Bus Upholstery Facelift

We have two seating areas on our bus. One long couch and a dinette with two benches. We can seat seven people comfortably but have had up to 10 in our living area. It’s pure bliss to have kinfolk join us on board and over the past two years and ten months we have had so many guests we’ve lost count. The only down side is it ends up being a lot of wear and tear on our little cushions and we were in desperate need of an upgrade. But how to find the supplies with our modest budget?

I’m a self-proclaimed treasure hunter and decided to start at the local thrift stores. I ended up finding exactly what I needed at St. Vincent DePaul thrift store in Green Bay WI. The choices were limited but the fabrics were sturdy. Next I asked around for a good place to find foam for our dinette. We decided to make due with the couch cushion and just recovered it with the staple gun method. For the dinette however, we wanted the cushions covered individually with zippers which would allow for washing access and for ease when converting the dinette into the spare bed for guests. I picked up a high quality grade cushion at Al’s upholstery on Main St and then found Wendy’s upholstery in Shawano, WI to do the handy work. She did a fantastic job and came in just at budget. All up our project cost just under $200.00

It may not be as flashy as our original blues and patterns but the fabrics and cushions are sturdy and hopefully will wear better, offering many more years of sharing life with kinfolk and hosting fellow travelers.

Original cushions, October 2011:

Celu'haven floor

Wear and tear as of April 2014:

Facelift, July 2014 :

 

 

Dream Talk 2014

…But when desire cometh, it is a tree of life!

We were able to travel over 17,000 miles, repair the brakes on our bus, create a new album, start a new way of home school (road school), welcomed travelers on the bus, begin the healing process from Skin Cancer, and learned so many wonderful things from experts and laymen alike. We were graciously welcomed into over 40 communities and homes through out the USA, all open to hearing our message of reconciliation and restoration, sharing our gifts of music, craftsmanship, mentorship, merrymaking and community building. 

Dream Talk for 2014.

These are all tentative plans and dreams. Your prayers and well wishes are so appreciated as we move forward.

Jan-April;  AUSTRALIA, excited to see what adventures wait for us down under.

April-June; 

-A young friend, Greg, has graduated from University and is looking for an opportunity to serve, play music and seek mentorship. He has asked to ride the bus.

-We hope to serve again, alongside Hope in Transit in Show Low, AZ and East Central Ministries, in Albuquerque, NM

– We hope to connect with communities in Austin TX, Hot Springs AR, Memphis and Nashville TN, St. Louis MO and Mt. Vernon IA, and anywhere in between.

June/July/Aug,  We made a commitment to volunteer at a Catholic youth camp in Shawano, WI June and July. We will be helping with maintenance, mentoring counselors, bonfire jam sessions once a week with the campers and working in the kitchen.

Sept-Dec, We are looking for a community that is open to caring for us for a season. Our hope is to rest, create, record a new album, and prepare for 2015 where we hope to nurture verbal invitations to Australia, New Zealand, Cambodia, Philippines, Israel, Germany and Italy. We’re delighted to go where ever the doors open and are actively pursuing what it might look like to serve globally.

Will you consider helping us on our way in 2014? 

We have partnered with Modern Day Missions and hope that you find the giving process safe and efficient.

Please visit Modern Day to set up your tax-deductible giving account TODAY. 

 

 

Interview with Florida Outdoor RV

The Hollands! – Merrymaking Nomads

December 3, 2013 By  

Jana from The Hollands kindly offered to do an interview with me! They travel the world singing and bringing joy to people everywhere. Enjoy it and let us know what you think!

The Hollands! Bus

What inspired to you to hit the road and do full time RVing…or I guess “Busing” in your case!

At the end of 2010 we, The Hollands! (Americana Folk Band and family) recognized a huge disconnect in our marriage, family, spirituality, global footprint and finances. Typical to most middle American families, we were working full time, pursuing our musical passion, school committee’s, organizing neighborhood gatherings and with what energy we had left, dreaming about a slower more deliberate pace. A pace that included deeper connectivity, reconciliation and purpose. Thus began the process to align all of those areas in our lives.

We started by casting a dream/vision for a life that was simpler, less fragmented and community driven. We released our possessions, bought a bus and began a journey converting it into a home on wheels, learning to home school, connecting with communities across the US and Australia and making music.

How has this decision affected your life? Your Family? Your lifestyle? Your values?

A paradigm shift has taken place in our ideology about most things in our life, especially “wants” verses “needs.” The effect has been more than noticeable.  Downsizing from 2000 sq ft home to 300 sq ft bus has been quite the process. I would say especially for our children, ages 17 and 12. (girl and a boy) They share a 7 x 71/2 bunk room and each have 4 drawers and shared closet. We left in a bus that was unfinished and have been building it on the road. The first year we had no plumbing, but somehow found plenty of toilets to use. I will say, however, that when the plumbing was finally installed we celebrated.

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Our living quarters 2011
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Our finished living quarters 2013

Through this process our family has grown tremendously closer. We live in a small space and the four of us are together 24/7 so it’s obvious when the harmony is off. We respect each others space and process but the commitment to finding that harmony again moves much quicker than when we used to live in a large home, all going our different directions.

We’ve also found a deeper connection with our music, performing over 90 shows a year, writing new material, and having other musicians travel/tour with us. It’s proving to be a very good education for us all.

I’m not sure our pace is much slower than our former lifestyle, but it is much more purposeful. Over the past two years we have traveled to 32 states and all but a handful of nights were spent parked with “host” families.  We’ve connected with most, if not all of the ‘host” families through our social media networks or from referrals from friends. Those times when we did not find a host family or needed time to ourselves we stayed at State Parks or RV Parks.

Our greatest joy on this journey has been being invited into the lives of so many families, to share in community and see all sorts of different ways to do life, from carnivores to vegans, Republicans, Democrats, Anarchists and everything in-between, a plethora of religious ideals to those who claim no faith.  We’ve had the opportunity to try all sorts of foods, music, sports, outdoors activities, etc… We’ve been invited to share sacred space, learn new customs and rituals, and have heard stories of trials, pain, betrayal, hope, joy and faith.

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What does a normal day look like for you?

It looks different every single day. There is no normal.

What advice would you give to the beginner full time traveler or RVer?

If you are a family, the most important thing we could advise is to move forward with purpose. Discuss as a family what your hope is in traveling, are you looking for the crux to be educational, service, rest, exploration, tourist, or a combination of those. Revisit that conversation regularly. Dialog about your strengths and weakness as individuals and as a family whole, decide to use those strengths for the greater good, lift each other up in your weakness and be open to the entering the unknown. Be open to moving upstream.

Please visit FLORIDA OUTDOOR RV for more fantastic stories of FULL TIMERS.

Two Years Baby!

Today marks our two-year anniversary of nomadic life. Thinking about all of the individuals and families that helped to make all of this happen. Those at the very beginning and those we continue to meet along the way.

When we pulled out of Green Bay, Wisconsin we had our couch, dinette and bed built, the rest of our belongings were in boxes on the floor of the bus. We had $1800 in our pockets and our first week on the road we trekked over 2000 miles to Sisters, OR. We arrived with only two hundred dollars left in our pocket and wondered what in the world we were going to do.

Little did we know that there was a community and purpose waiting for us!  We spent three months in that community finding our legs and experiencing a massive shift in our thinking about life, purpose, humanity and God.

Every single thing that has been built on the bus has a story that involves donated or refurbished materials and/or kinfolk offering a helping hand. Story upon story, layer upon layer of community, beauty and worth.

Today we don’t celebrate our efforts but we celebrate all of those who have persevered and come along side of us through this journey.

We celebrate those who have hosted us in their driveways, allowed us to use showers, laundry and space.

We thank those who have allowed us to invade their lives, shared story, community and meals.

We thank those who have graciously offered us the cash in their pockets to help us with gas, repairs, and groceries.

We celebrate those who have invited us into the fold, those who have trusted us to lead them in sacred space.

We thank friends who continue to hold us accountable, challenge and encourage us in our marriage, family and faith.

We thank the youth we have met along the way, that open their hearts to our children, that inviting them into their lives, sharing the experiences of football games, dances, going to movies, parties, and staying in touch with them when we leave.

We celebrate those who have educated us along our way, homeschool parents, teachers, and those with special gifts and resources, offering us opportunities to learn to surf, horseback ride, ski, mountain bike, hiking, fly fishing, work with fine art, graffiti art, CSA farming, and building/flying RC Planes.

We thank those who are doing amazing things to advocate for the marginalized and their willingness to allow us to come along side and encourage, serve and learn.

We celebrate you! Every single one of you! Thank you for loving us and cheering us on.

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Roadside Assistance

Flat TireWe were about 50 miles east of Portland, up near Government Camp when our tire blew. It’s one of the more common mechanical issues in owning a bus but at $600 a pop, not the best news. Craig maneuvered off of the road and assessed the situation while I made dinner. The tag axel (back passenger wheel) had blown and Craig figured he could raise it up with a jack and potentially link the chain to hold the tire off of the ground. Our hope was to continue driving down to our destination and deal with it once we were in town. However, after a several tries and tired hands he found the jack just wasn’t strong enough to hold up the rig for as long as he needed. And so, we decided to make a call to Good Sam road side assistance. We’re members and have had to use them once before with good results. They call local towing companies on their roster and the truck comes out to help us change out a tire or tow our vehicle if needed. This time around, the lady on the phone took our coordinance and said she would call us back with information on the towing company. About an hour and a half went by, during which Craig did end up managing to get the tire chained up off of the ground. The lady called back and explained that she could not find any vendors in the Portland area willing to come up the fifty miles? I chuckled lightly, thinking how silly it was that no one would come up to help us from Portland. However, I let her know it was OK, that we had a temporary solution and we were going to begin our trek down the mountain.

That’s when a whole Portlandia episode emerged in our heads. We had a good laugh about how the towing companies in Portland were probably bicycle towing companies and they only work in a 10 mile radius. Their bikes would be outfitted with large baskets and the trailer behind the bike would be more like a wheel barrow. We imagined the phone call placed to the company and the hysterical conversation that would ensue about coordinance of the broken down vehicle (or bicycle) and the process that the tow driver might take to help the wayward bicyclist.

Anyway, it was all in good jest, as we love our friends in Portland. Thank goodness for the simple solution and the hospitality we did find when we arrived at our dear friends, The Maes home. The added bonus was a Bus garage right around the corner.

It’s good to be rolling again.

Michigan Round Up Bus Rally

Craig is member of the busconversion.com forum and uses it regularly to learn how others convert their buses, understand the mechanics on our MCI-9 and share stories. At the same time, I have an Instagram (thehollands) that I use as a photo log of our journey and to connect with other bus nomads.

Through these networks we found two families that we were going to be in the same area that we were traveling through. And so, we decided to all meet up and share a meal, bon fire, songs and our stories of nomadic life.

It was a joy to meet the Shank family aka. Herd of Turtles and Scott and Heather Bennett. The Herd of Turtles have been two years in the making and just launched this summer. The Bennett’s have been traveling for a while and Scott is a gifted singer/songwriter.  We can’t wait to see these fast friends again down the line!

Community Caravan

There is a chair waiting for you. 

One of our “dream talk” desires is to have friends and muso’s  join us on the bus and/or community caravan. As we gear up for our summer of touring we though it might be fun for you to see how it breaks down in two-week increments. Although, we’re happy for folks to join us even for a weekend. We’ve got room for three on the bus and we have guest rooms (tents) when needed. We’ve already had our first family sign up for the weekend in Galena over the 4th of July and another traveler for the month of August.

If you are interested in exploring what it means to live intentionally in community, to travel and to tour, contact us at thehollands@thehollands.org. Come on and join us for the ride. We’re looking forward to a fantastic summer.

Great Lake Plains 1
May 31- June 14 Starting off in Chicago, traveling through IA and back to IL (Waukegan). We have 4 official performances during this time period.

Great Lake Plains 2
Jun 14-28 Staring off in Waukegan IL, We travel to St. Louis and back up through Madison, ending in Green Bay, WI. We have 6 official performances

Great Lake Plains 3
June 28-July 14 Staring off in Green Bay, WI. traveling between to Door County, Milwaukee and Galena IL. Ending back in Door County. We have 5 official performances.

Northwoods
July 15-29 Starting off at Camp Tek in Shawano, WI, traveling between Appleton, Fon du Lac, up into Minnesota (Minneapolis and the surrounding areas) Ending back in Shawano, WI. We have 7 official performances.

Great Lake Plains 4 – Michigan
July 29-Aug 12 Starting off in Shawano, WI, ending in Chicago, IL Currently we only have 2 official performances and are hoping this will be a time of beach, community and rest.

Westward Ho!
Aug 12-Sept 1 Starting off in Chicago, IL, traveling through KS, CO, WY ending in Salt Lake City, UT. We have 11 official performances.

FALL OPTIONS:

Sept 2-16 Starting off in Salt Lake City, traveling through Boise, ID to Bend, OR

Sept 17-24 Starting off in Bend, OR, traveling up to Bellingham, WA back through Seattle, Portland and ending in Bend, OR

Sept 25-Oct 10 Starting in Bend, OR, traveling through Roseburg, OR, Eureka, CA, Redding, CA, Modesto, CA and ending in Irving, CA

Oct 11-24 Starting in Irving, CA, traveling through San Diego to Phoenix, AZ

Bus Update – Brake Job

From the Desk of Craig Holland;

20130515-170813.jpgWhen we bought this 1984 MCI-9 we were totally in the dark about its history or mechanical state. We have built our home in it and it is pure grace that we’ve been able to drive it over 35,000 miles around this grand ol’ country so far.

We are currently parked at the Choo Choo Express Garage for repairs in Chattanooga TN. We’ve had minor repairs, mostly dealing with our tires, but this is our first major break down in the year and a half that we have owned the bus.

A little history; back in January we were rolling through California and one of my rear brakes locked up. A police motorcyclist just happened upon us and helped guide me out of the way. At the time, I was more worried that he would take a closer look at our moving house and want to write me up for who knows what. However, the brake ended up releasing and we went on our way.

This past week, while coming down a big hill on Hwy 24 (outside of Nashville), my brakes were smoking, which I had never noticed before. I pulled over and gave the rig a chance to cool down and we continued on to Chattanooga. We parked for a few days visiting family and making music. When it was time to go, I did a once over inspection and we left for our next stop in Asheville, NC. As we were leaving however, I noticed the left rear end tire locked up again.

We stopped and investigated, researching garages, debating financial options and the timing of our tour/schedule. I found a list of mechanics on busconversion.com, a bus forum community I’m a part of, and the Choo Choo Express Garage came highly recommend. It happened to be located just thirty minutes south of where we were parked. Also we were sitting on a three-day open window before our next gig. So, as much as I didn’t want to deal with the cost and inconvenience of repairs, we decided to bite the bullet and have it looked at.

20130515-170947.jpgWe arrived at the shop where we were met by Don, the owner and proprietor since 1975 and Joel his head mechanic. I was invited to observe and learn along side the fella’s and as we did an inspection my brakes, we found them all totally worn down and about 4-5 seal leaks. To translate for folks who aren’t mechanically inclined, leaking oil on the pads gets hot and sparks a screw that is exposed which leads to a tire fire. Ultimately it could have ended poor if not catastrophic.

I tend to be a white knuckle sort of person and sometimes God has to knock me upside my head to avert bigger troubles. I’m thankful for this and the fact that I’ll have peace of mind running down the road (or hills) with good brakes all round. I’m also glad we are getting a once over and a base line for what this rig might need down the line. And, thanks to the hospitality of Don and his crew we’ve been able to park/plug-in at the shop during this two night stay.

Community has been a focus for us all along and we see this inconvenience as a way to participate in relationship through divine commerce and time spent with these fella’s, practicing perseverance, learning about the mechanics of our bus and trusting that we are covered though the ups and downs.

20130515-183702.jpgOur total bill was $2829.06. If you would like to partner with us to off set the costs of these repairs and keep us on our way you can visit www.modernday.org and share a tax-deductible donation.  We are humbled and grateful for your continued support.

And for those who find themselves in need of the Choo Choo Express Garage, you won’t find them on-line or in the phone book, but you can reach them at 706-891-1242

Their address is 135 Prater Rd. Rossille, GA 30741

Bus Update- Turn table

Craig added a listening station. With the help of David Burton, the unit came together quickly.  Featuring our 1973 Zenith Solid State Phonograph, three compartments for records, and under cabinet storage for our instruments, the piece adds function and dynamic to our humble abode.

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Bus Conversion; New Flooring

Celu'haven floorWe parked in the Skeens driveway for 10 days. They live in Central Phoenix. Besides being a pretty wise missiologist, Jeff has mad skills in construction and spent a couple of afternoons helping Craig build a vanity for the bathroom and lay the flooring in the bus.

We were donated four boxes of the hardwood flooring from the Wall family in Green Bay back in July of 2012 and purchased four more at cost from Jeff’s dad, Med who works in the flooring industry in Phoenix. The final product is bright, comfortable and super easy to clean!

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