Stuck In The Mud

One drizzly day, on a rolling paddock in Western Maryland, The Hollands! bus got stuck in the mud. It took one tractor, seven farmers, five musicians, and two solid hours to pull that sucker out.

Filmed & Scored by Jana Holland, at Savage River Farm.  Music by Thomas Dutronc

 

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Bus Conversion; Sneak Peak

The Hollands! BusToday marks our Three Year Anniversary!

In August 2011, we gave away all of our possession and bought a 1984 MCI-9 Motorcoach (bus). Over the course of two months we would begin the conversion process with the help of many friends, neighbors and family. We departed Green Bay, WI in our bus on Oct 13, 2011, with the exterior walls, couch, dinette and master bed in tact. The rest of the bus was a container. We set off for our first stop in Sister, OR where another handful of friends and family helped us build out the kitchen cabinets, framing bedrooms and installing the electrical system. We left Oregon and as we traveled we built out what we could, when we had the resources and time. Over the course of the next three years we installed the plumbing system and finished off the bathroom complete with a shower and hot water. We have traveled over 60,000 miles, through 36 states. We are peace pilgrims, folk revivalists, and merrymakers. And, this is our home today.

PS. Video was filmed on an I-Phone 4 and we realize the quality isn’t ideal but hopefully you get a good glimpse for now. Also, here is the first design floor plan drawn by our friend, Marc Brummel. We adapted it as we built, moving the shower, sink and toilet but the basic design is the same.

Bus Conversion Floor Plan

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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Ducks in a Row

It was a year ago that we were driving up to Minneapolis, MN on WI-I94 when we detoured over to Fall Creek, WI to look at a bus that we found on Craigslist. We left that day, new owners of a 1984 MCI-9 (for those of you who don’t know buses, it’s like a Greyhound) It had been the Casper, WY Troopers Drum and Bugle bus and was now ours! We finished up a month of touring around MN and MI and at the beginning of September 2011 we drove back up to pick up our new home on wheels.

Craig started cramming information on bus conversions and worked night and day preparing for the road. We set a departure date of Oct. 12, 2011 and began the process of releasing all of our possessions. Folks would ask what our plan was, how long, where, etc…? We fumbled with answers trying to sound like grown up’s with our ducks in a row. The reality was that we had no idea how it was all going to work.

325 days ago, on Sept 30, just a week and a half till our launch, I was anxious and wrote up this list of supplies still needed and a schedule of things to get done. It’s totally insane!

~Supplies:

Plywood 5/8 or 3/4, Drill bits 1/8, Propane tank 11.2 & Mounting kit (help mounting), Electrical wire 12/2 & 14/2, 100 gal. Fresh water tank, 100 gal. Grey water tank, 50 gal Black water tank, 1600btu RV furnace x2

~Schedule:

Fri. window, bend duct work

Sat. firing strips on walls, insulation

Sun. firing & insulation, cabinets

Mon. electrical, cabinets, bunks

Tues: electrical, cabinets, bunks

Wed: hitch, cabinets

Thurs. external walls

Fri. internal walls

Sat. day off

Sun. paint, plumbing

Mon. paint, plumbing

Tues. pack the bus, clean out house, perform our farewell show

Wed. leave 10am.

Ha! I saved the list and we laugh about it often as we move thankfully down the road. Almost a year in and thanks to many kind contributions we have windows, the hitch, firing strips, external & internal walls, cabinets & storage, bunks, kitchen counter tops, fridge, stove, heating system, partial electrical and plumbing systems and paint.

Folks still ask us what the plan is etc… and now we answer differently. We say, “We open to allowing the plan to unfold as we go. We don’t know how long this chapter will last and are less inclined to make lists. We hold tightly to our faith and trust that if and when things are meant to happen they will. ”

     

Bus Conversion – Progress

Slowly but surely the little things that are being shored up:

Craig has built and installed all of our kitchen cabinets, dining room light, book shelf, trim around the doors, bathroom cabinets, curtain around the toilet, even a few decorations hung. And, last but not least, our bedroom door.

Next on the list is plumbing. We are thankful for the graciousness offered by those we stay with for showers and washing dishes but are so ready for a little running water.

The Desert

Merciless and mystifying, delicate and distinct – the desert is a land of contradictions that are both unsettling and peaceful. This is the beauty that we saw on a sunny day in February.

 

Joshua Tree National Park is a combination of two deserts. The Mojave and The Colorado Desert. We went from high desert to low desert. We had eight miles left in the park when we noticed an oil leak. That lead to another seven hours of problem solving, calling MCI, frustration, and enduring the heat. We finally got on the road and found our way to Phoenix. Arriving at 1am. Our host, Dave, was waiting for us with a welcoming smile. We had only meet Dave via the phone and we found his gesture of hospitality warming, specially after our long drive.

The Rig

For the past few months we have been exploring buses, RV, 5th Wheels and everything in between. After our visit with fellow travelers at Cornerstone Music Festival we felt the bus was the way to go. We knew we needed a bus with¬†undercab¬†storage for Craig’s tools and music gear so we narrowed in on the MCI or Eagle. Our budget, $7,000. That’s what we have saved over the past two years. The¬†pickin’s¬†were slim as most of them run about $40-120K¬†and the dream seemed to be a distant cloud.

Craigslist¬†seemed to offer a little hope with a few findings in the $15K range. Could we take out a loan? Hmm. We really didn’t want to have to do that as we are so unsure about what the road will bring financially, so we kept looking. Then, two weeks ago, on our drive up to Minnesota we pulled up the Eau Claire¬†Craigslist¬†and there it was, a 1984 MCI-9 with 215K miles for $9500. We called right away. After a 1/2 hour conversation with a lovely and kind fellow we decided to have a look. You know how you get that feeling where you just “know”? Well, that’s the feeling we all got. The history of the bus solidified our feelings as it was a bus used by the Casper WY Drum and Bugle Corp. Our kids started dreaming¬†immediately. Trying to see themselves in the bus, where they would sleep, visit with friends and most importantly where they would watch TV. ūüôā

Ah, but $9500, we only had $7K and the seller was pretty solid on his price. We called the bank but that was a no go. We called the seller and told him our plight, his response floored us. “Just pay me what you can and we can set up a payment schedule for as long as you need.” ¬†What? really, I said. And that was that. Last week wired the money in exchange for the title and this Friday we pick it up. And, as Ma Holland says, “Praise the Lord!”, we do.

So, now to the conversion. This will take another miracle as we only have 6 weeks to get it ready and our bank is back down to zero. Things to get in order;

  • Clean out the upper unit to have ready to rent by Sept. 1.
  • Plan our Super Sale/Bus Fundraiser for Sept. 17.
  • Research and find recycled materials to use in our conversion.
  • Look for sponsorship.
  • Get our lower unit ready for rent by Oct. 1.
  • Booking for Fall/Winter on the West Coast.
  • And Sept. 1 the kids start Wisconsin¬†virtual¬†School.

Whew! Yep, it’s gonna take a¬†miracle¬†and most importantly community. We really need you! ¬†If you would like to help:

Looking for helping hands, meals, financial resources or folks/business interested in sponsorship, creative souls, organizers and treasure hunters. Most importantly we need your prayers.

Wish list for the bus: If you’d like to donate please contact via janahollandmusic@yahoo.com

For financial donation we are working through PAY PAL. Thank you!!

  • Batteries
  • Generator
  • Invertor
  • Water Tanks (x3)
  • Water Heater
  • Veggie Oil Conversion
  • Ceiling Air Conditioners (x2)
  • Solar Paneling
  • Furnace
  • RV Windows
  • Flooring
  • Metal studs
  • Plywood or other recycled building materials
  • Shower
  • RV Toilet
  • Sink
  • Stove
  • Fridge
  • Kitchen Sink