We finally did it! We finally sold our home for what we needed and were able to become debt free and pursue our renovation of Chitty Bang. We hustled. We got rid of even more crap, and began the next step of our lives. We packed what was rest of our stuff, loaded up the u-haul, and with the help from some amazing friends (Thanks Amber, Brent, Barbara, Mike, and, Anne & Drew:)) were out of our home and on our way to West Texas to finish the bus!
Thanks to another fantastic friend, Jim, we have a place to stay while we work on Chitty Bang at his house. Now, we are focusing on that:) So far, living without a majority of our stuff has not been that bad 🙂 We have clothes, our necessities, the girls have a few toys (About a large shoebox full and their electronics), and our tools. And what we order for the bus of course. It feels like it did after the fire, but more at home and with the knowledge of this all being my choice…instead of a choice made for me. Since we have left over 3 months ago and began working on Chitty Bang, I have not regretted our decision once. We have been surrounded by some pretty awesome people that each know a lot about something specific that we want to learn more about. We also have a place to stay where we all feel so welcome. Although it will be just another small moment in our lives, we have already learned more about ourselves and each other 🙂
I have decided this never ending seal job of leaks will end this day! We went into the bus on a hard rain day and used chalk to mark all the spots that were leaking. We attempted to spray the bus with the hose to find any leaks, to no avail. So we have been waiting for hard rain storms to hit us the last few weeks (thank God we are not in a drought anymore!) so we can get a realistic view of what kind of leaks we are looking at. Almost all of the leaks came from the seal between the glass and the metal and was collecting in the corners of the windows, dripping down to the floor…eventually will cause rust issues and mildew in the walls if we don’t take care of it. And as our Sgt Crab says, Don’t do the easy wrong over the hard right. And I don’t want issues later *grumble* so here we go!
After this, we waited a few days and used the hose to spray all over the bus. No leaks! But, then it rained really really hard one day and I ran out into the bus to make sure (who can recreate mother nature, really?) and *GASP* a few leaks! But they were only around the Emergency Windows (those are total crap anyway and will be covered inside and out with aluminum anyway). SO I just sealed every single crack on them, and problem solved! I did not even have any roof leaks this time! The only leak we have left is coming from the back door, and that is just as easy as replacing the rubber seal around the door. I have been told by my Skoolie thread on Facebook that I can get that stuff anywhere. So that will be next. Then we think we may just go ahead and cover the outside of the emergency windows with the aluminum b/c we have the rivot gun for it, we just need to get the rivots and sheet of metal.
Either way, we are still making slow progress….we did not drop off the edge of the world, I promise! Summer is here in Texas, and so is the heat…and a smaller bus budget so we can do some family stuff…The dream will continue! Thanks to everyone for continuing to follow and support us in this huge adventure of ours! Look for an update on our GoFund Me page I am creating if any of you would like to help us get moving on it too!
Thanks all and have an awesome day and I hope everyone is having a great summer!
STAGE 11: Remove Windows/Side Panels & Insulation, Re-Seal and Replace Windows
Part 2-Day 2
The next day I was certain we would not get to complete our project because of the rain. The Universe was looking out for us though because by 3 PM it was clearing up. So, we all got to work on other side of ChittyBang!
We removed the windows successfully! The guys started in on the side panels, while I worked on cleaning and scraping the windows.
The Panels were removed much more smoothly on Day 2 🙂 We got everything smoothed out on the frames, the insulation totally removed, the windows cleaned and scraped…now for the last stretch!
We also put some caulk on the screws/rivots that were on the walls under the windows to make sure no water was coming in from here. Some insulation was wet, so we needed to be sure there was little chance of any more leaks. We are not professional bus renovators, so we do what makes sense to us as we do it. I want ChittyBang as leak proofed as possible 🙂
We are finally done with demo!!!
Now onto foaming, and re-sealing the roof and side seams!!
Check out how we decided to start this whole project:
This past week, besides finishing the floor prep, we also tackled some of the more tedious, but necessary tasks that we would eventually have to complete. Also, we have had some amazing weather the last few days here in Texas, but it isn’t going to last long:( So we work with the weather since we can’t park the bus under anything.
Removing the reflective tape and lettering….everywhere.
Why? The reflective tape was cracked, so when we repaint it, that will be the first thing to go and chip off. I have to say, 360 degrees was monotonous to the say the least:) But I can find some joy in those types of mindless tasks. Anyway, We started with a sander with wire wheel attachment. It was taking a while to remove the stickers and was really eating through the paint easily as well. Just using the paint scraper on the letters was working ok, but the old, cracked reflective tape was a b****. So, I jumped online to skoolie.net and found a few great solutions.
Paint Scraper with Heat Gun- to start, if this doesn’t work..
Rub Diesel/Paint Thinner on It and let it set for a few minutes..then Wipe It off…Finally..
Sand It All Down
I remembered Crab just received the Heat Gun (Wagner $20 from Amazon) he ordered for a separate Didgeridoo Project we want to tackle:), and grabbed it out of the garage.
We finished one side and the rear of the bus in one afternoon. Although we were able to remove the stickers, the sticky residue was still being a problem. We figured we will try sanding it off when we were done removing the stickers.
Day 2 Sticker/Tape Removal
Moving on over to the passenger side of the bus 🙂
We are DONE! SIKE!
DAY 3 Sanding/Sealing
Of Course I thought we were completely done with sticker removal, until I glanced out the kitchen window and realized, nope. We forgot the tape around all four emergency exit windows and their letters! So, the next day, I went back up the ladder and finished the job…for real this time!
A couple of hours later…..
All in all, I don’t really know if we wasted time by just not sanding first. Maybe we could have if we had a better tool for that job. But I think this process worked for us and the tools we had.
Next up , More Demo and the story of making Chitty Bang Legal!
After the slaying of the Rust, we have to do our best to prevent it from happening again. The last step in the floor prep is painting the floor with Rustoleum. We figured the color did not really matter since it will be covered with frame work, insulation, and then flooring, so Crab grabbed Hunter Green. Cool.
Our plan was to include the kids as much as possible, and what fun could painting a whole bus floor be?! The previous day Crab and I spent bent over filling holes, so it was time for a Crab Team Effort. The girls were excited, of course, and did an excellent job!
The girls started with the prep work of filling the cracks and lower walls with paint brushes. They got pretty bored with this by the time they reached the front, but a little under 300 square feet, really doesn’t take too long to paint 🙂
What I have loved most about this Tiny House experience is that this is a project we can all pitch in and create. The dream for our family is not everyone’s dream. It is not for everyone either. Through our experiences of Army life, deployments, the effects of war, and just plain crazy things that happen in life, we made the decision together as a family to get out and travel, to live in a tiny space together, and eventually find a place where we all want to set up our Crab Homestead. We want to create a lifetime of memories and adventures, and it took a long time of trial, error, admitting being wrong, learning, appreciative and humbled at being right at times, researching, sacrifices, and hardships. It is just so exciting that this is only the beginning (or really another chapter) of our Tiny House experience. And I appreciate all of the days we are out working on the bus together, *ahem* even the really really dirty ones 😀
Now, while the girls were painting the floor, Crab and I were scraping letters and reflective tape off of the bus. Which leads me to