Category Archives: General Information

Gotta Glitch, But Still Going

Our site has had a glitch over the last couple weeks, which has really cramped my style when it comes to updating the blog.  I had tried on multiple occasions to add new posts, but it kept crashing.  I finally had time to communicate the issues with our hosting provider, and they helped me fix the problem in a couple minutes.

Now that updating can resume, I will only be limited by our internet here at our campground in Kentucky.  It seems to be doing okay so far, so if that holds out you can expect at least one post each week for the foreseeable future.  We have many months of activities to blog about, there will be lots of pictures and videos, along with some funny stories and commentary about our adventures this past summer.

Sit back and get ready to enjoy our adventures from the past 6 months as they unfold one post at a time…

Questions

 

How often do you wake up to a smiley espresso on a Monday morning?

Chas and I have been approached on many different occasions and asked a version of the questions all traveling families are asked.

How can you live in such a small space with a family of five?

Followed By

How can you afford to live the way you do?

If you read my previous post, The Beginning of a New Life, you already know that a few short years ago we felt we met all of the criteria listed above.  You also may have noticed how unhappy we were just before economic events, along with the decisions we made, ultimately removed the problem for us.

It took us a while to accept the fact that our house and farm were gone, but after we embraced it our lives began to shift dramatically for the better.  We have plans in the future to possibly settle down again, but there are many things we are going to do differently, the first is to have a much smaller house.  A large farm that would allow us to be self sustaining does not require a 3500 square foot house to make it complete.  We are living in a space that is under 400 square feet (less when the pop-up isn’t up) but we also have the entire United States as our playground, and our neighbors are always changing.  The ability to go where our interests lead allows us to experience this great country and all it has to offer.

Now for the “How do we afford this lifestyle” question.  We have discovered that our largest expense is food, it outweighs fuel and campground expenses by quite a bit.  We have been shifting to buying food products that are produced and packaged here in the good old USA.  That is much harder to do than I expected, but we are learning which brands to focus on and which brands to stay away from.  I am sure this move will be a post all by itself in the near future, it is scary how many things we used to buy that weren’t grown here.  We are members of several camping clubs including Good Sam, Passport America, and Thousand Trails.  These help by reducing the cost of our parking places while we explore everything that is around us.

We are still learning how our family fits into this infinitely flexible mold we call Full-Timing.  We are constantly working on how to budget our money, and how best to take advantage of the experience we possess.  Basically, 2012 has been a time of learning and growth for the Scholl Bus crew, but you can bet that 2013 has some serious adventure and exploration planned.  Our next stop in the Arizona desert will be opening a new chapter in our lives.  Chas and I have driven through the desert on the way back across the country with Blondie, but we didn’t have time to explore on that trip.  We will be spending at least 2 months there this time, so I plan to do everything from gold panning to catching and eating my own rattlesnake (I will document these of course).  The girls don’t really know what to expect, they always go with the flow but they are excited to see what we will be diving in to next.

We have had so many friends and family tell us they wish they could do what we are doing.  It is possible for everyone in one form or another, you just have to want it bad enough, as we found out.  We live life to the fullest every day, and hope we are passing that passion along to everyone that follows our adventure.  Stay tuned for more from us, you never know what we will be doing next…

 

The Beginning of a New Life – 1 Year in the Scholl Bus

The conversion process for The Scholl Bus began full force in November of 2011, and was completed in February of 2012.  I quit my job at the automotive shop  to live in and work full time on the bus conversion a little over one year ago.  The first thing I did was to add the pop-up to the roof so I would have a place to live while completing the conversion.  While parked in a friends driveway, the bus slowly took shape and became the place we call home.  Here you will find more information on the bus conversion process, with some pictures and videos along the way.  It is hard to believe it has already been a year since this adventure began to take shape.  Why did we decide that life on the road would be the life we would love?  Lets rewind and see how this crazy life began, and why we love the life we live now.

We had a large house and yard just a few years ago, and looking back on it now we were miserable.  We drove newer cars and felt like we had a stable outlook on life.  I had a job that payed what most would consider to be a good salary, but I had grown to hate it.  Sitting behind a computer is not where I wanted to be (which is a little ironic since I am doing that now) but I didn’t realize it at the time.  I decided to start a real estate business with a friend, so when the market took a dump we had to learn what it was like to loose the whole lot.  Those were hard times for Chas and I to make it through, but we grew from the challenges instead of letting them tear us down.  That experience led her to search for a different way of doing things.  She wanted me to be able to spend more time with her and the girls as a family, not a stressed out nut with way too many irons in the fire.

Chas had to convince me that traveling full time was possible for us, and that was not an easy task.  We left our farm in KY and moved back to the NC mountains where I grew up.  The winter snow kept her and the girls home most of the time (over 120″ that winter) so she had plenty of time to come up with a way to get me on board.  One goal we had was to purchase a Mercedes Diesel Wagon, they run forever and are not too difficult to repair.  We found one on Ebay that happened to be in San Diego, California…  and we won the auction.  Now we had to get the car back to NC, so we decided to drop the girls off with their Grammy and fly to San Diego.  We picked up “Blondie” one sunny California morning and headed out on our first long adventure.  We drove from San Diego up to Las Vegas where we ate lunch at a casino buffet and visited the Pawn Stars pawn shop.  Then we headed across Hoover Dam and stopped at the Grand Canyon the following morning.  We didn’t have time to hang around the Canyon since we only had 4 days until we had to pick up the girls, so we hit the road again.

Our 300TDT Wagon in front of the Grand Canyon with my lovely wife popping through the sun roof.

Once Chas knew we were going to be coming across the country, she decided to see if we could meet up with a traveling family she had been following through their blog for several months.  We happened to be coming through Albuquerque which is where they were going to be for a few more months, so she arranged a visit with them.  Justin, Tara, and their son Zeb are an awesome family that helped answer a lot of my questions about life on the road.  They helped me realize that we could do this, and have fun in the process.  Our meeting with them turned out to be the push I needed to get me on board with the full-time traveling idea.  After our short visit of just a couple hours, we hit the road again.  Our conversations were geared more toward how we could make this happen for the remaining hours of our trip back East.

It didn’t take long once we decided to convert a bus for Chas to find ours on Craigslist.  I thought it was too good to be true when I read the ad, a bus that had less than 45,000 original miles on it that had been used on the Fort Bragg military base (so I knew it had been maintained mechanically).  We arrived to pick up the bus, it had 6 good tires (which are still on it today in Kansas) and started right up.  We gave the man the $1,300 he was asking and headed back to the mountains.  Once we had the bus, it took me several years to get the parts I wanted to use to make it a functional RV.  Growing up, dad had a 1970’s Prowler tag along camper which we took to engine shows all over the eastern part of the country.  I knew the parts of the camper I liked, and what we needed to make the bus function the way I had planned.  We purchased most of our used RV items (LP water heater, furnace, fresh water tank, electrical converter, cabinet doors and drawers) from a nice gentleman in the Asheville area that recycled RV’s.  Other parts we got at the Re-Store, on sale at Lowes, and on Craigslist.  I had these items sitting around for a while before the conversion actually began.  First, we used the empty bus as a mobile yard sale to get rid of some of the stuff we accumulated while at the farm back in Kentucky.  We also used it as a “Tent on Wheels” to camp in a few times, the picture below is our first camping trip to Roan Mountain State Park in East Tennessee.

Roan Mountain State Park

The original plan did not include the pop-up addition, this was added to the design after a co-worker made a little remark all in good fun.  A customer at the automotive shop mentioned he was selling his pop-up camper, Winston said “Hey, you should put that on the roof of your bus”.  Little did he know he caused my wheels to start turning, and that is something that is hard to stop once they are set in motion.  I couldn’t get the idea of the pop-up on the top out of my head, the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea.  Chas thought I was crazy along with everyone else I mentioned it to, which made me want to do it even more.  So I headed to Florida to pick up our second floor, you can read about that adventure HERE…

When we left the driveway in Newland, NC to begin our life on the road, we didn’t know what to expect.  Our first 2 months were spent in South Carolina in the warmer spring weather.  We stayed close to our mountain home until August, when our real adventure into the unknown began.  Life on the road comes with many obstacles and turns that you don’t always have a plan for, but life in general has these too.  We have learned to be super flexible and adjust on a daily basis if needed.  Our trials over the last few years have been instrumental in allowing us to roll with the punches and expand our view of life in general.  Being infinitely flexible makes our lives much more relaxing, we look forward to new adventures every day….   Do You?

We have been asked several times to post more pictures and videos of the inside of the bus, look for that post to be released later this week.

 

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