How We Began The Shuttle Bus Life

Sold It, Threw It, Bought It, Building It…

The shuttle bus doesn’t have a website but I wanted everyone to know a little more about our story. So, I am using my motorcycle/travel blog as a vessel for a very condensed version of how Travis and I became bus-lifers. Someday, I may turn this story into a very expanded version and/or a novel. But for now, here are the highlights!

Once upon a time in February of 2018, there was a boy buying a white, extended, Quigley-converted, Chevy Express van. The purpose of said van was to be able to take himself and his dirt bike on a never-ending road-trip living the “vanlife.” As you might imagine, most people that knew him thought he was crazy and couldn’t understand the concept of such an adventure.

A little over an hour away from said boy, lived a girl working two jobs and traveling often via two-wheels as well as four. Her master plan was to pay off all debt by age 40 and hit the road with her jeep, trailer, and motorcycles. Thoughts of campers, vans, and toy haulers filled her mind daily. But, none of those vessels would take her where her jeep could and she already had it as well as a trailer. 

As luck would have it, the universe, with a little help from the internet, brought these two crazy kids together. The following two years were spent road-tripping to 24 states with their motorcycles in the white van. Thousands of miles, endless adventures, and tons of van-planning! However, as all good things must come to an end, the two of them out grew the white van. Though they loved it so, and it had treated them well, it was time to let it go.

Given the fact that everyone seems to have a Sprinter, they dared to be different and began looking at Sportsmobiles and other such options. Somewhere around the last week of February 2020, the boy found a black, Quigley 4×4, Davey Coach, GMC shuttle bus. They were ecstatic about this thing! It was in mint condition in Arizona where, coincidentally, the two were headed in a few weeks for another adventure. The price was more than right and with only 65k miles on this magnificent machine, the choice was a no-brainer.

The weekend was spent phoning with the dealer and drooling over pictures of their new “dream house.” They had decided to trade in the boys Ford F-250 on the new shuttle bus when he arrived in Phoenix in 11 days. Oh how the plans and possibilities flowed as freely as their drinks over that Saturday and Sunday. The boy would drive his truck and their motorcycles to Arizona, make the bus deal, then fly to work from Phoenix. The girl would patiently wait in Wisconsin to catch her flight to meet him at the airport a week later. Then, they would embark on their second motorcycle journey through Baja Mexico where they would over-drink …I mean, overthink their new bus project. 

Monday came, as Mondays do, and their hopes and dreams were shattered. The dealer had a cash deposit already down on the shuttle bus that the salesman was unaware of. Well, that was a whirlwind weekend of exciting plans that will never come to fruition. Now, back to Craigslist and sales ads for more bus-life prospects. Neither of them erased the shuttle bus ad or pictures from their phone and both kept referring back to it each time something else came across the Google machine.

Eleven days passed and no other buses or vans came along, they reverted to the original vacation plan and the boy began his drive west with the white van and trailer. The girl was at her office cleaning teeth the following afternoon when the boy sent a message that the shuttle bus was available again. He was already in the far corner of Oklahoma with the wrong vehicle to make a trade/purchase. However, they were NOT about to let this rig slip through their fingers again. The girl ran outside the office in between patients and called the boy. The two of them, not known to ever over analyze a situation, decided right then and there that the white van would now be a trade in and they would be driving a black shuttle bus for the remainder of this adventure. 

The adrenaline was running high for the next few days with new bus excitement and tiny house plans. But, the Covid-19 virus was sweeping the nation as well as the world and things were starting to get weird. By the time March 17th rolled around the girls dental office was closing for the virus along with many other businesses. She managed a last minute airline change from the 18th to the 17th and was on a plane by noon headed to phoenix where the boy was also arriving a day early due to the virus.

Around 4PM, the girl stood along the AirPort terminal road awaiting her chauffeur who happened to be driving a shiny black 4×4 shuttle bus! Their adventure was about to begin, it would start with a few days around Sedona and then on to the grand Canyon for a major hike. After the Arizona fun was done, they would continue on into Baja Mexico via two wheels. 

Before the couple made it from Phoenix to Sedona, a news announcement that the Mexico/USA border was closing due to the virus came across the radio. Ah hell. Time for new plans, they had 21 days and only 6 of them were mapped out. Luckily, Air BnB was forgiving of people’s sudden travel plan changes and they were able to cancel the ones they would not be using anymore. The other side of that coin was that they now had a shuttle bus instead of their white van and it was not in any way set up for van-camping. 

Needless to say, the first few days were spent removing bus seats and organizing camping gear. Not to mention the several trips to Walmart and other stores gathering “must have” items. They filled the 21 day vacation with day trip hikes and rides all over northern Arizona and southern Utah discovering lost worlds and ancient artifacts. By the end of three weeks, they had just enough modern conveniences to call it van-glamping rather than camping.

The kitchen now consisted of an aluminum camp table, a lawn chair, propane camp stove, 3 gallon foot pump water sprayer, a wash tub, frying pan, and soup pan along with a wide array of utensils and dishes. Honestly, what more do you really need?

The bedroom was its own entity, you could think of it as a “guest house.” The white van had a Roofnest which they had stored in the trailer after buying the bus. With a bit of rearranging, the nest was setup inside the trailer and the couple now had a detached bedroom for their tiny house. And, it offered a great view.

The virus was wreaking havoc around the world and the boy was able to extend his vacation another 3 weeks, the girls’ office had no plan of reopening anytime soon. The two decided to explore more of the desert and make plans for bus life. Next thing they knew, they were driving the rig back to Wisconsin to better prepare their tiny house for another round of desert van-glamping. They managed to add a water tank, counter top, bed, table, and refrigerator to their shuttle bus within a week. Knowing these things were only temporary until they could have time to really build their tiny home, they made due with home depot workbenches for the structures. The table was masterfully constructed by the boy out of a curbside coffee table and an old wooden waterski.

This trip west they went big, bus, trailer, jeep, and two dirt bikes. The convoy made its way across the plaines, through Colorado and then south to the northern rim of the Grand Canyon. The shuttle bus had all the creature comforts they could ask for …except a toilet. Once set up off the grid in the national forest, the boy built the girl a “thrown” with a rubber-made tote and some tree branches. Her highness was very thankful for such a thing after being without for over a month. 

The girl received an unexpected job offer in Idaho during their extended vacation and this got their gears turning in new directions. With the virus slowly taking over the globe and no certainty when or if the girl would dive back into the mouths of patients again, they made an executive decision. She would take the job in Idaho and they would sell their house in Wisconsin and become full time bus-lifers. 

At the end of this desert exploration they decided to drive farther west to San Diego to inquire about bus suspension and roof racks at Weldtec. While waiting for their visit the girl decided to put new tires and a windshield in her jeep. Both were long overdue. All of these things were accomplished in a 2 day window as California was ramping up to be the epicenter of the virus. Things were locked down to the point of not even having public restrooms available.

The duo headed north from San Diego up through the nothingness of Nevada and into Idaho. They arrived at the lodge where the girl would be working to drop off the jeep for the summer then doubled up in the bus and continued east. It was a 3 day drive back to Wisconsin and filled to the brim with anticipation and excitement for this new chapter. 

Two weeks, one giant dumpster, several trailer loads, and a lot of team work later, their house was going on the market. Everything they didn’t throw out was lined up and stacked up inside a giant storage unit where it would wait for their return. The first week of June rolled around and they were on the road again in the bus with the girls little trailer and two dirt bikes. The house sold within weeks and they were now officially “homeless.” And, quite happy about it!

The summer proved a good training exercise for their bus life journey. The boy flew to work from Boise and the girl worked her days away at the lodge. All the while they lived in a Jayco camper, perfect size comparison to their bus and it was equipped with a full bathroom. Originally, they had plans of living in the bus along with putting their motorcycles inside. This plan died out mid-summer and the boy returned from work one day with an 18’ enclosed trailer. 

Soon the girls boss was buying her trailer and the boy and girl were hooking their new one to the bus and rolling down the mountain to be married. The summer had flown by and now it was time to head east to finally build their bus! The crazy kids arrived home as husband and wife and began unpacking boxes of cabinetry and wood stove parts. Now, the bus is empty, the shop is full, and the project is moving along. The pandemic is on it’s second trip around the globe, the presidential election is a week away, they added another motorcycle to their fleet of 11, currently they’re planning a Pan-American trip, and also working with each other and a few professionals to complete the 4×4 Shuttle Bus.

Stay tuned for more updates! 

Cheers to all who think we’re are crazy…we just might be! 🍻🥂🍷🥃 🧰🚎🔨🔩😎🤓

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