Stories

The day we found our bus

Jill Palmer411 views
They say the wand chooses the wizard…I wonder if the bus chooses the family?

 

We tried to choose our own bus, we wrote a list of non-negotiable, and another list of negotiables that we’d like but that weren’t deal breakers.

 

A bit like this

 

must-have
diesel
high clearance
licensed and registered
single rear axle
negotiable
gas hot water
beds and seats for 7
lots of water storage
solar panels
funky

 

We looked at several buses in real life, and dozens online. Probably should have followed our own advice and looked at more.

 

Then we found a lovely lovely bus. The online advertisement was poorly written, the photographs were sideways. Maybe a hidden beauty other people had scrolled straight past? Chris rang the owner and talked at length.

 

We decided it was worth a visit, only problem was, the bus was in Albany, 6 hours drive south east of Perth. So we packed a tent, some camping gear, 5 children and a box of food into our Toyota van and drove off.

 

We camped at a lovely spot we had been at 4 years earlier on our caravan lap of Australia. Great memories.

 

 

We didn’t even pitch the tent but raced off to see the bus.
Such a funky colour.

 

 

It was a reluctant sale. The owners had arrived at the age where the licencing department, in its wisdom, decided that the man, who drove,  was too old to hold Heavy Rigid Licence. So they had to sell up, and downsize to a caravan and 4WD. Sad for them, happy for us!

 

We found a local bus mechanic and arranged for him to do a thorough check of the motor, body and electrics. It all came up good!  This beautiful beast had been well cared for.

 

Chris test drove it round the block, the kids and I watched with butterflies.  It might, possibly, maybe be actually happening!!

 

We made ourselves wait 24 hrs to calm down and think about it.

 

You know how camping is relaxing and chilled? Well, it’s not when you are about to buy a dream…

 

The next day, we returned to the owners, and made them an offer. They would not drop the price, but agreed to throw in the hitch-n-go which would enable us to tow a little car behind us.  It was a deal.

 

It was hard to contain my jubilance out of respect for an old man watching the love of his life drive away.  We rounded the bend before whooping just a little…

 

But there was no time for an extended celebration, the sky was full of heavy grey clouds. We returned the bus to the campground, and did the quickest ever pack down of our tent.  We threw our gear into the bus, heaved the children in, and closed the door on the starting rain.

 

And then we sat there in our bus, in the rain. Happy as ever. A world of possibilities were ours, and not even the ugly floral curtains could make us pause.

 

Now, the bus only had one bed, and two chairs and the little dining table.

 

 

So, we slept on our mats on the floor. But the gas stove worked! And there was water in the tanks!

 

Chris even got the shower working!

 

The mechanic who had checked our bus over was also set up to do modifications. (Would you believe his phone number was advertised on the back of the campground toilet door, probably the first and last time we phone one of those numbers) We parked up at his lovely property and all together made a double double bunk. With metal work lessons for the kids thrown in.  Two days later, including a trip to the wonderful Denmark Tipshop, we had beds for all the kids sorted.

 

 

We bought a bus! And that’s when we started writing lists.

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