Going full time can be tricky, especially with three kids. Jennifer will be sharing with us the little, unforeseen problems, as well as the high points encountered on her family’s travels through the United States and Canada. You can also follow her blog at www.countingfireflies.com.
Our home right now, for our family of five, is a 1989 40-foot MCI bus conversion, still technically nameless, but sometimes referred to by me as Big Bertha. It has been sitting in the back corner of a muddy, gravel lot for the last four days, for once seeming rather petite and ladylike squished between dropped trailers. We’ve toyed with names like Firefly and Clan Duncan, but none of the names seem to fit this squat and bulky traveling tub of Legos, art supplies, and books that masquerades as a decommissioned prison bus from the outside.
Our bus — just in case you don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of bus styles filed away in your brain — looks like an old Greyhound bus. It is the same shape as a Greyhound, but was always intended for private travel. It was first commissioned for a traveling church group and then was gussied up with speakers, a wine cooler and a big double freezer for the Jimmy Buffet food conglomerate. On the sales lot, it still had the “Margaritaville Express” wrap on it. After that came off, it had to be painted and, not knowing what we wanted, we just asked for white.
The paint guy came back to us and asked, “Are you sure? Just white? Don’t you want stripes?”
Yes, we insisted, just white. Bad call.
To our dismay, instead of a clean low-profile look, our newly painted vehicle now has a government/prison bus feel to it. Combine that with our Toad, a Jeep with a rooftop tent and bike rack on the back, and we attract quite a bit of attention barreling down the highway.
Legos and Low Tanks
Ready to roll, hooking up...
Ready to roll, hooking up the Jeep for the first time as we leave Savannah. Keeping our fingers crossed that we don’t lose it at the first turn.
At this moment, the sky is dark and overcast, rain is spitting intermittently, and wind is blowing hard through the red-leafed sugar maples at the edge of the gravel truck stop parking lot. But I don’t care, because inside our RV the quiet swoosh of Legos being scooped aside is a constant undertone to the instruction my oldest son is giving my youngest son on knot-tying. REM plays quietly in the background.
I am sitting cross-legged on the floor in the back bunk area, using the bed as a desk since the actual table is surrounded by a sea of Legos and piles of dirty clothes. It is surprisingly peaceful, deliciously warm, and most decidedly not windy in our bus. After four days of traveling Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, with my kids and husband in our Jeep — battling frigid, gale force winds on some days — we arrived back to our traveling home late last evening, deliriously overjoyed at the prospect of a hot shower, our own beds, and washing our toxic-smelling socks.