I'll never forget posting in the introduction forum, thank you all! I've been lurking here for months and learning all about what I'm getting myself into. Last June I bought my bus and the adventures have just come rolling in since. I love the look on everyone's face when I tell them I'm converting a bus to live in full time.
"What is it"
A Bristol VR. *grin*
"What kind of bus is that?!"
A Double Decker!
I was completely content window shopping until next year, all the while slowly letting the bank account grow to a comfortable plumpness. Then this 1979 Bristol VR with a new engine and transmission that has seen about 15k miles popped up in Orlando Florida, about an hour from my hometown in Melbourne. The owner had tried to convert it himself and stopped at one point and let it sit for 5 years. Before that he used it to sell massive cones of shaved ice for about $6. He claimed to make $10,000 a month.
We set off to take a peek, just to get a chance to see a double decker bus in person. It was at a mechanics and absolutely full of trash, and she was beautiful! I was in love and ended up buying it that day! The doubles that I had seen so far were hovering around $17k. He was asking $20k which was a bit much. So I offered him monthly payments with 0% interest and he foots the mechanic bill. He took the offer and paid the $2.5k mechanic bill and we drove it home.
This was definitely a time of firsts; 4" of play in the manual steering, trusting the clutch to the Semi-automatic transmission, and driving from the "right" side of the vehicle took some getting used to. It's top speed was a steady 50mph and we squeezed enough miles out of it's 10 gallon diesel tank to make it home. I think we get about 10 miles a gallon.
The lot I have it sitting in now is perfect at $50 a month with water and electricity provided. Since then I've been tearing out the insides and trying to take pictures along the way. Our latest adventure was taking it to the dump and unloading.
On the way back...
I was driving, not doing to bad! I was inside the lane for the most part with the help my father who was spotting at the time. When we ever so minutely the engine's power output dipped. I could compare my reaction to a boiling frog! Because before I knew It 5th gear threatened to kill the engine, 4th and third kept the chugging monster just barely alive enough to achieve 10mph. We were almost home! Another 2 miles and we would have been parked. I was losing my mind thinking something serious was wrong!..
We ran out of fuel... In the fast lane of US1.. We must have crawled at 10 miles an hour for a mile. Fortunately we were within eyeshot to the next gas station and I took off on foot with the diesel tank. As I was running I saw a semi pull into the gas station much like we were about to. When I got there he told me he also ran out of diesel but couldn't get his started again. Running back was a little more difficult. :P
Once I filled her up we were off again! Then we weren't... Then we were! The engine couldn't keep a steady stream of power coming and we resumed pissing people off in the fast lane and slowly chugged into the storage lot. I've never driven anything that ran on diesel before and thought she was in serious trouble and slept that night with a heavy heart. Until my step dad shared the secret that running out of diesel is a pain in the ass and that the bus is fine. Later I randomly watched a video of someone lighting different fuels on fire, Jet fuel and diesel were very difficult to burn and had no fumes like gasoline which violently exploded. It clicked exactly why after watching that why running out of gas is much less of a pain.
Fortunately and unfortunately I got sent off on a business trip and I'm now sitting in Redondo Beach California, 2,000 miles away from any more progress for another 5 months.
Since my introduction post I've been also working on coding my website. It's finally close enough to being done I can post a link here. I'll post my progress here and there when I get started again.
Oh! And there's lots of pictures in the photo dump!