Hello my beloved carriers and germs,
Sorry for the delay – we’ve been busy renovating Jolene down here in FL and it’s been awesome seeing all the changes. We’ve been floating between one particular rest stop we like on Rt 4 in Seminole Valley, and our contractor, Cody’s property (which we’ve begun lovingly calling The Compound). Tonight, while Cody’s out of town for the week, we’re going to drive the 40 miles north east to the nearest Love’s (a truck stop chain we’ve become inordinately attached to) for showers and to explore the Daytona Beach area. We hear it’s bumping this time of year with spring break going on, and besides, if we’re going to be in the lovely state of Florida for a few weeks, why not explore? We might even attempt a soft open if we can find parking for Jolene in a well trafficked area.
Back to the renovation. As you can see, our back (side) door used to be just that, a door, with a railing and retractable steps outside. When you entered through that door, the “kitchen” was directly in front of you, Sade’s bed was immediately to your right, and a large closet was to your left.
Cody managed, thanks in part to his skill as a carpenter and in part to how bomb proof Jolene was designed, to remove the closet as a SINGLE PIECE. Yep – all of the sudden we have this phone booth sized closet we can reuse rather than demolish! We’d already planned on building a closet out at the end of *my* bed (since my bed is a solid 25″ or so shorter than Sade’s and there’s a large space that was once a bookshelf between the foot of my bed and the kitchen counter). Cody was able to sawzall out the last permanently attached shelf in that space without damaging any of our interior wiring, then with much sweating, swearing, and some serious muscle assistance from Sade, re-installed the closet on the other side of the bus, where it snugged into the space at the end of my bed PERFECTLY.
Cody also managed to:
- remove and replace the flooring in the rear stairwell
- layout the floor plan for the new bathroom (where things like the shower head and toilet will get installed)
- replace the back wall that was taken down to the studs when the closet was removed
- remove two light fixtures we were not using anyhow (ew, fluorescents)
- install a wall between the end of Sade’s bed and the stairwell so the bathroom will be fully enclosed
- map out the water circulatory system so we’ll know where our tanks are and how they connect/function together
- helped us select a black/grey water tank and decide on a toilet
This week, Cody is on a well deserved vacation with his family, so Sade and I have been camping and doing lots of writing and reading. It’s been lovely to take a breather for a couple of days. Starting next week we hope to:
- get our clean water tank purchased and delivered
- select and purchase a shower head and a small sink for the kitchen
- select paint colors for our bed nooks and the kitchen/bathroom walls
- select and purchase tile for the bathroom floor
- receive our battery powered lighting and set it up around the bus – we decided on really bright but soft white fairy lights in mason jars as lighting we can use without having to run the generator or draining the Jolene’s batteries.
We also had an educational week re: our bus and generator. Oh the things you learn living on the road that you’d never have expected to learn, having lived in houses and apartments your whole life. For one, after a few days parked at The Compound, Jolene was idling a bit rough and SURPRISE! for what appeared to be no reason, her throttle (gas pedal) stopped responding. She’d idle, but she wouldn’t actually GO. We were at a stop light at the time, thankfully we weren’t actually moving, but we did block traffic for about 30 minutes while I crawled under the doghouse (engine cover), under the dash, and out in to traffic to crawl under her chassis in a vain attempt to find the issue. Finally, we decided to let her idle through the next green light and roll into the gas station across the way. We spent several long minutes calling various mechanics – none of whom seemed to be open on a Sunday – with no success. Finally after doing some more fiddling under less pressure (nothing is worse hearing every one get pissed at you for blocking a lane), we identified the problem – the throttle assembly had just come apart and needed reassembly (probably due to age and some very vigorous pedal stomping on our part) – got it done ourselves and went on our merry way, thankful we didn’t end up stuck at a Mobile station, or paying a pricey mechanic for what ended up being a simple fix.
The next day, our genny started chugging REALLY hard even though we weren’t powering much at all. After turning it off and crawling underneath the bus again, checking the oil levels, the fuel level, and reading the manual twice, we realized it was likely the air filter. I found and popped the air filter out and lo and behold, it’s filthy. So on to Amazon to buy replacements and have them delivered to a nearby Amazon locker. We get them today – and we can’t wait to run our electric again. And I’m thinking we need to invest in a creeper so I’m not always laying in puddles and dead bugs.
Life on the road has been an adventure thus far – and we are loving it. Have questions about how life in Jolene is different than life in our previous lives as renters? Ask us in the comments!
Love and pathogens,
Em, Sade, and Fulci
The Road Virus Crew
PS – Our newsletter just launched! We’ll be sending them out once a week, with events, updates on where we’ll be next, exclusive offers available only to subscribers, and more. Sign up here.