“So, when do you guys hit the road?”
We get asked this question a lot when talking to folks about the bus. Well the good news, is that we are planning to start our road trip soon. No, really. Like next week, soon!
There are several reasons why it’s taken so long for us to finally be ready to set sail.
When we left Austin, our bus it was technically converted, though we still had a list of projects to complete before the bus would be comfortable for extended travel.
Sitting at the top of the list was plumbing. Prior to leaving Austin, we ordered water tanks and had them shipped to Ryan’s family’s house in east Texas so they’d be waiting for us upon arrival. Mounting the new fresh water tank didn’t take long, however, installing the grey & black water tanks took a bit more time since we had to solve a few quirks with water flow and weight distribution.
Once the tanks were installed, our next big project was painting the bus. (You can read about that process in our last post.)
These were followed by a slew of other smaller projects. As with all of our construction work to date, every task generally took a just a little longer than we’d planned. We always seem to lose time to head scratching, indecision, and supply shopping.
Another of the recent projects: building a roof rack and an accompanying crane to hoist the heavy stuff like our kayak and bicycles onto the roof.
It rained a LOT in east Texas this year. March, April, and May were marked by frequent heavy downpours, making it really difficult to work outdoors with power tools. The regular rains also frequently turned the area underneath the bus into a soft, squishy, muddy mess. This definitely put a damper on our productivity.
Speaking of the weather and related projects….
Winter Summer is coming…
It’s finally gotten hot enough that we’ve had a taste what it’s like to stay on our bus during a southern summer. It’s not pleasant.
We’ve yet to reach true summer temperatures yet, but still… this week’s local forecast doesn’t look fun:
Though parking the bus in the shade certainly spares us a few degrees, the temperature inside the bus during the heat of the day is just too darn high for comfort. Currently, our on-board thermometer is reporting temperatures that are 8-10 degrees hotter inside the bus than the ambient temperature outside. So far, we’ve made do by opening the doors and windows and running a large box fan. However,this approach presents a problem in that we won’t be able to close up the bus and leave the pets inside while being out and about without it getting dangerously hot for them.
So, with this in mind, we’ve purchased a 15,000 BTU RV air conditioner and will be installing it over the next few days. We’ll be postponing our departure until this puppy is up and running.
3. Distractions (Good ones)
Since Ryan left his full-time office job in February of this year, it’s been really nice having more free time to spend together and with his awesome family. This Spring, we’ve taken time away from working on the bus to enjoy ourselves and do things like go fishing & swimming, take long bike rides through the local countryside, see live music & attend local events, indulge in video game marathons, and play ridiculously long/fun games of Settlers of Catan. Ryan’s also taken time to work on personal programming projects, while I spent quite a bit of time setting up a photography business.
In Texas, the class of driver’s license required to operate your vehicle is determined by the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), type of vehicle, and number of passengers it carries. Of the three criteria, the GVWR is the most important factor for determining license requirements for RVers. Based on our GVWR, we had to upgrade our licenses from regular class C’s to class B’s before we could start traveling.
To do so, we each had to study the TX Commercial Drivers’ License Manual, complete a written test, and then take a road test in our bus. Unfortunately, we each had to wait three weeks from the dates of our written tests to take our road tests because of DPS scheduling limitations. We used the lag time to hone our bus-driving skills, and I’m happy to report we’ve each passed our road tests. That’s right, we’re both class B drivers now!
(More on drivers’ licenses in another post.)
So, back to the original question, “when do you guys hit the road?“. The answer is SOON!
At present, we’re planning to hit the road on June 16th (pending the successful installation of our AC, of course). Our current plan is to head west and spend July in northern New Mexico before heading north to Colorado in August.
BLOG READERS: Have a question for us? We’re happy to answer it in the comments section below.