We Bought a BUS!!
You have no idea how long I have waited to say those words out loud and in writing! But I finally can.
This has been a process!
A waiting game.
A season of ‘Gee, I wish we hadn’t done that… But, it will work out.’
And, it finally came to fruition!
For several years we’ve talked about the places we will go. And we’ve checked several off of that list in the last 10+ years. Places like the New Mexico Decalogue Stone, Washington DC, and Noah’s Ark in KY. We’ve done it when it was just us and a plane, we’ve done it with children and a mini van and a tent, and then we bought a motorhome and fixed it up and went.
For more than two years we’ve been looking at buses. Devouring YouTube videos of bus conversions, people living in them full time, and drooling over their adventures.
Last fall, in October 2019, on our way home from a 2 week vacation in our motorhome, we stopped and looked at a bus! It wasn’t mobile but my husband said he could fix it. We left that day with a verbal agreement to purchase it after he got it movable.
Before we even left, I asked if we could see a copy of the title. I’ve bought vehicles through the years and never done that… But I just had this ‘check’… A ‘something isn’t right’ feeling. They said they had to find it, then send me a photo… Red flag number 2.
In faith, (yes this made me nervous) my husband drove 2 hours one way every day off he had to fix this bus… That we hadn’t paid for and had no title for… Who was to say that once it was running it wouldn’t be sold out from under us? With no compensation for his time and the parts that we put into it? It was a leap of faith.
Once it was in a condition that it could run (November 11, 2019), we let the owner know and asked again about the title. The answer was they would need to file for a lost title… But in the meantime, could we come get the bus because he needed it moved or the sheriff was going to have it towed!
Well, yes. We’ll come pick up our investment that we haven’t paid for yet and bring it to our house, you bet! But… can you even get a title? And, we need a bill of sale.
One night around 9pm, my husband received a call from a Florida phone number that he almost ignored. It was a military officer who said he would be acting as a mediator with the bus owner. He prefaced his conversation with his credentials, including West Point, and that he would expect the utmost integrity from my husband throughout their conversation.
It turned out that the person we were originally dealing with was the owners son. The owner was in the beginning stages of dementia and was on the line with his brother acting as mediator. He hadn’t seen the bus in some time and thought it was worth much more than what we ha agreed to pay for it. He didn’t know his son and gotten rid of the windows, the ceiling, and put up a make shift chip board siding that would need replaced in a year or two. Mechanically, it wasn’t working until my husband got it to that point. We had saved the receipts from working on it so we knew what we had already invested in it. It was finally settled that we would buy it for the price agreed to pending receipt of the title from the son.
The son did get a bill of sale from his dad and we were able to bring it home! …on November 24, 2019.
The day we roaded it home was very exciting! I failed to mention that all those trips back and forth were to Silverton, CO over the ‘Million Dollar Highway’. We brought a 40 foot bus, that was missing 1 air bag, home over Red Mountain Pass! You MUST watch the video below to appreciate that statement. Here’s a side by side photo… but the video is better!
Needless to say I was very thankful when we hit the flat. A week or two went by and still no title. In fact, I don’t think the person we were dealing with had even put forth an effort to get one. I was SO EXCITED and wanted to share it with everyone but felt I didn’t have a right as we did not actually own it.
Weeks went by with no communication and no title. My husband is such a patient man! I would ask weekly if he was bugging the son. He’d say he’d give him some more time. At last, we contacted the brother again (the military gentlemen). He was floored that we were still in limbo over all of this.
My husband had contacted the state of Alabama (where the bus was last licensed) to see about filing for a lost title. He learned that Alabama destroys all titles that are 35+ years old. So, in another year we could bond for it in Colorado and get our own title… without paying for it. Our integrity didn’t like that because then the dad lost out on any income.
My husband shared all of this with the brother who had already began the process of acquiring a Power Of Attorney for his brother. He said when that was done, he would file for a lost title and get it to us.
Again, weeks went by and my husband initiated contact again. The brother said he couldn’t believe how long it had been and contacted Alabama again. They had sent it and it had been returned to sender! So, they sent it again. It finally got into his hands, and a couple more weeks went by while he got the POA copy he needed. Finally, on July 6th, 2020 my husband signed for a piece of certified mail containing the title and POA!
I mailed our cashiers check THAT day to make sure we maintained our integrity.
This video briefly covers what my husband did to get it in running condition including a brake chamber rebuild. It also has some great footage of ‘The Million Dollar Highway’ that we drove it over to get it home!
The winter was spent pouring over bus conversions on Pinterest and YouTube and figuring out floor plans. See some of those plans here.
This spring my husband found some good deals on solar panels and a FREE power inverter that he installed a couple weeks ago. Post coming on solar SOON!