needs attention. That, I'll have a go at, this weekend. The bedroom area seems leak free though. Completing the bedroom construction is as high priority as security and sealing leaks.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Arrghh! It rained!

Before I knocked off for the night yesterday, I put some plastic over the roof vent, sealing it. Last night it rained. Looking at the wet in the cockpit, I can't see much if any difference. That leaves me puzzled as to where the water is coming from.

Today was meant to be spent finishing the bedroom walls and sanding the floor. That didn't happen due to the rain. It was simply impractical to take OSB outside to cut it in the rain and I couldn't do much inside without power. Needless to say, I did do things but not exactly what was intended.

After putting up some more foam over the side windows, I cut some smaller sheets of OSB and fitted them to the side. Then as I'd run out of OSB that was usable for the sides, I cracked on with building my toilet. That's now complete aside from needing handles and a hole under the seat to allow functionality. The seat needs to be attached too!

Other than that I wired a USB socket via a switch into the console. It claims to be fused but I'll put a fuse in anyway. At least now I can run GPS or my cell phone charger. I'd been missing that!

I'm still planning on having the bus move-in ready for April. Sure, I'll have a ton of things that still need doing but it'll be easier when I'm living in the bus.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

What a day!

On Friday, the tool I needed in order to use my rivnuts arrived. Of course, when I went to use it, the 20mm bolts I'd bought not only had a hexagon socket that didn't fit any of my tools but the bolts weren't long enough either!

After a quick trip to Lowes to buy Lowes entire stock of M5 bolts - all 6 of them - I paused to get some yoga mats. Needless to say I am not taking up yoga. I have a far more sane and sensible use for closed cell foam.

As I had predicted, all the vinyl tiles had fallen off the windows. The yoga mats are an alternative solution. It works out that one yoga mat has enough foam to cover 6 window panes. After some experimentation with the spray glue I'd bought, it transpired that spraying the windows then the cut foam and waiting a few minutes before pressing the foam to the window produced the best results.

My rivnut adaptor proved to be just the ticket. It fitted my Harbor Freight tool and with the aid of a drill to make the holes and a file to enlarge them, I managed to insert quite a few M5 rivnuts.

The key to getting the rivnuts to match the holes in the OSB was simple. I attached everything with self drilling screws then replaced the screws with rivnuts later. Of course, it would have been nice if Lowes didn't charge the earth for M5 30mm bolts and it would have been nice if Lowes carried more than 6 bolts. Needless to say, for the price Lowes would charge for 20 bolts, I've ordered 100 from Hong Kong. In the meantime I shall be using self drilling screws.

It doesn't look like I've done a lot but one side of the bedroom is now done. This is the closet side. The other side has usable windows and was so complicated to cut that I made several cuts in the wrong places and had to rethink my design in order to use the wood rather than waste any. This, I shall be working on tomorrow as the light escaped on me before I'd completed attaching the first piece of OSB to the bed side of the bedroom.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Hah... I suspected as much

Checking the bus this evening, the vinyl tiles were beginning to fall off. I suspected the glue on them would not be up to much given that they have a great reputation for not even sticking to floors.

The solution to be applied next week will be to apply contact adhesive to both the glass and the tiles. That should stick!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The first closet wall

Today the temperature inside my bus soared to 105f or 40c. That was a trifle warm and proved the bus really lacks insulation. Still, opening the emergency doors and the front door had the cooling effect I desired enabling !e to work inside.

The plan today was to fasten the OSB wall of the closet to the side of the bus. The windows had already been painted black. There had been a plan to inject foam between the OSB and the glass of the window. Somebody suggested there could be too much pressure from the foam which sounded likely. The plan was thus changed to put plastic over the glass instead. The idea is to reduce the likelihood of condensation. Looking in Lowes, it wasn't possible to find anything until I hit on the idea of using vinyl flooring tiles. Needless to say, brain of Britain didn't buy enough and had to streak to the dollar store for more, which worked just as well!

Having put vinyl tiles over the glass, the OSB was attached to the walls with self drilling screws until the screwdriver ran out of power. The plan was to use rivnuts but the rivnut tool I bought lacks an adaptor for 5mm rivnuts. The tool did come with a selection of rivnuts though these have not yet been used.

The plan for next week is to remove the self drilling screws and to use rivnuts instead. Then the remaining part of the wall will receive the same treatment. I will take the opportunity to check on the vinyl tiles. If necessary, contact adhesive will be used in place of the self adhesive vinyl glue.

It would be possible to leave the self drilling screws in place but I want to make the bus easily field maintainable. This is particularly important in case of a leak or a problem with one of the unused windows.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Yippee - I have a reversing camera

It ended up costing double what the unit price cost. The $40 reversing camera and screen cost $40 for the unit and $45 for the extra bits needed to extend from a short car capable cable setup to a longer setup more suited to a bus.

Fitting the camera was the tricky bit. That involved all the cabling of yesterday and drilling another hole through the bus skin. Again, it took a complete charge from the cordless drill to get through. I'm rather glad I don't have to drill too many holes like that!

The next stage was to close the hole on the outside with enough space for the camera cable. That was a case of taking two pieces of aluminum strip and drilling a hole between them then screwing them down. As usual, silicone caulk was the shining star.

With trepidation, the camera and screen were wired into a brand new toggle switch and the system tested. It all went perfectly. Adjusting the camera to the perfect angle will be critical.

All in all, it was successful though inside there is quite a coil of excess cable and I simply taped over the hole inside rather than do anything else. I'll get to it at a later stage.

Earlier today I went to the store to get more supplies but it took forever. A group of Hells Angels passed along the road before I excited from the side road onto the main road. 10 minutes later traffic ground to a halt and ambulances, police and firemen arrived. It seemed that something must have happened to one of the bikers.

Returning later along the road, the accident had been cleared away. Judging by the red flags festooning the place that hadn't been there earlier, there must have been a fatality. Needless to say, the detour and the waiting took about an hour out of the day. Otherwise, I'd have made a start on cutting the OSB for the sides of the bedroom area.

My leak sealing of last week worked well. Last night the rain came down hard. Inside the bus was bone dry aside from the cockpit area. I have a feeling that leak is coming from the ventilation system though how to cure it is a mystery.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Camera work

Today was a day in which a little thing took forever. It sounds so simple to tape a pair of wires from one end of the bus to the other yet it took most of the day. What took the time was a combination of things.

First I had to unroll a length of power cable to go alongside the video cable. That would have been faster if I hadn't had to keep untwisting the cable and if I'd not had to splice it midway due to a miscalculated cut.

Next I had to tape the wires together. I started by taping them every foot but that proved too far between joins. Thus I ended up taping 50 feet of cable every 6 inches.

Finally it was a case of taping the wires to the bus. Where the ceiling panel met the angled panel that reached down to the wall panel, there was a handy crevice into which the wires could be pressed then taped. As the wire has to stay put for a long time, as aluminum tape was chosen.

Having reached the end of the bus, applying 6 inch lengths of aluminum tape at a time, it was necessary to make a hole through which to pass the cable. This was achieved using a 1 inch hole saw. It took forever and one hole wore out the battery for the drill! Tomorrow's task will be to complete the mission. By the end of tomorrow, the reversing camera will be working.

Rumor has it - from Amazon reviews - that rainwater enters the camera. This is why they make duct tape!

Otherwise, I measured the OSB for the side of the bedroom and found it needed just two inches chopped off the width. That's a task for tomorrow. Today it was raining and unsuitable to do anything on the outside of the bus. I even cut a PVC plank to length for the final floor plank. The ends were way off square so it was a jolly good thing I measured twice!

As ever, progress is visible yet painfully slow.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Progressive bait and switch tactics

A while ago, I took out insurance on my motorhome. I took out collision coverage only and 2 months later had a very retarded letter from Progressive. The letter stated: "The 1995 1995 International is unacceptable because it is a converted school bus. Therefore, insurance coverage under this policy cannot continue. You may be eligible for coverage in Progressive's Commercial Auto program. To obtain a quote, please call your agent"

There are several ways of looking at this. My biggest problem with Progressive is they are the most obtuse people to work with that I have ever encountered. They flat out refused to give me copies of my policy documents or any insurance cards unless I pay extra for the privilege. Their computer system that's supposed to let me have copies via PDF let me create an account but won't actually let me log in to access the PDFs. Basically, I've paid money without ever actually knowing what I've paid for other than a very vague oral description from their agent. In any other industry that would be considered fishy enough not to complete the deal. As all insurance is fishy as indeed are pretty well all financial practitioners, the general odor of herring clouded the scent of fish.

The first viewpoint is that the agent didn't have a clue what he was selling, which really doesn't say much for Progressive's product information nor training. Nor does it say much for Progressive's computer system.

The second viewpoint is that this is a classic bait and switch (which is along the lines of what I believe is happening). $125 seemed rather a low amount for a year's coverage. Checking online, another insurer offered full coverage including possessions for $600. Now Progressive is telling me, sorry your cheap policy won't do. You must buy our commercial policy despite my vehicle most emphatically not being commercial.

The third viewpoint is that Progressive doesn't have much of a clue about what it is exactly that they're doing. Certainly when I used their online system and gave the agent the quotation number that I'd received, the agent could find no trace of the quotation.

Clearly Progressive is treading on thin ice. It took one screw-up from State Farm for me to change insurers. I'm being very generous and waiting to see what the agent comes up with. After that I might be looking at an AARP policy.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Virtually nothing done

As today is a work day, there was an hour after work before darkness descended upon the bus. Thus, after work I gave a second coat to the insides of the painted windows. Now my windows look much blacker. There are patches the roller wouldn't touch and which will have to be touched up with a small brush.

I had a wild hair and painted my CB call sign on the sides and back of the bus with a stencil and some black paint. It looks a bit sinister as NSA2011 but explained, it makes sense. No Strings Attached 2011 and of course 2011 is a year. I can't wait for the conspiracy theorists to try to make something out of that!

Stenciling in the dark is not to be recommended as its not really possible to see if the paint roller is too loaded with paint. I have some smudges and dribbles but the dribbles I'll tidy next time. The smudges I probably won't. It doesn't have to look perfect.

After the first, rather splodgy attempt, the other attempts went a load better. As I said earlier, I'll tidy up the dribbles at a later stage.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Very little work today

The idea was to head to Lowes for some wood and plastic planking then to return to the bus in order to give the windows that I'd painted a second coat. Then I wanted to lay the final bathroom floor planks and possibly fasten the first OSB panel to the wall.

On the way to Lowes, I paused by an old friend's residence in order to drop off some goodies. She'd had a major operation a week or so before and as I'd been ill with a virus, hadn't visited her as I didn't want to give her a virus to contend with on top of her operation.

Needless to say, she was feeling worried about her surgery site and was going to drive - against doctor's orders - to a doctor for assistance. Thus I ended up taxiing her to and from the doctor's office. Bang went quite a chunk of the afternoon but I'm happy she didn't drive herself.

Returning to the bus I had time to give the windows a second coat. I'd poured a little much paint into my roller tray and so went on to paint other windows. Then the light went.

I managed to offload my lumber and plastic plank from my car into the bus. That was it for today. Actually, given the leak sealing at the weekend it would be wise to check the leak proofing. Next Saturday should be the test for that as it is forecast for rain.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Major progress atop the girl

On top of school busses is a white flashing strobe light. Why its there is a bit of a mystery to me but the strobe had been removed and a sheet of metal screwed down over the place. The aim today was to seal potential leaks on the roof. What actually happened was much more complex and took almost the whole day.

I started by peeling up the peeling silicone off the roof seams. That revealed rust that was sprayed with rust converter. Some of that silicone put up a real fight! Having said that, the seams took no time at all. What took several hours was the place where the strobe had been.

Somebody had put a large squarish patch over where the strobe would have been. What concerned me was the fact the sheet had ripples in it. It had been fastened down with no fewer than 17 screws, each of which had been covered with silicone and additional silicone had been put down around the edges. Rust from the nearby roof seam was very close and looked as though it might reach under the patch. Pressing the ripples was mildly alarming as water squirted out from underneath.

Clearly there was a problem. The solution was obvious: to remove the patch. Peeling up the silicone around the edges revealed aluminum thin enough to be laughable. That took a long time. Once that was up, the screws were removed. Some came out easily, some just spun in their holes and some needed gentle persuasion with the aid of a hammer and chisel. That left the aluminum which was glued down in the center. Again, using the hammer and chisel with further aid from a pair of pliers the aluminum was removed revealing the real area that the strobe had covered.

The patch size was ludicrous! I ended up repairing all the screw holes by inserting screws and silicone caulk. The original patch that should have been put on had to cover a hole of 1 inch diameter plus 4 screw holes. I ended up doing just that and filling in the 17 extra holes. It does not surprise me that the hillbillies sealed over rust nor put stupidly big patches. Nothing they did was high quality. My solution is better. My patch has silicone caulk under every millimeter and around the edges.

Otherwise, I took down an internal panel in order to check on putting the reversing camera cable behind. Replacing it was so problematic that the decision was made not to put the wires behind but rather to tape them over. The problem was mostly due to the awful fit of the panel. Carpenter's workmanship was not that good!

Finally, I painted the redundant windows on one side black on the inside and placed a sheet of OSB against the wall to see how it looked. It looked good. My task for tomorrow is clear - to put a second coat of paint on the glass and to fasten the OSB in place.

During my investigation of the panel, it was clear that Carpenter's insulation attempts had been little short of pathetic. I have to regard the bus as uninsulated

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A day of reflection

Shock, horror, I didn't work on the bus today. Instead, I considered a few options. The first was power and the second was plumbing. Finally I considered closets. Then as a bonus I also considered when I should move into my bus - completed or not.

Plumbing - ever since somebody recommended emptying the toilet bucket into a pot-bellied stove and simply incinerating the contents, I've been intrigued. My previous solution was to simply do the business in a bucket lined with a grocery bag and with cat lit in it t soak up moisture then to toss the bag into a nearby waste container. That, I gather, might be frowned on in certain areas but as is so often the case - nobody will really care anyway. The alternate solutions encountered so far are:
1. Dessication whereby the toilet waste is simply dried by passing forced air over the toilet tank contents. This apparently reduces the waste quantity by 90%. I must admit that I'm partial to this approach as it means a 55 gallon drum would have to be emptied or replaced about once a year. At $30 to replace the drum, it works out at 10 cents a day to use the toilet. That's something I can live with.
2. Incineration whereby the waste tank is heated by electricity or propane, boiling off the water and incinerating the contents. As with the pot bellied stove, I understand the odor given off may be disadvantageous. As this will be a propane free motorhome, it would have to be an electric incinerating toilet and those things are both expensive and consume sufficient electricity to warrant a generator.
3. The traditional black tank whereby water is used to wash the content out of the toilet into a black tank. The black tank is subsequently emptied in a rather unpleasant process.
As far as the rest of the plumbing is concerned, it's pretty simple - a cold water tank that feeds to the kitchen sink with a pressure pump. The kitchen water is not heated - no real need when there'll be a handy electric kettle in the kitchen. The shower water is heated via an instant hot water heater.
Effluent from the kitchen sink and the shower go into a grey tank with a drain cock left to allow the tank to drip gently. That way, water that really isn't dirty does not have to be dumped at an authorized dump.

Power - most motorhomes run off a combination of electricity and propane though some also use wood or coal stoves. There are arguments all ways and arguments against all ways.
1. Wood\coal stoves mean just about anything can be used as fuel from Jehovah's Witness's handouts to coal bought from a dealer or wood found in the street. The downside is everything will smell of smoke even though it (to me) is not unpleasant to smell woodsmoke. A downside that would worry me is the chance of nasties like Black Widows hiding in the wood.
2. Propane - a great heat source but rather apt to go boom when it's least expected or wanted. A propane tank is a potential bomb. Size doesn't matter because even a small tank bursting into flames or exploding is sufficient to spoil the rest of your life. It produces a lot of heat and though it can be used to run fridges and instant water heaters, its main use is in cooking. The downside aside from being explosive is that burning propane releases copious quantities of water. Thus everything becomes saturated rapidly.
3. Electricity - Convenient to use and unlikely to be problematic. Plenty of available appliances to use it, too. Downside is that it needs to be generated and there is the problem. Fuelled generators are costly to run. Solar panels are expensive and fragile and only work during daylight. Wind power is cheaper but the wind might not blow for days.
Many people have combinations using electricity for pretty much just entertainment. The plan for my motorhome is to be 100% electric.

Closets - The bedroom as it stands is 12 feet long and 7 feet wide. Plenty space to add a desk, a wardrobe and some cabinets. As it would probably be an excellent idea to be able to access the rear light clusters without dismantling things, the plan is to make the area enclosing the last window into a pair of storage closets - one of which will house my bicycle. That also allows a door to be installed such that I can enter through the rear door of the bus without revealing the contents of my bedroom as there will be a second door to go through.

Moving in - the jury is still out but as I have to give a month notice of moving. I can't wait for the whole bus to be ready. That could take a long time what with my being able only to work on it at weekends. The plan is to have it move-in ready as far as the bedroom goes by April 1st. On April 1st I will give the landlord their months notice and slowly start to move stuff into the bus. By April 21st I want to be fully moved in which gives me a week to clean my current apartment.

Plumbing and cooking facilities nor power need to be ready. 99% of my electrics recharge off my car USB sockets. I can use buckets of water or drinking and washing and another bucket as the toilet. The point is that moved in, I will not be paying rent and will be able to use my time more efficiently. Living in the bus, I don't have far to go to work on it. Right now my bus and my home are 15 miles apart.

Anyway, that's the plan and unless I come up with a better idea, the toilet will remain a bucket lined with a grocery bag with cat lit to absorb odor and moisture.

The first walls and other thoughts

The original idea was to have the shower and toilet as separate "rooms" on the bus. The new idea is to combine the shower and the toilet as an all-in one. The toilet will still be on one side of the bus and the shower on the other. What has changed is that now there will be no separate door for each nor even a curtain for each. Instead, there will be a door to the bedroom, from the shower/toilet area and a door from the shower/toilet area to the kitchen/dining area.
Looking at the walls of the bedroom, it seems the bedroom is exactly 12 feet long. Not only is this the same length as the PVC planks from Lowes that come at $50 each but a quick calculation says that 6 should do each wall at a grand total of $300 a wall. Living full time in the bus and saving my money, that could become a possibility. For right now, the plan is to continue on with OSB sheeting for the walls.

As the home does not have to be luxurious - merely functional - I can afford to build most things from OSB, furring strips and 2x4. For fanciness, I can slap paint on the OSB. The bedroom plan is to build some closets down one side and a desk at one end. There will be closet space under the bed too.

I'm probably not keeping any of my current furniture as it'll all be redundant given the stuff I am building for the bus. Having said that, I don't have much anyway - a cheap folding bedframe, a cheap desk, a cheap swivel chair, a cheap foding card table and chairs, a few cheap lamps and a couple of very cheap sets of drawers. If I have $200 in furniture, lamps etc then I will be astounded! As it all came from Walmart or His House, I doubt any of it would even be salable.

The plan is to complete the bedroom and be move-in ready for the end of April, completing the bathroom and kitchen at leisure. Worst case scenario - I end up washing in a bucket and using another bucket as a toilet while I complete the bus. Cooking - I can use a camping gas stove temporarily while I'm working on the electrical cooking system. As its now summer, I don't have to worry about keeping the bus warm. Keeping it cool is just a matter of using a fan.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Flash tour

Over the weekend, work on the bus was not as dramatic as hoped since I spent time on supplies trips. Add to that, I still have a virus and that explains the slow progress.

A wild hair had me purchase a CB radio then get an aerial, aerial mount and coax. I just figured I have a truck chassis so it might be handy for general alerts etc. This was one thing I installed. I put aside the idea of unscrewing all the body panels to hide the reversing camera cables and decided simply to tape them to the roof. Its quicker, simpler and easier.

Then I constructed some of the bedroom walls and test painted one of the windows black. The plan is to paint the windows that aren't being used as windows then to line the inside of the walls with OSB and spray insulation.

Before the OSB and insulation are installed, more leak sealing since there are a couple of roof leaks. Looking at the leaks, it seems the hillbillies that had the bus before me just squeezed silicone sealant over the seams without treating rust first. As a result, the sealant has lifted, leaving a gap for water to enter.

Meanwhile, for a change, here's a video of the inside of my bus.