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.
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