Out with the old, In with the new

Trying to go back 20 years and reconstruct what you did, why and how is not as easy as you might think. While I have many photos of our bus renovation project, the journal entries are long gone. I am going to try to work through the photos and write about what we were doing and how we got it all done.

In this post, I want to just relate a funny (well now it is) story. There will not be many photos with this one, but the next photo post is coming soon.

The Big Red Bus with Passenger Seats Intact

The bus company in Florida removed the passenger seats from the bus so that we could legally drive it home. We were not licensed to drive a “commercial” vehicle, so the seats had to go. We were glad for this, as we would have had to remove them ourselves anyway and that would have been a nightmare.

We drove the bus and the Roadtrek (van camper) that we were staying in at the time back toward Alabama making a stop in Gainesville to spend the night in a Wal-mart parking lot. We were headed to Pittsview, Alabama, a place that would be our command central for home and work for the next year.

We parked in the lot in Gainesville and spent the night in the Roadtrek. The next morning, we attempted to start the bus and it would not do anything. The engine would not turn over or anything. This was that moment when you look at each other and say “What have we gotten ourselves into?”

After some investigation, we were able to determine that the starter would not turn over. We called the bus company to let them know about all that had transpired and they said they could come help, pick the bus up, or whatever, but it would be several hours for them to make the trek up to where we were. They suggested that we “hit it with a hammer.” Scott asked what kind of hammer and they replied “a big one.” If you know about starters in cars, sometimes there is a situation where you need to “hit” the starter with a hammer or hard object to get it to turn over because it has frozen. This is what we needed to do to the starter in the bus. The starter in the bus is the size of a watermelon, where a starter in a car can be as small as a grapefruit. You see where I am headed? Luckily, he was able to go into Wal-mart and purchase a sledge hammer and that did the trick.

Then we realized the additional problem with the starter. It had come loose, completely. It was sitting on the pavement under the back of the engine at the rear of the bus. We needed the starter to be bolted back to the engine before being able to go anywhere. So, as I began taking out my frustration by demolishing the public toilet at the back of the bus (it had to be removed anyway), Scott worked on what to do about the situation. As some sort of miracle was absolutely necessary at that moment, there happened to be a “Large Vehicle” tow truck driving by our parking spot and he stopped to see if we needed help. He happened to have the bolt and nut that we needed to “reinstall” the starter in place. A miracle indeed.

Having now accomplished our first “renovation,” off we went towards Pittsview…

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