Hermelda's Bus Log
In October of 2016 we bought our 2004 International Half Bus that we have named Hermelda. We got a great deal at a place called Bus & Chassis in Brentwood in NH and have been very lucky with it so far (knock on wood)! When we first bought it, the bus had about 220,000 miles on it (Not too bad for a diesel engine) and was equipped with about 8 bus seats, as well as a handicapped lift in the rear. Below are some photos of the first few days before the conversion really began.
After 2 months of long days and very cold nights (working in Northern NH and VT) we couldn't be happier with how the bus came out. Neither of us had very much carpentry experience, so for any of this to come out remotely well was extremely well received on our end. Below are photos of the bus as it is today in it's "complete" phase, although it is hard to say it is done as we are constantly adding and changing things on the road.
Our stove, shown in the photo to the left runs off of propane. Our propane is stored in the rear of the bus and will be shown further down. When not in use the hose is hidden within a bed, and the stove underneath a seat. The sink we created out of a farm feed bucket. We in fact do have running water with the help of a small pump wired to our battery system. Water is stored in the rear of the bus and will also be shown further down. All of our drain water is collected in a 5 gallon bucket, and disposed of properly when needed.
As detailed above, the table doubles as a spare bed for one or two depending on your level of comfort in cuddling with your neighbor. The seat further to the back of the bus is a repurposed bus seat that we cut down a bit in height. It is properly secured to the floor and includes 3 seat belts when needed. The seat to the front is essentially just a YETI cooler with a frame built around the outside. The cooler keeps ice for 4-5+ days to keep our food from spoiling.
Our beds are definitely the largest storage areas within the bus. Each are on hinges and store all of our cloths and a mix of most of our climbing and ski gear. On the left side of the bus, in the high storage loft we have our two, 7 gallon, water tanks that run to our sink. There is a water pipe that runs down the back wall, along Louis's bed, and then into the cabinet to supply the water. This is also where we store our Mr. Heater Buddy for heating during the colder nights of the trip. Our bikes hang in front of the side door for easy loading and unloading. Across the top of the high shelves is room for 2 pairs of skis for when we hit our winter stops along the way. Finally, the shelving on the right holds the rest of our climbing gear, winter cloths, tools and assortment of the rest of our belongings. Now that we have gotten into the swing of things we have found that we have plenty of storage for everything we need on the trip.
Sorting out electricity was one of the more difficult parts of the bus for us. Neither of us had very much knowledge on the subject going into the project. We ended up buying a Deep Cycle Battery. This battery is stored underneath the inverter shown in the photo above to the right. It is connected to our two bus batteries that are used for starting the engine. The red switch shown in the photo is called a battery isolater switch. While the bus is running, we keep it in the on position which connects our deep cycle battery to the bus batteries. This ensures that we are charging off of the alternator. When we stop, we put it in the off position. We can still use our electronics, but we are only draining our deep cycle battery, not the bus starting batteries. Our lights are wired directly into the battery, so there is no need for them to run through the inverter.
We are very excited and grateful to have the opportunity to travel in this awesome vehicle. If you are interested in more of the details to the build process feel free to check out these blog posts: "We Bought a Bus", "Insulation, Walls and Windows", "Flooring, Cabinets and More", "Storage, a Table and Finishing Touches" and "Electricity, Propane, Counters and Paint".
If you have any questions or would like to contact us, feel free to send us an email at Louis@TheAmateurAdventurers.com. Also feel free to check us out on Facebook and Instagram. We'd love to hear from you!