Category Archives for "Adventure"

Bus Build: Ceiling Prep & Battling the Elements – S03E11

By Mela & Don | Adventure , Bus Conversion , Bus Life , DIY , Lifestyle , Travel

We knew that converting our bus outside in the Midwest would present some weather obstacles. In the summer we had dug out a big hole in the ground and prepped it to lay concrete for a level pad to park the bus on.  However we had not yet had more than 4 days in a row without rain and as we moved into winter it was just impossible for the ground to dry out in that amount of time with very little sunshine during the day.  So we have been unable to pour the concrete and the bus pad had basically become a swimming pool!

What we could do was prep our ceiling even though it was only about 36 degrees Fahrenheit in the bus.  We waited to do this job until after we had our floors down, as we thought it would be too dangerous to use the angle grinder while standing only on the metal beams of the floor. Don put a 4 ½ Inch 60 grit Aluminium Oxide flap disc on the angle grinder and removed as much of the surface rust as possible from the metal beams in the ceiling.  We were hoping that by painting the roof with Henry’s Tropicool we had sealed off any minor leaks in the roof that caused this rust in the first place.  When we had a non-rainy day, we opened up all the windows and spray-painted the metal beams with Rustoleum Primer

We were still unsure about a few things in our floor plan, so we decided to go check out an RV Expo happening close by.  We took our measuring tape and measured out bathroom and hallway sizes, took notes on things we liked and layout designs that worked well.  We had no aha inspiration moments, but we did learn a few things, like a bathroom with a small square footage can feel spacious with a good design plan.

The next step in our build was to put the skylights and fans into the roof before we insulate and put our ceiling up.  With the weather the way it was, snowy and cold, we were not able to move onto this step.  Don had to travel to California for work, so we decided to just turn the work trip into a month-long road trip adventure in the hopes of returning to a kinder climate for roof work. In hindsight we are really glad we took this trip, as only weeks after our return from this adventure the COVID19 Pandemic would hit the States and we would be forced to stay home. 

Our drive west was pretty easy but quick and we had a great time visiting friends in Los Angeles in between Don’s work commitments.  I was able to pick up some Pilates apparatus parts from my old Pilates studio that we will be using to build Pilates apparatus into the bus.  Stay tuned to see what we do!

On our way back home, we took the Southern route, visited family in Texas and spent a few days exploring the French Quarter in New Orleans. We had an absolute blast, listening to lots of amazing live music, sampling the Cajun and Creole cuisine and seeing a few sites and tours.

After our month of fun we returned to our bus, ready to start work on the ceiling. But as life would have it, things never work out quite that straight forward.

 

Up Next
We find some problems we need to fix and we settle on a floor layout that we both feel confident with.

Some of the links we share are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, Rehabit8 will earn a small commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that we have experience with all of the products we post and share them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

4 1/2 In. 60 Grit Aluminium Oxide Flap Disc
This disc did a great job at sanding off surface rust on our metal beams, formulated for long run times without needing to change discs.

 

Rustoleum Primer Paint
We used this Rustoleum primer to coat our metal floor beams. It is a durable protective coating with excellent rust prevention to be used on metal only.  It provides a base for excellent adhesion and withstands demanding, heavy-use environments. 

 

Bus Build: Paint the Roof – S03E08

By Mela & Don | Adventure , Bus Conversion , Bus Life , Lifestyle , Travel

The weather is fast changing in the Midwest and with Winter approaching we decided we should get outside of the bus and work on the roof before temps drop below freezing.

We borrowed a power washer from our cousin, cleaned off the roof and while we were at it we decided it was time the whole bus got washed! We used a gasoline powered washer and it was powerful and did a great job. We had been watching the weather carefully and chosen to work over a period where the weather forecast predicted no rain. The next day we started covering up the windows to paint the roof. We were about halfway putting up the covers when it started to rain. The wind picked up and started pulling our covers down, so we just pulled them off and decided with rain in the forecast now for the next few days we should just go do something fun.

We learned that the fall foliage  was at its peak, so we headed out to Brown County to enjoy the colorful leaves and some down time before all the leaves disappear. The colors were truly magnificent and I’d highly recommend a visit here in Fall. It was drizzling all day with a fair amount of fog, which meant our trip to the Brown County State Park was crowd free and easy but it did mean all the vista lookout points were too hazy to enjoy. We made the best of it and had a fantastic day walking on the trails and collecting different colored leaves. We stopped off in the quaint village of Nashville​ for a bite to eat, enjoying traditional fall cuisine like hot soups and mulled wine. This is a charming little town with antiques, art, music and lots of fudge!

After a wonderful little getaway we came back to a rain free day and got to work painting the roof of the bus.  We used Henry’s Tropicool Roof Coating. It is a 100% Silicone Paint which is a wonderful sealant, water resistant and reflects the sun’s heat.

We have a lot more work that needs to be done on the roof, like a roof deck for the solar panels, putting in skylights and fans, but with the temperatures dropping we will have to move back inside and start hashing out the details of our floor design.

 

Up Next
As we start to nail down the details of our floorplan, we revisit the bus conversions that have inspired us.

Some of the links we share are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, Rehabit8 will earn a small commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that we have experience with all of the products we post and share them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

Henry's Tropicool Roof Coating
With Extreme Durability, & Superior Capabilities Of Sealing & Protection from the Sun’s UV Rays, Henry’s Tropicool is a must for all RV’s, Skoolies and Bus Conversions.

 

A Break from the Bus Build: Honeymoon in South Africa and Paris – S03E06

By Mela & Don | Adventure , Lifestyle , Travel

We didn’t want our time in Crete to come to an end, but we were excited for our next destination as we were off to see our family and friends in South Africa.

South Africa

We only make it out to visit SA every 3-5 yrs, so much of this stint was spent enjoying quality time with loved ones and preparing for our wedding celebration in my (Mela’s) hometown of Port Elizabeth. Our celebration was magical and we felt so blessed to share our union with family and friends in two different continents.

PE has numerous beautiful beaches, but my absolute favorite is Sardinia Bay, known as Sards to the locals. After climbing over a couple huge sand dunes you are met with miles of unspoiled coastline. It’s a great place for a beach stroll, a dip in the ocean, searching for shells in the rock pools, sledding down sand dunes and definitely my happy place.   

My sister and brother-in-law took us on a 2 day adventure along the Garden Route  as a wedding gift.  The Garden Route stretches from Tsitsikamma in the Eastern Cape to Mossel Bay in the Western Cape and received its name for the ecologically diverse vegetation in this area.  We stopped at the Tsitiskamma National Park for a walk on the Mouth Trail, which starts on a nice sandy beach and ends at the mouth of Storms River where you can cross the mouth over a suspension bridge (which was nice and new and not as scary as the rickety old bridge I remember from 20 years ago!).  It was a chilly rainy day, it was still winter after all, but we made the best of it and it was quite spectacular to see the ocean’s power in all the moodiness of the weather. There are many water and land activities you can experience at this National Park and they do have a caravan park and camping right on the water Storms River Mouth.  This is the type of place I would gladly spend a long time exploring and soaking in nature, but we were off to our next stop.

Further down the route we stayed in Plettenberg Bay, another beautiful seaside town, to be close to the many animal sanctuaries in this area. We chose to visit Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary as it is home to Big Cats that have been abused, bred illegally for hunting or kept as pets. Because they have been humanized they are unable to return to the wild. If you know Don and I, you’ll know we are huge cat fans! The animals are in very large enclosures and you can walk around them with a guide. We didn't see all of them as they often dwell deep into the enclosure or are hiding amongst the trees, but we were lucky to get close up to lions, tigers, pumas and more.

All along the garden route you will commonly see Baboons on the side of the road.  Cape baboons live wild in South Africa and are one of the largest of all monkeys. They share 94% of their DNA with humans making them one of the top 6 closest genetically related animals to us on the planet. Their population is decreasing as their natural habitat disappears and they are now commonly seen in suburbs in search of food to survive. On our way to the next sanctuary we bumped into a troop of about 20-30 baboons and were thoroughly entertained by the babies playing (be sure to watch our video to enjoy this!).

My sister insisted we visit Birds of Eden​, and so we went.  Well we were blown away, I can see why she insisted as it was the highlight of the trip.  It is the world's largest free-flight bird sanctuary. A mesh dome canopy hangs almost 200 feet up in the air and keeps the birds inside. The sanctuary's 5 1/2 acres of indigenous forest  are home to over 3500 birds consisting of 220 species. The walk alone through this wonderfully designed environment was entrancing and we saw so many exotic birds up close, one even landed on our shoulders and nibbled at our shoes.

We later left on a "family honeymoon" trip to Kenton-on-Sea, a lazy little beach town nestled between the Bushmans and Kariega Rivers. My father used to holiday here as a kid and I too cherish my memories of being a kid playing on these beaches.  I had to share this place with Don as it is one of South Africa’s hidden gems. For the best beach day, you can park at Middle Beach  and walk west along the coast, there are loads of shells and stunning rock structures.  If the tide is low you can walk around the front of the rocks through rock pools, if it is high tide you will want to climb up the sand dunes to walk over to Shelley Beach, a scenic little cove great for swimming and sheltered from the wind. I almost don't want to share this location, as one of the best things about it is it's hidden and I have many times (including on this trip) had this beach all to myself.

Our two weeks flew by here as it always does, and it was time to start heading home. But first, back to our home base for the journey, Paris, for 2 more days of fun.

Paris, France

After 20 hrs of traveling to Paris, we jumped into a taxi to head to our AirBnb and hadn’t even left the airport when we were rear ended. We were okay, but sore with whiplash and nothing was going to stop us from exploring a new area in Paris. This time we stayed in Montmartre, known as home to many famous artists at the end of the 19th century including Renoir, Monet, Toulouse-Lautrec, Picasso and Van Gogh.  It was a great area to wander around as we enjoyed the sights including the Moulin Rouge, the Wall of Love, Musee de Montmartre and  Dali Paris. There are many charming cafes to choose from and we enjoyed a couple of them for a tea and a croissant, even escargot and a glass of wine while watching the street performers and liveliness of the streets. I think the highlight of this stop in Paris though, was going to the top of Basilique du Sacre-Coeur de Montmartre. You can go inside the church for free but for a small fee you can climb the 300 stairs up a spiral staircase to the very top of the dome for a panoramic view of the city.  I highly recommend this, it is well worth the workout, but not for those with a fear of heights, claustrophobia or heart problems - I would do it again in a heartbeat, but I'm not going to lie, I did get a little dizzy!

By this point we had been traveling for almost one month. We were ready to go home and get back to our bus build, eager to continue traveling and seeing this wonderful world we live in.


 

Up Next
Our accommodations in Europe were all tiny spaces, which gave us ideas for our bus design.  Next week we’ll share these spaces with you and what we learned.

Some of the links we share are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, Rehabit8 will earn a small commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that we have experience with all of the products we post and share them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

Chase Travel Sapphire Preferred
This is the Chase Sapphire credit card we used to earn points to purchase flights for our honeymoon.

Apply for the card through our link and earn 60,000 Bonus Points and we will get 15,000 points for the referral.

Get $55 off your first trip with AirBnB 
​​If you are new to AirBnB, use this link to sign up and receive a $55 discount on your first trip.  ​

 

A Break from the Bus Build: Honeymoon in Paris and Crete – S03E05

By Mela & Don | Adventure , Bus Conversion , Bus Life , DIY , Lifestyle , Travel

We worked as hard as we could to get our floors down before leaving for our honeymoon. We managed to get about 75% of the floors down, all that is left to do is the very front and back subfloors of the bus. In the front area we need to build the floor up first, the original coach bus design had a ramp going down to the steps, but we’d like to make it all one level. Plus, the back of the bus has a hatch that we need to keep accessible to the engine.  We cut a hole in our plywood floorboard for this hatch but it didn’t fit perfectly. With so many things to prepare before our travels we decided to leave troubleshooting these problems until we got back. It was time for some adventure and relaxation!

When we made this huge change and left our old lives we had to be smart with our finances. One smart thing we did do was purchase our bus on our Chase Sapphire credit card. We immediately paid the card off and gained enough points to cover most of the flights for our honeymoon. 

Le Marais, Paris, France

Our first destination on our honeymoon was Paris, which worked as a home base for us on this trip as it offered direct flights to all our locations. We spent 2 days in the Le Marais area, a trendy hip location for restaurants and bars with close proximity to many famous Parisian sites.  We booked an apartment on Airbnb called The Sleeping Lion. It was a typical European size apartment offering Parisian charm with a center courtyard, a long spiral staircase and a Juliet balcony off the bedroom.  It was stylishly decorated as you would expect in Paris and a very comfortable stay while being another opportunity to learn what’s important to us in tiny living.

Paris is known for amazing cuisine and wine and our favorite restaurant in this area was Vins Des Pyrenees. We were also able to find a restaurant that offered Gluten free and some dairy free options of traditional french pastries called NoGlu which was a treat for me (Mela) as I have a few food allergies.

We spent half a day exploring The Louvre​, the world’s largest museum and the home of the Mona Lisa. We pre-purchased our tickets online which I highly recommend.  The line to get in is long, but by pre-purchasing we were able to get in fairly quickly. We picked out a few highlights to view, but it would be easy to spend 3-5 days exploring this museum and it’s architecture as it is a colossal old palace from the 12th to 13th century decorated by the greatest artists of the day and filled with a world renowned collection of art.

We enjoyed a walk along the Champs de Mars​ , a large public greenspace in front of the Eiffel Tower. Having been up the Eiffel Tower in a past trip, I highly recommend it and the view of Paris, but the Champs de Mars offers a few money saving and atmospheric perks.  People picnic and socialize in the park, it’s a nice walk, plus offers lots of photo opportunities of the Eiffel Tower without the ticket cost.

We thoroughly enjoyed a night walk along the Seine River. People come out with picnic blankets, cafes offer food and drinks, buskers line the river and create a lively spirited night time ambience. There are many cruises along the river which I have done in the past.  The cruise is a great way to get more info on the city and it’s sights, but enjoying the local atmosphere along the river for free is just as fun!

Stalida, Island of Crete, Greece

From Paris we headed off to Crete for a week of sun, sea and relaxation. We stayed at The Raspberry Junior Suite , another AirBnB rental, just steps from the Mediterranean Sea in Stalida which was just far enough away from the touristy side that you have peace and quiet yet many tavernas are within walking distance. We woke up every morning to a breathtaking sunrise and had a dock just a few steps from our front yard to go swimming.

The Cretan way of life is very relaxed and laid back, which we fully embraced.  We spent much of our time swimming, snorkeling, dining on fresh local cuisine, wine and raki​.

Crete was the center of Europe’s first advanced civilization, the Minoans. We visited the archeological site of the Malia Palace dating back to 3000 BC. I highly recommend reading up on the history before visiting the ruins, it really helped us understand what we were looking at.

On the east side of the island is the charming town of Agios Nikolaos.  We enjoyed a day trip to this bustling little town with its narrow roads and long staircases nestled between buildings, it’s a great city for walking. It has a unique lake in the middle of town with a narrow inlet to the sea with tavernas, bars and music all around it’s a fun place to visit. Not far from town is the Cretan Olive Oil Farm where we were able to do olive oil tasting and learn about how they make olive oil and raki.  If we ever return to the island we are definitely heading back here to take their cheese making class!

A highlight of our week in Crete was a trip to the Lyrarakis Winery​ in the Lassithi Mountains.  It is a family run winery credited for their revival of two ancient Cretan varieties, Dafni and Plyto, and a “vineyard treasure”, the indigenous Melissaki. This made for a unique tasting experience that was also complimented by traditional Cretan cuisine. We ate a lot of good food on the island but this was by far our favorite dining experience.  

It was so hard to leave this paradise, we had had the most amazing week here. I could never tire from waking up to our view of sunrise over the Mediterranean Sea and there was so much more we wanted to explore on the island.  I can see us returning to Crete in the future.

 

Up Next
The Honeymoon is far from over as next we head to my (Mela’s) hometown in South Africa.

Some of the links we share are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, Rehabit8 will earn a small commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that we have experience with all of the products we post and share them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

Chase Travel Sapphire Preferred
This is the Chase Sapphire credit card we used to earn points to purchase flights for our honeymoon.

Apply for the card through our link and earn 60,000 Bonus Points and we will get 15,000 points for the referral.

Get $55 off your first trip with AirBnB 
​​If you are new to AirBnB, use this link to sign up and receive a $55 discount on your first trip.  ​

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at The Sleeping Lion in Paris and The Raspberry Junior Suite on the Island of Crete.  ​​

Season 3: The Bus Build – Trailer

By Mela & Don | Adventure , Bus Conversion , Bus Life , DIY , Lifestyle , Travel

We are ready to bring you Season 3 filled with adventure, travel and of course the bus build.

Season 3 Starts on 

January 29, 2020 on Patreon (for the Rehabi-Tribe)

February 5, 2020 on YouTube

 

Up Next
Episode one begins with a bang - romance, the beginning of the bus build and problems arise right from the get go.

Some of the links we share are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, Rehabit8 will earn a small commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that we have experience with all of the products we post and share them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

The Rehabi-Tribe on Patreon

We are making some BIG changes - attempting a major lifestyle makeover and we are bringing you along on the journey.
We started our journey as a 2-car, 3-cat, big-city-dwelling couple with hopes and dreams of
  • Tiny House Living
  • Organic Farming
  • Earthship Adventures
  • Beekeeping
  • Travel
  • and passing on a planet with clean air and fresh water to the next generations.
We hope that by sharing our experiences we encourage others to try small changes and that collectively, all of our small changes will have a big impact.

Our Maiden Voyage

By Mela & Don | Adventure , Bus Life , Lifestyle , Pets , Travel

We packed all our belongings into the bus and before we knew it we were leaving Los Angeles. Don driving the bus while I was driving behind him in the Jeep with all 3 cats. It took us just over a week to drive to the Midwest, mostly along the historic Route 66.  We limited our drive days to 4-6 hrs which was perfect. We didn’t have time to do any site-seeing except in Sante Fe where we took a day off from driving in the middle of our trip. This trip was not about experiencing different places but about just getting to our destination safely.  We did just fine glamping in our bus, we slept really well at night, the cats seemed quite at home, the parks we stayed at all had nice facilities, but our set-up was not ideal so we didn’t want to prolong this trip more than necessary. We wanted to get to the place where we could turn this bus into our ideal home.  

Each RV Park we stayed at offered something different. I think Sante Fe Skies was our favorite park. We had an amazing view from our parking spot, an easy trail to walk around the property and stretch our legs (much needed after so much driving), spectacular sunsets, bunnies and large metal sculptures.  It was also the only park that had a kitchen we could use to wash our dishes and offered recycling. Yup, none of the other parks collected recycling only landfill trash, this was something I was surprised by.

Day One -Glen Helen Campground, San Bernardino, California

Glen Helen Campground
Located at the base of the chaparral covered hills of the Cajon Pass with scenic views of both the San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains in California.

Day Two - Blake Ranch RV Park & Horse Motel, Kingman, Arizona

Blake Ranch RV Park & Horse Motel
If you’re passing through northern Arizona, and you need Fuel, Food and a great place to camp or board your horses for the night, then come visit us. Blake Ranch RV Park offers the best darn place to park your rig, with all the conveniences you would expect!

Day Three - USA RV Park, Gallup, New Mexico

​​​USA RV Park
​Centrally located on the Historic Routh 66, the park is a short distance from spectacular national and tribal parks including Mesa Verde, El Morro, Window Rock, Zuni, Four Corners, Monument Valley, and the Painted Desert.

Day Four and Five - Santa Fe Skies RV Park, Sante Fe, New Mexico

We went into town for our day off and explored the galleries on Canyon Road. There are more than 100 galleries, boutiques and restaurants along this ½ mile stretch. We fell in love with the distinctive architectural style in Sante Fe. No other city in the country has so many low-slung, earth-colored buildings made of adobe bricks, which consist of a mixture of sun-dried earth and straw. We thoroughly enjoyed our time here and will definitely come back to explore more!

Santa Fe Skies RV Park
Santa Fe Skies RV park is located just south of Santa Fe city rested on the top of a hill. Visitors can enjoy the wonders of the nation's oldest capital city and take in the spectacular beauty of the region. Enjoy our beautiful panoramic view of the total Santa Fe area with unobstructed sunrise and sunset views from the Turquoise Trail!

Day Six - Oasis RV Resort, Amarillo, Texas

Oasis RV Resort
Amarillo's NEWEST, FINEST & LARGEST RV Park!

Day Seven - Mustang Run RV Park, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Mustang Run RV Park
​Whether you plan on just passing thru or visiting the State Fair, the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, the OKC National Memorial or catching a Thunder basketball game, Mustang Run RV Park is conveniently located to meet your needs.

Day Eight - Lamplight Lane RV Resort, Waynesville, Missouri

Lamplight Lane RV Resort
John & Barbara Roser, proud owners and operators of Lamplight Lane RV Resort! It's not an empty sentiment when we say that we "Wish You Were Here" since our goal is to offer the kind of amenities and hospitality that make every guest's stay with us a first class experience!

Our bus definitely attracted attention at times.  We were once asked if we were a band on tour. Kids wanted to take photos next to the “American” logo on the side.  Truckers would pass us on the highway just so they could point at our bus and give us a thumbs up!

The drive went mostly smoothly and we loved watching the terrain change from state to state, like Texas being flat for miles and then being struck by the rolling hills and green trees of Oklahoma contrasted against their red clay soil. Driving with the cats in the car was tough. They climbed over me and under me and everywhere they possibly could in the car.  By the time we got to Texas I was just done with it, and felt it was too distracting. So we bought a dog crate which we bungyed onto the bus walls and put the 2 younger cats in the crate while driving. This worked out much better for myself and Zuri (our 17 yr old cat) who became my perfect travel buddy.  

When we arrived at the RV Park in Sante Fe, Don went in to registration and when he came back out the bus wouldn’t start.  Of course we had a moment of panic, how could the bus be breaking down on us already! Don started calling bus mechanics in town, he found a really friendly mechanic who helped him troubleshoot over the phone.  Turns out that you have to make sure you put the bus in neutral before turning it off. If you don’t, it won’t start. With a little convincing and some luck, Don managed to get the gears into neutral and the bus started, followed by a big sigh of relief from both of us and some giggling.  We ran into a few learning curves like this but our big black bus got us safely to the Midwest!

 

Up Next
Before we start our bus conversion, we give you a quick tour of inside the bus and how we “glamped” over the week.

Fact Check

​Sante Fe Architecture - SanteFe.org

Canyon Road - VisitCanyonRoad.com

Some of the links we share are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, Rehabit8 will earn a small commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that we have experience with all of the products we post and share them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

We Bought a Bus!

By Mela & Don | Adventure , Bus Conversion , Bus Life , DIY , Lifestyle

When we first started dreaming of full-time road-tripping we imagined we would buy a school bus to convert into an RV.  After doing a lot of research watching a ton of youtube videos and talking to bus mechanics, we decided that the right bus for us was the MCI D3.  We narrowed our search down to the 40ft bus with a Detroit Diesel Engine and an Allison Transmission.

MCI buses have been used by Greyhound for over 50 years.

MCI buses are most commonly recognized from their use in the Greyhound fleet. While we loved the look of the vintage MCI’s from the 70’s, after talking to a lot of bus mechanics they all recommended that we get a modern engine where the parts would be readily available, which is the case with the D3. Not only are parts available for the D3, but many diesel shops and most military mechanics have worked on these engines.

We did lots of online searches all over the country for our dream bus and thought we had found the perfect bus in Ohio. So Don flew out to look at a Silver 1995 D3.  What we quickly learned is that rust is a major issue in Midwest and East Coast buses and something we wanted to avoid. This bus had a lot of tell-tale signs of rust on the exterior and bubbling in the paint job.  If there is rust on the exterior, who knows what you will find once you start pulling the bus apart. So we added to our search criteria to look for a West Coast bus with as little visible rust as possible and service records so we would know exactly what work had been done on the bus. This too meant increasing our budget for the bus, but it felt like it was worth it in the long run.

Our Bus

After searching all over the country, we found our bus just a little drive from Los Angles in Long Beach, CA! It’s a 1996 MCI D3 that checked off everything on our “must have” list. We hired a bus mechanic to check it out and he could not believe what good condition the bus was in. He recommended a few things that needed replacing and service, but that we should get this bus!  So we did! Our excitement levels were through the roof, suddenly things got real. It was at the top of our budget but had been kept in excellent condition and we had a huge folder with all the service records from Day 1 on this bus. We were able to negotiate the cost down a little and the seller agreed to take out the seats for us, which was extremely helpful with our plans for the immediate future. 

Preparing to Travel Cross-Country

We started drastically minimizing our belongings for our new tiny living lifestyle.  Some things we plan to store for our future home, but that too we wanted to keep minimal. We don’t have anywhere to work on converting the bus in Los Angeles, so we decided to pack up and head east to stay with Don’s parents in Indiana. The family has a lot of land and space for us to work this conversion. With minimizing our belongings we figured…..we can probably pack all of our moving boxes into the bus (cross-fingers!), instead of hiring movers, and glamp in the bus as we move to the Midwest. 

Things we did to get the bus ready to travel across the country:

  1. We got the recommended services from our mechanic - oil and transmission fluid change, replace bulbs in brake lights and some adjustments to the air system.
  2. We tried to give the bus a good cleaning! Once the seats were removed, we saw just how dirty the floors really are after 20+ years of transporting people.
  1. We put up temporary curtains to block light and insulation to keep the cold out. We plan to sleep in the bus while traveling to the midwest and in some of the states on our journey, it could get down to 30 degrees Fahrenheit at night. We used a combo of reflectix and felt cut out to the size of the windows and super strong magnets to hold them to the metal frame of the bus.
  2. We added a RV specific Navigation System that you input the size of your vehicle and it figures out the best route to take so you don't run into any overpasses you can't fit underneath etc.
  3. While your side mirrors are your friend while driving a bus, being able to see directly behind you is definitely helpful. We first purchased a 4 camera wired system  . But our attempt to install the cameras was a failure as we were not able to run cables all the way to the back of the bus. We opted for a simple 1 camera wireless back up system that we were able to install easily in less than an hour.

Another obstacle was converting the bus title from a commercial vehicle. Our research taught us that the easiest way to convert your title is to have a licensed VIN verifier sign off on your conversion and then bring that into the California DMV. 

Even after easily getting the proper VIN verification it still took 2 days and 3 DMV visits to find a DVM manager that was able to help us get the title converted in their system. So now our bus is titled as a Motorhome, which is classified as a personal automobile or “Car House” in the state of California.

There’s no better way to learn than by experience and we are learning a lot about the bus already.  So with enthusiasm and a little trepidation, we leap into this new adventure!

 

Up Next
We learn very quickly to become minimalists, pack up and say a bittersweet goodbye to LA.

Some of the links we share are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, Rehabit8 will earn a small commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that we have experience with all of the products we post and share them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

Reflectix
A reflective insulation consisting of two outer layers of 96-percent reflective film, bonded to two layers of heavy gauge polyethylene bubbles

​Magnets
​Made of Strongest Magnetic Material! Strong Holding Power, Holding Power is not Less than 12 lb per Magnet with Direct Touch and Direct Pull.

Garmin RV 770 Navigation System
We chose the Garmin RV 770 NA LMT-S RV GPS for it's RV specific routing and road warnings. It has a Smartphone Link app to program in destinations and access to live traffic, basic weather and more. Hands-free features include Bluetooth calling, smart notifications and voice-activated navigation. 

​Back up camera
Quick and simple setup -Receiver built-in the monitor, You just hook the transmitter and power supply to them, They will transport video signals auto.About the only hard part is getting power to the rear view camera. You need to tap into the backup or tail lights of your vehicle or trailer for 12V or it works with 24V as well.

Fact Check

MCI - Wikipedia

Detroit Diesel 60  - Wikipedia

Allison Transmission - Wikipedia

RV Trial Trip Pt 3…..Journey’s Just Beginning

By Mela & Don | Adventure , Lifestyle , Travel

We were very sad to have to leave Big Sur. We were all feeling very settled into this lifestyle and even though we had one more stop to make it did mean we were on our way home and this adventure was coming to an end. We made our way down the Pacific Coast Highway, more breathing views leaving Big Sur, quick stop to see the elephant seals in San Simeon, lunch at our favorite little beach city of Cambria and baby otters to entertain us at Morro Bay.  There are really so many great vacation spots along the PCH, you could spend a lot more time exploring this area. 

Pacific Dunes Ranch RV Resort in Oceano

Finally arriving at our destination of Oceano, we had the end of vacation blues. When we picked this spot to stay at, we didn’t have very high hopes for it.  It just looked on Google Maps that the Pacific Dunes Ranch RV Resort had packed in RV’s like sardines, but we figured it was right next to the ocean so it would be okay, just a place to rest our heads for the night.  Boy oh boy were we wrong! Yes, there were a lot of RV’s all close together, but we walked out onto the sand dunes thinking we’ll take a quick walk to the ocean and discovered that the dunes go on forever!  Each sand dune we approached saying “I bet the sea is just over this dune” (as we could hear it), but alas there was yet another dune and another dune, in fact we didn’t even make it to the ocean as the sun was going down and we didn’t feel like navigating back in the dark.  We barely saw any other people and found this to be a great place to sit and reflect upon our trip. We wish we could have spent more time here. 

The Oceano Dunes are part of an extremely unique dune system called the Gaudalupe-Nipomo Dunes . It’s the largest remaining dune system south of San Francisco and the 2nd largest in California.  It’s unique ecosystem is home to many endangered plants and animals. While we did not see a single off-road vehicle that day, we were sad to learn that Oceano is a Vehicular Recreation Area.  We can only imagine the damage being done to the environment. Turns out there has been conflict for years over this between the conservationists and off-road vehicle enthusiasts. The coastal commission has recently rejected the latest proposal to restrict off-roading on the dunes, despite the fact that is proven to be a slow moving environmental disaster.

While we were sad that our trip was coming to an end, a little fire was lit inside us to make this dream of full-time travel a reality. Renting from RVshare for the week had given us an opportunity to feel out this lifestyle and help us make decisions on what kind of mobile home will work best for us. Now the real journey begins!

 

Up Next
The search for a bus begins to make our tiny home on wheels dream come true!

Some of the links we share are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, Rehabit8 will earn a small commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that we have experience with all of the products we post and share them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

RVshare
If you're thinking about going on a cross country road trip, camping, or renting an RV for a special event, RVshare makes the whole process simple, easy, and fun!

Rent an RV this summer for as low as $49 a day!

​Pacific Dunes Ranch RV Resort
Pacific Dunes Ranch RV Resort is the most unique RV resort in California's Pismo Beach region, with rolling sand dunes and rollicking waves in the beautiful Oceano Preserve. At Pacific Dunes Ranch, you'll enjoy an RV resort that highlights breathtaking vistas and trails to the beach. In California, we call this a winning combination - secluded and quiet but not remote.

​Oceano Dunes
​Formerly Pismo Dunes SVRA, this sand dune complex is geologically unique and also provides an impressive playground for off-highway enthusiasts from throughout the United States. One of several OHV areas administered by the California Department of Parks and Recreation, Oceano Dunes also offers visitors other recreational activities such as swimming, surfing, surf fishing, camping, and hiking.

RV Trial Trip Pt 2…..Heaven on Earth

By Mela & Don | Adventure , Lifestyle , Travel

Starting to feel like we are becoming pros at RV living we head down the coastline towards our all time favorite spot, the otherworldly majestic region known as Big Sur.  We’ve learnt to empty the black tank, the cats are sleeping through the night and Don is driving this RV like he’s been doing it all his life so we are ready to make the winding turns down the Pacific Coast Highway.

Lovers Point Park in Monterey

We needed somewhere to stop for lunch, and finding somewhere to park the RV is not always easy when you are in a city but we really lucked out here with a spot right up against the ocean at Lovers Point Park .  We opened our windows and doors and let the cats listen to the waves crashing against the rocks, the seagulls cawing and smell the fishy ocean smells. This was their first time seeing the ocean!! We quickly whipped up some lunch in our tiny kitchen and then went to stretch our legs, it was brief though as we felt underdressed for the chilly ocean breeze and we were pretty excited to get to our campground in Big Sur.

Fernwood Resort in Big Sur

Big Sur is a rugged coastline known as the longest and most scenic stretch of undeveloped coastline in the United States. Each turn promises another stunning view and as expected it did not disappoint. We made our way down the steep driveway to the Fernwood Resort wondering if we could make it down if we were in a bigger vehicle.  It was even more heavenly than we imagined and turned out to be our favorite RV parking spot so far.  We were right next to a creek which provided a soothing running water soundtrack and right up against the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. One of the things we are noticing about RV living is that sometimes it’s fun to take your house with you and have your kitchen available, but we didn’t feel like taking the RV out and about exploring in Big Sur as it poses the problem of where do we park and can we make it down that road.  Luckily with this campground it offered us everything we needed for the couple days we were here and we chose this time to stay put in the park and enjoy what it has to offer. Towing a car behind us so we can go off and adventure with ease is on our must have list for the future.

We had no cell reception at all here, which was both wonderful to unplug and have no choice but to enjoy the outdoors, but Don did need to work.  In the morning he would walk up the long staircase to the restaurant and motel to use their wifi. While it was not a bad commute to work at all, it was still spotty and he was unable to get anything done.  Lesson learned, must plan for these situations.

We dipped our toes in the chilly creek water, went for a hike in the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park which had an entrance right from the campground, did a much needed Pilates and Yoga workout and I (Mela) even found a stage to dance on.  We then made a campfire and relaxed (sans wifi) for the night. There are a ton of amazing places to visit in Big Sur, but for this trip it was less sightseeing and more about experiencing life in an RV.

A few months back Don had asked me “if you had absolutely no limitations, you had loads of money, no need for a job, where would you want to live?”  I very quickly responded Big Sur. It was a no brainer for me. We’ve visited Big Sur a few times and always been enamored by the area. Don excitedly replied “me too!”  So the good news is that we have similar taste and I think we will be very compatible in our search for a new home. The bad news is that the median home cost in Big Sur is $2,200,000!!!!  For fun we did a little search on Zillow while we were there to see if there was ANYTHING at all in our price range for sale.  There was not, but we did find a 240 sq ft studio cabin for $899,000. The other factor that makes this area hard to live in, is that fire and mudslides are a constant threat. In fact, the PCH was closed in and out of Big Sur for an entire year recently while they worked on repairing the road from a mudslide. Residents had to hike out to go buy their groceries. This happens periodically in Big Sur and I believe its residents have learnt to become fairly self-sustaining, but with climate change this is bound to happen more frequently. Heaven on earth does come with a price!

 

Up Next
Sadly our RV Trial trip is coming to an end soon, but we still have one more stop before heading back to LA.

Some of the links we share are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, Rehabit8 will earn a small commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that we have experience with all of the products we post and share them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

RVshare
If you're thinking about going on a cross country road trip, camping, or renting an RV for a special event, RVshare makes the whole process simple, easy, and fun!

Getting behind the wheel of a motorhome is a great way to explore the country while still having all the comforts of home. Did you know that going on an RV vacation is one of the most economical ways to travel with your family? On average you can save up to 57% on vacation costs compared to other forms of travel.

Lovers Point Park
Lovers Point Park is located at the foot of 17th Street in Pacific Grove, and is a landscaped community park of 4.4 acres. It is used for picnicking, fishing, swimming, water sports, and surfing.

Fernwood Resort
Fernwood Resort is located in the heart of Big Sur bordering Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. They offer RV Camping, Camping, Cabins, Tents, Motel and Restaurant.

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
On the western slope of the Santa Lucia Mountains, the peaks of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park tower high above the Big Sur River Gorge, where the Big Sur River enters this popular park. Walk along the banks of the river and among the redwoods, conifers, oaks, sycamores, cottonwoods, maples, alders and willows. Wildlife includes bobcats, black-tail deer, gray squirrels, raccoons, skunks, and birds, such as dippers and belted kingfishers

RV Trial Trip….Can We Travel Full-Time?

By Mela & Don | Adventure , Lifestyle , Travel

We both individually were attracted to California about 20 years ago. We moved to Los Angeles as we were enticed by the opportunities and energy of the city. LA has served us well and brought us together as a couple. However at this time in our lives, with our goals of living a more healthy and sustainable life, we are feeling held back by city living.  We have dreams of owning land, growing our own fruit and veg, composting and utilizing thermo-solar heating and cooling. We have no idea where we would like to move to and set down roots, so we have been playing with the idea of full-time RV travel. This way we can spend time visiting different States and Cities and get a feel for the climate, culture and if we could turn it into our future home.  

There are so many things to consider for full-time travel.  How would we work, what would our internet connection be like? Would our 3 cats adapt to living in a small space and cope with the driving? What about us as a couple, would we drive each other crazy in a tiny home on wheels spending 24/7 with each other? So before diving into a new lifestyle with so many unknown variables, we decided to take a trial run by renting an RV for a week and hitting the road, with 3 cats in tow!

El Capitán State Beach Park

We rented an RV from RVshare and selected a few of our favorite spots along the California coastline. This time we’d see them in a whole different light though, through the RV windows!  We knew this would be a big change and stressful to our cats, so we eased them into it with short travel days.  

Cats generally don’t like riding in cars and most RVs are rackety and clamorous.  Zuri, our oldest cat with more travel experience settled in quickly and enjoyed looking out the windows.  Pizzicato complained pretty much the entire drive, while Mr. Sweetface hid under the bed cover and the driver’s seat and pretty much checked out.  

Our first stop was at El Capitán State Beach Park​ just north of Santa Barbara. Our parking spot had an amazing view of the ocean and we arrived just in time for sunset.  With big grins on our faces over the enthusiasm of actualizing our dream, we moseyed on down to the beach. We found a perfect rock to watch the sunset from and much to our excitement we immediately saw a gray whale, probably about 50 ft away from us.  I couldn’t believe it was so close to the shoreline, we felt elated by our luck!

Redwood Resort in Boulder C​reek

Boulder Creek is a charming city nestled amongst the redwood trees in the mountains about 14 miles from the beaches of Santa Cruz and 30 miles from San Jose, the leading tech hub known as Silicon Valley. We have visited Boulder Creek before and enjoyed the artistic and friendly community, availability of fresh produce and bulk products, and the remote location with yet easy access to whatever you may need.  The deterrent for us making this California mountain town our home is the cost of living. The current median home cost in Boulder Creek​ is around $620,000, compared to the US average of $220,000. Considering this is in California, it’s not the most expensive place to live but if we are going to leave Los Angeles, we’d rather find somewhere more affordable.

We had a very pleasant and restful stay at the Redwood Resort, just walking distance from Boulder Creek’s downtown. The neighborhood’s white peacock would come visit the grounds daily looking for treats, which started to help change our cats attitude towards traveling.  We found a peacock feather that had fallen out and this became THE BEST new toy, highly exciting in the lives of our furballs. So far on our RV adventure, the nights had been rough. The first couple nights Pizzicato had been burrowing under our bedding, not sure if she was trying to dig her way back home, but it meant we were not getting much sleep either. By the third night she was starting to get used to her new “home” and we breathed a huge sigh of relief.  

We loved being able to walk out of the RV in the mornings and enjoy our morning coffee and breakfast outside in the fresh air.  We pulled our yoga mats out into the sunshine and did a Pilates workout. Yes, the ground might be a little bumpy, but working out outside was invigorating.  What we quickly learned we did not like about this lifestyle, was emptying the black tank. Man oh man is that a gross chore!

Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Something new for us was that our home went with us wherever we did.  So a day trip to Big Basin meant the cats would be joining us. Big Basin is California’s oldest state park and home to some of the largest ancient redwoods south of San Francisco.  As we went out to hike some trails, we left the cats with a window view of the forest, squirrels, and birds.  Being amongst these giant ancient trees is humbling and great place to reflect upon life itself. 

We were halfway through our RV experiment and already had learned a lot. What worked for us in the RV and what didn’t.  What we would do different and what the challenges are for us living on the road, but grateful that we have this time to figure it all out.

 

Up Next
We head back down the coast to the area we thought was our ideal place to live.  Heaven on earth can have its drawbacks though!

Some of the links we share are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, Rehabit8 will earn a small commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that we have experience with all of the products we post and share them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

RVshare
If you're thinking about going on a cross country road trip, camping, or renting an RV for a special event, RVshare makes the whole process simple, easy, and fun!

Getting behind the wheel of a motorhome is a great way to explore the country while still having all the comforts of home. Did you know that going on an RV vacation is one of the most economical ways to travel with your family? On average you can save up to 57% on vacation costs compared to other forms of travel.

El Capitán State Beach Park
​El Capitán State Beach offers visitors a sandy beach, rocky tidepools, and stands of sycamore and oaks along El Capitán Creek. It’s a perfect setting for swimming, fishing, surfing, picnicking and camping. A stairway provides access from the bluffs to the beach area.

Redwood Resort
The Redwood Resort of Boulder Creek California is a small privately owned RV park and campground nestled amongst the majestic redwood trees.

Big Basin State Park
Established in 1902, Big Basin Redwoods is California’s oldest state park. In the heart of the Santa Cruz Mountains, its biggest attractions—literally—are its ancient coast redwoods. Some of these giants are more than 50 feet around and as tall as the Statue of Liberty. At 1,000 to 1,800 years old, some may predate the Roman Empire. The park also offers spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, lush waterfalls, and a fascinating natural and cultural history.