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-   -   Meet our new bus... Mr. Beefy! (https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f27/meet-our-new-bus-mr-beefy-27421.html)

HazMatt 06-17-2019 09:29 PM

Indeed!
Inquiring minds want to know.

TheHubbardBus 06-17-2019 09:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RandyLee (Post 332746)
Any updates yet ? Did he get the bus ? Is he driving home?

Well.. wow.. big few days.. I'll respond, he's in a state park, low cell reception and low battery (charging now).

Bus needed batteries, no worries, picked those up this am and he started right up.
Brakes seemed squishy.. but service tec took it out and tested it. said it has a small leak but pressure builds up ok when driven. (this proved to be true, I believe).

Trip Permit (don't think that's the right name but.. can't come up with it at the moment).. Took over 3hrs at DMV.. just for the wait.

While he was there, service tech at yard removed governor.. so.. sweet.
Delivered bus to him with full tank another bonus :thumb:. Started to hit the round around 3pm Austin time.. Traffic is awful.. even more fun in a vehicle you've never driven before .

I waited at home anxiously for any news. At the time I didn't know he had a full tank. Started to freak out a bit after 4 hrs (his destination was ~3hrs in according to goggle.. realize that's in a .. normal vehicle) no calls and no gas purchases... :eek: Super happy to finally get that call.

Anywhobe.. so, may be some issues with tranny, had some .. hesitation off the line but on the highway ran great.. was Jody was a bit hesitant to stop before destination so.. poor guy is on .. survival rations tonight.. hopefully some good food tomorrow.

Tomorrows schedule is much more relaxed with only ~3hrs driving.. and none of the other .. stuff. Will have had a chance to charge cell, get some rest (I hope) and will know if it will.. start / run fine again.. so hopefully will feel confident to stop and get a good meal and some supplies.

Think we're still lovin' it.. but.. too much going on today to get a clear feel from him :) Wish I was with him to help.. he's glad I'm not due to potential problems.. so there ya have it..

I can recall a number of ... events in the VW bus with us all and thing breaking down. Fun in hindsight...

Praying for safe return and only .. reasonable adventures during the trip :)

Mark_In_MA 06-17-2019 10:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheHubbardBus (Post 332757)
Well.. wow.. big few days.. I'll respond, he's in a state park, low cell reception and low battery (charging now).

Bus needed batteries, no worries, picked those up this am and he started right up.
Brakes seemed squishy.. but service tec took it out and tested it. said it has a small leak but pressure builds up ok when driven. (this proved to be true, I believe).

Trip Permit (don't think that's the right name but.. can't come up with it at the moment).. Took over 3hrs at DMV.. just for the wait.

While he was there, service tech at yard removed governor.. so.. sweet.
Delivered bus to him with full tank another bonus :thumb:. Started to hit the round around 3pm Austin time.. Traffic is awful.. even more fun in a vehicle you've never driven before .

I waited at home anxiously for any news. At the time I didn't know he had a full tank. Started to freak out a bit after 4 hrs (his destination was ~3hrs in according to goggle.. realize that's in a .. normal vehicle) no calls and no gas purchases... :eek: Super happy to finally get that call.

Anywhobe.. so, may be some issues with tranny, had some .. hesitation off the line but on the highway ran great.. was Jody was a bit hesitant to stop before destination so.. poor guy is on .. survival rations tonight.. hopefully some good food tomorrow.

Tomorrows schedule is much more relaxed with only ~3hrs driving.. and none of the other .. stuff. Will have had a chance to charge cell, get some rest (I hope) and will know if it will.. start / run fine again.. so hopefully will feel confident to stop and get a good meal and some supplies.

Think we're still lovin' it.. but.. too much going on today to get a clear feel from him :) Wish I was with him to help.. he's glad I'm not due to potential problems.. so there ya have it..

I can recall a number of ... events in the VW bus with us all and thing breaking down. Fun in hindsight...

Praying for safe return and only .. reasonable adventures during the trip :)


You're way over the hump at this point. You got it started, it's had some nice, long run time to get everything nice and warmed up, it's got fresh fuel, and all the metaphorical cobwebs have been shaken out. :dance:

TheHubbardBus 06-17-2019 10:30 PM

Thanks.. I needed this!!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mark_In_MA (Post 332759)
You're way over the hump at this point. You got it started, it's had some nice, long run time to get everything nice and warmed up, it's got fresh fuel, and all the metaphorical cobwebs have been shaken out. :dance:


:dance::dance::marshmallow:

HazMatt 06-18-2019 04:28 AM

I suppose it could've been a smoother start... Then again, it could have been considerably rockier!
Austin traffic can be horrific, too bad events conspired to result in a late start.
Delighted to hear the shakedown cruise went well!
Happy Trails... 🤠

RandyLee 06-18-2019 06:24 AM

We are happy that it runs and drives ��
Yes Austin traffic is horrific
Tell him the fan club is cheering him on ��

TheHubbardBus 06-18-2019 07:44 AM

On the road again
 
Good morning all!
He's back on the road again getting an early start.
Hopefully he can get into town, get some food and then head to next site early enough to get the tent set up. We still have the seats in the bus so no where to sleep in there comfortably. :hide:

Apparently a pretty bumpy ride, said he thinks he caught air at one point.. (adds shocks to list)

Appreciate all the support and good wishes!! :Thanx:

HazMatt 06-18-2019 08:04 AM

Cool!
(+5#)

jofred99 06-18-2019 09:01 AM

Shocks may not be the answer on this bus. One of the bus techs told me that the drivers didn't like the short wheelbase because they had a tendency to bounce.


Glad the adventure is going well!

TheHubbardBus 06-18-2019 09:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jofred99 (Post 332824)
Shocks may not be the answer on this bus. One of the bus techs told me that the drivers didn't like the short wheelbase because they had a tendency to bounce.


Glad the adventure is going well!

Thanks for the info.. hopefully a bit more weight will help as well. I'm sure that will be one of Jody's questions to the group when he returns.

EastCoastCB 06-18-2019 09:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jofred99 (Post 332824)
Shocks may not be the answer on this bus. One of the bus techs told me that the drivers didn't like the short wheelbase because they had a tendency to bounce.


Glad the adventure is going well!

Spring suspension makes any size bus bounce a bit on big bumps. Its more noticeable on a short bus but I know some folks who broke their washer/dryer hauling it home in the rear of the bus. It hit a bump and the rear cargo went airborne. That was in a 35 footer.

HazMatt 06-18-2019 09:23 AM

A good object lesson on the importance of payload placement.
Quote:

Originally Posted by EastCoastCB (Post 332835)
Spring suspension makes any size bus bounce a bit on big bumps. Its more noticeable on a short bus but I know some folks who broke their washer/dryer hauling it home in the rear of the bus. It hit a bump and the rear cargo went airborne. That was in a 35 footer.

Give you a big enough lever, and you can move the world!
Or a Maytag.

Disastrogirl 06-18-2019 12:55 PM

So exciting! I’d love to see your floor plan.

Sleddgracer 06-18-2019 01:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by EastCoastCB (Post 332835)
Spring suspension makes any size bus bounce a bit on big bumps. Its more noticeable on a short bus but I know some folks who broke their washer/dryer hauling it home in the rear of the bus. It hit a bump and the rear cargo went airborne. That was in a 35 footer.

and why I don't want a flat nose FE bus - I'll most likely be hitting many frost heaves in my travels - I've seen air in cab forward delivery trucks and it's no fun at 70 MPH :(

TheHubbardBus 06-18-2019 02:29 PM

The journey continues
 
Well, Things are going so well today and Mr Beefy is apparently enjoying the fresh open air so much that Jody skipped his originally planned stop for today and is continuing our direction. He'll have to stop tonight somewhere but playing it by ear right now.

Also, 2nd stop was down 75 miles of a farm road (single lane highway.. very rough surface) which felt so narrow it didn't seem Mr Beefy would fit in his lane. That coupled with truckers very familiar with the road flyin' by... he felt he's already had enough adventure.. didn't need that today :nonono:

Better prepped with food and such today.. feeling much happier :biggrin:

HazMatt 06-18-2019 02:49 PM

No doubt, a welcome change of pace (pun intended) from stopping every quarter mile to load or unload it's bipedal cargo!
Sounds like a fine intro for your 2 boys to get better acquainted.

EastCoastCB 06-18-2019 03:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sleddgracer (Post 332913)
and why I don't want a flat nose FE bus - I'll most likely be hitting many frost heaves in my travels - I've seen air in cab forward delivery trucks and it's no fun at 70 MPH :(

Flat nose FE is the best riding/driving bus I've had yet.
Its the Vista's with spring suspension you'll want to avoid if bounce is unwanted.

Sleddgracer 06-18-2019 03:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by EastCoastCB (Post 332936)
Flat nose FE is the best riding/driving bus I've had yet.
Its the Vista's with spring suspension you'll want to avoid if bounce is unwanted.

interesting - doesn't seem logical with the cab being in front of the steering wheels - l'll have to see if i can find one to ride in

EastCoastCB 06-18-2019 05:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sleddgracer (Post 332941)
interesting - doesn't seem logical with the cab being in front of the steering wheels - l'll have to see if i can find one to ride in

Lots of drivers loved the Genesis FE buses.

o1marc 06-18-2019 06:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by EastCoastCB (Post 332949)
Lots of drivers loved the Genesis FE buses.

I like mine, it's an awesome bus, can't wait to drive it again soon, been a year.

TheHubbardBus 06-18-2019 07:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Disastrogirl (Post 332910)
So exciting! I’d love to see your floor plan.


So.. so far.. something like this.
https://img1.wsimg.com/isteam/ip/e35...200,h:750,a:cc

But after we get him here .. that may change up a bit. :biggrin:

And .. our inspiration bus.. this bus is a Beauty in our eyes.
https://www.winkarch.com/project.php?id=65

802trees 06-18-2019 08:45 PM

Woah! that vintage bus is something to behold!!

you have a great layout idea. Oh what fun

TheHubbardBus 06-18-2019 09:03 PM

Vintage Bus
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by 802trees (Post 332992)
Woah! that vintage bus is something to behold!


Right??? We both found it separately and loved it immediately. Hope we do their design justice.

Super excited.. I get to see Mr Beefy in person tomorrow!!! :dance::dance::dance:

Disastrogirl 06-19-2019 12:12 PM

I’m looking forward to watching your build.

is that a combo toilet/shower behind the driver seat? My old rv had one and it worked out so I’ll probably do that in my bus too.

TheHubbardBus 06-19-2019 12:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Disastrogirl (Post 333097)
Iím looking forward to watching your build.

is that a combo toilet/shower behind the driver seat? My old rv had one and it worked out so Iíll probably do that in my bus too.

Yep.. that's currently the plan. Natures Head composting toilet and shower into water proof tray.. of some sorts :)

Free Bird 06-19-2019 12:52 PM

suggestions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TheHubbardBus (Post 332976)
So.. so far.. something like this.
https://img1.wsimg.com/isteam/ip/e35...200,h:750,a:cc

But after we get him here .. that may change up a bit. :biggrin:

And .. our inspiration bus.. this bus is a Beauty in our eyes.
Winkelman Architecture | Portfolio | Maine Residential Architects specializing in custom homes, camps, cabins, cottages, boathouses

Hi Folks, Looks like a great choice for a camper.
These shorty's are super maneuverable, mine will do a u turn on most secondary roads, waaay tighter than my pickup. Does take a while to get used to the width and driving with that glass entry door is pretty distracting at first!

My primary area of travel is in British Columbia so my build reflects that. In you're climate you will have different needs.

I have some similarities in layout.
My kitchen and table layout is about the same as yours but I do not have a loo behind the drivers seat. I have good rear visibility through the side windows and the back door. I have a small open space behind the drivers seat which will accommodate a fridge (the top would add to counter space) right now a cooler lives there. I installed a propane heater under the table, also a bit of storage space under it. Same front passenger captains chair with built in shoulder harness but mounted closer to the center so your feet don't hang over the stairs. Seat moves forward and back about a foot as well as rotates 360. Rather than add a drop leaf I sculpted the table to allow the chair to rotate. I left a bus seat in place over the wheel well for the rear table seat.

I like having good access to the rear door so built a fold up double bed on the rear passenger side. It uses up 7' in length and allows some storage on the back end. When the bed is folded up there is good access to the under bed storage (also good vision out rear door). On the back drivers side there is a small fridge over the wheel well, then a closet then a storage bench with a litter box in it. I can't convince myself to install a bathroom in a small bus. I might add a hot water system, then for sure I would rig up an outside shower hose.

I'm happy with my bed design but may change the whole rear lay out anyway. Sometimes my wife doesn't want to come camping and suddenly I don't need a double bed but rather 2 singles.

My thoughts on your bus-

Once the mechanical stuff was deemed in order I would get some white paint on that roof, maybe the whole bus!
It really helps and will extend the time you can work inside it.

I would consider an awning and 1 or 2 pull out drawers on the outside of the bus to facilitate an outdoor kitchen. The awning might be a plus while doing the build.

You are going to be making thousands of trips in and out of the bus while building and all the big items want to go through the back door. Setting up a ramp to about the height of the bottom of your rear bumper is time well rewarded.
I now have a rear carrying rack/step that plugs in to my hitch receiver, wish i'da figured that out first thing.

TheHubbardBus 06-19-2019 05:20 PM

He's Home!!
 
https://img1.wsimg.com/isteam/ip/e35...800,h:500,a:cc


:dance: :dance: :dance:

HazMatt 06-19-2019 05:41 PM

And there was MUCH rejoicing.
Quote:

Originally Posted by TheHubbardBus (Post 333141)

Yay

EastCoastCB 06-19-2019 09:13 PM

Congrats, that's a sweet bus!

Gustav 06-20-2019 07:04 AM

Really nice bus! Looking forward to the conversion.

TheHubbardBus 06-20-2019 01:06 PM

Well, I made it back! Thanks to my awesome wife for keeping this thread going. And thanks to all of you for your shared experiences, advice, support, and assistance. I can say with all honesty if it weren't for this forum and its membership, we would never have even known what to look for in a bus, much less had the ability to get that vision home. we truly can't thank you all enough.

Our short story (which I'll tell in extremely long fashion, so scroll to the end for the TLDR summary if you're smart) so far has been an emotional roller-coaster for us both. The two days spent traveling to Austin in a rental car were quick & uneventful, but I slept quite poorly both nights, which combined with the stress of the unknown had me waking up Monday exhausted and with a budding migraine. After washing down an unhealthy quantity of Aspirin & Tylenol with cheap hotel coffee, I managed to hit the bus depot at 7:00 am. By 7:20, I had confirmed the batteries were toast, and was sitting outside an Advanced auto down the street, waiting for them to open. An hour later I had two new batteries installed in the bus, and despite the growing pain in my head, an ear to ear grin; she fired up instantly - strong - without a hint of hesitation, nor any sign of age or wear!!!

It didn't take long, however, for that smile to flip 180-degrees. After performing my first-ever pre-trip air brake inspection (learned via youtube 2 days prior), I determined the air brakes to be leaking. After a defeated call back home discussing options for getting it repaired locally, I was offered the assistance of a couple district mechanics, who assured me that the air brakes were in serviceable condition and would be safe. Again another flip of the lips, and sigh of relief! But by this time, I had missed the 9:00 appointment I had at the local tax office to get my temp permit to drive Beefy home. "No big deal", I thought. After all, I still had 4 whole hours before the bus barn closed at 1 PM (summer hours). How long could it possibly take?

That question was answered in the half hour it took me circling the tax office just to find a place to park. I'll spare you all the details of the DMV experience, we've all been there. You know the fun. Fast forward a few hours later, and I finally had my temp permit in hand... 10 minutes before the bus barn closed, and 50 minutes past the time I was supposed to have my rental car returned.

I hustled back post-haste, and found the gates still open. Kismet! As quick as I could, I transferred the ridiculous amount of tools & supplies I had brought with me from car to bus, and arranged for the mechanics (who graciously offered) to remove the 55mph governed speed limit. I then returned the rental car (no late charge!), took a taxi back to the bus barn ('Kilo' and his daughter, who had to remind dad she had practice that day. "You have practice today?", dad asked. "I have practice every day", daughter responded).

Back at the bus barn, and after a short encounter with a manager I hadn't met who was suspicious of my presence, I hopped in Mr. Beefy, fired him up (full tank of gas! Thanks guys!), let the air tanks fill, and then out through the gates!!!! I was on my way home!!! I was actually doing this!!! How exciting! How thrilling! How....

Scary. White-knuckle, teeth-grinding Scary. "I'm going to jail or the hospital" scary. "This was a really stupid decision" scary. I had never driven a bus, or anything approaching its size. I had never driven anything with air brakes. I had never driven in Austin aside from the prior 24-hours, and those 24 hours had only taught me one thing and one thing only... driving is Austin is nuts. Google maps was my navigator, but my phone died 2 minutes out of the gates. There was no DC plug in the bus, and my backup power pack failed. The combination of shot shocks, shot roads, a jerky low gear, and zero load made driving the bus feel more like piloting a 15,000 pound pogo stick.

For the first hour I just drove aimlessly in the city - during the start of rush hour - completely lost, my route determined solely by the path of least resistance. Two times the air brake alarm went off (my fault, not the system), forcing me to seek temporary refuge in grocery-store parking lots lest I end up blocking traffic. Eventually I managed to get my phone powered back up long enough to map my way out of the city. By this time I at least had a sense for how wide to take turns (worried about nothing - it turns on a dime), how to fit in lanes (worried about nothing, it fit just fine), how to brake (just don't ride them), and how to minimize the pogo effect (not sure how I managed that, but I did).

The next few hours on the fast & busy 290 were, relatively speaking, easy... until I hit the towns. In high gears Beefy ran fine, but coming off a stop or major slow-down the tranny began slipping so bad I had to run it up to 2K before it even began to move, and when it did it took forever before it gained any speed. The 'check transmission' light came on, the engine temp was escalating well past 210, and I figured I was having major problems that were likely to only get worse. A couple of times I was sure I was going to end up stuck dead in the middle of an intersection. But eventually he'd get up to speed, hit the upshifts, and be back in the game. Figuring my tranny was shot, I endeavored to do one thing and one thing only... get as close to home as possible before it finally went tits up for good.

Somehow, someway, I finally made it to my first-day's destination: Llano River State Park. I pulled up in front of the main office in their designated RV space, let the turbo cool down, and then turned off the key, believing Beefy very well may never leave that spot under his own power. I tried calling Sharon, but cell reception was very poor, so I wasn't able to relay much info to her. After about 1/2 hour of resting, I hesitantly fired him up again, put him in gear, and I'll be damned... the warning light was gone, and he lugged out in first gear just fine! I drove the very short distance to my camp site, backed in ('beep', 'beep', 'beep'), and enjoyed the remainder of my nervous breakdown among the chatter of bugs, birds, and frogs. My plan had been to stop along the way for ice, food, and beverages. But I had been afraid to stop for fear of not starting. So dinner ended up being a 5-year-shelf-life, 2400-calorie USCG survival ration (brick-o-food) that had literally been sitting in the back of my truck (think Arizona desert summers) for the past 3 years, washed down with bleach-tainted water from my camelback pack. Too tired, lazy, and apathetic to set up a tent, I slept - at least for a couple hours - with my body stretched across one row of seats, and a cooler in the isle to rest my knees upon.

The next day I had everything ready to go by daybreak. I still didn't know what to expect with the transmission, but had reason to believe it was as likely a heat-induced temporary malfunction as a major problem. So my new plan was to put as many miles in during the cool morning hours as possible, and if lucky - get to my next destination - Monahan Sandhills State Park - before the heat of the day came on.

But the Mr. Beefy that day was a different Mr Beefy altogether. It seemed with every passing mile he ran better, stronger, and smoother. Where the temp gauge the day prior had pushed up around 220, he was happily putting in mile after mile sitting on the thermostat @ ~175. Slowing or stopping - even after hours of highway driving - were trouble-free... no more slipping, chugging, or lurching. He ran @ 65mph - my self-imposed speed limit - with ease. In fact, my biggest problem was keeping his speed below 65 (which was 2K rpm on flat ground)... it was just so easy to go higher!

By the time I got to the turn-off towards the Sandhills, I was already toying with the idea of continuing west based on his new-found performance. But I figured it would be best to err on the side of caution, and since it wasn't even noon yet, I'd have a great opportunity to do the detailed inspection & service I had planned to have done already. That decision lasted about 10 miles down Texas Farm Road 11, at which point I thanked the lord I was still alive, flipped a 180, and prayed my way back to I10. If you've never driven it, Farm Road 11 is the functional equivalent of one continuous strip of cattle-guard; an undivided two-lane highway with a 70mph posted limit (which reads 90 to Texans), lanes 1 VW-beetle wide, and populated exclusively by overloaded 18-wheelers that apparently must surpass the speed of light in order to meet their quotas.

Back on I10, and I just kept going. Every time I'd stop for gas, water, or other necessities, the air was hotter. And every time I'd figure "This time he'll start struggling, better look for a place to rest". But he never did. And neither did I. With the difference in time zones I gained two hours, and by 4PM - after over 10 hours of pretty much straight driving, we hit El Paso. This is where Beefy finally had his first (and only) hiccup of the day. A major jam in rush-hour traffic had us down to a stop & go crawl for a few miles, and that got him lurching (not slipping though) in first gear again. Fortunately things cleared up before the tranny could continue to get hotter.

Still plenty of light left on this mid-June day, so we kept on going... in and out of Las Cruces, and then the climb up to Deming. The air temps were probably as hot as they'd been all day, and the incline probably the longest & steepest so far. No problemo for the Beefmeister! We finally called it quits for the night in Deming, partly because I was exhausted, and partly because the headlights weren't working (relay). I didn't want to spring for a motel, but I didn't have time to find a place to boondock, and needed power to charge my phone. So I pulled into the deserted Motel 6 off the interstate (the lack of occupants should have been a clue), and got a room. Meth-fueled fighting in the room next door. Some greasy clown who kept wandering around my bus. My room's steel door bent inward 2", top & bottom, from what I'm guessing was a prior visit from the local drug task force. I've lived in worse, but with only a handful of hours separating me from bringing Beefy home to my baby, I couldn't bear chancing someone messing with it... particularly with a door you have no way to lock. So I showered, shaved, took a leak, and - for the second night in a row - slept stretched across a row of seats. Parked outside the crap room I wish I had never paid for :rofl:

The next morning I struck out as soon as there was enough light to leave by. Not much to say other than Mr. Beefy continued to run like the spotted ape he was the day prior. Temps were hotter than ever by trip's end, and he had zero issues. If we had got stuck in stop & go traffic, that would likely have changed. But we didn't, and by noon I was pulling up to meet my lovely wife, with her big beautiful smile, which only grew bigger as she saw Mr. Beefy thunder into view. :dance:


TL;DR:

I couldn't drive, then I could
Bus ran like crap, then it ran great
Austin ISD Rocks
West Texas Sucks
Deming Sucks more
Great to be Home
Additional Tranny Cooler + TES295 fluid mandatory

Mr Beefy!

Oh yeah... he's the 210HP tune :biggrin:

HazMatt 06-20-2019 01:43 PM

Best travelogue I've read in quite some time.
Welcome, both to home, and officially to the asylum!

Sleddgracer 06-20-2019 02:23 PM

Great story

EastCoastCB 06-20-2019 02:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheHubbardBus (Post 333299)
Well, I made it back! Thanks to my awesome wife for keeping this thread going. And thanks to all of you for your shared experiences, advice, support, and assistance. I can say with all honesty if it weren't for this forum and its membership, we would never have even known what to look for in a bus, much less had the ability to get that vision home. we truly can't thank you all enough.

Our short story (which I'll tell in extremely long fashion, so scroll to the end for the TLDR summary if you're smart) so far has been an emotional roller-coaster for us both. The two days spent traveling to Austin in a rental car were quick & uneventful, but I slept quite poorly both nights, which combined with the stress of the unknown had me waking up Monday exhausted and with a budding migraine. After washing down an unhealthy quantity of Aspirin & Tylenol with cheap hotel coffee, I managed to hit the bus depot at 7:00 am. By 7:20, I had confirmed the batteries were toast, and was sitting outside an Advanced auto down the street, waiting for them to open. An hour later I had two new batteries installed in the bus, and despite the growing pain in my head, an ear to ear grin; she fired up instantly - strong - without a hint of hesitation, nor any sign of age or wear!!!

It didn't take long, however, for that smile to flip 180-degrees. After performing my first-ever pre-trip air brake inspection (learned via youtube 2 days prior), I determined the air brakes to be leaking. After a defeated call back home discussing options for getting it repaired locally, I was offered the assistance of a couple district mechanics, who assured me that the air brakes were in serviceable condition and would be safe. Again another flip of the lips, and sigh of relief! But by this time, I had missed the 9:00 appointment I had at the local tax office to get my temp permit to drive Beefy home. "No big deal", I thought. After all, I still had 4 whole hours before the bus barn closed at 1 PM (summer hours). How long could it possibly take?

That question was answered in the half hour it took me circling the tax office just to find a place to park. I'll spare you all the details of the DMV experience, we've all been there. You know the fun. Fast forward a few hours later, and I finally had my temp permit in hand... 10 minutes before the bus barn closed, and 50 minutes past the time I was supposed to have my rental car returned.

I hustled back post-haste, and found the gates still open. Kismet! As quick as I could, I transferred the ridiculous amount of tools & supplies I had brought with me from car to bus, and arranged for the mechanics (who graciously offered) to remove the 55mph governed speed limit. I then returned the rental car (no late charge!), took a taxi back to the bus barn ('Kilo' and his daughter, who had to remind dad she had practice that day. "You have practice today?", dad asked. "I have practice every day", daughter responded).

Back at the bus barn, and after a short encounter with a manager I hadn't met who was suspicious of my presence, I hopped in Mr. Beefy, fired him up (full tank of gas! Thanks guys!), let the air tanks fill, and then out through the gates!!!! I was on my way home!!! I was actually doing this!!! How exciting! How thrilling! How....

Scary. White-knuckle, teeth-grinding Scary. "I'm going to jail or the hospital" scary. "This was a really stupid decision" scary. I had never driven a bus, or anything approaching its size. I had never driven anything with air brakes. I had never driven in Austin aside from the prior 24-hours, and those 24 hours had only taught me one thing and one thing only... driving is Austin is nuts. Google maps was my navigator, but my phone died 2 minutes out of the gates. There was no DC plug in the bus, and my backup power pack failed. The combination of shot shocks, shot roads, a jerky low gear, and zero load made driving the bus feel more like piloting a 15,000 pound pogo stick.

For the first hour I just drove aimlessly in the city - during the start of rush hour - completely lost, my route determined solely by the path of least resistance. Two times the air brake alarm went off (my fault, not the system), forcing me to seek temporary refuge in grocery-store parking lots lest I end up blocking traffic. Eventually I managed to get my phone powered back up long enough to map my way out of the city. By this time I at least had a sense for how wide to take turns (worried about nothing - it turns on a dime), how to fit in lanes (worried about nothing, it fit just fine), how to brake (just don't ride them), and how to minimize the pogo effect (not sure how I managed that, but I did).

The next few hours on the fast & busy 290 were, relatively speaking, easy... until I hit the towns. In high gears Beefy ran fine, but coming off a stop or major slow-down the tranny began slipping so bad I had to run it up to 2K before it even began to move, and when it did it took forever before it gained any speed. The 'check transmission' light came on, the engine temp was escalating well past 210, and I figured I was having major problems that were likely to only get worse. A couple of times I was sure I was going to end up stuck dead in the middle of an intersection. But eventually he'd get up to speed, hit the upshifts, and be back in the game. Figuring my tranny was shot, I endeavored to do one thing and one thing only... get as close to home as possible before it finally went tits up for good.

Somehow, someway, I finally made it to my first-day's destination: Llano River State Park. I pulled up in front of the main office in their designated RV space, let the turbo cool down, and then turned off the key, believing Beefy very well may never leave that spot under his own power. I tried calling Sharon, but cell reception was very poor, so I wasn't able to relay much info to her. After about 1/2 hour of resting, I hesitantly fired him up again, put him in gear, and I'll be damned... the warning light was gone, and he lugged out in first gear just fine! I drove the very short distance to my camp site, backed in ('beep', 'beep', 'beep'), and enjoyed the remainder of my nervous breakdown among the chatter of bugs, birds, and frogs. My plan had been to stop along the way for ice, food, and beverages. But I had been afraid to stop for fear of not starting. So dinner ended up being a 5-year-shelf-life, 2400-calorie USCG survival ration (brick-o-food) that had literally been sitting in the back of my truck (think Arizona desert summers) for the past 3 years, washed down with bleach-tainted water from my camelback pack. Too tired, lazy, and apathetic to set up a tent, I slept - at least for a couple hours - with my body stretched across one row of seats, and a cooler in the isle to rest my knees upon.

The next day I had everything ready to go by daybreak. I still didn't know what to expect with the transmission, but had reason to believe it was as likely a heat-induced temporary malfunction as a major problem. So my new plan was to put as many miles in during the cool morning hours as possible, and if lucky - get to my next destination - Monahan Sandhills State Park - before the heat of the day came on.

But the Mr. Beefy that day was a different Mr Beefy altogether. It seemed with every passing mile he ran better, stronger, and smoother. Where the temp gauge the day prior had pushed up around 220, he was happily putting in mile after mile sitting on the thermostat @ ~175. Slowing or stopping - even after hours of highway driving - were trouble-free... no more slipping, chugging, or lurching. He ran @ 65mph - my self-imposed speed limit - with ease. In fact, my biggest problem was keeping his speed below 65 (which was 2K rpm on flat ground)... it was just so easy to go higher!

By the time I got to the turn-off towards the Sandhills, I was already toying with the idea of continuing west based on his new-found performance. But I figured it would be best to err on the side of caution, and since it wasn't even noon yet, I'd have a great opportunity to do the detailed inspection & service I had planned to have done already. That decision lasted about 10 miles down Texas Farm Road 11, at which point I thanked the lord I was still alive, flipped a 180, and prayed my way back to I10. If you've never driven it, Farm Road 11 is the functional equivalent of one continuous strip of cattle-guard; an undivided two-lane highway with a 70mph posted limit (which reads 90 to Texans), lanes 1 VW-beetle wide, and populated exclusively by overloaded 18-wheelers that apparently must surpass the speed of light in order to meet their quotas.

Back on I10, and I just kept going. Every time I'd stop for gas, water, or other necessities, the air was hotter. And every time I'd figure "This time he'll start struggling, better look for a place to rest". But he never did. And neither did I. With the difference in time zones I gained two hours, and by 4PM - after over 10 hours of pretty much straight driving, we hit El Paso. This is where Beefy finally had his first (and only) hiccup of the day. A major jam in rush-hour traffic had us down to a stop & go crawl for a few miles, and that got him lurching (not slipping though) in first gear again. Fortunately things cleared up before the tranny could continue to get hotter.

Still plenty of light left on this mid-June day, so we kept on going... in and out of Las Cruces, and then the climb up to Deming. The air temps were probably as hot as they'd been all day, and the incline probably the longest & steepest so far. No problemo for the Beefmeister! We finally called it quits for the night in Deming, partly because I was exhausted, and partly because the headlights weren't working (relay). I didn't want to spring for a motel, but I didn't have time to find a place to boondock, and needed power to charge my phone. So I pulled into the deserted Motel 6 off the interstate (the lack of occupants should have been a clue), and got a room. Meth-fueled fighting in the room next door. Some greasy clown who kept wandering around my bus. My room's steel door bent inward 2", top & bottom, from what I'm guessing was a prior visit from the local drug task force. I've lived in worse, but with only a handful of hours separating me from bringing Beefy home to my baby, I couldn't bear chancing someone messing with it... particularly with a door you have no way to lock. So I showered, shaved, took a leak, and - for the second night in a row - slept stretched across a row of seats. Parked outside the crap room I wish I had never paid for :rofl:

The next morning I struck out as soon as there was enough light to leave by. Not much to say other than Mr. Beefy continued to run like the spotted ape he was the day prior. Temps were hotter than ever by trip's end, and he had zero issues. If we had got stuck in stop & go traffic, that would likely have changed. But we didn't, and by noon I was pulling up to meet my lovely wife, with her big beautiful smile, which only grew bigger as she saw Mr. Beefy thunder into view. :dance:


TL;DR:

I couldn't drive, then I could
Bus ran like crap, then it ran great
Austin ISD Rocks
West Texas Sucks
Deming Sucks more
Great to be Home
Additional Tranny Cooler + TES295 fluid mandatory

Mr Beefy!

Oh yeah... he's the 210HP tune :biggrin:

Its nice having a powerful cruiser of a bus, eh?! :thumb:

Disastrogirl 06-20-2019 02:35 PM

Great story! I’m having some regrets about not bidding on one of those busses.

TheHubbardBus 06-20-2019 02:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by EastCoastCB (Post 333326)
Its nice having a powerful cruiser of a bus, eh?! :thumb:


Oh yeah!:biggrin:

TheHubbardBus 06-22-2019 05:30 PM

Mr Beefy's Travels
 
A few pics from his road home
First stop.. still feeling a lot of uncertainty.. stress.. frustration. But fortunately that was all soon to change.
https://www.skoolie.net/forums/member...ture21807.jpeg

At the Chili store, enjoyin' the drive pushing 2nd day further than expected.
https://www.skoolie.net/forums/member...ture21808.jpeg

TheHubbardBus 06-22-2019 05:39 PM

Arrival
 
Mr Beefy Arrives!!
https://www.skoolie.net/forums/member...cture21803.jpg

Gettin' legal:
https://www.skoolie.net/forums/member...cture21824.jpg

Couldn't wait to get stated.. picked a few cool 100+ degree days to get started:
https://www.skoolie.net/forums/member...cture21835.jpg

Mission accomplished:
https://www.skoolie.net/forums/member...cture21836.jpg

https://www.skoolie.net/forums/member...cture21837.jpg

RandyLee 07-02-2019 12:41 PM

Keep the Progress coming we are watching

EastCoastCB 07-02-2019 04:18 PM

I'm working on a buddy's bus and its the same as yours except his has the lower headroom. I keep hitting my head and I'm only 5'10"
I'm jealous of that headroom. At least my own bus has the full 6'7"!

TheHubbardBus 07-02-2019 10:12 PM

I'm an inch taller than you, and the headroom is very nice. Even then I keep beaning myself on the AC units. I don't think I'd be happy at all if it wasn't a high headroom bus.


Sharon's 5'2. When she's standing in the middle, she looks like she's in the Taj Majal :biggrin:

HazMatt 07-03-2019 06:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheHubbardBus (Post 335868)
I'm an inch taller than you, and the headroom is very nice. Even then I keep beaning myself on the AC units. I don't think I'd be happy at all if it wasn't a high headroom bus.


Sharon's 5'2. When she's standing in the middle, she looks like she's in the Taj Majal [emoji3]

Sari to hear that...

TheHubbardBus 07-03-2019 08:19 AM

I'll admit it. I had to look that up.


I'm 4 letters smarter today :biggrin:

HazMatt 07-03-2019 08:26 AM

U r wc!
(Sorry, but I couldn't come up with a better 4-letter rejoinder.
Since WC is the abbreviation for water closet, and not welcome, thought it'd be a real crapper if I didn't elucidate.
Always happy to share my store of four-letter words!)

TheHubbardBus 07-06-2019 12:16 PM

Tear-down update
 
A few more pics of our progress. Not too much as temps are hitting the 110's so.. our efforts will slow while we wait for cooler temps.

Seats out, stripped and sorted.... got us a whole $16.00 :rolleyes:
https://www.skoolie.net/forums/member...cture21964.jpg

Floor stripped of rubber and wood, no major rust.. sweet!! :dance:
https://www.skoolie.net/forums/member...cture21940.jpg

Mr Beefy's got goggles :rofl:
https://www.skoolie.net/forums/member...cture21941.jpg

Side note for those who have been frustrated as I have... makes sure your images are wider than tall (adjust canvas as needed) will keep them upright. :wink1:

plfking 07-06-2019 12:44 PM

Your floor looks like mine did....I about had a stroke, til I started sanding and it was all surface rust. :smile:

What's the black thing against the back wall?

HazMatt 07-06-2019 01:18 PM

I like vertical format! All but the first frame wouldn't've benefited from horizontal formatting, IMO.
Digging the Minion sunshade! Mayn't work quite so well post paint job, but for now [emoji106]
Tho oriented North, I've whacked out a coupla huge honkin' rectangles from my Reflectix stockpile to custom fit windscreen shades. Not having sunlight reflecting offa that hyoooo-oge tract of shiny white hood, even given the indirect bounce that it is, helps ginormously.
Also made covers for the rest of the windows. Top windows' can be cut so they'll stay on their own, bottom windows need a little help, with a little masking tape.
While opaque, Reflectix is also translucent, allowing in a nice diffused illumination. Definite improvement in the thermal loading under direct sunlight.
Don't recall the price, other than it was reasonable. But I saw 10' square pop-up canopies for sale this holiday weekend at Y'all Mart. Too often too windy here, but thinking it might help with the heat if you were to purchase it, at perch it over your roof.
Might gain all y'all a little more work inside before melting away and trickling thru that big hole in the starboard midship deck!

TheHubbardBus 07-06-2019 01:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by plfking (Post 336387)
Your floor looks like mine did....I about had a stroke, til I started sanding and it was all surface rust. :smile:

LOL. I felt a clot forming as well as I was pulling up the plywood, but like yours, it's not nearly as bad as it looks. And we'll be going after what's there with a vengeance. Still plenty of meat left even in the worse spots. If by any chance it does end up too thin, we'll weld in new metal. But I think the chances of that are slim to none. I have a built-in structural integrity tool... 280lbs of body mass. So far it's tested out fine, even jumping up & down on one foot :biggrin:

Quote:

What's the black thing against the back wall?
Hoses/wiring to the rear AC (it has 2). Not sure why they couldn't run it up a corner. Anyway, we'll either be relocating the unit entirely, or at a bare minimum rerouting that so it doesn't block the window. Either way we'll have to get new hoses made I guess, and either shorten or lengthen the wiring as needed.

TheHubbardBus 07-06-2019 01:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HazMatt (Post 336389)
I like vertical format! All but the first frame wouldn't've benefited from horizontal formatting, IMO.
Digging the Minion sunshade! Mayn't work quite so well post paint job, but for now [emoji106]
Tho oriented North, I've whacked out a coupla huge honkin' rectangles from my Reflectix stockpile to custom fit windscreen shades. Not having sunlight reflecting offa that hyoooo-oge tract of shiny white hood, even given the indirect bounce that it is, helps ginormously.
Also made covers for the rest of the windows. Top windows' can be cut so they'll stay on their own, bottom windows need a little help, with a little masking tape.
While opaque, Reflectix is also translucent, allowing in a nice diffused illumination. Definite improvement in the thermal loading under direct sunlight.
Don't recall the price, other than it was reasonable. But I saw 10' square pop-up canopies for sale this holiday weekend at Y'all Mart. Too often too windy here, but thinking it might help with the heat if you were to purchase it, at perch it over your roof.
Might gain all y'all a little more work inside before melting away and trickling thru that big hole in the starboard midship deck!

All great info. Thanks so much, Matt. I'll look into that for sure. That is the actual brand name, correct? Not one of your patented plays on spelling? :wink1:

Eventually we need something to paint in/under, as I plan to spray the exterior myself (we'll see how that goes. The scale of the project may exceed my ambition and abilities. But that's the plan for now). Maybe I can find something that would work for both heat & paint protection.

HazMatt 07-06-2019 02:02 PM

"Silly rabbit! Reflec-T(r)ix is for kid's (transpo)!"
Nawp, not from my word playing ways. HD has it with insulation (duh). Go with the 4' x 24' roll, best bang for the buck, especially if you're planning on later to install a radiant barrier layer in your insulation scheme. I've got my third roll waiting in the bull pen...
I doubt the canopy'd be much use when painting. It's one off those collapsible, accordion-eaved dealie-bobbers. Tho it can be belayed offa the bus' side in lieu of a proper RV canopy for some shady outside time.
Quote:

Originally Posted by TheHubbardBus (Post 336391)
All great info. Thanks so much, Matt. I'll look into that for sure. That is the actual brand name, correct? Not one of your patented plays on spelling? :wink1:

Eventually we need something to paint in/under, as I plan to spray the exterior myself (we'll see how that goes. The scale of the project may exceed my ambition and abilities. But that's the plan for now). Maybe I can find something that would work for both heat & paint protection.

And you are quite welcome.
Anything to give me an excuse to stay inside the marginally less stultifying air of my bus, instead of accomplishing anything outside, while baking my beans!


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