Get Away Land (Part 3, The School Bus Conversion)

Converting the bus was fun.  I can’t lie, I love working with tools, cheap or expensive.  I’d like to tell you that I had a plan, but I tend to play fast and loose and let visions evolve as things happen.

The first order of business was removing the seats.  There were a lot of them.  It’s a 64 passenger bus.  Most of the seats were in rough shape.  Years of gum, slime and soda were stuck in the cracks between the seats and wall of the bus.  The bolts were rusted and most were stripped.  I bought a grinder at Harbor Freight and got to work.  The kids helped me scrape up all of the rubber flooring, which is what makes a bus smell like a bus.

What’s under the rubber floor?  I’d love to tell you a metal subfloor, but it’s actually plywood.  Years of moisture hadn’t penetrated the wood much, so I decided to seal it by painting it.  We happened to have a few gallons of yellow paint hanging around, so that’s what we used.


Using recycled lumber that I got from the dump, I made a counter top over one of the wheel wells.  I sided it with pallet wood and put a curtain over the front.


Using my neighbor’s torch, I chopped up the seats for a new purpose.


They are now convertible benches and beds.

My neighbors also helped me frame up and build the bathroom.  I’ve got a toilet lid for a 5 gallon bucket.  We use sawdust and empty it after each stay.  It actually works pretty well.  We also installed carpet tiles.  We’ve got four kids, so if somebody craps on a carpet tile, we just rip it up and replace it.


I also installed a utility sink.  It drains into a three gallon bucket below and we dump it when it’s full.  My mom painted it red like a hooker’s fingernails.  To boot, the brand name is Homart.  I laugh every time I look at the logo.

Above were the initial photos.  It has morphed into a real comfy place now, with fold out couches, futons and bookshelves.  Here are recent pics.  Pardon the clutter.

We’ve utilized solar desk lamps from Ikea for lighting, as well as fold out tables and a fold out couch.  I cut the bottoms off of pallets and made them into book cases.

It’s about 140 square feet.  Believe it or not, it’s comfy, even with six or seven people.  But you have to like each other.  And we do.

Next up – the functions of staying at the bus and some scenic pictures.

Mike, Oscar, Hotel….out.


20 thoughts on “Get Away Land (Part 3, The School Bus Conversion)

  1. Pingback: Get Away Land (Part 3, The School Bus Conversion) | Rifleman III Journal

  2. You have made a few improvement since I last saw pictures of the bus. Looks nice and homey now. I see you even got yourself featured on Tiny House Swoon. Looks awesome. I expect The H&R Trapping Co and H.F.D Inc sign must have a good story behind it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! H&R trapping (Howes & Robertson) was my dad’s trapping company when I was a kid. My mom painted the sign. It was a good secondary income. The license plate was my dad’s. When he was trapping, he would go down on the ice with his partner, or my mom, tending the other traps on the pond. If you were down there and heard “H.F.D.! (Hot F*&^ing Dog!)”, that meant he got a beaver. He had that plate on his truck for years. Good memories. We lost him back in August. He was far too young to be dyin’.


      1. Sorry to hear about your dad. At least you have the good memories and a piece of him is in your own camp. And that is surely a good thing. We are going though the same thing as we learned dad has the big C and it is stage 4 and not much that can be done about it. We don’t know if its a mater of months or with some luck a year or more. All we know is the road ahead for him won’t be any fun so we are trying to make the best of it we can right now.


      2. They are giving him a drug that supposedly slows the progress but it hits an apex of effectiveness after which it stops working. We might be there now. It seems he has accepted his fate. In his situation I would have made different choices, but my suggestions don’t tend to carry a lot of weight with him and at this point I am not about to start a war. I figure all I can do is make whatever time he has left be reasonably good so he can go in peace. It sucks either way you look at it.


      3. Indeed. Brace your feet. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I received more kindness and caring than I have in my whole life. It was an amazing event wrapped in a blanket of tragedy. Kinda like green beans wrapped in bacon.



        That’s Awesome! A place to stay for a couple weeks at a time in the winter and maybe summer too. Was there a few weeks ago, Very beautiful in Park and still affordable. Live in VA. and come out a few weeks a year already.


      2. Hartsel is your best bet. Be picky. Lots of the land is flat and cheap. For a little more money you can have hills and a few trees. It’s a good place to invest. If they ever develop the hot springs, your land will be worth gold.


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