Simply b Photos » The Big Blue Bus Tour

after. our bus rocks.

We did it! As of today, our 1997 Blue Bird school bus is finished. And I’m in love. We’ve owned the bus just over two months and the transformation has been incredible! Are you curious about our backstory and how this journey began? You can read about it here. Here’s a link to a video of us on our bus. And you can find FAQ here.

Here’s a shot of the interior when we bought the bus. We are so lucky to have found a bus that was loved by her previous owners!

Jake and the boys did all the carpentry work while we were in Florida. After all the seats were removed, it only took them 3 days to complete it. They worked fast and furiously while Miss B and I hung out in the pool. Then we loaded the bus up with boxes and drove to Alaska. 5000 miles in 12 days. All our worldly belongings (that are not going with us on the The Big Blue Bus) now fit in a 10×10 storage unit. I feel free.

We’ve already been in Alaska two weeks and I would have trouble recounting each day. We’ve been hanging out with family and finishing the bus. Jake, Sam, and I also went to Kodiak for 5 days where I taught workshops and took pictures for some amazing families.

This week Jake finished painting and finalizing all the odds and ends on the bus and then he gave us the thumbs up to start loading. I made sure to capture images of it before we filled it with all of our stuff. I love the white and navy with pops of red. I love how clean and open it is. I also realize that it won’t be this sparkly for long and we’ll probably regret the white floor.;)UPDATE: After a week of touring Alaska in the mud and dirt – the floors are still white! We remove our shoes before coming into the bus (Jake built shoe shelves near the stairwell of the bus) and staying in our stocking feet keeps the bus clean!

You’ll notice that currently there is no plumbing. There is a small space toward the back where a portable toilet that uses bags you can throw away will go, an a curtain will hang over the doorway. We used it on the way up from Florida and it worked fine for emergencies and nighttime trips to the potty. When we are in camp – we’ll use the facilities there including showers. When we are somewhere without shower facilities we will have a privacy tent with a small hot-water heater and outdoor shower. For our kitchen we have a small cooler/fridge that plugs in and we’ll use a crockpot (with liners), griddle, and grill for cooking. There are water tanks under the bus and depending on how long this adventure continues, we may add plumbing down the road. For now it’s a bit of a glorified tent, which works for us!

The bus is equipped with a generator and two air conditioners. Currently for heat the bus has to be turned on and we can use the factory installed heaters, or we can use an electric heater to take the edge off. This is a major reason we’re staying in warm climates this winter.

This afternoon we were supposed to load the bus with all of our personal stuff, but while repositioning the bus Jake backed it into a tree. So our evening switched to figuring out what to do with the broken window and dented door. Hopefully tomorrow morning we’ll get back to loading.

Winter has come early to Alaska. I’ve been freezing since we entered the state. We decided that rather than driving the bus to Seattle via Canada in another mad rush (similar to our drive up here), we are going to spend a week traveling through Alaska and then ship the bus via boat to Seattle. The cost difference isn’t too much – especially when you consider the cost if we were to break down or have an accident in The Middle of Nowhere, Canada. Once we talked about how quick winter is coming, and how we don’t want to drive the bus in the snow (which has already fallen!) – we were sold on the extra expense.

The next 7 days should find our Big Blue Bus all over Alaska – from Seward to North Pole. Temperatures are below freezing and we need to add extra blankets to the beds – but I can’t wait to visit all of our favorite places. Alaska is where our children were born (except Sam-a-lam who was born in Albuquerque while we were in pilot training). Alaska is where we’ve lived most of the 19 years we’ve been married. Alaska is home.

When our Alaskan adventure is finished next week, we’ll drop the bus off to be shipped and we’ll fly to Seattle to meet it when it arrives. Then we’ll start the next part of our adventure – three months driving down the Pacific Coast. Look out! Here comes The Big Blue Bus. If you are interested in our schedule, you can find it here.

Please pin and share our adventures on The Big Blue Bus with your friends!

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September 21, 2013 - 12:44 am

Sarah - I was just thinking……it is late and soooo I just thought I would tell you my idea……………so here goes……….I think the big blue bus adventure would make a great children’s book……a story written through the eyes of Miss B…..with lots of pictures and adventures she has with her family on this trip……


September 21, 2013 - 4:47 am

Becca - It’s just gorgeous!!!! I can’t wait to read about all the rest of your adventures!!!

September 21, 2013 - 5:37 am

Niina Kivelä - The bus looks absolutely amazing and so sparkly! Good luck with the next part of your bus tour!

September 21, 2013 - 6:39 am

Beth Koehler - Amy, it is beautiful!!! I love it!

September 21, 2013 - 11:53 am

Nikki Krisfalusi Sportsman - It looks great Amy! Bright and clean. Keep on truckin!!!

September 21, 2013 - 12:44 pm

Kristina Addams - Amy, your bus is amazing! I am speechless! You guys are quite the adventurous family! I love reading about your experiences…Good luck!!

September 21, 2013 - 1:11 pm

Crystal Sanders - Wow it looks awesome! Kind of makes me want to buy a bus my self!! I will have to add it to my bucket list!

September 21, 2013 - 2:37 pm

Mikell Boshuizen - This is amazing! Such creativity. Enjoy the adventure in your cozy apartment!

September 21, 2013 - 3:15 pm

Krysti McDonald Pereira - I am so impressed! I hope you are enjoying your adventure!

September 21, 2013 - 6:15 pm

Desiree Buma - North Pole! Did I read North Pole? Any chance you want to do Landon’s senior pics?

September 21, 2013 - 6:20 pm

Laura Clawson Gooch - So pretty! What are you doing for privacy… Like window coverings? Just curious.

September 21, 2013 - 6:52 pm

Catryna Jackson - I had to comment and tell you that is is AMAZING!!! Love your bus! Question, do you intend to add a kitchen or restroom? Just curious!

September 21, 2013 - 6:55 pm

Catryna Jackson - I had to comment and tell you that this is AMAZING!!! Love your bus! Question, do you intend to add a kitchen or restroom? Just curious!

September 21, 2013 - 10:47 pm

Lorri Tennant - Awesome!!!! Just awesome

September 22, 2013 - 5:54 pm

Tara - Sooooo awesome!! You can’t imagine how I’ve been waiting to hear what’s been going on. I figured you were doing the finishing work and doing photo sessions/classes, but I was soo excited to get online and discover a new post. Kind of nerdy, but so love following your adventure. I’m so glad you’re having so much fun and the bus looks sooo great!!

Have fun this week and good luck on the start of the next stage of your journey!!


September 28, 2013 - 1:34 pm

Candace - Awesome! Looks like a yacht :-) Enjoy !

October 7, 2013 - 11:32 am

Vomit. On the bus. | The Big Blue Bus Tour » Simply b Photos - […] bus has no running water. It’s a glorified tent. And my baby girl was destroying it with vomit. Buckets of […]

March 21, 2014 - 7:30 pm

Terri Smith Toth - This is awesome! :). Enjoy your new life!

March 27, 2014 - 8:12 pm

Heather Dimsdale - That is so awesome!!

April 28, 2014 - 4:22 am

Sarah Packard - How freaking cool is this?! We are planning in living in ours for awhile, so there will be far more amenities, buy I dig the style and great use of space in this conversion of yours! Great job hun!

July 12, 2014 - 2:12 am

Zoe Tamar Gomez - I love the interior. What material did you use to finish it? This long into the journey how has the sparkle held up?

June 25, 2015 - 6:01 am

Link Love: 46 - a small life - […] This family remodeled a bus and traveled in it for 6 months. I love the interior! It’s so bright and clean. […]

September 18, 2015 - 4:11 am

The Best Bus Is So Much More Than a Bus - […] love the Big Blue Bus Tour blog–it’s definitely the best bus tour, rock stars notwithstanding. This family has […]

November 20, 2015 - 7:02 am

Links I Love | toastedbunz - […] Another family ( of six )  in a renovated bus! […]

January 10, 2016 - 6:04 am

John Kim - Hi :D I’m currently trying to find ways to make this a reality for me and my friends. We’re in college and trying to do a road trip across the States. If anyone could send us some links to blueprints or images, that would such a great help to me and my friends. Thank you :D.

– John Kim

January 10, 2016 - 3:10 pm

David Cho - Hi Amy :D I’m currently aspiring to do this with a couple of friends during college. Could you perhaps send over some more pics, blueprints, or instructions on how you did this? Thank you so much

January 15, 2018 - 7:28 am

Patti White - This makes me want to hit the road! It’s GORGEOUS!

July 8, 2019 - 3:02 pm

Bertie Kawamoto - Good morning

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