It has been nearly two months since the last bus blog! We've been quite busy doing life and haven't had as much time to work on the bus. Doing life is also expensive, so we haven't had the extra cash to put on the bus either.
First up, we've done a bit of traveling the last couple of months. We drove to Orlando for a convention so that I (Sarah) could meet my favorite actress of ALL TIME, Gillian Anderson, as well as some of the other X-Files cast members and my friends from Twitter. It was a whirlwind weekend trip and I had a blast! I took a picture with Gillian in my Basic Human Form is Female Rou Rags shirt and gave one of the shirts to Annabeth Gish! I would have given one to Gillian but she wasn't accepting gifts. I also got my first X-Files tattoo at the convention! How it's taken me this long to get one I'll never know. I've been obsessed with the show for 20 years.
For Thanksgiving week, Wendy and I drove to Maggie Valley, NC, for our anniversary trip. Last year we went back to San Diego where we got married. This year I thought it would be fun to travel to the mountains. I'll tell you, I'm so done with mountains now. Wendy's 4 cylinder truck struggled on those inclines and the narrow, winding roads up and down the side of a mountain are sca-ry. When we take the bus out and about, I don't know how we'll make it! Very slowly, I suppose. North Carolina is stunning, though. We got to walk a part of the Appalachian Trail! I doubt I'll ever do it, but one of my dreams is to thru-hike either the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail.
On to the good stuff! Every spare moment she can find, Wendy has been working on the kitchen counter and the plumbing. For the counter, she picked out the finest 2x6's from Lowes. Hehe. For real. Our super friend (Wendy's husband lol), Jason, helped her plane the boards and she sanded them really well. She glued them together and reinforced them with braces on the underside. This whole process took a long time and we had to keep the huge counter top in our living room for a while. After the boards became one uniform piece, Wendy marked and cut out the hole for the sink. She accidentally cut it backwards, so now there's a very thin space for the faucet behind the sink. It all works out, though! There's enough room for the faucet we chose. The sink will be under-mounted and the piece of counter she cut out for the sink will fit on top as a cutting board/extra counter space. The sink is from Amazon and is gorgeous! We love it. She finished off the counter top with several coats of polyurethane.
We decided to install a tile back splash behind the counter. I went back and forth on which kind of tile I wanted to use. Funky, colorful glass mosaic? Simple subway? At the end of the day, Wendy is able to cut marble tile with her regular saw and classic gray marble will never get old. She used Musselbound adhesive backing which she said was so much easier to install than traditional mortar. We ordered a special silicone grout, Flex Tile, that she'll finish up with. It allows for movement and vibration without cracking the tiles and is made especially for RVs.
Wendy started running some of the plumbing tubes and figured out where to put the shower head and knobs. She's going to build out a small door on the backside of the shower plumbing for easy access in the future. The access door will be visible in the toilet room. Wendy cut the hole for the tub drain. It's so weird seeing the ground through the floor!
We found out there was going to be a whole Tiny House Festival in Slidell! I came upon this information by accident in a comment on a post in one of the Skoolie groups we are in. The weather was rainy on Saturday and super cold on Sunday, so we decided to brave the cold instead of the rain. We were able to walk in a bunch of awesome skoolies and pick the brains of their builders. I was surprised that there were more skoolies than tiny houses. I think the mobility of a school bus makes skoolies more attractive to people.
We walked out of there with a renewed excitement to make it to the finish line! We got to see some Nature's Head toilets in person and even talk to the seller to ask some questions about the venting. We heard Karley of The Odyssey Skoolie sing! She's great! One bus had a super chill cat staying warm under the blankets. We saw a nicely tiled shower that gave us the confidence to attempt to tile our bathtub/shower room. One skoolie had cedar board on the ceiling of the shower, so we'll probably do that. We got to see some back up cameras in person and get some insight into those. We came home and ordered one on Amazon! We got to listen to the Predator generator that Wendy was interested in because it's less than half the price of a Honda. It was so quiet! We learned about exterior paint from the Some Kind of Wonderful Bus. I feel much less anxiety over painting the exterior now. We got to ask questions about how a mini split really cools down a space the size of ours. We learned about curtain rods and temporary window screens from Haus En Route. We also got to listen to Jenna Spesard talk about some tiny house lessons she's learned since living tiny for five years. Fun fact: her house, Tiny House Giant Journey, is the very first tiny house Wendy and I had ever seen in person when she was passing through Slidell in 2015!
Next up: Finish up the back splash when the silicone grout comes in, officially install the counter top and sink, run the plumbing, and run the wires for the back up camera and probably a sound system. I think the only thing holding us back from here on out will be money. We have a trip to London planned for the week of Mardi Gras, so we have to allocate funds to that right now. We'll actually be flying back from London on the one year bus anniversary. It'll be here before we know it!