Tonight we were supposed to be hanging out in Miami, but we’re not. Currently we are sitting in camping chairs, in our empty house and borrowing wifi from our neighbors (thanks!) because all our furniture is gone and our internet turned off. Let me explain.
The bus has been residing at a local truck shop, waiting for a shiny new water pump. Turns out, our Cummins VT555 V8 is an antique dinosaur, therefore certain parts are scarce. It was supposed to be put back together by last Wednesday, then Friday, now it’s next Wednesday. Of course, we didn’t know this until all the furniture was moved out. Such is life.
Luckily, the guys at the shop are real nice and don’t mind us working on the bus while she sits in their lot. Because of that we have been able to get a lot more work done, including the power/wiring and the sink plumbing. You know, minor details. Also luckily, our landlord is wonderful and doesn’t mind us living here for another week. So things could really be worse. We are grateful for the people around us and at least now we have the time to finish some of those last details we are behind on.
Since the bus is just hanging out at the shop, we went ahead and had them throw on some fresh tires since ours were pretty dry-rotted. We also got some new paint on, inside and out, and hung up the curtains along with the electricity and water solved. Just a few last minute projects left to make it comfortable.
In related news, another big hurdle of our project has been completed: insurance and registration! Along with having our title changed from bus to RV. It took several days of phone calls and a flurry of emails to make it happen, and we are finally legal to be on the road! Feels good.
I feel like a proud mama
Awaiting new tires and sporting a new look
12 cans later, our hands are cramped
Surveying the area
Battery bank, with inverter on the other side of the wall (under our bed).
It’s hard to believe we’ve spent a whole year in Mount Dora. (That’s about 45 min NW of Orlando, in case you were wondering). We have really come to love this little town, so full of life and it’s own culture. There’s usually something happening on the weekend, whether it’s a craft fair, music festival, farmer’s market or charity fundraiser. That’s not to mention the nightly live music at just about every bar and restaurant, the monthly food truck bizarre, and the sea planes taking off from the lake all winter. It’s a boutique town, full of mom and pop shops, including a store catering specifically to your dog. The winter months do fill the town with snow birds, but even in the summer the locals keep it interesting; and every evening greets a beautiful sunset over Lake Dora.
5th Avenue, night before the annual Arts & Crafts Festival
Wandering the Arts Festival. Not unusually, downtown streets were closed off and open to pedestrians only.
Enjoying a Maggie’s wine tasting
Our favorite place in Mount Dora is Maggie’s Attic, a wine bar/bottle shop, and our local beer oasis. We immediately felt at home there, and not just because of the craft beer. The friendly staff was quick to remember us and make us feel welcome, and soon enough we had become regulars. Maggie’s is obviously a great place to imbibe, but besides that it is a community hub. The people we’ve met there and the experiences we’ve shared at Maggie’s events will be remembered for a lifetime. We’ve had the pleasure of sharing the company of people such as the former mayor of Mount Dora, the couple who raises hunting dogs for charity, local home brewers and the ex-soldier retelling his encounters in Europe. It’s a special place.
Inside Maggie’s Attic
I did say beer oasis, right?
Swapping stories at the bar
We’ve started this blog to document our summer on the road in our 1984 Blue Bird bus conversion. Eight short weeks ago we brought her home in all her slightly neglected high school glory, and somehow we’ve ended up with a functional motor home put together with just our four hands. It’s a little bit unreal.
Why a bus, you say?
For a long time we pondered leaving Florida at the one year mark, and felt overwhelmed with the possibilities of how to do it. At first, we even considered just picking up and moving to another new town for another year (maybe New Hampshire?), but realized maybe that isn’t the best way to travel. Each time you move you have to settle down somewhere, find a place to rent, find a job to pay the rent, etc, surely only to uproot ourselves again in the near future.
We realized we needed a more mobile lifestyle.
The Rusty Range Rover
There are actually quite a few options when it comes to being young, creative, and not afraid to get a bit dirty. First of all there was the bus idea. We’d seen many beautiful conversion projects online, and were determined to do the same at some point in our lives. But for this trip? Did we have time and energy to work on it? Did we want to have that much vehicle to haul around everywhere? Then we wanted to take the Range Rover and camp. Soon after we discovered that the Range was rusting away under our feet, and therefore not safe. Okay, so we need to get a new truck. Get a canopy and haul our stuff, like when we moved to Florida, but put a pop-up tent on the roof. Briefly we entertained the idea of converting an enclosed trailer into a camper to haul behind our new truck. But all in all, buying a truck that would be reliable, big enough, and comfortable for a journey of this magnitude would simply be way out of the budget. Not enough cash left over for trip costs.
So it was back to the bus idea. By now we were running out of time, and this idea was too crazy to pull off. So crazy, that it just might work.
Shopping The Bus Lot In Tampa
We didn’t set out to buy a 40′ rig, but we did. And we are in love with it. And you know what? I’m positive all that hard work is going to pay off. Besides, it makes a way better story.