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Old 10-30-2010, 03:01 PM   #141
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Re: Diesel Dan's Skoolie

The stairs are Awesome!!!
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Old 11-06-2010, 03:37 AM   #142
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Maiden voyage

So here it is 2:30am and later this morning we depart for the maiden voyage of the magic bus. I just spent the past 6 hours finishing up the bottom bunks and bolting the seats in. I'd be in bed now, but I'm icing my sore back and having a glass of wine. My goal was to have the bus ready at least for the family to sleep in it, and have seats with seatbelts to ride in, and that much I did accomplish. We'll be going down to a campground on the San Marcos River to do some canoeing and camping. Temps are supposed to get down in the 40's at night. I plan to bring a couple small electric space heaters. Last time I did this was when I first drove the bus home from Kansas a year ago. Even with the two 1500 watt heaters, it was pretty cold in there. So we'll see if the insulation made any difference. I do still have several original bus windows in place, but insulated the lower walls, some upper walls (with skinned windows) and the floor. I was too busy, and then too tired to take pics tonight, but will be sure to do so during our camping trip this weekend. Were supposed to leave at 9am and I haven't even packed yet. Okay, I guess it's time for bed...
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Old 11-06-2010, 01:42 PM   #143
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Re: Diesel Dan's Skoolie

You're off and driving now! And camping Have fun!
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Old 11-07-2010, 06:17 PM   #144
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Re: Diesel Dan's Skoolie

So the bus did quite well on it's maiden voyage as a converted "motor home". I only have the basic framework up right now, so it mainly acted as a bunkhouse, but we were able to throw a ton of stuff and a bunch of people in there. From this first trip I realized that we will likely be doing our cooking outside primarily, so that makes me feel better about the tiny space I have allocated for a future kitchen. The interior layout is mostly seating and bedding, with only one window's worth of space on each side of the bus for the kitchen, and in the back is a small corner, the size of probably two windows, for a bathroom.

The place we went was an old, and somewhat run down, but beautiful campground with huge pecan trees providing lots of shade. We had the option of 15A or 30A electric, for a total of 45A if we had used them both. But my electric system was not quite finished enough to take advantage of the 30A this time, so we just ran 15A extension cords for the things we needed. There was only a community water spigot, so another thought I had is the importance of holding tanks. We had two small space heaters running at night, and the temps got down into the upper 30's. I don't know what the inside temp was in the bus, but I'm guessing in the 50's. One of the space heaters stopped working at some point during the night, which caused it to get a bit more chilly. I do have a lot of glass in the front of the bus, and later on will make some heavy curtains and possibly also insulated panels that can be inserted in the window openings during cold weather. I'll also have to get a better heater. I'll probably stick with electric heat for now, mainly due to ease of installation and I'm trying to avoid installing any propane if I can avoid it. I also plan to enclose the bunk room so it can be more efficiently heated at night, which is primarily when it gets cold down here in TX. Daytime temps are usually significantly warmer. For instance, after that 38 degree night, it got up into the mid-70's the next day.

Here are some pics of the trip:





Attached Images
File Type: jpg bus at camp1.jpg (244.5 KB, 761 views)
File Type: jpg bus at camp2.jpg (168.8 KB, 760 views)
File Type: jpg bus at camp3.jpg (125.3 KB, 763 views)
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Old 11-07-2010, 06:22 PM   #145
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Re: Diesel Dan's Skoolie

The kids had a great time riding in the bus and hanging out in there at camp:




I love my old kerosene lanterns:

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File Type: jpg dan at camp1.jpg (49.6 KB, 754 views)
File Type: jpg kids in bus1.jpg (100.7 KB, 754 views)
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Old 11-08-2010, 08:49 PM   #146
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Re: Diesel Dan's Skoolie

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smitty
Neat pics....reminds me of the weekends as a kid spent in one of dads skoolies. I'll throw this at ya though, regarding the kitchen. Keep in mind, plans change, and weather can change too. I'd have enough of a kitchen that I could still comfortably prepare meals should you hit a rainy spell. You're still in the framing stage, so now would be the time to reconsider, while any changes you might consider could be easily made.

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Well, the kitchen will occupy that space right in front of the bunks on both sides. I will have a sink on one side with enough cabinet space for a drying rack, and above the sink will be upper storage cabinets, and on the opposite side of the bus facing the sink will be an empty counter top under which I will stow my propane camp stove and/or my portable electric range, both of which are two-burners, and under those will reside a cooler, and above the counter will be a toaster oven or microwave. The dining booth table can be used as a food prep area. Over the three open windows on both sides of the front will be upper cabinets for pots and pans and food. At some point I will also have an awning so we can still prepare food outside even if it's raining. Fact is, with a family of 5 and a 3/4 length bus, my options are limited. Minimum required seating and bedding needed dictated the size of the kitchen. If we were full-timing I would have got a 40 footer and had a bigger kitchen, but we wanted something that would fit in the driveway, be somewhat nimble in parking lots, and have as much seating as possible for extra passengers and so what we ended up with is what we've got. Compromises had to be made, and the kitchen got the short end of the stick. Still, I think it will be functional in a pinch. Maybe not for making a Thanksgiving dinner, but certainly good enough to make coffee, cook a can of beans, make a sandwich, or whatever. If I find that I need more kitchen space later on, I can always eliminate one of the benches from the dining booth and build out into that space without much difficulty. Or eliminate the opposing couch and reclaim 3 windows worth of space. But when I read about these people who live full time in vans, I figure, I've got plenty of space. Everything is relative.
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Old 11-16-2010, 10:57 AM   #147
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Bunk bed framing

Since the camping trip, I've been continuing to work on the bunk beds. Here you can see I've framed a ledge for the upper bunk to rest on. The upper bunks will slide up and down in a channel and I will use eye-bolts to hang them from above when it is not in use:




Here is a closer view of the driver side bunk. In the back is the rear heater for the cabin. I will have a grate on either side of the back door to the bunk room. The grates will open and close so that I can select whether to heat the bunk room or the back room or both. You can also see where I have built boxes around the wheel humps and insulated them. And of course there is paneling going up on the walls:




Here is a view from the back of the bunks. You can see that the driver side bunk extends about a foot farther back than the other bunk. This is where I will sleep. I am 6'4" after all. So I decided I would sacrifice a foot of potential bathroom space so I could stretch out completely while sleeping. Some lucky person on the top bunk on this side will also have a luxuriously long bed:

Attached Images
File Type: jpg bunks framed midway.jpg (95.6 KB, 668 views)
File Type: jpg driver bunk bottom.jpg (95.6 KB, 669 views)
File Type: jpg back of bunks.jpg (114.5 KB, 665 views)
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Old 11-29-2010, 01:52 AM   #148
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Bunks almost finished

Framing of the bunks is now just about complete. Here is a pic of both bunks with the curb side upper bunk in the raised position and the driver side upper bunk in the sleeping position:



Here is a closer look at how I am suspending the upper bunks when not in use:



I still need to finish up the hooks for the driver side bunk. The one disadvantage of this setup is that the upper bunks are pretty heavy - especially the driver side bunk which is longer. It definitely requires two people to get them into the raised position. I may decide to use a pulley system to raise them, but for now I just want to get them functional.

Next step is to make guard rails for the upper bunks and cut the futons to size, then cut some foam pieces for the upper bunks. Ultimately the front and rear walls of the bunks will be sheeted in with paneling, but I'm waiting until I frame the kitchen and bathroom which both connect to the bunk area.
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File Type: jpg upper_lower bunks.jpg (117.7 KB, 630 views)
File Type: jpg pass side bunk up.jpg (83.3 KB, 630 views)
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Old 11-30-2010, 07:49 PM   #149
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Re: Diesel Dan's Skoolie

I'm digging the bunks... Very cool idea, might have to steal that one...
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Old 12-01-2010, 12:43 PM   #150
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Re: Diesel Dan's Skoolie

Yeah that's a nice setup, minus the weight issue. Makes for great daybed on bottom. You planning on putting up backing to lean back on, maybe some seat belts down there?
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