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Blog much?

Well no, not really… we mean well, we promise! Since our last post we’ve gotten a fair amount of visual changes for the bus. We’ve been in high gear for the last month or so. We’ve also been accepted into the tiny house festival St. John’s County Fairgrounds November 17th through the 19th. This has especially kicked our butts into high gear with doing as much as we can with our resources and time. In the last post we had FINALLY gotten the roof painted and it’s been holding up just fine. The emergency hatches on the other end are still a huge pain in the gas can. We still need to figure something out about the back one as that will be the one we’ll be keeping still. The front hatch will be replaced with a rooftop RV a/c unit eventually.

Surge has been busy with Daytona Biketoberfest and the Panama City Biker rally. For Biketoberfest we got the opportunity to take La Extraña Cosa out for our first dry camping adventure. Well for starters it wasn’t really that bad. We definitely need screens for the windows though as the bugs were quite annoying (it IS Florida). The weather was great though, however without insulation the bus can become a hot box. We aren’t going to do insulation till after we get electrical wired and the plumbing done…. Gotta love the little wins we finally got our Nature’s Head toilet…..hurray we can poop today! It was a HUGE investment but it was something we wanted to get out of the way and have, even if we’re dry camping somewhere. We’ll update about how we like it.

We also got the window block panels in 2 double and 3 singles. Unfortunately they were all an inch short so we had to make some modifications to get them to work (we’ll blame the sheet metal company lol…).

We also got our refrigerator from Home Depot, it was on sale and we just couldn’t pass on the deal. It was exactly the right size and color that we had been looking for.

We finally got new shoes for the bus! 6 standard semi truck tires, 11r 22.5. We had the guys at Boulevard Tires in Daytona on Nova Road do them for us. We got there Friday morning for our appointment and it didn’t take long at all. A BIG thank you to Jamie’s Grandma for making new tires a possibility. We can now drive anywhere without worrying about bad tires. It was weird seeing them lift up the bus and remove the tires.

We have a lot to do before the festival and it’ll be here before we know it so we’re going to try and do as much as we can. Jamie is planning on doing details such as painting the countertop/cabinet, laying pennies for the counter, making screens for some of the windows and other small things to pull it together. We’re hoping to get the bus painted beforehand but not so sure that will happen due to the amount of prep work needed and time we have left before the festival. Jamie also just got hired at vip kid, which is an online company that teaches children in China the English language. She’s really excited about it cause she can choose her own hours and it’s very rewarding. We’re hoping to do a video very soon showing off everything.

Surge and Jamie


Week 3

So week 3 has come and gone and as of yesterday we have had La Extrana Cosa 3 weeks exactly! A lot has happened in that time frame!

Last week we discovered during a heavy rain that there were quite a few leaks. Not surprising by any means and we knew it’d be a likely possibility. So that was the first course of action the following week.

First things first was to get a the appropriate roof sealer along with roof caulking. We decided to go with a white elastomeric thermal roof sealer and a special roof leak caulking. We want to ensure that the roof is SEALED. However, of course before she’s roof painted we needed to wash her. There was heavy mildew on the top from sitting. Let me tell you, that was a chore in itself. It was like washing a whale! We used a degreaser, water and a brush and the mildew easily came off. And once that was done we also took some diluted bleach and did a final wash to make sure the mildew was completely off.


I surprisingly got up on the roof! Being scared of heights it wasn’t easy at first!


The beautiful end result. The roof looks a million times better!

Once that was done and dry Surge started on the roof caulking, the very very messy tar like substance that seemed to get everywhere. Im pretty sure he had some of the stuff stuck on his arm for at least 2 days (2 days of scrubbing to get it off that is).

So while he started on that, I started on brushing off the rust on the floor with a wirebrush wheel on the angle grinder. Well when I complained that it was like washing a whale… I take that back. Id rather wash a whale any day. The amount of dirt and rust that was created in our bus, not to mention the awkward angle of brushing the floor; it become the great dustbowl all over again. I’ve seriously never had so much dirt and grim on me! I didn’t get a photo but I definitely should have!

So hopefully the caulking sealed the leaks and the sealer will just be an extra step in making sure no water gets through. Surge also finished grinding open the ceiling for wiring and insulation.


The last ceiling panel being cut!

Once the holes in the floor are patched, it’ll be ready for rustoleum. We also used this week to tweak the floor plan a bit along with additional details on plumbing/wiring and storage. We’re going to make an entire post on just the floor plan shortly.


Me in relation to the size of the bus. I can barely reach the lock on the door! (We are also on a small slope, I’m not THAT short). 



We have a new bus pet apparently. Somehow he keeps coming back no matter how many times we remove him and his web. I guess he just needs a name now!

The next following weeks are going to be very busy for me and my photography but we’re still going to keep up with the blog and the bus as much as we can! We can’t wait for the bus to be livable!



Week 2: More Demolition

Okay, so time needs to slow down, where has this month gone? Oh right, half of its been working on the bus lol.

So after ripping out all the floors we got her down to the bare metal floor where we could assess the known rust that would be there. Luckily we don’t think its too bad, only surface rust. We started the process of sanding off some rusty areas towards the back with the angle grinder but haven’t completely finished it yet.


So in the last post I made we were taking apart the dashboard apart for cleaning and to paint. It was a lot of fun as Surge and I both have an obsession with cosmo spray painting and what better way to express it then on the dashboard! I love the way it turned out. Definitely unique for sure!

So after we reinstalled the dash we started ripping out the insulation in the ceiling. We could see the white foam sticking out of the light/speaker holes and decided to just get it out of there since we know we’ll need to. Well, that was easier said than done! It was pretty stuck in there! We are not going to remove the ceiling entirely either, we are planning on just cutting 6″ wide slits from the front of the bus length ways to the end of the bus. That way we can wire those open areas for lighting/electrical and then we are thinking of placing a wooden beam over the area, length wise. We are also thinking that that is where the lights will be as well. We shall see!


We also decided after pulling out all the insulation to remove the vinyl and seat from the back of the bus. It was a pain in the butt! Seriously. And on top of it being a pain in the butt we found a lot of moisture under the seat and some serious mildew/mold on the foamboard that was on the top part of the seat. Luckily, it was all contained to the board and did not affect the metal on the top, no rust on it whatsoever.

So last Thursday we had a torrential downpour (much needed with the current wildfires in the state) but we discovered quite a few leaks coming in from the roof. Now we get where all the moisture was coming from on the seats in the back.  It was kind of disappointing but considering how lucky we’ve been with everything else….  anyways, this is the main issue that needs addressed as soon as possible. We need to clean the roof, caulk all the cracks/holes and then seal it.

Also, for any engine people out there who’d like to see what our awesome Caterpillar 3126 B serious Engine looks like here’s a photo!



Week 1

So week one was interesting! We went to Polk County last Monday to pick up the bus. It was surprisingly way easier than expected that’s for sure. We had the maintenance men on hand to help us in getting the bus jumped (as it had been sitting for a while) and explained to Surge how to drive this behemoth of a machine. Surge got it in no time and off we went, 3 hours Northeast back to Daytona. The trip couldn’t be complete without torrential downpour of course. At one point I-4 was traffic jammed and I could barely see the bus in front of me. But other than that we had no issues whatsoever. We got it to our temporary location in Daytona where we’ll be prepping it to get it registered and ready for Missouri.


Now the fun part: removing the seats. From what we read we knew this would probably be the most tedious thing on the bus. We first removed all the bolts along the outside of the seats (bolts closest to the windows). This was not too bad for the most part, just a lot were corroded and a tad difficult to get out. But onto the hard part, Surge thought that taking an angle grinder to the inside bolts may be the easiest solution but that was not the case. With the exception of the few seats that were not easily accessible under the bus  the rest of the seats were removed by one person on the bus and someone else under the bus holding the nut for the bolt. It was lengthy to do it this way but worked efficiently enough. The angle grinder to ALL the inside bolts would have taken even longer.

So as of Day 3 the bus seats have been completely removed. We are planning on scrapping them but we aren’t sure what we will get for them, hopefully something worth the time and effort but we will see. We were told that the bus more than likely needs a battery as it needed a boost to start. However, we have been starting it every single day with no issues, which is great, one less mechanical thing to worry about. In fact, everything is running perfect, the oil pressure, water temp, etc are all normal. The only issue we have at the moment is that the rear signal lights don’t work (probably a bad fuse). We are going to address that issue at a later time when she is closer to getting on the road.


One of the few seats left

After we got all the seats out we started removing all the metal trim on the floor. Once we got all that out we started working on removing the actual plywood floor. It was incredibly heavy as the rubber flooring added a ton of weight! As of day 7 we had scrapped the bus seats, a measly $38 but hey that’s still $38 dollars we didn’t have before. In this time frame Surge also started taking apart the dashboard for cleaning and modifying. He figured that the cockpit of the bus should be taken care of first since it will be utilized first when being driven all the way to Missouri and I think that makes a lot of sense.

For one week I sure feel like we got a lot accomplished. We in no way have unreal expectations that the bus will be transformed overnight. We know it’s going to take a loong time and a lot of hardwork, blood, sweat and tears. Week 2 coming soon as well!!




So a little bit of background information always helps. This is the blog of Surge and I (Jamie) and our school bus conversion. Though we haven’t been together for too long we both knew right away that our dreams and goals coincided with each others and as corny as it sounds, sometimes things just fall into place and you know you’re on the right path.

Surge is an amazing tattoo artist and has been tattooing for the past nine years. He travels to various conventions and bike rallies to tattoo and is part of a very unique operation called Purple Pirate Tattoo & Side Show. It’s exactly as it sounds, they tattoo amazing custom work and yes, perform side show acts as well. Ray, the owner of Purple Pirate can breathe and spin fire and hang a bowling ball from his tongue (yes, a real bowling ball). Surge can swallow swords, perform human blockhead and spin fire staff. It’s all quite an amazing feat to witness.


I am a professional photographer specializing in family and modeling portraiture. I’ve been in business since 2014 and every year it grows exponentially.  As much as I love doing what I do, I know that my photography is an avenue to be able to venture outside of our home base, Daytona Beach, FL.

So back to the good stuff! We bought a school bus! This is just the first step in probably a million but every adventure starts somewhere and has a beginning. The school bus is a 2001 Thomas MVP-ER with a Caterpillar 3126 Diesel Engine and an Allison MD 3060 Transmission. It is an 84 passenger, meaning 14 windows along the side, with a side emergency door (a huge potential plus!). It’s quite the vehicle and we have yet to even pick it up yet! It is sitting in Polk County, Florida at the moment. We have until next week to pick it up and move it to its next destination to start the conversion process. I will be documenting and blogging the entire experience, through good and bad so that hopefully we can create a larger fan base for Purple Pirate Tattoo and also help others who are thinking of simplifying their life and converting a bus to live in! We have also created a GoFundMe that we would love for people to look at and possibly contribute if possible.

Much love and good vibes as we begin this awesome, rewarding new journey in our lives.