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Category Archives: Preparation
Some new paint, new sink and plumbing
So this last week has been very busy, very productive, and very quiet on this blog. I apologize for that last bit, but time has been sparse, and we were always on the verge of something, so I kept pushing back updates since something bigger and better was coming. That’s still the case – we still have more to do, but I’m going to update anyway.
I should start last week, when we brought the bus by the DMV to see if we could get it registered. From all of the research I did online and over the phone, it seemed like there were no requirements for a converted school bus to be registered as an RV, so we rolled into the inspection lane to see what we could get done. Unfortunately, we showed up just as they were closing, because apparently they don’t stay open as late as the main DMV building. Oops. I managed to briefly talk to the inspectors who were there, and they told me that there was indeed an inspection required, and it needed to be “habitable.” One of the requirements of habitable was a “vented stove,” which both the inspectors agreed on. They couldn’t give us a complete list of what we needed, only that it had to be “habitable.”
A vented stove was something that was not going to happen on the bus if we could help it – cooking outside is far cheaper, easier, and practical for our purposes. We went into the main building to see if anyone could supply us with a list of the requirements that would make the bus habitable, but no one had a clue – it’s not a very common question. We finally found someone in the Commercial Vehicle Saftey department, and he supplied us with a list of what we needed, which mirrored lists I had seen elsewhere.
We spent this week trying to meet those requirements, and when we brought the bus to the DMV earlier today, they deemed it habitable (though they didn’t seem to care about that list). They had a slight issue with our veggie system, and didn’t really know what to make of it. It turns out the guy who would know doesn’t work there anymore, so they put in a call, and we waited. We made Tang in a coffee can from DMV bathroom water. We ordered a pizza. And waited some more. Eventually the call was returned, and now we know what we need to change for the veggie system, so we’ll be making changes over the weekend and registering on Monday.
Other things we’ve been up to: enjoying attention from local press, a new snazzy paint job which I’ll show off tomorrow, plumbing installed, electrical installed, and Ned’s blog launched. He’ll be writing about the trip at that website for the duration of the summer, so I highly recommend subscribing.
At the moment, it looks like we shall leave Monday night or Tuesday morning.
An update on the construction inside the bus.
I blew it. I spent all my money and can’t afford to go it “alone” this summer. So I’m not going to be on the bus, but I’ll still be following the trip through this site, maybe posting responses.
I still think it’s very important to say what this trip meant to me. What it still means to me. I think there are two reasons I yearned for the journey. First, to see as much as I could of this country. Even just on that superficial level of observation, to see it. There is a lot more on this earth than most of us will ever see first-hand, and so long as I have the chance to explore the depths and heights of it I see no reason not to. Life is short, and we might only do it once, so I believe in learning and experiencing as much of it as we can.
It’s not the same thing to see pictures or hear stories. I went to Ireland for ten days last summer. I’ve seen plenty of videos and photographs of the country, but the moment I saw the mountains for myself I was changed. It was unlike any previous experience. It was literally breathtaking to look out the window of my room in the morning and see the sparkling water of the loch under the bluest sky, or the palpable mist hovering about the grassy mountaintop. You have not seen Ireland until you stand there and look at it.
But perhaps more important to me: I want to find something. Anything uniquely valuable about the experience. I have felt for most of my life that I was missing something, and have made some guesses at how to feel more complete, or simply how to be happier with my life. But for these past few years I have struggled to find a place for myself in the world, or even a place without the world, or alongside it. I don’t expect a road-trip to California and back, even if we covered every inch of the country, would bring an answer to such a monumental question. I would probably find no answers, but many more questions. But I expect, and I think many of us do, that undertaking this journey will teach me something that I can’t even imagine before I see it.
In the poem “Dover Beach,” Matthew Arnold writes:
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight
For three months of travel, I expect at least one instant of discovery, one minute piece of experience that lends the least bit of light to this darkness. Not that I will understand the world any clearer, but that I will return knowing something new. I will be changed, as changed I was by the Irish mountains.
I’ve put up a form letter in the forums (http://juanway.org/forum/topic.php?id=4) that can be used for soliciting sponsorship and donations from businesses. It’s written under the assumption that most places will want advertising in exchange for their monetary support.
If everyone could check this out, that’d be great. Obviously, the more outside money we could bring in for this trip, the better. But we really need to haul some butt. These sorts of transactions aren’t exactly quick and easy, and we really only have about a month to go (Oh my God, is that all?).
It won’t be too hard to print out a few copies of the letter and hand them out to local businesses. Think of it this way; every letter that we hand out is a potential steak dinner this summer.
Thanks to everyone who I know is going to help out! Let us know the results of your solicitations in the forums!