We're getting through the countdown list as the end of July approaches... "The end of July" has always been our target departure date- and it's funny when we run into people and they say (every day): Aren't you GONE yet?". I'm not sure how to take that... It does seem at times that we should have been gone by now.

Kelly remarked the other morning that there were just 2 weeks until we would be leaving, and I looked at the calendar, and she was right! Holy cow, how are we going to get it all done? Something every day, that's how.

... and so it goes along, here's the latest progress:

Adding the 'bolt on' towbar plate to the van we'll tow along behind us. Bolt on is a little bit of a misnomer, with the grinding and width adjustment necessary so far. Shortly after this photo was taken, I pulled the whole assembly off in order to refit some additional parts that will hopefully get the spacing right, after talking with the manufacturer. We're going for "stout" and "reliable" with the towbar equipment. The van weighs 7,000 lbs empty, and will bring the length of our highway cruising setup to about 61 feet.

Our friend and soon to be paid, professional body man with tons of experience- Howard- gets set to refinish the bus door. The only spot on the entire bus was above the handle on the entrance door, you couldn't miss it if you tried. Getting the door off and around was a trick- since it weighs about 175 pounds and has a big piece of glass in the middle of it. Howard matched and mixed paint for the door the other day, and is working on it now. We hope to exchange the door for our van when it goes in for body work after the rear ender we suffered last week. Funny looking = the bus sitting in our driveway this week without a door. Hoping no wild animals take up residence inside for the night. Probably a good time to not have a door- the stretch of record breaking heat we're having (and no rain).

The custom laminate arrived last week, and we went to town, covering up things we didn't like. A little contact cement and 32 square feet of laminate goes a long way. Come to find out that the sign router will do a beautiful job cutting odd shapes out of thin laminate... Here we're cutting the side panel of the new dashboard console.

..and in the galley, 1" strips of laminate nicely cover the old green stuff. I think we'll leave a token piece of green for our friends to see what it used to look like... Although the rear lounge will remain green laminate and corian tops for the foreseeable future. Kelly's gluing it in place over the dining table.

Removing the Corian tops was our job, before the professionals arrived to install the new tops. The special tool (shown) that we used is very effective at delicately removing small parts around fixtures we'll be reusing.

Reinstalling the toe heater that is warmed by the engine coolant, located under the forward, drivers side seat. This bench type seat was cut to a one seater from a love seat size to accommodate the 10 cubic foot refrigerator that went in next to the new galley counter.

Final step of the day, securing the refrigerator to the floor. Not built with the bus conversion application in mind, we had to attach a plate of Extira to the base of the fridge, then attach that plate to the floor- so the fridge won't topple on corners, or become a projectile in case of a sudden stop. In the photo, the base plate is attached to the frame of the fridge, but not yet to the floor.

Being 1:11am as a write this, how about if I take and post photos of the finished galley and counters in the next day or so? Hearing no objections, I'm settling into the back of the bus as the little boys saw logs in their bunks after we watched CARS in Bussie. Everyone is ready to go...