Farewell, Stubbs the Bus.

On Thursday, September 15th, we watched as Stubbs the Bus rolled away with its new owners at the wheel. Josh and Celine are the new proud owners of one slightly stubby, but well-loved bus. I'd say it was bittersweet, but it honestly felt more sweet than bitter. Stubbs was a FANTASTIC home for us and we loved our first dabble into larger vehicle conversions, but we find we're currently better suited to a smaller vehicle for the time being.

Two proud new parents. Who knew a stork could carry 10,000 pounds of American steel?

Two proud new parents. Who knew a stork could carry 10,000 pounds of American steel?

Amazingly, we never even advertised Stubbs being for sale. Shortly after we bought Little Foot, we were hanging out with some friends and mentioned needing to sell the bus. One of them immediately said their brother would be interested and low and behold, he was so interested that he bought it! It's a beautiful thing when paths cross in just the right way.

Away he goes.

Away he goes.

As far as we know, Josh and Celine plan to finish all the details we never did and then some. I think they'll end up tearing into the garage space to utilize it as a full bathroom and will do all the plumbing and electric we never had the time or funds to dive into. It's always a comforting thought to see a vehicle you love go to someone that will continue to give it life and use it in their own adventures.

Since we never posted any "finished" photos of Stubbs on the blog, I wanted to include some in this post for those of you who stuck with us through that whole conversion in the hopes that we might actually reveal the end product. (Sorry guys!)

A view of the apartment.

A view of the apartment.

The top image is with all of our stuff inside (minus our fridge, which sat in the lower left corner where you can see the handheld vacuum), how we lived in it. Because we never did things like put down a permanent flooring over the plywood, we used rugs to cover it up, but they worked perfectly and I never noticed or minded the raw wood floors. If you look to the far back right you can see our hanging closet space, which is where we kept Loulou's litter box and my camp toilet (for those middle-of-the-night pee breaks). Our camp oven/stove was removable so we could use it indoors or outside, which was just awesome. And to the right on the bottom you can see our little wood stove (we took that with us into the Pinzgauer).

The next image is with everything completely emptied out and ready for the new owners to use it as their own nearly-blank slate.

Move in ready.

Move in ready.

And because the night before we sold Stubbs marked our first night sleeping in Little Foot the Pinzgauer, I have to include a photo of the interior loaded up with our stuff! It's not finished by any means (you can see the stove pipe isn't rigged up through the roof yet), but it's livable! We find it to be very cozy (it's amazing how much warmer a small space like this gets with two people and a cat). Our hope is to wrap up the conversion in the next two weeks and head out of Northern Montana as winter creeps its way into the area. 

A very comfortable new living space. Downsize, minimize, simplify.

A very comfortable new living space. Downsize, minimize, simplify.

2.10.16 ::: An update a long time coming.

I apologize for the long delay between posts. After our time at the Christmas tree lot came to a close and we spent Christmas on the Texas coast with Christian's dad, (where I was originally catching up on the other most recent posts), we unexpectedly found ourselves hurrying up to Alabama as quickly as possible to be with my sister and the rest of my family. We arrived in Huntsville on New Years Eve and were incredibly blessed to get to spend the next two weeks with my sister before she passed away after a two year battle with brain cancer.

Currently, we are in Northwest Arkansas, spending quality time with my cousins while awaiting a part to finish installing our tiny wood stove (more on that later!). We left Alabama on January 23rd and began our slow trek west, making our first stop a 1.5 week layover in Searcy, AR (where we began our conversion). We'll be heading out of NW Arkansas shortly, taking a more southern route along the way to slowly, but surely make our way west of the Continental Divide and back into the mountains.

I still want to stick to updating about the bus from start to finish, so here's the next one in line, even though it's about two months belated…

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Because we got our kitchen from the Habitat Restore, it was a lot deeper than we needed it to be. To create better utilization of that extra counter space, we decided to build a "backsplash" storage cubby. I wanted to be able to leave things on the counter while we drive, so corralling it in with a cubby seemed like the perfect solution.

We made the cubby 7 inches deep to not interfere with the propane connection on the back of the stove. It turned out perfectly, so once we had it all lined up, we took it back outside so I could stain it to match the countertop.

I did the staining, I promise! This is Christian attaching the "L" brackets to the cubby so we can attach it to the counter.

I did the staining, I promise! This is Christian attaching the "L" brackets to the cubby so we can attach it to the counter.

It looks great!

It looks great!

The next big project we had to tackle was the bench seat. It's future home would be behind the driver's seat. Our plan was just a basic box with a lid to store stuff beneath it.

Yay, it holds a person sitting on it!

Yay, it holds a person sitting on it!

And the lid works too!

And the lid works too!

We stained the bench seat the same color, but it turned out looking a bit more exciting because of the pattern of the wood.

We stained the bench seat the same color, but it turned out looking a bit more exciting because of the pattern of the wood.

That's all for now. I need to dig up the rest of the photos of progress to post in the coming updates. Since we'll most likely be hitting the road tomorrow afternoon (2.11), it might be a few days before I get wifi and am able to post again, but I promise to try to better keep up with it from here on out!

If you need a solid dose of our adventures while you wait for most posts, follow our daily journey along on our Instagram! (@TravelingTuttles)

12.28.15 - More curtains, and a tool box upgrade!

Ever since we loaded up Stubbs to go to Texas, Christian had insisted we needed to upgrade to a large rolling tool chest. With five separate tool boxes clumsily taking up precious garage space, I agreed. However, we hadn't found one that fit the space in the way we needed it to…until a trip to Home Depot took us by a limited edition Husky tool chest. It was perfect. The shorter height (of the lower half only) would allow us to roll it freely beneath the bed. It was also the perfect depth and width for the space beside the bed that we wanted it to fit in.

I wouldn't let Christian have it until we'd unloaded the motorbikes and started cleaning out the garage to actually accommodate it. Thankfully, with our time dwindling at the tree lot, he made it happen and I came home with it on one of my solo shopping trips.

He was beside himself with excitement over the box. Here he is with one of our favorite lot helpers, Evian, who helped us get the motorbikes unloaded and load the tool chest.

He was beside himself with excitement over the box. Here he is with one of our favorite lot helpers, Evian, who helped us get the motorbikes unloaded and load the tool chest.

I had finished the main "house" curtains and ran out of the patterned duck I'd used, so I ran off to a Hancock Fabrics store to see what I could find. While there, I looked for some more of the insulating fleece layer and found an even better solution that I'd known about before sewing half of the curtains: metalized mylar fleece! It was the same thickness as the stuff I'd already used, but with a special metal interior to help reflect heat.

Luckily, the remaining curtains to be done were the bedroom and the front cab area, so at least the two most important areas to keep insulated would be sewn with it.

The next curtain I set out to tackle was driver's side windows. This included the sliding windows and a triangular window beside it. I opted to do one large panel for the whole thing and add a dowel at the bottom to make rolling it up for driving an easy task.

I was very proud (and nervous) about my first non-rectangular curtain. Lucky me, when I went to fit it into place, it was perfect!

The curtain blocks every bit of light out and is easy to roll up with a dowel in the bottom.

The curtain blocks every bit of light out and is easy to roll up with a dowel in the bottom.

I have plenty more to update about, but for now, I'll leave those for later to try and avoid overwhelming anyone.

Also, for those interested and or if you might know someone who is…we finally got the Craigslist listing up for the Campbulance. It breaks our heart to sell her, but with Stubbs in our lives, having two converted vehicles just isn't all that logical.

Please feel free to pass this link along: http://littlerock.craigslist.org/cto/5376795762.html

12.17.15 Drawers, propane, heater and more!

Sorry for the big hiatus!  We were fast at work over on the tree lot. Mostly selling trees, but a little bit working on the bus in our spare moments as well. 

However, as of last Wednesday, we were officially done with the trees, which meant we were able to continue working on the bus until we left San Antonio on Monday. And now that we're settled into our comfy RV resort on the coast of Texas with plentiful wifi, I can start catching up on posting about the work we've accomplished.

Because we've managed to eek out so many projects during our time in Texas, loading it all into one post not only seemed daunting to me, but Christian made the smart observation that anyone reading it might quickly become overwhelmed as well.

So, I'm going to tackle blogging about one project (or, in this case, small group of projects) at a time until we've completely caught up!

 

Drawers/Propane/Heater:

One of the big projects we needed to tackle was finding ways to utilize some of the empty space in the kitchen. There were some spots where there used to be drawers, but they didn't come with the set. Christian set about to make some drawers for that under-counter space to hold our dishes, cookware and pantry. Beneath the oven space we created was also a spot screaming its unused potential, so he decided to make a drawer to hold random household objects and cleaning supplies as well as providing a spot to mount our small propane heater.

I wish I'd taken a better photo of these drawers. When I finally take the time to build a dedicated photo page for our conversion, I'll include one for sure. There are two large deep and heavy duty drawers to hold our cooking ware, dishes and pantry items in the far side of the kitchen.

I wish I'd taken a better photo of these drawers. When I finally take the time to build a dedicated photo page for our conversion, I'll include one for sure. There are two large deep and heavy duty drawers to hold our cooking ware, dishes and pantry items in the far side of the kitchen.

This is the under-oven drawer that will house the heater.

This is the under-oven drawer that will house the heater.

Christian left the propane hookups to me (I'm still not certain why he ever trusted something so dangerous to me). I had to spend half a day driving all the way across San Antonio to a special propane shop to find all the specific connectors we needed to hook up our tank to the oven and heater for dual use.

After running through the order in which I needed to hook everything up no less than three times with the fine gentleman at the propane place. I also made him retell me how to correctly use teflon tape to wrap the connections and then how to test with soapy water for leaks.

The connecting took me a while, because I did find some leaks and had to redo multiple connections or ask Christian to use his brute strength to tighten them a little bit more (tight plus grunt!).

Once we were finally confident that I wasn't about to kill us via propane leaks, we fired up our heater to test it out.

It had gotten particularly cold a few nights in a row (down in the 30s), so we had been driven by the chill to push forward with this project. We were glad we did, as the night we got it all working was a frigid one. It also provided an enormous drying power, which is arguably as nice as the heat.

Loulou was at first skeptical of the odd hissing noises and crackling sounds the heater made as it was warming up, but she quickly realized that it gave off heat and made it her business to stick nearby.

Hooking up the oven was the final leg of the propane project. It meant no more dragging out our single-burner camp stove to heat up food or water. We were excited.

In addition to the hookups, we wanted to make the propane/water storage area more travel friendly. We're fairly certain we will upgrade our water storage at some point (we just took these jerry cans from the Campbulance), but until then, we operate with two 5 gallon cans.

We decided to cut holes in the base of the kitchen to allow the propane and water to nestle into cubbies on the floor and not move while we drive. This meant dragging out the jigsaw and adding a little more sawdust to our already dusty construction-zone of a bus. (I keep telling Christian I want a Dirt Devil for Christmas, but he's not convinced.)

The cubbies work like a charm, giving us the peace of mind that when we drive we won't have a propane tank or water jugs sliding around. (We still haven't decided on a permanent grey water storage system yet…this was also stolen from the Campbulance.)

As always, I've got to include a photo of Loulou enjoying the bus life. Here she is taking advantage of the afternoon sun. (She's well-trained enough that she'll only venture out if we set her stool out for her.)

11.17.15 - The bumpy road to Texas.

We arrived in Austin on Sunday afternoon, after breaking up the drive over the course of three days. Since we didn't leave until Thursday night (we finally called UPS and went to meet the UPS truck to get our package…), we stayed the first night in Little Rock, only about 40 miles south of Searcy. Our next night was spent in Atlanta, Texas and the third night was in Jewett, Texas.

Since we hadn't had time to sort out window coverings, we used the remaining foam insulation and a piece of cardboard from the oven box to hobble together some privacy. It worked remarkably well and I slept like a baby our first night in a Walmart parking lot in Little Rock.

We opened our oven up the next morning with a bunch of excitement after all the hassle we'd been through to get it.

Wouldn't you know, the box was damaged and the oven has a large dent in the front of it. We both think it's just superficial damage that won't affect its ability to work, but it's just one in many hiccups we've had dealing with the company we ordered it from. We're still debating as to whether we will try and send it back or keep it and enjoy the extra bit of personality the bump gives it.

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Loulou is adjusting quickly to the bus life. Having spent about a month and a half living and traveling with us in the Campbulance definitely didn't hurt. She hates when we're driving, as to be expected, but after about the second day, she was moving around and finding her favorite places to lay while we drive.

She seems to alternate between being totally enamored by the ability to watch the road from the bed and being terrified by it.

One of our absolute favorite things about the bus that we didn't have in the Campbulance is being able to live completely inside. We took full advantage of this on our trip and pulled over to cook breakfast/lunch every day at the plentiful "picnic areas" along the way. Being self-contained in such a manner that we don't have to roll out the motorbikes to use the space is so great. And being able to stand is just such a spoiling element having never had that with the Campbulance.

I finally got brave on the second day of driving and asked Christian if he'd like me to drive. He was surprised, but gleefully took ownership of the passenger seat as I found my way behind the wheel. Honestly, after just a few miles I was completely comfortable. (I'm sure my past history of driving food trucks around San Diego has a lot to do with that…) We're both excited that we can now comfortably split the driving between us.

We're now parked at the Christmas tree lot in San Antonio where we'll be living and working for the next 5-6 weeks. I'll try to post updates every time we have the chance to do work on the bus, but I have a feeling we'll be keeping pretty busy slinging trees from here on out.