Published by on October 18, 2015 at 2:13 pm

We’ve actually been quite busy working on the bus this past couple of weeks and I realize we haven’t made a blog post in awhile, a lot has happened so I wanted to fill you in on the progress so far.

After a huge ordeal with Parker Wrecker in Greenwood, Mississippi, we finally have the bus home. Needless to say, they were absolutely useless in helping us solve our electrical problem and even went so far as to call us to tell us the work had been completed. Even though, realistically, the bus had just magically started working again! I won’t go into detail, but needless to say, I hope to never run into the Parker Wrecker guys again unless it’s to tow a vehicle, that’s all I can give those guys credit for.

Regardless, we got the bus home and immediately jumped into the demolition!

We started with this:

Natural State Nomads - The Bus Before Conversion

And now we’re here:

Natural State Nomads - Bus Progress Update One

I’ve actually been pleasantly surprised so far at the amount of work required to get to where we’re at. This Thomas Bus was built for this, the fact that we have screws in everything instead of rivets has been a huge benefit to moving along progress relatively quickly. It’s been a couple of weeks and most people take a bit longer to get where we’re at.

Regardless, there is still a TON of work left to do, but it’s exciting to be nearing the end of demolition of the bus!

First thing we did was remove the seats in the front of the bus, it was relatively easy to climb underneath put a pair of vice grips on each nut and allow my father to unscrew from above. Luckily, none of our bolts broke and each and every one of them came out relatively easy.

Next was the AC units at the top of the bus, you can make them out in the first photo in this post. It probably sounds counterintuitive to be removing AC units, but just look at how much room they took up and how much we recovered by removing them!

Next was to remove the ceiling from the bus and this is one place where having screws was absolutely amazing. Holding my arms up for extended periods of time above my head really sucked, but I was definitely happy it was with a drill unscrewing screws rather than an angle grinder removing rivets! We made quick work of the roof panels and they’re now sitting in a trailer awaiting delivery to the scrap yard.

Natural State Nomads - Removing Roof Panels

After removing all the roof panels, I couldn’t contain my excitement to remove the floors. I went ahead and pulled up one section in the front of the bus to survey the damage to the metal subfloor. To my surprise, the rust really wasn’t that bad! After sitting underneath the bus whilst removing the seats, I was beginning to worry a bit, because there is a ton of surface rust on the undercarriage. Luckily, the school who owned this bus had it painted with a very thick black coating to help alleviate rust issues and I think it may have helped.

Natural State Nomads - Removing the bus floors

Natural State Nomads - Removing the bus floors

Next up was the wall panels, I’ve been following the progress of Reeses on Recess since they started working on a similar Thomas bus and they found the walls to be problematic to remove. Luckily for me, they had just finished doing this part of their demolition and had a few pointers to give me. I ended up marking a chalk line about 2 inches beneath the windows along the entirety of the bus and simply cut the walls at that point. Thereafter, I unscrewed and removed the panels. What is left is this long two inch galvanized metal bit that will eventually be sandwiched between wooden wall panels and the support for the windows which sits just behind it. Perfect!


Last but not least, I spoke with a guy named Terry from a local bus shop that is literally two blocks from the house. I am going to take the bus over there tomorrow and drop it off so they can start going through the electrical and hopefully figure out the crazy issues we’ve been having. Since they do a ton of installment of accessories for buses, I am hoping they will find need for the Webasto heater and Ricon wheel chair lift. Taking them to the scrap yard seems crazy since they will only give me a small amount to melt them down, whilst the bus shop could probably reuse them!

Natural State Nomads - Ricon ADA Lift

Natural State Nomads - Webasto Heater

That’s it for now, I will keep everyone updated on the progress of the electrical work! I have good faith in Terry and his team at Kingmor Supply that they will be able to solve the issues.

Zack has been pursuing adventure since he can remember. Picking up his first camera strengthened a love for the outdoors even more. That desire for adventure has taken him and Annie throughout the western United States on whirlwind tours. However, it was time to pursue that lifestyle even further and that is where the idea for living and adventuring in a School Bus was born!

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