Norma Wanderlust My 1955 International House Bus
Its quite a funny story how I wound up buying a 1955 International school bus. It involves many long miles traveling with three people and two dogs from Arizona to Montana via National Parks. It was a brilliant summer family adventure and I loved every minute of it. Except, we did this in a 1986 Ford Pickup, extended cab, literally truck camping across the country, and by day 10 I was feeling pretty claustrophobic. I am pretty sure this is where the bus dreams started. We would see other bus conversions and start talking about owning our own home on wheels. We got so excited and in depth that I am sure, as a family, we manifested this.
As soon as I arrived in Montana, I started searching craigslist, "ya know, just to price things out and see whats available." Wouldn't you know, I found Norma Wanderlust on my first search of craigslist. I instantly fell in love with her, and all her dilapidated glory, and I hadn't even even seen her in person yet. I just felt this odd connection immediately, kinda like the one I get when I find a lost puppy and feel the need to rescue it. I saw Norma all abandoned in a cold and rainy forest, busted up and left for dead and I just wanted to save her.
By the way, all the credit for these images contained here on this lens is mine.
Dilapidated Old School Bus - The Original Craigslist PicturesClick thumbnail to view full-size
Whats Your Initial Thought On The Above Pictures? - Just wondering how many people think I am crazy...
What is your initial thoughts on the above pictures of the busSee results without voting
Some Books That Are Going To Be Helpful - My Current Wishlist
Building up my bus book library is starting to get expensive...these are the books that are currently on my list.
Steps To Make A School Bus Conversion Roadworthy
I don't even know where to start...
Once we got her home, we just wanted to make sure she was gonna run. Matt took to figuring out the engine, while I took to tearing out the insides for a remodel. I salvaged most everything, so it sounds much worse than it actually is. We will be re-purposing almost everything we took out of her in one way or anther, so as to keep her charm and memories alive.
Good news is she does run. Bad news is, she is not so good at stopping. So at the moment, we are at a stumped stand still as to how to continue. Apparently there may be something wrong with the master cylinder. I am tempted to just completely replace them. That is if we can find the parts.
**UPDATE: The Rear wheel cylinder has to be replaced. It took almost 2 weeks of searching, but we finally found the part.
Oh yea, as for sealing her up, the windshield glass should be done next week sometime. The rest of the poor broken out windows are just gonna have to suffice with being boarded up for the time being.
***UPDATE: We got glass! Norma finally has a shiny new windshield and we are now much closer to being able to register her!
The finishing touches will be making the inside suitable to be classed as an RV conversion so that we can register and insure her. Then she can hit the road.
Documenting Progress On The Bus - Its not as easy as it looks....Click thumbnail to view full-size
Some Turtles Have Nice Shells - Someday, Norma will have one too.
The thing about this book is, I really love turtles, and my man Matt and I have dreamed up this turtle-like bus house roof, so when I came across this book, it was clearly fate and I had to have it. There are no actual turtle shell roof top bus conversions in there, ours may very well be the first. None the less, this book has shown us that is completely possible and within our reach, and even for quite a bit less than we expected.
So Whatchya Gonna Do With That Thing?
Seriously, I dont know how many times I have said this in the past several months as a new bus owner, but when looking for anything related to the bus, in any topic of conversation, I get the question. Its entertaining at least, because of the varied reactions I have gotten so far, but that mostly from my small town folk friends, so I am just gonna let that slide by.
© 2013 Mandy Last updated on September 14, 2014
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