Sunday, April 29, 2018

Joe Omundson

DMV & Anthony -- Bus Build #2

After removing the first seat

I took a closer look at the bolts holding down the seats. There are individual seats along the perimeter, and bench seats in rows. The bench seats seem to have another nut holding them beneath the bus that requires someone to hold it in place while a second person works on it from above (or else be angle-grinded out). But the individual seats have bolts along a track which are easily removed. I realized this late in the day, but set to work and removed 6 before night. So now there's a little more space to move around.

To drive my bus legally I need to have insurance,  and to get insurance I have to register it. The economical thing to do is to register it as an RV. I called the DMV and the guy said I wouldn't have to bring it in, just measure it, and it's supposed to have a stove and a bed installed. I went to the DMV and the lady asked me about the bed & stove and I couldn't bring myself to lie about it, so she said I had to install those things and bring the bus in. But I shouldn't drive it there without insurance -- and so I have a circular problem on my hands. I also haven't installed a bed or a cook stove, which is hard to do if I can't drive it anywhere. But I'm thinking about just driving it to the DMV and hoping they won't care that my bed is a hammock and my stove is portable. I'm not sure what to do actually. In the morning I hope I'll have a better idea.

I did a little more research about the company that made my bus. Ford provides the E350 platform and then this other company El Dorado builds buses out of them. Someone told me before I bought my bus that El Dorado was a desirable brand, and it looks like it's pretty common too, so that's positive. Looks like it probably cost something like $60,000 when it was new in 2002 although I have no idea really.

The guy who has offered to let me use some of his shop space is busy until later this week, so I might take it to my dad's for a little while to at least get the seats out and have a safe place to park it.

I went to start the bus to move it a little bit and the battery was dead. The alternator must not be working because I let the engine idle for a while earlier in the day. I'll have to jump it in the morning and hopefully there won't be any problems driving it to my dad's house, and I can repair it there.


At about midnight a homeless guy named Anthony approached me -- I was sitting in the driver's seat with the radio on quietly, on my phone, with the door halfway open, which I guess is as good an invitation as any. He wanted my help -- he'd spotted a free futon on the curb a couple blocks away and wanted to take it to his van which was maybe a 10 minute drive away. So we went and found it, loaded it up, and drove it to his van. He has a sad story about his wife dying, not having family and friends and getting into a spiral. He lost control of his bladder 8 months ago and is having surgery in a few weeks to correct it. Interesting dude. He deposited a handful of shaggy weed on my dashboard as payment. I hope his operation goes well.

I decided I want to keep track of, and be transparent about, how much money I spend on this bus. This will help give you an idea of how much a build like mine might cost, and also keep me honest if I'm tempted to spend more money than I need to.

Total cost: still $2698


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2 comments

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Alex Wall
AUTHOR
May 2, 2018 at 6:52 PM delete

So great man. Love this bus thing! Great writing. You are such a good person. I can't say that I would have been so accommodating to Anthony. And you know what? That makes ashamed of myself. I learn from you, bro. Thanks for great content.

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Joe Omundson
AUTHOR
May 3, 2018 at 12:29 AM delete

I think you do plenty for the homeless. It was a longer story than I had time to write about, he didn't just come up and say "hey please help me" we talked for a bit before that, and he seemed legit. Since he had such a specific request for help that made it easy too. Thanks for the comment :)

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