Blogs and Buses

Blogs and Buses are hard to keep up on! I hadn’t even realized it’s been over a month since either of us posted. It’s really just a testament to how badly we need a low maintenance life style- we’re busy folk!

For starters, Carmen and I were recently featured in the SIUE student newspaper as proper pioneers. It made me mum proud, and really reinforces us when we get overwhelming enthusiasm like that. Carmen and her ‘boyfriend’, the author writes, are up to wonderful things!

We have definitely been working on the bus in our free time. Carmen is massively involved with student government and my employment, until recently, meant awkward split days off. With both of these things on their way out, we look forward to leaps and bounds of progress.

Enough news, apologies, and hype- If you’re like me, you want to see results!

I have created insulated sub floor for the bus. Using XPS foam board (which is rigid, flat and inexpensive) and 1.75″ boards as joists the installation went smoothly. I cut the boards to length, set them in the track between what was left of the seat studs, and screwed them in with self tapping metal to wood screws that were actually pretty trick. I didn’t bother measuring any of the studs separation, as it looked like the seat installers did a great job keeping everything parallel, and the staggering pattern they had used actually seemed to dodge and support structure under the chassis. I cut the foam XPS with a razor knife and a drywall square and fit the pieces nicely. The boards give a very satisfying snap if you cut halfway through and bend them over the perforation. Last but not least I cut 23/32″ OSB flooring to width and laid it over the 1.75″ joists. Before I screwed them in I would spray a little spray foam can under the OSB to (theoretically) keep squeaks and creaks to a minimum. Little details like that will definitely bring the build quality up. I also spray painted a red line using a spare board just forward of the joist, so I knew where I needed to apply fasteners in the future. I didn’t go all the way forward to the stairs because I don’t know how we want to tackle the whole driver’s seat and stairway situation.

We surely did small things here and there, but now enter 2 weeks later and my main goal is the acquire some headroom. I definitely kept my height in mind when installing the floor;¬†and it’s a good compromise, but with boots on or hair up I must hunch over in the bus. Carmen and I planned on installing some sort of canopy since the beginning, but it was time to get serious.

You may remember that we purchased that ambulance van roof from the junkyard months ago. Well, the yard we’ve been doing business with reallyyyyy beat around the bush. At first the excuses were believable and of minimal importance. ‘This guy is sick’, ‘I’m short handed’, ‘Next thursday for sure’, ‘Blah Blah Fuckin’ Blah, woe is me, the junkyard guy’.. week after week. This was okay while we were busy with other tasks, but I put an end to it a few days ago. The thing about the installation of such an object is that there will be a lot of heat/sparks and cutting/grinding in the process. This poses a risk for other components we may have installed. Spray foam is pretty darn flammable before it fully cures, and we don’t need to install upholstery and wiring for it to go up in flames.

The yard had procrastinated me into a corner and just two days ago I bothered the crap out of them to get my way. I’ll lay beside the petty annoyances and frustrations of the human variety for the sake of maintaining interest.. but even with months notice it tooks hours for them to complete 15 minutes worth of work. Which wasn’t even complete if you ask me.

I had in previous weeks yanked all the doors and glass off the van to begin modifications and permanent fixture to roof, except the back doors, which will be modified the swing out to the rooftop patio. This old dodge van was actually quite the trooper and drove itself right out of its cliff-side grave after a quick jump start. I then ended up cutting the van roof off myself, which was not the original agreement. I may complain now, but I must admit it felt righteous to do it myself, and I surely did a better job than the would have. It also felt good to beat the absolute crap out of their equipment. I made friends with one guy and he snuck me new saw blades, I must’ve used 6 or 7. The procedure was something like, cut the panels off, cut the bracing inside, cut the A pillars, smash the windshield, mount the 4×4 and balance strap (which I brought in the Acura, along with a bunch of chain and tools.. knowing they wouldn’t be prepared), gentle backhoe lift, B and C pillars cut, swing van roof away.. and it worked!


(I’ll have videos posted to my facebook wall – Hunter Mantz – as our free WordPress account doesn’t support videos.)

Once I settled matters with the yard employees, I called upon a great friend and asset, ‘Spam’, for a flatbed home! Again, there is a video if you fancy an old truck that made me feel close to death and dismemberment.


This weekend will be spend preparing the two bodies for a most unholy of marriages, and with ample planning, next week we’ll toss it up there. Thank you so much for following and supporting!

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