The idea of the pop-up on top of the bus came about when a friend mentioned he was selling the camper. Another friend said, “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool to stick that on the roof of the Scholl Bus.” Well, that was all it took, the seed was planted and I couldn’t quit thinking about how to get that thing up there.
First came the trip to FL where the pop-up was located. It is a 2003 Jayco that had been very well maintained. The trip was made to deliver a truck to FL, and pick up a machinery trailer that I had purchased from yet another friend. We left the NC mountains driving an old retired bread truck with a 3/4 ton Chevy in tow as our return vehicle. The trip down had enough snags to make a good movie. Here is a little example of the first 100 miles:
After getting up at 5 am so we could avoid the heat in the rolling blue oven, we crawled down the mountain in 1st (granny) gear to avoid braking problems. Rolling at a whopping 5 mph, we didn’t have to worry about the brakes at all. We did, however, need to be concerned about the overheating problem the truck was having. Since both of us were mechanics, it didn’t take long to discover a damaged fuse holder for the electric radiator fan. We rigged it up good enough to get us to the truck stop down the road where we were able to make a permanent repair. So, after crawling down the mountain, we had the truck repaired by 8:30 (not making good time so far since we were only 45 minutes by car from home. We jumped back in the truck and headed down the road, things were going well until we crossed a railroad track in a curve with an oncoming truck on our side. We had to run off of the crossing and over the tracks themselves, which was a rough ride to say the least. After the bumpy ride, we stopped to inspect the truck and found the hitch receiver to be cracked and barely hanging on. We limped down the road to a steel supply company h
oping they would be able to make the repairs. They sold us the steel but we had to find someone to do the welding, which we did thanks to Google on my phone. After having the receiver repaired, we hit the interstate for the first time. Twenty miles down the interstate we thought we had been shot by a howitzer. One of the duals on the drivers rear exploded, it was then 4:00 pm and we were still only 90 miles from where we started….
I bought the camper and we loaded it on the trailer we had originally towed the Chevy on (which took some trailer backing talent on my part, not to toot my own horn or anything). Then we drove a couple hours to pick up the machinery trailer I had already purchased. I had to back the car trailer, with the pop-up on top of it, onto the machinery trailer…
After some planning, I decided how to mount the pop-up and demolition began. For a few days we had a “Sun Roof” in the bus that was larger than many small cars. The picture below is the steel frame we welded on to support the popup.
Once the frame was welded on, I removed the axle and other parts that were not going to be used. I also had to remove the AC unit from the roof of the popup so I would not be over the legal height of 13’6″ for traveling on most highways. Then I had to figure out how to get the popup on top of the frame. The local welding shop said they would help me, so we used 2 forklifts to guide the it into place. The popup was welded to the steel frame and then I was able to worry about how to get into the popup after it was installed.
After the popup was attached, I cut a hole through the floor so we could climb up a ladder into the new 2nd floor penthouse. I surrounded the frame with plywood followed by a layer of fiberglass for waterproofing. In the last picture you see the walk plank I installed so the popup would be easier to set up.
Here is the bus with the popup raised in the winter “dry dock”. You can see the flue pipe for the coal stove, this has been a life saver during the cold winter nights here in the NC mountains.