Sweet sweet football. MSU vs Georgia in the Outback bowl. Many beers were had, grilled some meats and ate some sides. We just used an antenna to pick up a signal.  It’s weird getting an HD signal from the air.  The only downside is that instead of getting ghost images and crackly reception like analog.. the video cuts out and you get the weird artifacts.  I was going to build an antenna for this, but the previous 2 days didn’t leave me a whole lot of time for that.

Matt bought us a quiet Honda generator. It is very quiet. It’s ridiculous how nice it is. Some people across from us had a generator that they placed 5 cars away from them and it was still louder than ours was. Definitely worth the $$$ for the quiet.

Pretty alright time, it was just a lot colder than I would have liked.  Actually it wouldn’t have really been that cold if the wind hadn’t picked up so much. Still had a good time and got to see friends though. Also MSU won, so that was a nice bonus. Ridiculous triple over time win over Georgia, lots of glum Georgia fans trudged past us. We ended up parking next to the bus fleet that brought the cheerleaders and band down. Also we only had to pay $25 for parking!

Happy New Year! (or how we spent the first 17 hours of the new year)

So it’s 2012. We started the New Year the right way by getting to work on the bus. Our self imposed deadline was to get enough done to tailgate on the 2nd.  So we were cutting it pretty close.

You can see the electrical is pulled into the box at this point so we could get the back of the seat skinned. I wanted to get the transition stripping done so that we weren’t constantly breaking off more of the ikea flooring. Also I like transition stripping. I was too lazy to cut the stripping at an angle so I just cut the tops/bottoms to overlap enough to make me happy. Matt was peeved because I kept working on the transition stripping while he was measuring and cutting the insulation for the ceiling (which he wanted me to also do).

These pictures are slightly out of order, we actually started by painting the ceiling as well as the mid level sides/ceiling. We went with Gloss Almond for the ceiling and Gloss Black for the other parts. We wanted a light ceiling, but something that would be favorable and not show too many marks/dirt/dust whatever. Phil bought us a canopy! We have an oak tree in the back yard and it’s constantly dropping mounds and mounds of shit, and since we’re in Florida there’s Spanish moss all over it. Anyways, the canopy allowed us to paint a bunch of the stuff and keep it covered. We couldn’t figure out a way to paint the ceiling parts at the same time though, so we propped them up against the bus and the fence to try to keep them upright as possible so less crap would drop on it.

We ended up doing 2 coats on all of the parts. We had drawn on the ceiling originally with a big red permanent marker so we wouldn’t forget the order that the pieces were supposed to go up.  On the first coat, the red still showed through a lot.. fortunately 2nd coat was enough to cover. Phil and his friend Rob ended up helping us out with painting and some other stuff too.  We also put Jake to work cutting open the old seats to pull the auto foam out of there.  That stuff is way too expensive to throw away (also, the foam was protected very well by the original vinyl.. you’d think the seats would kinda smell after years of kids sitting in the seats doing whatever the hell it is that kids do). Anyways, after we got the first coats on the pieces we started to put the insulation up top. Glued it to the ceiling using liquid nails. Most of the pieces fit snugly and could have gotten away without the liquid nails, but all of the jostling from driving the bus would cause the insulation to sit on the ceiling pieces instead of against the roof.

We did have a couple pieces that didn’t fit snugly, and I was a dumb ass originally and was holding them up waiting for the liquid nails to dry/stick enough. Then I realized that I have duct tape and didn’t care if the tape stayed up there. Bam. Duct taped the loose ones up and arms got to rest.

By the time we finished up with the insulation we were running out of light and we still hadn’t finished up the seats. Phil ended up putting on the 2nd coat while we were doing the insulation. That was a huge help, Jake and Rob finished cutting off the old vinyl on the seats too so we could get working on that. The effort from those 3 guys definitely made our goal possible. If not still a little improbable seeming from where we were standing.

So, Matt and I had never done any upholstery work.. but we figured stretching fabric couldn’t be that hard, right? Right, and wrong. Our Grandpa David (our mother’s side) ran an upholstery business for years. I remember seeing rolls and rolls of vinyl and leather for seats and such. Big industrial strength sewing machines. Twine, all sorts of stuff. Their house was always a treasure trove of stuff when we were kids. Actually both of our Grandparent’s and their places were pretty amazing for their own reasons. I digress. We thought we were hot shit when we made the backs of the seats.  The foam was pretty thin so it was easy to stretch the fabric across it and make it look like we wanted.

On the seats.. it was a slightly different story. First of all, we went to one of 2 fabric stores that were open on New Years which fell on a Sunday. We looked at a bunch of different fabric and settled on different patterns for the backs and the seats.  A paisley for the backs and I don’t know how to describe the seats. Unfortunately for the seats.. we had grabbed the end of a roll and bought up every last inch of it, which ended up being.. 3 yards? Or 9 feet. We had just barely enough to get the job done.  Fortunately we were able to stretch it across the seats. I also discovered when stretching the fabric across, that there are probably some methods to hide creases and such. If I had thought about it enough I could have reinvented the wheel and figured out how to do it (or watched a youtube video).. instead we opted to just muscle it and make it look good enough for us. So around 2am we finished up the seats and got them put back in the bus. We also had installed the backs (screwed in with a washer in place to keep the screw head from going completely through the fabric). Winston is inspecting our work making sure it’s up to his high standards.

So. Seats are in and installed. You can actually sit down in the bus. It’s 2am. Shit. We’re supposed to tailgate tomorrow. No beer, no food, no ice. Took a much needed break and ran to the local Wally world to stock up (they sell alcohol until 3am here). Unfortunately (for us) the night still wasn’t done.  Matt really wanted to get the ceilings up.  I really didn’t want to put them up.. but we got it done.  There is 1 section that is pretty long.. it took all 4 of us muscling it up and trying to line it up with the existing holes. We managed. Also, on the largest section was also where the electrical from the lights was going to come out.. so we measured and drilled some holes.. then had the fun task of sliding the electrical through the holes.

So the day started around 9am or 10am and ended around 3am or 3:30 am. In dire need of a shower after a day toiling on the bus.  Who’s ready for a beer? Big thanks to Rob, Phil, and Jacob for helping us make our deadline!

New Years Eve

So we had set ourselves up with a deadline of having the bus ready enough to tail gate the MSU vs Georgia game on January 2nd @ Raymond James Stadium. It’s virtually a stones throw from where we currently live, so it was a nice short trip to make sure everything was running hunky dory.

Anyways, we had to make sure the seats were in place and get the bunks secured. I can’t really remember what else we did on New Years Eve in terms of work, so you can just enjoy the pictures. Also, this shows off all the work that was done the previous week that I was too tired to chronicle at the end of the day.

The 3 Days of Christmas. The day after (Day 3)

The start of a very long day.  Woke up early to get started on the bus.  Parents were leaving the next day so we wanted to get as much done as possible.  We routed out the floors to lay the electrical through it.  Duct taped it down so it wouldn’t jump out of the routed area while laying the floors.

We ended up going with Ikea flooring.  It was only $1.25 sq/ft, ended up spending $200 on flooring crap as opposed to getting real hardwood for anywhere from $600-$800.  Other benefits include resistance to moisture/warping that real wood would experience.  After so long of doing prep work and demo work on the bus, it was so incredibly satisfying to get flooring down. Flooring is much like framing in a house.  It’s gratifying to actually see structure going up, in this case real flooring going on. Lots of crawling around and clicking the flooring into place.  The areas around the wheel well were a pain in the ass, we started with the close portion (the back of the bus) and laid it until it was slightly past the wheel well.  Once that was there, we were able to lay the flooring at the front of the bus near the wheel well.  The cuts took a fair amount of time, and this stuff doesn’t slide together immediately.

We ended up needing to use the black block pretty often to knock the flooring in along the longest part pretty often.  Most of the time you could get it most of the way in, but it would need to extra push to really get the seams to come together.

We ended up finishing up the floors around mid afternoon. You can see the hole we cut out for the fuel pump access. That’s covered up by the original metal plate that was there now. After the floors were done, Matt and our Father took to finishing out framing out the rest of the seats and the bunks.  I started drilling through the floors so we could secure the benches.

I ended up stopping taking pictures.  After 12 hours you stop thinking to do it.  So you can’t see the progress that was made at the end of the night. Our Mom did a great job cleaning up a bunch of the metal parts and getting them painted black so we could put them back in the bus. She also cleaned up the house a bunch before Christmas so it was more presentable to the neighbors families.

The 3 Days of Christmas. Christmas (Day 2)

Not a whole lot went on for the bus on Christmas day.  Matt and our father got further along in framing out the first 2 benches, we also realized that we needed more lumber. I also got the car up on jack stands and got under it to take a look at the cv joint/axle.  I could see that it was slightly out.  Made sure to jam it in and got it down off of the jack stands.  Car was able to move again!

Ran to CVS with my mom to try to find some jalapenos and vanilla.  Saw this gem when we were there. We actually ended up at a little corner store place half a mile from my house that had some canned pickled jalapenos for my green pepper/jalapeno corn bread.  My mom was hoping for some vanilla to make some carrot cake, nothing that was open had vanilla. Fortunately the neighbors had some. The neighbors and their parents came over for an early Christmas dinner.  It was interesting having other families over.

Anyways, we only got about 4 or 5 hours in on the bus before calling it quits to finish cooking/eating.



The 3 Days of Christmas. Christmas Eve (Day 1)

What an eventful week.  Our parents flew in to celebrate Christmas with Matt and I. Had a good time hanging out with them and also we enlisted their help in working on the bus. My original goal was to get electrical mapped out and just get some hardwood floors down.  With our mother and father in tow, they helped plan out the benches and quite a bit more as well.

Most of the pictures from Day 1 are taken late. I was busy working on my car. The passenger side CV axle was having issues. 2 weeks prior I had bought 2 cv axles to replace them. I don’t mind driving my shitty little car, but I DO mind driving a shitty little car that sounds like a garbage heap.. so it had been on my nerves for a while hearing the constant clicking when turning. Anyways, I had the axles but our roommate Jacob was using my jack stands to work on his car (some fuel issue that we haven’t been able to figure out yet). So before he went out of town he took the car off of the jack stands so I could use them.  Spent the majority of the day working the various bolts loose and figuring out how to replace a cv axle.  Finished the work around 5:30 or 6pm when it starts getting dark. Pull jack stands and drop the car. Start it up and try to back up. Wheels won’t turn… great. So I call it a day on that. My mom suggested I talk with my parents’ friend Phil who is a mechanic. My dad shoots him a text to see if he can talk. Hop on the phone with him and explain what’s going on. Wheels not turning, put it in park and hear a clicking. He thinks I just don’t have it seated all the way in and suggests getting back under and hulking the part in to make sure it’s completely fitted in. Anyways, I shelve that for the next day for when I have some light.

Matt and my Dad ended up installing the new driver seat and framing out the first two benches. We had spent a fair amount of the day planning and buying materials like our breaker box and electrical stuff and some lights. Ate up a lot more of the day than I wanted but we planned out exactly what we were going to do and we had hoped that we bought enough materials.

PS – PB Blaster, a torch, and a big pry bar are you friend when dealing with old rusty pieces of shit.

Tuesday lunch work

Monday night around 5:30 or 6pm at work our whole building and some surrounding buildings lost power, so we got to split a little early. The office is really close to the Tampa airport and our roommate Jacob was flying back to Michigan a little later. Our coworkers lost power at their houses a little further away, and we were worried that it might impact the flight. Fortunately the airport didn’t even know there was a large power outage nearby.

Anyways, what this meant.. was that the internet was out the next day at work, so Matt and I stayed home so we could get some work done.  Sort of impossible to do any work without internet for the most part. We had made some slow cooked Cuban style pork the day before and ended up having it for lunch.

After a quick lunch we got some work done on the bus. We wanted to finish up the rest of the subfloor which we were able to do.

So we were able to have a productive lunch. Next step is to lay out the floor plan a little bit. We’re hoping to stop by an RV salvage yard and pick up some tables and possibly some appliances. The parents are flying down this Thursday and we’re hoping our Father can help out with some electrical work.

The plan is to get some hard wood floors in before the New Year and tailgate the MSU game. Outback bowl here we come!

December 10th 2012

So we did some work on the floors on the 10th, unfortunately I was sick almost all of last week.  Took 4 days off of work for it.  Came back to work on Friday, and then worked the doors at for their Ghetto Xmas event. Anyways, we had ended up buying the wood and foam on some non-busy day and loading it up on my beast of a car (tied down with some twine and held on with the hope that we might stop it if it started slipping).

Matt had ended up staying home one day from work. Quick torrential rainstorm at work so I gave him a ring to let him know he might want to get it in before the rain showed up and warped our subfloor. Fortunately he got to it in time and tossed it all in before the rain hit.

So after unloading the wood from the bus, we laid down some red rosin paper and started cutting foam out to fit in.

The foam wasn’t too bad, we managed to get it pretty tight fitting so it wasn’t floating around too much. Music is always a serious consideration when we’re working so we have the stereo out.  We finally killed the batteries in it, so we had to plug it in.

We also discovered that our screws were going to sit too high on top of the wood, we tried finding self tapping metal screws that were able to sink, but all we could find were some with some low round heads.  So we ended up countersinking.

Like I had said before, the bummer of Florida winters is that you have great weather but you run out of light so quickly.  We ended up calling it a day around 6:30 or 7 pm. Don’t really like cutting when it’s really dark out.


Bus Layout

This is the floor plan Matt has come up with.  We still need to get in the bus and tape off the sizes of things, we did some rough measurements but we’ll need to see how it all comes together. The plan with the tables is actually to have RV style table beds, so that the table can lower down and you can put a foam top on to turn it into a bed.


Weekend Work – Por15

Matt and I ended up doing the doors and security @ The Bricks in Ybor for their Tampa AM event. , after a long saturday night and some rest we decided to head out to the bus and get some Por15 down on the floors. Por15 is rust treatment and sealant, I think it also has some sort of vapor barrier shit going on.  The can actually tells you to not let any por15 get on the lid/lip, because if you attempt to reseal it with that in there it will permanently seal.

Anyways, from my previous pictures you can see that I only got a quart, which was just barely enough for the bus.  It’s thinner than paint and wasn’t bad to spread using some foam brushes.

We ended up getting the work done on Sunday, took a nap then headed back to The Bricks for the last night of the Tampa AM event.  Awards and a bunch of kids running around.  It ended up getting pretty rowdy toward the end, some Metallica was getting played and one guy got a pretty wicked gash above his eye while they were moshing. I didn’t take any pictures Sunday night, but I have a picture of some of the Skate team for the Nike SB Chronicles (which premiered @ The Bricks/worldwide on Saturday night).

Now that the Por15 is dried, we need to put in the sub floor. I also need to replace the CV Joints/axles on my car, and a replacement fuel filler neck which should be arriving.  So, it looks like we’ve got a busy weekend ahead of us. While the winter weather in Florida is great, the only thing that sucks is that you still only have winter daylight.