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"No Rain" The Bus

We finally did it, we bought a school bus (original sale listing) and have begun our journey in converting it. Although this conversion will be a slow process, as we navigate through how to do everything, we are sharing our journey along the way. From the good to the bad we hope to share our conversion here on this blog. We have also created an Instagram and Twitter account to document our progress and will share important aspects there, as well. We are thrilled, scared, eager, yet extremely excited to go on this journey and even more excited to share in our slow, but awesome skoolie conversion! Here we go...

(Posts below are from newest (top) to oldest)

"No Rain" The Bus


"No Rain" The Bus

January 19, 2023
A quick nighttime drive to Corvallis and back through Albany. We decided to grab some groceries in Corvallis and take the bus instead of the car. It was a pretty fun trip, because we made a simple trip an adventure. We love the bus and any reason to take it somewhere we are all about it. Hardy loves riding in the school bus, too, so of course we took him along for the trip.

December 18, 2022
We took the bus out for another surf trip and we did realize a few things we definitely need. One, a mud room right when you walk onto the bus from the front doors. A place to take our wet suits off, and dry off from our surfing time. We have thought about having an area near the side of the bus where the bathroom would be, the door opening there and we have a space that would be a "mud room," but we aren't quite sure yet how to incorporate that all in yet. But, overall we had a fantastic time, as always and can't wait to take our bus on more adventures.

December 8, 2022
We're official! We received our title for the bus in the mail today. No turning back now, the bus is ours. But the best news is, the bus is ours and titled in Oregon instead of Washington now! We are excited about it! More updates coming soon.

October 8, 2022
After finishing the passenger side walls back on June 5, we decided to finally tackle the driver side wall panels. This task is the one that has taken us the longest on the bus demo and we are finally glad to be able to get it finished. Next after all the metal has been removed and filed down around the windows we are going to add in insulation and wooden wall planks. Things are moving along fast and we are excited to get another to-do marked off our list.

We cleaned up the passenger side wall sides before starting the driver side wall cutting. Slowly it's coming together.

We removed a few of the last screws by hand that were in hard to reach areas of the wall panels.

And a few of the stubborn screws had to be removed with a lot of time and effort.

And done!

September 9, 10, 11, 12, 2022
We took our first camping/surfing trip in the bus and we had a great time. We also learned about what could work and not work inside the bus in certain areas, and worked on adjusting our floor plans a bit. There are a few things we would like to incorporate, too, in order to make it a more functional space for all three of us. We went surfing while on our four-day camping trip and realized a mud area at the entrance, or side door of the bus is a definite must for us. Removing our wet suits right at the door made such a mess and prompted us to try to figure out a better process. So, hopefully we will be able to come up with a quality layout and a good plan that works best for us. One thing we are extremely thrilled about is being able to finally get to use our kitchen setup we purchased from IKEA at the beginning of the summer. We also had a good setup with the water pump system, but need to work out a few kinks to get it to work smoothly. We all had a great time and got to hit some great waves over the four days. We can't wait to update more on the bus and share all of it here and on Instagram and Twitter.

Purchase this kitchenette here. (Currently on sale!)

September 5, 2022
We recently came across these solar lanterns and decided exactly where to place them on the bus. The first two we decided to install them on the back of the bus, on either side of the back window. They are metal with a glass dome, so they are removable when we are driving, but can easily be installed once we are parked, or camping. We love how they look and can't wait to try them out on our first camping trip we have planned here soon.


September 5, 2022
A bit of Labor Day sunshine for us while we work on the bus.

September 5, 2022
We decided to take the bus out after working on her and drive her to the local park to take some pictures and take a break from unscrewing and sawing off wall panels. Hardy loves riding in the bus, so we made sure to bring him along. We just love our bus... We are looking to taking it out on our first camping trip soon.

September 5, 2022
Had a bit of an issue this week, but we quickly remedied it. Our very old shop•vac finally gave out on us, but it was almost 20 years old. It lasted for most of our basic cleanup needs, but the bus cleanup was too much for it. We quickly went out and replaced it with a new one. We weren't exactly sure which brand to go with at first, but we've had good luck with Dewalt tools, so we went with the same brand. After 20 years of not buying a new wet/dry vacuum, the tools and attachments have changed a lot over the years. Dewalt shop•vacs have a lot of great additions that will help make the job cleanup on the school bus go a lot easier. We also like the fact that the attachments hang off the shop•vac on the side in their own bag, too. Plus, the vacuum cleaner bags that help keep all the dust and debris contained are a nice touch, as well. Hopefully, this one will last us just as long as our old one. God speed old shop•vac, you served us well.

September 5, 2022
We spent way too much time on this task, but I think we are "okay" for now. We want to eventually do a complete overhaul on the front doors, but in the meantime we needed something to get us by. After some frustrating back and forth and several broken drill bits, we came up with this. For now, it will do and will definitely keep the honest folks out. Hopefully, we can figure out a more permanent solution with an "actual" door. We really would like to keep the double opening doors, so as we rack our brains and come up with something we like, we aren't ashamed of our temporary setup with the Master lock and cable wire.

September 5, 2022
Sitting for awhile and dust flying around from working on here, she needed a bath. We have been looking into paint jobs lately and getting excited about her new colors, but there is so much to do still inside before we paint the yellow. Scrubbing a large school bus really is something everyone should try at least once in their life. It's one hell of a workout. She is a shiny girl that looks so clean now. We even cleaned up the inside a bit and scrubbed some areas around the windows and driver's area. Hopefully, she can stay this clean for a bit before we need to do it again.

August 8, 2022
We are finally official with our bus and damn it feels good. With our licensing here in the state of Oregon, we had an RV Washington title from Northwest Bus Sales when we bought the bus, so we weren't exactly sure how it would go with getting it changed to an Oregon title. We put off getting an Oregon title, because of two reason, we were afraid it wouldn't get licensed as an RV, and the cost of it all. We were given so much conflicting feedback of how much it would cost and also the process of it all. We finally said, let's just do it and see what happens. So, we did and all that feedback was WRONG. ha! Here in Oregon the DMV worker (Wayne in Corvallis, which was fantastic to us and so curious about our school bus conversion.☻) checked the VIN number on the title and on the bus to make sure it all matched up and that was it. There was no stress involved and because our title was already an RV title, thanks to Northwest Bus Sales, we had zero issues. It costs less than we thought, again WRONG information from others, and we literally got our plates for the bus that day. If you want to know the exact step-by-step process, you can message us at {mcwilkerson1977@yahoo.com}, or on our social media pages on Instagram or Twitter above. It's not at all a scary process and we are glad we didn't listen to all the other "negatives" about getting our bus legal. Now we are hoping to be able to take her out more without feeling stressed about anything. We are going to take her on her first overnight camping outing in September for a surfing competition at the coast. Stay tuned for that update!

There was quite a lot of people before us at the DMV, so we had to wait over an hour to be seen. We highly recommend setting an appointment online before getting your bus licensed. It will save you a lot of anxiety, worry, and time.

Goodbye old Washington title, but hello new Oregon title.

We couldn't wait to get home and put the new plates on.

Driving her home. The whole way back just seemed like such a different feeling than before. We were all pretty excited to get back and screw the new plates onto your front and back.

She's starting to come together little-by-little. Can't wait to post updates soon, so stay tuned.

July 16, 2022

We've been slowly finishing up random tasks with the bus, but recently we started working on a bit more outside the bus, including this little project. We have been trying to come up with a way to lock our doors to our battery, engine, and radiator areas, but also trying to come up with a setup to hold the doors open when we need to access the areas for cleaning or repairs. We finally realized that the setup for the under storage areas are the perfect setup for these doors, too. An inside wire that hooks to a fixed mount that allows the door's weight to keep it held up. Now that we have the plan, we are patiently waiting for the rain to let up to finish it all. More soon...

July 16, 2022
Been working on the engine bay bench area this week and trying our best to get it completely cleaned up before moving forward. It seems to be more of a tougher task than we expected. We are hoping to have it completely cleaned up before this week is over. But, if not this week, we will definitely get it cleaned before too long. We sprayed the entire area with Wet and Forget to make sure we kill all black mold and anything else that shouldn't be "living" there.

June 5, 2022
We spent this weekend tackling the side wall panels. We had figured we could lift them up and out, or possibly unscrew a few screws and out they would come. Nope, not at all. We found out that the windows, since we aren't removing them yet, were all part of one piece with the panels. So, out came the saw and although it wasn't quite what we planned, we rolled with it and removed them one by one. Now to remove the left over metal pieces sticking out and sand down the edges. We are hoping to get to the right side of the bus soon and have that task done.

May 8, 2022
Sometimes, when we look out, it's hard to believe we actually own a school bus. We have so many plans for her and we are beyond excited, but it's still a strange feeling. We used to be those people that would run into others that were still converting their bus, or see buses being converted online, and watch in envy. Now, we are those people, and it's so surreal. Sometimes, after a hard day of working on No Rain, we sit back and think how awesome life is and how grateful we are to have found such a great bus from a great place. If no one has told you lately, you are worthy of your dreams. You are worthy of what you have planned for yourself. You aren't too old and there is still so much time. Go! Do it! You deserve it!

May 3-May 8, 2022
We had a bit of a setback-went to start up the bus and all we heard was *tick* *tick* *tick*. Unfortunately, the Deka batteries we bought with the bus were not holding enough charge anymore to turn over the engine. So, off to Autozone we went to purchase two new Deka batteries, but to our sadness Autozone doesn't carry Deka, so we decided on Duralast instead. Which, come with a warranty and a moneyback guarantee, so that gave us a lot more comfort with purchasing them. Industrial bus batteries are pretty pricey, so knowing we have a guarantee makes it a bit less painful spending so much on something we didn't quite plan on replacing yet. We had to do a bit of waiting to get them, because the Autozone location near us didn't have them in stock, so we had to wait for one to come from Springfield, Oregon, and the other from Albany, Oregon. We waited about two weeks and when they came in we promptly picked them up. Popped them right in and she fired right up! Now, we are one more task down and onto others. Beep! Beep!

April 26, 2022
We have been steadily removing screw after screw and at times we are held up by some of the screws. A lot of them are smooth on top, as mentioned before on April 23 and we can't seem to budge some of them. We came up with an idea that if we loosen the screws first by hand and then use the drill they come out so much faster. We had stripped a few of them, and had to hit them with the Dremel, but overall this process has worked out great, so far. The hand tool we used for this process is listed below. It's a took by Titan Tools and it's a small handheld ratchet. We highly recommend it for, even for large projects like this. You can grab one here.

April 26, 2022
Tools we use...
Click the descriptions under the photos to learn more about the tool.
(Will be updated as new tools are used during the build)

April 26, 2022
Screws, screws, and more screws.

April 23, 2022
Along with removing some of the sidewall panels we also decided to do some cleanup of the engine bay bench area. The metal seat separator plate and found a bit of mold and also some random "school" things. We took off the liner and it left behind a thin layer of foam and glue. We have a lot more cleaning to do on the engine bay bench area, but this is definitely a start.

April 23, 2022
Did some side panel-removal this week. We are literally slow-going with the bus updates because we have been incredibly busy with jobs, school, life in general, but a lot of what's taken up our time right now is looking for land and property. It's extremely time consuming and honestly a bit stressful, but we are pushing on. This week we decided to tackle the side panel on the left side of the bus. Some of the screws are either stripped, or smooth on top from the years of shoes hitting them. We got a bit creative with removing them. We first tried a Dremel drill and then hit them with an air hammer. A few gave on the first attempt, but four remained and we will conquer them eventually. We are pretty happy to see the small distance we make on the demo and eventually we will have it all cleaned out and ready to build.

March 6, 2022
Additional great features of our Thomas HDX is the sanders on each side of the tires. It didn't come with chains, but the sanders are a plus, for sure. The stones it takes are a large, rough-cut sand mixed with regular sand. 
We are currently awaiting a response back from Elston Manufacturing, Inc., the maker of the sander and sand box. Once we receive information back on the type of sand, and where to purchase, we will update at that time.



*****Found Graffiti:*****

March 6, 2022

Instagram story post about insurance. We went with State Farm and our agents are Karie Cordle and Michelle Daniels in Lebanon, Oregon. We haven't gotten the bus licensed yet, but at least we are covered for any damage, theft, or vandalism, for now.

March 6, 2022
Our underneath storage on our school bus is one thing we didn't consider when looking to purchase a bus, but we are finding out that it is definitely something to consider with a bus conversion. Our underneath storage goes all the way through to the other side and both sides have locking doors. We are hoping to use both sides for our fresh water and gray water storage tanks. Read more about our underneath storage here.

March 6, 2022
We started removing a few things from the bus this past weekend. We worked on removing the bed frame and composting toilet frame put into place at Northwest Bus Sales. We also removed the screws and metal paneling strip that runs down the middle of the bus between the seats. We also started removing some of the floor screws and some of the wheel-well screws. We inspected the engine, radiator, tires, sand filler, and roof of the bus to see if there are any additional things we need to remove, or improvise on.


Instagram story post.


March 6, 2022
An inside and outside walk around of the school bus. We are still riding excitement highs from the purchase, but we are so ready to get started in the demo process.

March 3, 2022
 We looked over the dent we put in the top trying to park the bus into our driveway. It looked a lot worse the night it happened, but examining it in the daylight we realized it's a very fixable dent. It still upsets us that we gave her the ding, but at least it wasn't as bad as we feared. 

February 27, 2022
We took the school bus for a quick run around the city and decided to park in on the street for the night instead of directing it back into the driveway. It's a choice we now regret. The duplex across the street from us has a back and a front duplex area and the lady that lives in the back apartment came out of her driveway and clearly wasn't watching how far she was to our bus and hit the driver's side of the school bus towards the back where the under storage is. She ended up driving away, though and that was the worst part of the hit and run. We ended up contacting the local police department since she drove off. The policeman that came asked if we wanted to press charges, or go through insurance, but once we surveyed the damage we didn't think reporting the accident to our insurance was needed. Although, she bent the storage area door a bit, we think we can repair it before getting the bus painted. What really upset us the most about the whole issue was the fact that she never once apologized, or came over later to apologize. That hurt the most, but we figure, not everyone is kind and humble like we are. Hopefully, the repairs on the door don't cost more, or cause us more trouble later, since we didn't press charges, or pursue the accident through insurance.

February 24, 2022
Got a new extension cord for the bus to keep it plugged in during the last part of these cold nights. Hopefully, we won't be needing it for long, but it sure does help with starting up the bus right now. This is the cord we went with for our bus.

February 19, 2022
The following day from bringing her home we went for our first diesel run in our own city and to stop off at Walmart to grab a few things just to see what it's like to park it in a large parking lot. It was excited to pull up to both places in a school bus. It reminded us so much of going on high school band/football/softball trips and getting on and off a school bus. We are going to have so much fun traveling in our skoolie. We can't wait!

February 18, 2022 (Continued)
We tried to no avail to park the bus into the driveway area we had prepared, but unfortunately we ended up denting and scratching up the roof of the bus in the process. We decided to hang up trying that night and give it another go the following day. But, the damage we caused will definitely have to be repaired before we paint. We are definitely unhappy that our plan didn't go the way we wanted and even more unhappy that we left such a long dent in the poor bus.

February 18, 2022 (Continued)
We started up the bus, put a bit of diesel in her and drove her the five hours home.

Love these blurred pictures of the bus, as we drove her home through Portland.

February 18, 2022
We left our house early this morning to drive about five hours to Northwest Bus Sales to pick up our Thomas HDX 75 passenger school bus. We are super excited to finally call her ours, but before leaving we made sure any more low-hanging branches, or parts of the Boxwood bush weren't clipped and trimmed.


We made it to Northwest Bus Sales at about 2:30 p.m. and checked out the bus once more before finishing up the paperwork for her. We got to see the inside of the bus and see her for the first time with the seats taken out. We decided to keep five of the regular seats and one of the emergency exit seats, as well as the stop sign and the handrail near the front door.

She's now ours!

February 17, 2022
We spend the day today clearing as much as we could from the overhanging tree branches and the Boxwood bush on the side of the driveway area. We are hoping it's enough to fit the bus in, and our fingers are crossed that it all works. Tomorrow we bring her home, so **fingers crossed** that it all comes together well.


January 27, 2022
A couple of our layout ideas, brainstorming, rough drafts and ideas.

We also decided to keep a running journal/scrapbook of our bus conversion journey. That way we have a hard copy of everything we went through converting our bus and it's something we can always look back on later.

January 26, 2022
Purchasing day! It's official, No Rain the bus has new owners and it's us! We signed the papers today and got everything moving on being one step closer to bringing her home. Northwest Bus Sales will keep her a few more weeks in order for them to remove the seats and get everything ready for us.

January 25, 2022
Our cashiers check for the bus. Excitement is building!
List price on our Thomas school bus was $7,999, yet with licensing, RV title in the state of Washington, and other fees, our school bus costs us $9,782.00 (we put $500 down on the bus prior)

January 17, 2022
A few other buses we considered before deciding on our Thomas HDX.

January 8, 2022
One of our layout ideas...

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