Bus Update: Electricity, Propane, Counters and PAINT!

Now that Tyler has finished up at school we took the bus on its maiden voyage to Rochester, NY.  This was a real test for the bus and it did great!  We averaged a whopping 9.5 miles per gallon on the trip which isn't too bad for a bus.  In Rochester our plans were to finish up quite a bit on the bus, including giving it a coat of paint.

 

The bus is really starting to feel like home. We first focused on covering our table and kitchen area with peel and stick tiles, which conveniently look a lot like we do professional masonry on the side. To finish the sides of the counter top and table we used vinyl edging that matched extremely well with our walls. It was a good thing that we bought extra edging as our learning curve for cutting angles took a little while. 

Working on table top

Nearly finished counter with sink basin

Up to this point we have done quite a bit to the bus, but there were a couple key points that we kept putting back. We're blaming this on the procrastination skills we picked up in college. These things include our electricity, the gas for heating and cooking, and painting the bus. Starting with the electric our first thoughts were to try solar, but because of our low, just out of college budget, we ruled it out pretty quickly. Instead we decided to take advantage of the energy that we will be creating while driving. Our bus, like most, has two batteries used in the same fashion as a car battery for starting and running.  In addition to these we have added a Deep Cycle battery into our system.  With the addition of a switch we are now able to charge our deep cycle battery while driving, and use it to power our phones, laptops, and other things. Then when we are done driving we can turn off the switch and run our electronics without draining our two starting batteries. 

 

With the addition of the battery we had to create a way to connect our devices to it.  We decided on an 800 watt inverter (more than enough for our purposes) to use things that have a traditional plug.  For lights, we connected directly to the battery with LED strip lights that require very little electricity.  With this setup we should be able to power everything we need for a while without starting the bus. 

Inverter with contained battery below

Unfinished Propane Setup

Propane to this point has been a nightmare to figure out.  There are a lot of logistics involved and it requires some tricky work.  If you follow our Instagram (@TheAmateurAdventurers) you would know how much trouble we have had and how many times we have bought and returned different ideas from Home Depot. Everyone says keeping propane outside is essential, but within our budget and with our skills we weren't confident in the propane being securely attached to the frame of the bus.  Instead we have built essentially an airtight box in the rear interior of our bus near our bike storage.  We have drilled holes (a lot of holes) through the floor inside the box to act as a drain in case we were to have a propane leak (propane is heavier than air so it sinks).  In addition to this we are adding a propane alarm next to our carbon monoxide alarm for added safety.  From the tank we have a hose that will connect to our stove, as well as our heater. 

Deciding on paint was a very difficult decision.  Good thing we had other peoples mistakes to decide for us.  Instead of spending $70+ a gallon, we took a gander towards the discount section of mis-tinted paint.  A maroon and dark blue can tickled our fancy and we got both cans for a total of $20 (Dark Green was also available).  The paint came out great!  Stay tuned for some better photos of the paint this week.

This week we will drive through Pennsylvania to visit with Tyler's family then head south for some Rock Climbing and biking where the real adventure begins!  Thanks for reading.

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