I go over the 4 propane appliances we have been using for 2 years while living tiny in our skoolie conversion. We had the intention while building it of being off grid and boondocking more so we installed mostly propane with the options of shore or genny power. Over the course of the first year we added the toaster oven, plug extension on the fridge, and a rooftop ac/vent so when plugged in, we save on propane.
Welcome Back! This episode we dive into the Journey of traveling full time with a family of 4 in Chitty Bang Skoolie, our DIY Tinyhouse Bus Conversion. After the build we wanted to explore and finally live the bus life and this is where we went and what it was like. What did we use, solar power/shore power? What did we do when we were at places? How long did we stay? Testing the bus, our maiden voyage, growing pains in rv life….
05:45 Check out my Mom’s All natural soy melts and candles @EastTexasArtisan
07:00 HomeSchool Groups
09:30 Skoolie Meetup: (The Calypso Skoolie, 4Carrs in a Bus, Carla and Frannie, the Yoder Home, The Bloems, the Botkins, and Oily Bus with Kyle (Hollis) Thatcher aspiring musician.)
14:00 Hot Transmission
15:00 Roswell and Truckstops
18:00 What you find in Truck Beds
20:00 Homeless people felt bad for us
21:50 Our First Snow in the Bus
33:00 Mo has a Drunk Mom Story
34:00 Mo shares about her Budtending Experience in Washington at Green Lady and some knowledge about Cannabis
43:00 Buying Pot
46:45 Crab’s Poison Dart Frog Story
48:00 Our Ferrets
53:00 Learned about Workamping in Washington (Skokomish Park)
54:30 Kamp Klamath
58:00 Quick Story, Our Friend Sam from FifthWheelFeel
1:02:00 Camping World Story, F Them
1:05:30 A Friend’s dog business-Honor-A-Bull Kennels, Combat Veteran owned and operated
1:10:00 Filling Propane Story
1:13:00 Cool Local Farmer Friend we made, Avra Valley Growers
Check out our 3rd Episode where we interview another full time rv family, The Ruthardt’s! We literally just met them 2 hours before the podcast, so everything is very genuine! They tell us about their inspiring journey that led them to this lifestyle, what the plan is for the future, life on the road with kids, their Homeless Outreach Program, and so much more! We chatted for 3 hours people! Curl up and listen, with a belly full of Turkey bits, to this awesome conversation of 4 like minded people!
We literally tried ending the podcast 3 times but these guys were just so much fun:)
Ryon and I had the honors of being guests on the Skoolie Today Podcast (found on itunes and castbox) a couple of days ago, and will be released sometime next week for anyone who would like to listen! It is a free download for either app, and free episode downloads or playbacks.
Hear us talk about Chitty Bang, life on the road, mechanical stresses, our experience building the bus, homeschooling, and more!! Stay tuned for more info on the release!
Here are our other 3 videos on our workamping gig at a small pumpkin patch in Sierra Vista, Az this October. We have some time off, and will be back to selling Christmas Trees sometime around Thanksgiving!
Living with a compost toilet for 2 years and we have a few tricks that work for our budget, lifestyle, and overall peace of mind! Here are just a couple of many tips on using a compost toilet, the media to use, and how to keep it dry while traveling! Now….I gotta go clean the shitter….. 🙂
VIDEO EDIT* @ 15:28 The DRAIN Faucet is for the FRESH WATER TANK not the GRAY WATER! We don’t wash our hands with gray water! LOL!
2 years later I finally did another walk through of Chitty Bang Skoolie! The first one was 4 months into living tiny. Well, we have learned A LOT and changed a few things, added others, and overall have been chillacing and living the easy tiny house life! After the first year, we figured out tiny living and rving…this last year we have actually really been enjoying it even more! I show off our water filter system, our awesome boondocking efficient power system via solar and propane, and how we keep batteries charged when parked! I hope yall enjoy!! Will be adding the links to some products in just a minute, stay tuned! Thanks for watching!
The bathroom was a bit complex bc I wanted a shower that was comfortable for Crab to stand in, comfortable to use the large compost toilet, and have room to put in the American Made RV water heater we decided to go with, Precision Temp’s RV 550. The size of the bathroom was adjustable at this point, but we went with interior measurements of 32″ deep (The exterior depth was the same as the bunkroom located on one side of the bathroom) x 70″ long. (Measured with the corrugated metal we used as the paneling). Exterior length down the bus, the bathroom measures 77″. The shower pan was 32″x32″ from Home Depot. Remember, we ran our electrical after we built because we had no idea what the space would really look like or how it would function really until we built it. Total Newbies!:)
We painted all of the framing wood in the bathroom with Red Guard. Thus was suggested by a contractor We met. He swears by it. It paints on pepto bismol pink, but dries a red plastic covering over whatever you paint. So if water ever gets through, it will save the wood at least! We then used galvanized corrugated metal as the walls and used hex head screws with rubber washers to help seal where we had to install. I used a clear silicone to caulk the seams.in the shower and where the wall met the ceiling.
We had to cut a hole in the side of the bus to install the tankless water heater and allow it to vent properly. Well we cut it too big….and then hung a piece of metal to cover the mess up lol. We had some experience with metal work so this part no longer seemed so scary and daunting. Confidence was building:) We actually felt good about making a hole in the bus. Wowza…
The Plumbing for the shower looked like this:
After much research on youtube and seeing how people liked their composting toilets, we decided to not build a black water tank and just use a compost toilet! The Nature’s Head was what we decided on, as it was really the only one I could find! I wrote an article The Dirty Rotten Truth About Compost Toilets for an in depth look at how I like ours.
We positioned it in the corner of the bathroom so we would have space to sit comfortably, and be able to vent it properly, and plug it in to a power source so the small fan inside runs to keep it from being stinky.
Plumbing Propane: (link to full article coming soon!)
This happened towards the end of the build when we were finished with the propane “cage” we fabricated at the rear of the bus on the extension we also built on. This way, we knew exactly the distance and we were just measuring, cutting, and flaring. We had our great Mentor, Robbie, to show us how to do a double flarethat was perfect (we had a lot of re-dos doing the flare at first, but it is very important it is done without having cracks or uneven edges on the flare). A double flare is RV standard for double safety, basically, you can find this out on a google search. However, a single flare will do the trick, but if you already have the Flaring kit, you might as well do a double and be safe. (If you do this, have someone look at it that approves. Try a heating/cooling business, A/C repair. You can even have a licensed propane inspector check it out. Might cost $100 but its worth it if you are not sure. )
We ran copper piping from the propane cage we built underneath the bus up through the floor underneath the water heater. Underneath the bus, right underneath the water heater, we “T”ed a connection to also connect the RV refrigerator to propane since we bought a 2 way by Norcold (info on that in a future article) and it was just a few feet away on the same side of the bus.
And since we are talking about propane, lets talk safety. NO BUILD IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN SAFETY. At every connection (2) inside of the bus, I have a Propane Sensor on the ground (PROPANE IS HEAVY AND WILL DROP TO THE GROUND NOT FLOAT) connected 12 V to the SOLAR battieries and they are on 24/7. That is not to say that spraying febreze or other chemical wont’s set off the sensors…that has happened…but I know they work! We also put on and off valves inside underneath the water heater and fireplace so we could turn off the propane easily in here without going outside.
Also, we wrapped our copper in foam insulation so that it would not rub against anything underneath the bus. REMEMBER VIBRATION IS YOUR ENEMY. ALWAYS THINK OF HOW THINGS WILL VIBRATE or TWIST while bumping down the road! And things move! We also attached the foam covered pipe with metal hangers securely to the frame of the bus with TEK metal screws.
Crab built a box to cover the plumbing, propane, and water heater and I put a basket on top of it for an air freshener, lotion, and TP holding area. We also trimmed around the bottom of the box and the doorways! We should have gotten a type of cover for the top, stone or wood, but we always keep our eyes open for something to add later.
I use a friend’s old shoe organizer to organize our bathroom necessities. With 3 girls and guy that shaves his head, there are quite a few pockets filled with feminine hygiene, extra soap, razor blades from dollar shave club, sunscreen, face and hair masks, all of our toothpaste and brushes…etc. It works Great!
We have a curtain for privacy when showering that we tuck behind the organizer when no one is in their. I also orginally had a towel hanger there but it was in the way a lot so it was removed and we have since found another place for towels.
DRAIN LINES: (another article coming)
When it came to installing the drain lines, again, this was something never done before. We read the lines should hang at a 1/4″ slant all the way to the end. This lets gravity do its job. So we used some of these awesome metal straps with holes in them (we used these for lots of stuff and hanging things) to hang the 1″ PVC from the sink drain under the bus to the shower, all the way to the rear of the bus to the Gray water tank we installed at a later time while on the road (that will be in the future drain line article).
A Look Back:
The Rv550 has worked decently the last almost 2 years. Here are the issues we had. The first time we installed it, the face that goes on the outside of the bus didnt really fit.
The company has great customer support. They sent us a new one, no issues. After about 8 months and tracking from Texas to Washington then down to Cali, the water heater sprung a leak shooting water down the outside side of the bus. At least it wasn’t inside. The company sent us another new one, took back the old one, all paid for. It just sucked to have to deal with. Over a year later we traveled from Cali to Arizona and have been exploring the state, no issues. It is hard to find the correct setting for how hot you need it, and lately the hose being in the sun is enough to get the perfect temp shower lol. If it craps again, though, and isn’t covered with the warranty I want to take out the box Crab made to cover it, and install an Eco Temp or other style I have seen other skoolie/tinyhousers use. And we will get some floor space back in the bathroom which would be a cool change:).
Come learn from our mistakes and successes!! Find out where we have been parking our skoolie, what features come it, and how expensive is it? Also check out my review and the features of distant drums rv resort in camp verde, az.
This is all information we have learned from traveling on the road the last year and half and I hope it helps!
Since we started with the bunk beds and the last thing to build out was the closet, we went ahead and finished that out. We framed the walls with 2x4s, just like every other wall and secured to the studs that run horizontal on the sides and to the plywood under the floor.
NOtice below that we added a piece of wood across the top of the closet from one end to the other. We did this on every closet we built, including the bunks and bathroom. This also allowed us to add trim later as well as keep it all secured.
The box over the wheel well is also secured to the wall/studs with L brackets so it does not move in travel. It is a great spot for my printer, Big paper we use for projects, bedding containers, and kid books.
The main shelving on too hold toiletry extras,.paper towels, Tp, towels, and an office supply 3 drawer unit. The kids each have their own shelf and rod for clothes, toys, and books. The drawer system is 4 drawers. Each child has school stuff in a drawer, I have a craft drawer, and the smallest drawer is for the animals brushes/tooth care/backpack, etc. I have loved using large containers with lids.for the kids clothes and organizing boxes. I may buy a shelf system you hang from the rod to try a new way of their clothes being organized. It is all an experiment really!