Kelly's working the sewing machine like a mad woman, assembling custom fit comforter covers for the girls, for their bunks.

Picking up some teal touch up paint, I was able to check on the white van progress at Howard's shop. He thinks it will be ready a day early. Howard is the man! (In the picture Howard is hidden behind Butch the mechanic).

Howard finished up the front bus door and it looks perfect, although he declined the opportunity to paint the rest of the bus while he had the paint brush out (ha ha- Howard is a refined professional, and the jokes I make on his behalf don't do his precision work justice- I'll stop).

$1.79 per drawer + 1 hour for latches that will hold those pesky drawers closed in transit.

Trevor watched me closely as I installed the latches on the new galley cabinets this morning so they wouldn't keep sliding open as we drove since (ever since we installed them last week). Yes, he was content just watching. He continued to watch the drain be connected to the galley sink from his same location on the sofa. Just wait, he'll be on his feet in a couple of weeks with daily bus chores...

Before the drawers had latches, a bus ride required 3 people to hold them closed, with the third person also responsible for the refrigerator/freezer doors (Meila).

As we took a bus ride this morning, Zeke test rode the sofa, and determined that he could comfortably observe passing scenery from the side window (as shown), lay quietly, sit in a lap, or watch out the windshield as the professional driver navigated the winding mountain roads. Zeke will not however be accompanying us on this trip. With the itinerary having us OUT of the bus most of the time, we have decided that he's best left at 'home' until we return. We have located a suitable family for our dog/prince while we are away: The family has 3 children and have been considering getting a dog, but have been troubled finding one that didn't aggravate their daughters allergies. Well, enter the Coton de Tulear (Zeke). When their daughter (Anya's friend) stayed the night reluctantly (because of the dog), and didn't have any problems, and then stayed again and again, and no allergic reaction- they started to talk about a Coton as a possible match for their family... Zeke went for an overnight last week to 'test' the house and family and see how things went, in hopes that they may be able to keep him for the year as a prelude to getting their own Coton puppy. Good news! Zeke fit right in with the whole family. Reports are that he even made himself at home on the Dad's lap... To avoid any weirdness about him staying there for an extended time, both of our families are in on the plan: he will return here when we are back in town, and as the year progresses the family will research their own puppy and time the transition as we return- easier on their kids -- and an exciting new puppy comes on the scene for old Zeke to play with...

Greg was all smiles before putting the pedal to the metal on the 500hp Detroit motor.

The other day a couple of my brothers (& families) came to the house for a few hours, and neither had laid eyes on the bus yet- so we took the requisite inside tour, and added the road option (never hard to talk me into this tour option). Greg likes to drive just about anything, and he got his chance with Bussie as Peter and I held on and yelled for the kids to dive under the table when Greg hit the accelerator... That day, the reason to take the bus out was to "measure the difference in height of the bus mounted hitch and the (finally) van mounted tow plate". The van tow bar pin is 15" from the ground, and the bus hitch is 19.5" above the asphalt... The Roadmaster towbar allows a 3" difference in height, so we will be dropping the hitch 4" to be right at the tow plate level while allowing some flexibility in height as we travel. When we were at the abandoned elementary school (where Greg could drive with a reduced risk of taking anything out) we measured the length of the whole rig put together: Bus: 45' + towbar: 3' + van: 18.5' = 66.5'. Oh boy. We connected and pulled the van a few laps to test tight corners and see what it 'felt' like. It felt good. Nerve-racking, but good to see things coming together. We can't pull the van more than a few miles because we have yet to install the transmission lube pump- which will run when being towed, and provide cooling and lubrication to the van transmission while it is in tow, and the engine isn't running. Otherwise we'd have to replace the transmission about every 100 miles, which would be too cost-prohibitive and a scheduling hassle. The pump should arrive Friday for a weekend installation. Also still on tap for the van: wiring the 24 volt bus lights to the 12v van lights (I have a plan to use 24v relays) and brake connection between the coach air system and vacuum van brake system. So many things I don't know anything about, yet.

45' + 3' + 18.5'      I used to think the van was big.

Don checks out Lauren's bunk, which was probably decorated like his was in the Coast Guard. (Ha, ha: Just kidding, Don!)

On the way home we stopped at the fire station to drop off some material, and ran into Don who had not yet seen inside Bussie... He was most excited (as most people are) about the bunks. I don't know what it is for most people, but Don started reminiscing about the bunks he slept on in the Coast Guard- "three high with a curtain".

A remarkable thing about this trip/bus/idea is that everyone seems to have some connection. Don slept on similar bunks, others have taken trips, others like the engine, and almost everyone else says they would jump at the opportunity to go on a trip like this.

Why not?? It doesn't have to be a year, but, why NOT you?!?