Working on the bus everyday for over a month finally got to me.

I was at the point where I was pretty burnt out. I needed a break so that I could clear my head and come back fresh. I called up my buddy Ross Downard from Mtn Ranks and we headed into the woods to ride some of the great downhill trails that Park City, UT has to offer. Lily Pad Downard from "Lily Shreds" (Ross' jack russell) joined us and put this little edit together.

 

 

 

 

We need a snowmobile deck. Grab the sawzall and let's cut four feet off.

A large part of buying a short school bus was so that I could still get around easily in parking lots at the top of mountain passes where we typically unload the snowmobiles and head out into the back country. I knew I had to buy a bus that was at least 5 windows long so that I could chop the back four feet off and build a snowmobile deck on the back. I also started to notice that the 5 window buses are dually which allows more weight to be put on the rear.

My dad made his way down from Idaho to help with chopping the bus. He's a genius when it comes to taking apart something and putting it back together. We ground out all the rivets, used a sawzall to blaze a cut across the ceiling and then slowly started to pull the back of the bus off.

 

My dad parting the Red Sea.

Cutting the ceiling where we'll reattach.

 

It's four feet shorter on the interior now. 76 square feet of living space.

Back reattached with the four feet of chassis to build off of.

Time to remove the pink eye infested seats from the bus.

If there's one thing you'll learn about me it's I think I'm a lot funnier than I am. But hell, you can't take life too seriously right? Seats were the first thing that I needed to remove to get some elbow room to work in the bus. Little did I know how much of a pain they would be to remove. I started out with a battery powered angle grinder and soon learned that one battery would make it through maybe one bolt. Why not use a couple of wrenches you may ask? The bolts and nuts have been in the salt and elements for 13 years in New York so they weren't moving even after a heavy layer of PB Blaster. I switched to a corded grinder and things went a lot smoother minus blowing through a metal disc every 2 1/2 bolts.

I removed all the seats and took them apart to save the steel for undercarriage storage compartments, wood for the interior build and foam for added insulation in the bus. Of course I found a couple of hidden gems in the seat of which I set aside. The best was a note from a kid's mom and some funny money.

Take em' out!

Disassembly of the seats.

Seats removed!

My next big issue was the large amounts of rust under the bus and on the chassis that I needed to grind off and take care of. A heavy coat of Rust-oleum would do the trick if I could get it down to bare metal.

If the kids had left band equipment on the bus we would have had rusty trombones... 

More rust.

 

 

It's always nice to meet other road trippers on epic adventures.

While we were grabbing coffee in Durango, backing up footage and filming a little bit out front we were approached by a young lady and her mother. They were curious if we were road tripping in the bus of which we both grinned and said "Yes". They too were on a long road trip and had started out in Bellingham, WA where they live on a boat. They gave us a hot tip about a website called Road Trippers which gives you all sorts of great things to do and see while on the road. We parted ways and made our way to Mesa Verde National Park to see some of the ancient cave houses that Ancestral Pueblo people used to live in when the water resources were more available.

 

 

 

Amazing what you can do with just the resources around you.

The little kids above didn't like how long it took me to get this shot. They were waiting.

Photo of a photo.

As we were walking back to the bus and passing one of the park buildings we saw a young man and his dog with a sign that read "UTAH PLEASE". Enter Flick and Blackie. I inquired about where in Utah he was trying to get to and he mentioned that he had never been to Moab and would like to check it out. Moab was right on our way so I offered to give him and Blackie a ride. I explained we were traveling in a short school bus so we had plenty of room. He thought about it for a second and decided to jump aboard with us. Ryan and Flick sat on the school bus seats like a couple of kids and talked about Flick's upbringing in the swamps of Florida and how he started traveling the US with Blackie a few years back. He doesn't have much and doesn't need much as he's found the kindness of strangers is far richer than any money in the world.

Almost home.

We got to Moab and took a short drive through Arches National Park with Flick sitting in a camp chair up front by me in the bus. We was intrigued by the red rock and different formations throughout the park. He expressed that he didn't realize how desolate Moab was and I could tell he was thinking about where to camp, gather water and how many miles through the desert he'd have to travel if he didn't get a ride. I offered to take him all the way to Park City if he wished. He decided that would be a better plan and we set off into the sun towards home.

Flick enjoying the view just like when he was a kid.

Last fuel stop before we pushed the last 300+ miles home.

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