Sunday, July 26, 2015

journeying by bus. (I don't know how many days its been...)

There have been many a bus adventure over the past month that I've tried to document a bit but I didn't try so hard as to get the adventures on the blog until now. My last post was about the big push to get the bus ready for the road and I promised I would soon show more pictures of the insulation. Well I lied. I don't have any more pictures of the insulation yet, but I've got some other pictures!

As far as the insulation went, we got insulation in the sides and the center portion of the roof. It ended up just being taped/held in with little wood strips. It was a very loud drive with it only in this way but it was better than nothing and all we had time for. 

Bus on the road!

After getting that all done we packed the last of our belongings, including a futon and three bikes, into the bus and took off for Oregon! Our goal was to drive to Ashland on the first day which would be 6 hours. Between a few miscellaneous stops and leaving really late we made it almost to the California/Oregon border at around midnight and with no solid landing spot in Ashland we decided to just crash at the rest stop about 30 min south of Ashland. It was actually not horrible sleeping in the rest stop. Downside was we couldn't open the futon because we didn't feel safe putting the bikes outside the bus and there wasn't room with out taking them out. Plus side is we had easily accessible bathrooms and it was completely legal for us to sleep there unlike the streets of Ashland. 
It was really hot an noisy inside the bus and I was grumpy.

The next morning we hopped on the road bright and early (one does not sleep in much in a rest stop) and had a bit of breakfast in Ashland followed by a quick little tour for Will. We were back on the road by 10 and on our way to Corvallis. The last four hours of the drive were uneventful and we were happy to get to Corvallis and crash for a bit. We had the rest of the day to laze before we started work on our next big project.

The next big project.

We spent two weeks at the Oregon Country Fair building this set at Stage Left. Afterwards we took a few days off to re group including taking a trip to Portland where we are hoping to move in a few months. Thursday we got back on the road, this time actually stopping in Ashland for the night. Friday we left nice and early and headed for Berkeley. The drive was again gross and hot and tiring. I drank a lot of soda. 

We made it to the beginning of the bay, were very excited to be almost back when surprise! The bus died. No funny noises. No running rough. It just died. Tried to start it mid freeway, no luck. We pulled it off to the shoulder and scrambled to find the hazard lights. We tried letting it cool down to see if we could get it to start again to atleast get off the freeway, no luck. At this point we used Will's AAA to call a tow. I was sure to annoyingly insist over Will's shoulder that he tell them it was a bus. Be sure they knew it wasn't a standard size vehicle. We thought we were clear but the first tow truck showed up and laughed at us. An hour later the second tow truck showed up and took us to the only open aaa approved shop, pep boys. They also laughed at us when the bus showed up and said they couldn't work on it, but that we could leave it in their parking lot while we figured out what we were doing. 

We checked all the fluids, a few were almost empty so we filled them up, still no go. At this point we were hot and tired and needed to get home to the dogs we were sitting for the weekend. We called in a favor and a friend picked us up and took us back to Berkeley. 

In the morning I started frantically calling tow companies and mechanics seeing what I could do next. I tried to find a mechanic that would take the bus in Vallejo and everyone I called said it was too big. Next I tried to get it towed to Berkeley so I could try to fix it myself, but that tow would be $300. I tried to get AAA and they were grumpy at me. Finally I found a tow company who wouldn't tow it to Berkeley but were very helpful finding a mechanic that would take it. We drove back to Vallejo and had it towed to the new mechanic. 
Turns out it was the fuel pump that died. It took a week for the repairs to get done but my bus is now all happy and running and I'll be picking it up tomorrow!


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