We spent a week traveling in our 40ft MCI D3 bus from California to the Midwest. We needed to move all our belongings, our cats and ourselves to the Midwest to begin work on the bus conversion. So why not use the bus as a moving vehicle and our “home” for the week. There were moments it felt like a crazy and not so convenient idea, but at the end of the day it worked! We made it to our destination safely without too many hiccups, and we learnt a lot about what living in the bus feels like which I’m sure will influence our decisions in our bus build.
There’s Nothing Quite like the Luxury of Running Water
We cooked all our meals during the week in order to stick to our regular diet. We used a 1 burner cooktop which worked great, we’ll probably keep it for outdoor cooking, as on a warm day it’s nice to not steam up the inside of the bus. We made a make-shift dishwashing station, which got the job done but it was challenging none-the-less. So many times during meal prep, cooking and clean up did we notice how badly we wanted plumbing. So spoilt we are. Our toilet situation was even less glamorous. With all our boxes and furniture taking up the back of the bus, we were limited with living space in the front. We put a port-o-potty on the stairs at night and filled it with peat moss which meant there was no smell. Being down on the stairs made for a little bit of privacy but was also a tricky balancing act in the dark at night! We used the RV park facilities during the day, but we were glad to have this toilet as an option late at night or in the early morning when it was 33 degrees Fahrenheit outside!
We definitely want to build a spacious functioning kitchen, so not to sacrifice on the way we eat. A decent sized fridge, a 2 burner cooktop is plenty though, oven or convection oven and a large sink for washing up...oh and did I mention running water! We will build a bathroom with doors on it, we are both feeling comfortable with the idea of a composting toilet. We did not enjoy our black water tank dumps when we rented the RV in the past, so we are going with a fresh water tank, a grey water tank and will make a composting toilet.
A Room with a View
We were struck many times by the amazing views out our bus windows. We will have to try to keep as many windows as possible in our conversion plans. No one can see in at all because they are tinted, but we felt privileged to enjoy so much of the outdoors while still being inside.
Not being able to open the windows was a problem though. The windows in this bus are designed as emergency exits only, they could be propped open, but we can’t do that because of the cats. So we will replace some of these windows so they can have screens put in them to keep the cats in, the bugs out, and create a cross breeze.
We stayed at RV parks for this trip so we could get electric hook ups, mostly to run our heater at night, which worked great and kept us nice and toasty. However we will be putting solar panels on the roof and hope to mostly boondock in the future. Without the ability to cook and clean the way we normally do, we found we created a lot more trash and recycling than usual. Also only one of the seven RV Parks we stayed at actually offered recycling collection.
Our MCI came with a California rated emissions filter and we don’t plan on driving frequently. I think this will probably keep our carbon footprint about the same or lower than in our previous life as a 2-car-city-driving couple.
I do feel that if we set ourselves up with a well functioning tiny home there is no reason why we can’t live a responsible eco-friendly buslife.
One of the most tiring aspects of the way we lived “glamping” in our bus, was packing up everything before traveling, and then unpacking again when we arrived. Especially because we were traveling every day. We will attempt to give everything a designated space and built in options for things we want to stay out in the kitchen and bathroom.
We used the overhead luggage bays as storage. I’m so glad we kept these in to use as storage for this trip, however they were not user-friendly. We’ll have overhead cabinets for sure, BUT….they have to be easier to open and stay open. Plus no one should ever be at risk of bumping their heads!
Now the real work begins. It’s easy to say you want all these things, now we have to actually make it happen. Step one: empty the bus. Step Two: demolition!
Stayed tuned for our trailer for Season 2 of Rehabit8: Tiny House Bus Conversion
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A reflective insulation consisting of two outer layers of 96-percent reflective film, bonded to two layers of heavy gauge polyethylene bubbles. This worked great to keep the heat and cold out once we attached it to our bus windows.
Marie Kondo - KonMari Method