On June 27, we brought what we're intermittently calling the St Pete Skoolie home to the 'burg, where it sits parked in front of my favorite mural by the Ink Werks team.
However, you can't quite see the mural because our bus is ENORMOUS.
Interior measurements show approximately 7.5 ft x 35 ft (up to the engine hull + driver's seat) at about 6'1 interior height. This equates to about 260 square feet of usable interior space.
Google 250 square foot apartment and people a doing a LOT with spaces this size. Though we don't have the option of a loft, our floor space holds a lot of opportunities.
While we turn this into our living space, we've had some logistically challenges come up that we didn't quite expect. One of them being: Insurance. Florida, as fickle as it is, doesn't allow anyone to register a school bus as a personal vehicle. And, they don't allow it to be a commercially insured vehicle if it isn't owned by a commercial agency.
Luckily, I happen to own a photography company formulated as an LLC!
So, in these last few weeks in Florida, our skoolie is making for a great, non-transporting prop for some photo shoots and is making appearances throughout downtown St Pete.
Our first order of deconstruction is to gut the bus.
- Metal flashing
- Rubber floor covering
- Plywood floor
and eventually every. rivet. in. the. bus. (Approximately 1500, maybe more?)
That's the price you pay in sweat and hours if you want a bus insulated for Canada and Mexico weather!
To our surprise, we were able to unbolt the seats in only a few hours. We expected this job to be much more difficult, but a combined effort of Alhen holding the nuts from under the bus and my use of the impact driver on the bolts inside, we finished in time for brunch.
The challenge we're encountering, however, is the disposal of the seats. They're actually quite cool - if I had space and time, I'd create benches, decor, exterior furniture - my stepdad suggested we create a miniature cinema space with them! Getting someone to take them in time to create the space we need to remove the floors... looking bleak.
I hate to throw them out, but with one side of the floor already loosened and ready to be stripped to bare metal, we can't afford the energy of playing musical chairs - literally.
At this point, Alhen and I have both left our jobs to work full-time on the bus and prepare for the move. This means packing a box here and there, waking up early for the cooler temps, and getting done what we can each day before we either need another tool or simply run out of steam.
I'm continuing to provide photography and strategic consulting services until we move out of St Pete, raising the last little bit of moving change before starting over in a new, much smaller town. It's scary, but I finally feel like I've made the leap of "starting over". Once our boxes are unpacked and the bus is parked in a safe, secure build space, we'll be full-speed ahead.
Our goal is to have the bus "liveable" (basically, camp-able!) by September, with the following two months being the home-ifying time of appliance installation, interior design, textile curation, and self-sustainability system fortifying.
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I'm looking forward to getting to know each of you along this journey!