Most people stick to some kind of outfitted RV for motorized camping. Nancy Bounds and John Boyd decided it would be more fun to take the bus.
Bounds, a Realtor and yoga instructor, and Boyd, a woodworker and mandolin player, met at a bluegrass festival and enjoy attending the events across the country.
The festivals are where they saw creative campers, including old rigs repainted and other kinds of vehicles repurposed into places to sleep.
They recently plucked a 1987 small school bus from the party life and gave it a new tune.
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Q: Where did you get the bus?
A: John — We knew the bus. We had seen it for a while. Originally, it had been a school bus. Then it was a sports team bus for a church. Then it had been a party bus. We went out to eat breakfast one day and saw the owner. We asked if she wanted to sell it and she said, “Yes.”
Q: What did you do to the bus after you bought it?
A: John — It was dirty. We took everything out of it and repainted the inside. I did all the woodwork and built all the cabinetry and outfitted it. We put in a new floor and repainted it. Nancy did the fabric selection and the curtains. It was time consuming. We wanted to use it and had a festival scheduled we wanted to go to. I took off work and worked on the bus solid for about three weeks. Nancy sewed day and night.
Q: How did you decide what to do with the bus?
A: John — We’ve had campers before, all different sizes of campers. So we knew what we needed to outfit it. Our idea was to keep it basic. We didn’t really want to cook in it. We have a pop-up tent that goes beside it, a 10-by-10 screen room so we can cook out there on a camp stove. If we want to be inside we can be in here where it is air conditioned.
Q: Why not just get an RV?
A: Nancy — They are plain. This is kind of self-contained and not as big as most RVs. The size is great. You can drive it in the city and park it in town. I’ve owned a school bus before. It was a long time ago.
Q: So, this isn’t your first bus?
A: Nancy — I owned a full school bus as a place to live out in the Ozarks. I was just living in a bus because it was cheap when I was doing it.
John — One of my daughters lived in a bus for a while and still owns a bus.
Nancy — We just kind of oddly have that in common.
Q: What would you recommend to people who want to have a bus?
A: Nancy — If you are not handy, this would not be fun. It would be very expensive to do, I think. To have somebody build walnut furniture would be expensive. That would not be fun. If you can’t sew you’d have to hire somebody to do it.
Q: What are your plans for the bus?
A: Nancy — We took it to Kentucky and camping in Rocheport. We’ve taken it to an art event in Lawrence. We plan to go to Nashville in it. We’re just going to use it.