- Bus conversion with upper cabin and outdoor deck. -
Interview By: Brock Butterfield
Bus Conversion By: Guy and Kayla
I thought my bus was unique in design with a snowmobile deck on the back but Kayla and Guy have definitely set the bar high with their bus conversion that includes an upper cabin with 88 square feet and a 160 square foot outdoor deck on the top where they store their snowmobile.
This bus conversion has had an enormous amount of custom work put into it. The creative process behind it still blows my mind each time I see a photo of NED a.k.a. Never Ending Dream posted on Instagram.
Enjoy this little interview and photos of their bus conversion. They also have a video of their bus and travels that I've posted below the interview.
-Make: Blue Bird
-Motor: Navstar/ international 7.3
-Interior Square Footage: 1st floor 200 square feet, upper cabin 88 square feet, outdoor deck 160 square feet.
-Current Location: We have recently moved the bus from Alaska to the Nevada area
-Purchased From/Location: Public surplus, an online auction site.
-Cost in materials for the conversion: $8,000
-Is the conversion complete or still in progress? Complete and available for updates. Always ideas to improve and let our spirits act upon. Right now the dream list includes motorcycle racks, turbo kit, awning system and an improved storage sleeping space in the back.
-Does your bus have a name? Yes, NED. Stands for Never Ending Dream. A tribute to the guy at the paint shop who was stoked we were building the bus and wanted to do the exterior paint job. Ned is the first 3 letters of his hard to pronounce last name and birthed the acronym Never ending dream.
Tell us a bit about how the idea to build a bus into a home on wheels came about.
The dream to be free and available for all the activities we desire. A space that only has room to collect only so many things. Being available to experience the world with play time in mind. To own our living space and work because we are moved to not because we have a mortgage to pay.
Who is involved or part of the crew with your bus?
Kayla and Guy are love birds who live in the bus full time. The crew involves the parents, friends and family who helped build NED, and whoever finds themselves on or near the bus can consider themselves involved.
What materials did you use during your build? Any reclaimed/upcycled items?
We used the top of an old van from a junk yard to create a sleeping space on the top of a deck we recycled from another converted bus. The stove, oven, furnace and fridge were up cycled from a trailer in a junk yard. The rocket stove was build out of old drill casing. Hanging bars and racks were used from a bus Guy had previously owned. We used tumeric, beats, and spirulina as the wood stains. I would also recommend using spent coffee grounds.
How many can the bus sleep and how is the sleeping arrangement designed?
The upper cabin sleeps two on a queen mattress. The 1 st floor has two couches for sleeping and floor space for two more. 6 people under a roof. Can sleep 4-6 under the stars/ northern lights or midnight sun on the upper deck.
What is your kitchen and cooking setup?
A lovely kitchen with plenty of counter space, a sink with 11 gallons of fresh water and a gray water holding tank, a 4 space propane stove, oven, fridge, freezer and compartments and drawers that make the food and cook wear easily accessible.
What is your power source?
We have 3 100watt solar panels and 2 12volt batteries for auxiliary power. We have a converter to charge those batteries off of a 120 house plug or generator. We have a switch to gain off of the bus motor's alternator. We can also boost the bus starter with those batteries. We have a 2000 watt inverter to run our 120 house plugs inside the bus. We are also powering our 2 12" subs and 6X9s with a 2000 watt amp with those batteries. We are able to charge phones, computers, cameras, run led light strips, the stock bus lights, craft with hot glue guns, grind coffee, etc.
Do you have a heat source for colder weather?
Yes. We built a rocket stove out of old drill casing, they are efficient stoves that use less wood and we run a heat powered fan to move the warm air around the bus. There is a man named Paul Wheaton, who has the rocket stove and permaculture info, we highly recommend checking him out for plans and encouraging "out there" ideas. We have a propane furnace and 66 gallons of propane on the roof. There is also the option to plug the bus into house power via the inverter and run electric heat.
How do you stay cool in the hot summer months?
Haven't experience hot summer months yet. Maybe an AC will be an update. Feeling a travel to the South may call for a solution.
What are you doing for water source?
We collect water out of the mountain side in 3, 5 gallon buckets once or twice a week to fill up our 14 gallon water holding tank under the sink. We have an electrical pump to run the water through a faucet which drains into a 14 gallon holding tank that gets emptied in appropriate locations.
Do you have a bathroom solution for the "rumble guts" hit?
We have a portable toilet for emergencies, but haven't had to use it yet.
What is the most unique feature of your conversion?
The upper deck sleeping quarters. It looks cool, is super cozy, and allows for more living space on the main floor.
What do you do for income while living in the bus?
During the winter Kayla coached ski racing and Guy made snow for Alyeska ski area, allowing plenty of time to play on the mountain. During the summer we both ran the TA surf company renting paddle boards, taking people surfing in the turnagain arm on the boretide, as well as mellow tidal floats. You can check out the company at TAsurf.com Guy also worked for a rafting company Chugach Adventures out of Girdwood and Kayla on an adventure boat out of Whittier. Currently we are picking up odd jobs around the Reno/Tahoe area, creating an online store to sell rad bus trinkets, paddle boards, and ride along adventure tours with us and NED.
What do you do for Internet while on the road?
Let our phones create hot spots in the US and find wifi spots while out of the US.
What’s the hardest thing about living bus life?
Leaving a rad location, and keeping the stuff down to a manageable amount.
We heard you guys are into SUP. Tell us a little more about that and how bus life allows you to SUP more often.
Living in the bus allowed us to move closer to the shop and even right to the surf spot. We started incorporating the bus with our tours, as the shuttle vehicle and a nice place for paddlers to end an adventure, a surf lodge of sorts.
Where can people follow or find out more about your bus? (social media, website, etc.)