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A Very Long Day

Howdy, hey, party people! CeeCee is currently in Texas doing adult things, and in her absence, I seem to have lost my mind. I got sick yesterday and retired early, about 6pm. That usually means plenty of beauty sleep for this six foot sinus, but not last night! I woke up a little after midnight and could only stand to browse social media for about an hour before I fancied myself a super hero and began my day. No later than 3am I braved the snow and was out the door!

It’s about a thirty minute drive to Lucky from my residence, which isn’t so bad usually, Today however my car was adorned with gifts from Gateway Volvo (my employer), I had acquired two fixed back/stationary seats that are pretty undesirable for most applications, an optima battery some guy turned in as a core, plus a ton of tools. This made my two door Acura into a six-seater! Which would be cool if those extra seats weren’t bouncing off everything as we traveled.

Arriving at about 3:30, it was time to unpack and get to business! The seats needed some reassembling, and I put the battery on a proper AGM battery charger in a restoration attempt. I brought basically every tool that belongs to me to fill the tool boxes I brought by the other day. (Sorry I hadn’t blogged the events. Basically my pa got a Matco box and I inherited 3 ‘junkers’, which actually brings my box total to 5..) A quick hap-hazard sort of the tools was good enough for me. By this time I finished my coffee and was ready to get my hands dirty.

Lucky’s rotating assemblies are unfortunately in piss poor shape. This morning I determined that the 345 International gas-burner is totally locked up. Admittedly I feared this few days ago, when I hooked up the odd battery and jumped the starter solenoid. I got the spark and hearty thunk, but no ruh ruh ruh. Ha! After that dismal attempt at revival I kept positive and tore down to the crank shaft pulley bolt and plugs. Being a bus, this was harder than the average 70’s auto, as everything had to come out the top. There’s a huge frame cross-member barring any upward facing work. So, the hood, fan, shroud, radiator hoses, plug wires, and plugs came out. Upon completion I funneled Marvel Mystery Oil into the cylinders, an internet trick for freeing up a locked engine. – Flash forward to today- I tugged at the crank bolt and even with a cheater bar.. She’s stuck. I’ve got another trick or two up my sleeve, but I’ll need a partner.

I don’t think we’re totally married to the idea of Lucky actually travelling, but it just seemed convenient. I’m fully capable of rebuilding this engine, but rebuild kits for these are ridiculously high dollar. We’re no stranger to fabricating and adapting a more modern/ available power train in there either, but again, cost and genuine necessity are to be heavily questioned as we move forward.

I quickly moved onto the interior, after all, the Mystery Oil could always use a little more time to chooch. CeeCee cleared a bunch of old grot out of Lucky, but there was a bunch more. I ditched the old auxiliary heater/ drivers console, but cut the hinged switch panel off to retain the international wiring loom. Most of the wiring is junk, many wires were already cut/destroyed, especially anything bus related. The flasher system was practically on fire before I had touched it. Next, the fire extinguisher holder went, then parts of the dash, the stripper pole, the dog-house, all revealing more and more rodent garbage. It was so thick i clogged a full size shop vac a couple times and had to extract. Gross.

Once everything bolted to floor became not-so, I began to familiarize myself with a gasoline air compressor in the shop. I’m spoiled at home, like I said, dad just picked up a huge professional technician worthy Matco box as a hobbyist. We’ve also got an electric 100 gallon compressor that kicks on and off automatically. It wasn’t so hard, I felt it safe to handle after 15 minutes of inspection and acclimation. It runs like a champ, and powers my pneumatic tools without much delay.

You might say it was HAMMER TIME! By… 7am? I don’t know.. I busted out one of my favorite tools, the air hammer. I popped in a chisel bit I bought just for this kind of stuff and began to shred the floor in the bus. Most screws are too rusty to unfasten, so sheering them off seemed reasonable. First me and my dope ass tool peeled up the aluminum trim, then, starting from the back, began tearing up the vinyl. This took forever. The floor had been glued down at Carpenter and was reasonable well attached. Some pieces came by the foot, others, inch by miserable inch.

I got tired about 1/3rd the way and went for breakfast. There’s a beautiful little country store/farm directly across the street, Eckerts. A brief jog in the morning snow later, I engorged myself and drew little pictures on the table. (Which is encouraged.)

At about 10am the fun was over and I hunkered down to do the rest of the floor, which dragged on forever. I got tired and sore and began to form blisters, changing hands and even trigger fingers because I was having a real hard time holding to tool any more. I likely finished at noon and scraped all the garbage through the emergency exit, where it remains. Then, clearly a glutton for punishment, I wire wheeled the entire floor to remove rust from the edges and that glue from everything. It wasn’t so bad, I just propped myself up on the mondo grinder and guided it lazily. There was dust everywhere and I was glad to have picked up dust masks. A very thorough sweep and vacuum later, I went to pick up fuel for the compressor, and paint for the floor.

I actually made a pit stop to visit Jill, Carmen’s mum and grab a few glasses of water. As kind of an impulse at Tractor Supply, I bought a corn broom thinking I could use it as a paint brush. Honestly, if you ever find yourself painting something like a bus floor, I’d recommend it. There were a few loose straws that made it into the finish, but it was super easy, kind of like mopping with paint. I just poured some paint down and pulled a figure eight maneuver, which got the finish pretty even. This paint is strictly rust preventative, and will be covered up with insulation and flooring anyway. A gallon almostttt did the whole job, and I think it’s a fantastic base.

Aaaaand then I pretty much just went home. It was 5pm when i finished cleaning up and relocating tools,. Keep in mind work began at 4am-ish,  it was a very long day. I’m glad to have accomplishing this much, and I look forward to establishing some sort of infrastructure for HVAC, fresh water, and electricity with CeeCee. Hopefully this was entertaining and informative for our readers, please let us both know! Like Carmen said the other day, we’re continually surprised by how up-beat and open minded all of our peers are to the idea. It’s realistically so simple and so achievable, I think many more people would pursue this lifestyle if they weren’t so afraid to part with their beloved objects. I’ve got a few books I would suggest for this kind of thinking.. perhaps another time. Have a lovely evening!  -Jäger

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