Talk about the experience of a lifetime! Six friends from Australia banded together on what would prove to be an epic journey. While most friends will backpack across a foreign country or take a train to some distant land, these guys took things to a whole new level. It all started with an idea to go to the Coachella concert and take a little tour of the U.S. The crew of friends first flew to Canada to look for a mode of transportation. Not just any mode of transportation but an old school bus! They found the perfect one when they landed and dubbed it the Spruce Moose. This bus had a lot of potential so what they decided to do is what makes this trip so special. They arrived in Canada with just a bag of clothes and a bit of cash. Take a look at their journey from the beginning.
Here is the bus in all of its glory. A 1986 Chevy BlueBird school bus.
They picked up their new bus in Baniff, Alberta, Canada.
They had a few designs they came up with on what to do to the bus. They decided to go with the plan on the far right.
Right after picking up their new road home, they had to stop at the hardware store for supplies. Lots of supplies.
Because they flew over from Australia, they had to purchase some tools as well.
The bus is stocked with materials so it was time to get to work.
First stop was the dump to get rid of all those old dirty seats.
They they started by cutting out all the inside metal in order to make walls and insulate the bus better.
Lots and lots of wood was needed.
They added more insulation to the roof and used foam insulation for the walls. This should keep the noise out and the warmth in.
Then it was time for a ceiling. They used the existing plywood and ran a string across to keep their screws straight.
It was then time to install the kitchen counters. They are from IKEA and fit perfectly.
It was freezing cold outside so they had to set up a workshop inside the bus.
They built some couches with the plan of hinged support lids for more storage.
They had an awesome idea to use chalkboard paint on the back wall so anyone could write a message or sign their name. What a fun way to document their journey.
Here is Lindsay, happy the paint is on. It doesn’t dry too well in 20 degree weather.
They framed out the walls with 1″x2″s in order to slide some shades up and down for privacy.
They used magnets to hold them from sliding down. They don’t block the light completely but they do offer privacy.
Finally the shell is complete inside. Now the real construction starts.
They decided to go with snap together wood flooring for durability and ease of installation.
Inside their hotel, the guys get started on framing the bunk beds.
The bunks were a perfect fit so its time to fasten them in.
The beds are in and now to finish framing the couches. Take a look at the speakers along the top of the walls.
Here was an inexpensive and neat little element. Rope LED lighting was ran across the top and hidden with some molding. This looks awesome!
The lighting looks awesome and the interior is starting to come together.
It is illegal in most states to keep a privately owned school bus yellow so it was time to clean up and paint.
A few locals let them borrow tools while they were working on the bus because most of their own tools were hand tools. This power jig saw was a nice change in the cold weather.
They had ordered a fridge to go inside but needed to cut some vents in the exterior of the bus to vent the heat. This was a trick.
Here goes nothing.
All in all the bunk beds turned out better than expected. They will finish it with a layer of plywood to keep the foam level. The foam for the mattresses and couches were some of the most expensive materials for the build.
Time for a road trip to Calgary for some materials for the mattresses and couch cushions. They also needed a nice water tank.
After the couches were upholstered it was time for a test. I think that’s the face of approval.
They ran into a slight problem here. The tank was too long to slide in so they had to cut the middle bracket and re-attach it with some bolts.
While all this exterior work was going on a lot was done inside. The installation of a sink and a dividing wall between the kitchen and bunk room.
Here is the electrical station with a stereo including a sub woofer and switches for all the appliances.
This is where the magic happens. The box contains 2 – 12 volt batteries and a trickle charger to keep things topped off. This is where all the speaker wires run as well.
Sink and tap installed and a few decorations to make it home.
The interior is all but complete. The couches act as the 5th and 6th beds. There is a fridge, a sink, and an emergency toilet in the closet in front of the fridge.
Looking from the back forward.
The woodwork is awesome. These guys did a great job inside.
This is the final wash before paint. They used a pressure washer and acetone to get off all the old gunk and grime.
They decided to go with white and green as the bus’ new colors.
It was nice enough to work outside this day which was a nice change.
Definitely a “Cool Bus”.
They ran into an issue getting the bus started and were starting to freak out. They only had 3 days before their journey started. Luckily it was only a frozen condenser because of the extra low temperatures they were experiencing.
After topping it off with anti-freeze, the bus started right up.
All done and boy does she look great!
Time to christen The Spruce Moose.
They threw a party the night before they were leaving and comfortably fit 30 people inside without feeling crowded.
The picture below is their first “family photo” when they stopped in Montana.
They have been on the road for over 70 days now and a friend even flew in from Australia to spend 3 weeks on the road with them. They have about 3 weeks left of their journey across America and are in Washington DC right now making their way up to the north east. They all say they are thrilled with their experience so far and everyone along their trip has been more than kind offering them food, tools, companionship, and places to park. This is an awesome story full of adventure and inspiration to see the world. These guys are living life to the fullest and couldn’t be happier with their decision. They will be parting with the “Spruce Moose” before they head back to Australia and hopefully whoever buys it continues the adventure.
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