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Old 08-14-2014, 07:41 AM   #1
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Ruby Rotten - A 1997 Labor of Love

Hi all! I'm joining the Skoolie community officially this morning but have been following along on the forums for a couple months now. My husband and I bought a 38ft 1997 Bluebird one month ago today!

I've tried to add photos to this first post without success so I will try again later. Here is where we're at...

The people we bought the bus from had bought it as a school bus and turned it into a camper. They didn't rip up the rubber flooring but threw some linoleum on top of it at the front and some carpet pieces towards the back. They used 5-6 of the bus seats to create a few dinettes, built in a toilet (waste and fresh water tanks installed also), some upper cabinets, a sink/kitchen area, two sets of bunks, and a queen sized platform bed in the back. After looking for awhile all over MI and further, we couldn't pass up the deal on this one, especially because it was so CLOSE to us.

Of course after starting on it we realized that working around all these existing structures in the bus was a lot of hard work. I guess it's saving us some time down the road in building some of those things but it's made the flooring portion of the project a real pain!

We pulled up all the rubber, sanded and treated the rust underneath, and did tar-paper, Reflectix, 3/4'' board insulation, and then plywood. Because there are some walls already built in the bus, and because the insulation in the ceiling looks to be in great shape, we are not going to be taking the inner roof off. We hope to make up for some of that by insulating shut 8-10 windows and having the floors and walls insulated well.

We took the sets of bunks out.. one side will become our closet/storage. The other side will be our washer/dryer combo and our Nature's Head compost toilet on the wheel well. Flooring was just bought last night as well as the beginning of our shower. Will be building the shower into where the toilet used to be (about a 30''x40'' room) using FRP board.

My husband and I decided to take on this project because we're 26 and 27, just married last year, and want to get out of student loan debt before we start having kids. We love to travel and love the freedoms our jobs allow us but hate shelling out at least $900 each month in rent and utilities. Our story is probably much like many people here. We're very hopeful to be living in our bus before winter hits this year. In order to do that we need to finish the floor (this week) and walls (next week or the following), put in our shower and toilet, upgrade the fridge size from the mini one that came with the bus to an apartment sized one, insulate our water pipes, upgrade our inverter (thinking 2 or 3000), and throw our mattress in there. We know if we waited until next Spring we could finish building our dinette, lounge, closet, refinish the driver's area of the bus but we're hoping to brave those projects during full time living in order to get a jump on getting out of debt faster.

I will add photos when I figure out how. Each time I tried, it refreshed the page and came back with an empty page.
Follow along with pictures and blog updates at Facebook.com/rottenride

Cheers!
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Old 08-14-2014, 01:23 PM   #2
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Re: Ruby Rotten - A 1997 Labor of Love

Howdy and Welcome!!
If you have your pics posted online somewhere...Facebook or photobucket or whatever, you can right click on the pic and select "copy image URL" then come here and hit the button up above that says Img .... see it there? it puts some funny text in that looks like { IMG } without spaces and { / img }....now here is the hard part.... put the blinky cursor BETWEEN the brackets }HERE{ and paste the img url... now hit preview button down below to check your work.... if you did it right you will see pics! post all you like that way and hit submit when you are ready!!
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Old 08-14-2014, 06:57 PM   #3
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Re: Ruby Rotten - A 1997 Labor of Love

Hi! Welcome! I warn ya now, we're picture-happy. I mean, we have this massive thing for pictures. Huge. Thing. For pictures.
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Old 08-14-2014, 08:12 PM   #4
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Re: Ruby Rotten - A 1997 Labor of Love

Ok here they are!

Here we are, picking up the bus!


The bus when we got it


The middle of bus, two sets of bunks and a set of cabinets with a bathroom across from them


The kitchen area


Queen size bed in back


Ruby


Rubber floor OFF


Treating the rust


Tar paper, refelctix, 3/4'' insulation, subfloor


Picking out Laminate at Lowe's last night!


Today we finsihed some more of the subfloor and we are laying another layer of tar paper before the laminate. Hoping to get the floor finished by Sunday and be able to MOVE ON!
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Old 08-14-2014, 11:36 PM   #5
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Re: Ruby Rotten - A 1997 Labor of Love

Welcome to our madness we call bus conversions!! You sound like you are going at the speed of light on your conversion. Good for you! As already said, pictures, pictures, pictures!! Again welcome. Feel free to ask questions. We have all been there and appreciated the ideas and feedback from our fellow nuts.
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Old 08-15-2014, 08:59 AM   #6
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Re: Ruby Rotten - A 1997 Labor of Love

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmarvel
Welcome to our madness we call bus conversions!! You sound like you are going at the speed of light on your conversion. Good for you! As already said, pictures, pictures, pictures!! Again welcome. Feel free to ask questions. We have all been there and appreciated the ideas and feedback from our fellow nuts.

Thank you all for the welcome! I figured out the photo thing so get ready to follow along!
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Old 08-15-2014, 09:46 AM   #7
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Re: Ruby Rotten - A 1997 Labor of Love

Welcome to the Asylum! --- Great start guys. I am surprised that there was that much already converted and the body still in school colors. Most states require a color change to distinguish "private" from official school units.
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Old 08-15-2014, 10:27 AM   #8
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Re: Ruby Rotten - A 1997 Labor of Love

Quote:
body still in school colors
Looks tan to me.
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Old 08-15-2014, 12:37 PM   #9
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Re: Ruby Rotten - A 1997 Labor of Love

Quote:
Originally Posted by somewhereinusa
Quote:
body still in school colors
Looks tan to me.

It had been painted byt he previous owners. The paint color is called "cookie bits" HAHA!

We have bought the roof paint (Bus-Kote) and then plan to paint the rest of the bus in Ruby-red and black.
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Old 08-15-2014, 01:04 PM   #10
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Re: Ruby Rotten - A 1997 Labor of Love

Great start!

And.....Welcome
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Old 09-05-2014, 12:03 PM   #11
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Re: Ruby Rotten - A 1997 Labor of Love

A lot has happened since the last post. We got the floors laid...







Got the driver's seat out to finish flooring in the front





Blacked out the windows that we'll wall from the inside. And started on painting some cabinets and cupboards











We also got our plate!



This past weekend we had some help from my father in law in wiring for a bunch of new outlets throughout the bus and configuring plumbing. We bought our shower base (32x32) and plumbed to that, as well as where our bathroom sink and washer/dryer combo will be. He and my husband Nate also fixed a hanging issue with our exhaust pipe so we can safely take Ruby up to Traverse City the first weekend in October!







Later this weekend, we can finish off the furring strips and insulation on the walls/windows and prep for walls to go up. We recently order our Nature's Head composting toilet (and at a MAJOR discount online at Lehman's. We paid $725 including shipping) and our new 3000watt pure sine inverter/water pump have arrived. We will soon be buying our water heater, fridge, and the wood for framing in our bathroom sink, closet, and dinette/lounge!

We also just finished our new website where I'll be blogging about Ruby's progress. So far, the last 6-7 blogs are at http://www.rottenphotography.com

Our new website/blog is http://www.alltherottenthings.com
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Old 09-08-2014, 12:07 AM   #12
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Re: Ruby Rotten - A 1997 Labor of Love

Looks really good so far! It's good you are doing this while still young and having lots of energy and enthusiasm to spend on a major project like this. The older you get, the energy gets to be in shorter supply and makes one think it is a pity so much youth is wasted on the young!
Keep up the good work!
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Old 09-08-2014, 01:06 AM   #13
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Re: Ruby Rotten - A 1997 Labor of Love

How did you get the composter for such a good price? Did they have a sale?
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Old 09-08-2014, 06:48 AM   #14
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Re: Ruby Rotten - A 1997 Labor of Love

Quote:
Originally Posted by Docsgsxr
How did you get the composter for such a good price? Did they have a sale?
Yes! Lehman's was having a 30% off sale after Labor Day last week so we nabbed our toilet for $630.
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Old 09-08-2014, 08:27 AM   #15
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Re: Ruby Rotten - A 1997 Labor of Love

love the personalized plate, does MI not have wt rated tags?

example, TN normal tags is only good for 5000 or 7500 pounds (depends on who you talk to)

I had to go 26000 pound plates (mainly to not give TDOT/DOT/5-0 a reason to pull me over)
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Old 09-08-2014, 01:16 PM   #16
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Re: Ruby Rotten - A 1997 Labor of Love

Quote:
Originally Posted by bansil
love the personalized plate, does MI not have wt rated tags?

example, TN normal tags is only good for 5000 or 7500 pounds (depends on who you talk to)

I had to go 26000 pound plates (mainly to not give TDOT/DOT/5-0 a reason to pull me over)
Sorry to say I don't know what any of that is! The bus is titled as an RV, it was done by the owner''s before us. We simply retitled it and paid for the license and registration based on the weight and price of the bus originally.
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Old 09-08-2014, 02:25 PM   #17
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Re: Ruby Rotten - A 1997 Labor of Love

I had several options it went from 16k to 26k and I knew I was between them

they are available here for 10k and up to 16k in 1k increments

just trying to save a headache
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Old 09-16-2014, 10:05 AM   #18
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Re: Ruby Rotten - A 1997 Labor of Love

We got a lot of new work done this past weekend with my father-in-law in town. The walls for our shower were built, shower pan was installed, power and plumbing was all finished. We updated fully on our blog

http://www.alltherottenthings.com

We have been working on the bus now for a little less than two months and just gave notice to our landlord that we'll be moving out November 1st!
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Old 09-20-2014, 06:43 AM   #19
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Re: Ruby Rotten - A 1997 Labor of Love

good luck with move out date, did you keep some natural wood with the blue color?
I thought it was a nice contrast
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Old 09-24-2014, 09:26 AM   #20
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Re: Ruby Rotten - A 1997 Labor of Love

Quote:
Originally Posted by bansil
good luck with move out date, did you keep some natural wood with the blue color?
I thought it was a nice contrast
We will have some natural wood but most so far has been painted over. The wood that the previous owner's used was not very nice stuff. We've been working on our dinette benches and countertop space and some of the caps on those things will be left natural.





Lots more pictures and updates over the last two weeks at http://www.alltherottenthings.com


We'll be taking Ruby on her first road trip next weekend from Grand Rapids to Traverse City and will be installing our washer/dryer, toilet, countertops, new sinks, and hopefully tackling our shower. We plan to use FRP board in the shower but having never worked with this material or installed a shower, it will be one of the many interesting tasks.
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