Greyhound MCI-9 Bus Conversion We Called Home :: Throwback Thursday

MCI Bus Conversion Before Painting

The post for this Throwback Thursday is an “On This Day 10 Years Ago” post (from this point forward OTDTYA), which I now realize is actually getting into a time period that is presented on my blog. The very first posts on my blog were in March 2001, which we posted three articles about our bus conversion in the photos above. I still need to go back and post-date some blog posts for that time period to fill in the gaps, but the two shots above was what Deborah and I were doing on this day 10 years ago. After we picked up our used (former Greyhound) bus from Ocala, Florida, we drove it back to Alabama, stripped it down on the inside, and then “shelled” it with plywood (image on the right side at the top), starting a long long long process of converting it into a motorhome we would use and live in for about 5 years.

It was about 10 years ago when we got our first digital camera, an HP Digital Camera 2MP gem, we used until I bought my first DSLR, the Nikon D100 a few months later. These photos were the very first set of images that were taken in digital form. From this period prior, almost all our images are taken, and still stored, on film. One item on my list is to take 1,000,000 photos, and since I can’t count the film images until at some point I can get them all scanned in, this started a count of digital images that still goes on today. So far I’m up to about 350,000 images taken, and it all started about 10 years ago, just about this time of year.

Where Were You on September 11, 2001 :: 7 Years Later

Traveling to PA from Texas

It is amazing how fast time goes by.  It is hard to believe that today is the 7th anniversary of September 11, 2001.  It was of course one of those days when we will all remember where we were, what we were doing, and looking back today at what happened on the news, as always happens on each September 11, I was just thinking back to what my wife and I were doing that day, and what was going on in our lives, and what has changed.

A few days before 9-11 we were in Texas, on our way to a convention in Pennsylvania.  We often traveled with David and Georgia (Deborah’s parents) or met them in different campgrounds across the country going to or from a convention.  They would drive their motorhome out to the show where ever it was and help us setup, work the show, and break down afterward.  Here, we met them at a campground in Texas.

On the morning of September 11, 2001 Deborah and I woke up in a Walmart parking lot in Pennsylvania in our RV where we had spent the night.  We were on our way to Philadelphia and stayed, as we normally did, in a Walmart parking lot just a little outside Philadelphia.  As vendors, this was a convention we did each year but in years to follow would become less and less important because of the date (which sometimes fell exactly on 9-11) until the owners of the show finally moved it far away from 9-11.

Anthrax Attack on America

Anthrax Attack on America

I took these two photos of the news while watching the coverage from the back of our RV.  What is interesting to me is, if you look just to the right of the TV, we had already hung an American flag in the window of our RV (and these were huge greyhound bus windows), much like many American’s did at their houses.  We were living in the bus at the time, this was our home and we drove around the country for at least another year or more with that flag handing in the back window (one on each side).

I remember setting up for the show while running out to the motorhome every second I could to try and watch the news.  The show was a terrible one for the vendors as no one wanted to do anything in the way of shopping.  The restaurants in Philadelphia were closed when we would try to eat after the show each night, and we couldn’t wait to get out of there and on to the next city.

To the Grand Cayman Islands and Cayman Brac

It wasn’t but about two weeks later when we took our first plane flight out of the United States into the Cayman Islands.  This was a planned trip, planned months before 9-11 every happened.  We were going with Deborah’s parents, David and Georgia to a rented house on the small island of Cayman Brac.  I can remember every single one of us being very nervous about flying when we had never really be nervous before.  We had talked about canceling our trip, but decided we were going to do what we had planned on doing regardless.

I have very few photos of our trip down to the Cayman Islands.  I was not shooting with any larger format camera at the time and only had a very small (and free) 2mp digital camera from HP, given to me as a type of extra for buying a printer.  These were a few of the shots from that trip.  We sat many hours of that “vacation” inside watching the news coverage of the events at ground zero, it was one of the strangest trips I have taken, but we did enjoy each other’s company.

Deborah in Cayman Brac

Deborah, David, and Georgia in Cayman Brac

Now it is 7 years later and things are much different.  Time has a way of keeping thing moving.  I look at the photo above and remember by mother-in-law who is no longer with us.  In this photo she looks so alive and well, and Deborah and I both miss her.  The four of us in the photo above (counting me who is taking the photo) did so many things together back at that time.  We no longer have the business we had then, and part of it was the effect 9-11 had on the circuit of shows we were vending at for many years.

We now no longer have the bus pictured above that we lived in for more than 5 years.  We have different jobs, live in a different part of the country, have new and different friends, and of course are 7 years older.  One thing I love about blogging is the archives.  You can go back and see what you were doing and how things have changed in your life.  We started blogging in March of 2001, but have very few original posts from that time period, but it is interesting to see how we have grown and changed.

What were you doing on September the 11th, 2001?

Our Bus Conversion MCI MC-9, Detroit Diesel 6V92, Allison Transmission

our bus

For more reasons than can be expressed, we are selling our bus that we called home for more than 5 years. It has been up in Colorado for the last two years and needs a new home. Below is how it was listed on eBay. It was a successful auction and the new owner now has it up in St Louis and will continue building where we left off.

We were sad to see it go, but glad to see it went to someone who will enjoy it as much as we did.

our bus

our mci bus

As Listed on eBay on July 14th, 2008

Bus Conversion TMC MCI MC9 MC-9, Detroit Diesel 6V92

Vehicle Description

This auction is for an MCI 9 bus conversion that is at about 50-60% complete. This bus was purchased in Florida as a church bus, was previously a greyhound bus. We purchased the bus for $20,000, shelled the bus, then built it from the ground up to what it is right now. The only thing it really needs to finish it off is a finished floor and ceiling, and some reworking of the bins to fit current needs. We replaced the Detroit Diesel 6V92 and had a completely new engine put in it in our home state of Alabama. After the new engine (ordered directly from Detroit, a 6V92 rebuild) we put less than 1000 hours on it, and it has always worked perfectly.

The bus is currently sitting in Creede Colorado and has to be moved before the end of the summer months. Creede is very cold, and summer ends August to September. We have to have the bus moved from this location. We had a death in the family and the house property it is sitting on is being sold, so it can not stay at its current location. The winning bidder must have the bus moved by September 1st.

The bus has been in its current location for about 2 years. We stored it in Colorado because we were building a house and the weather there is cold and dry, great for storage. The engine has not been cranked since then. It will need a new set of starting batteries and a full tank of fuel and probably need the fuel lines bled to prime the pumps and the throttle cable needs to be fixed (that is just a wire that attaches to the throttle in the engine compartment, an easy fix).

The bus is being sold as is, where it is, with no intended warranty. The bus is titled in Alabama and we have clear title, and it is title in the state of Alabama as a motorhome. We will sign and ship the title upon receipt of final payment for the bus.

My wife and I were full timers in this bus for almost 5 years and traveled to every state in the U.S. in this bus. We have made countless upgrades, fixes, adjustments, and we have put over $75,000 of improvements into the bus, plus a $20,000 Detroit 6V92 engine. We worked for almost 6 years on the cabinets which are all solid wood, no partial board. All cabinets are custom made for this bus. The kitchen has huge cabinets, draws, and great counter space. Some of the features include.

All in all, we have:
Original Bus purchase – $20,000
Improvements – $75,000
New Detroit 6V92 – $20,000
Total added by us – $115,000

Our loss is your chance for a great gain if you are looking for a new DIY project or just need a Detroit 6V92 Turbo engine. The engine itself is probably worth what the auction will close for, so if all you want out of it is the engine, it is in great shape, but, the bus MUST be moved from its current location. There is even storage facilities nearby that you could just have a towing company bring it to for later use if that is what you wanted to do.

What is included with the bus:

GREAT Detroit Diesel 6V92 Turbo
Installed in 2004 by Detroit dealer
Less than 1,000 original hours on the engine
This engine was professionally installed by a Detroit bus dealer in Alabama. This is a very popular engine still in use today on buses, fishing boats, and a ton of construction equipment. It is a power horse of an engine and costs us $20,000 to install.

this was original with the bus as far as we know. We have never had a problem with the transmission at all

We purchased 6 new Goodyear G-391 tires. These tires were about $650 each at the time of purchase. They have about 50% treat on them. The tags have about 5% tread and we did not replace them. There is a spare tire in the front compartment. We have all chrome rims on each wheel. There were also about $3,000 for the set and includes the drives.

Two RV A/C units – the rear unit has a bad squirel cage motor, but the compressor is great, the other works perfectly.
3 FULL 100 watt solar panels and control panel mounted on the roof
A stackable washer/dryer. Installed only months before we parked it, they work GREAT. These are the full stackage units from Lowes built into the closet.
20 gallon hot water heater
Large TV
All granite marble counter tops, professionally installed.
All solid wood cabinets
Flexsteel chairs
Large full size side by side refrigerator with ice maker
Full size shower
RV toilet
Bathroom sink in matching marble counter top with cabinets

The bus has three full open bins. The first bin to the front was where we stored the house batteries, it now has the hot water heater on one side with electric boxes in the middle and storage on the other side. The middle bin is storage and the rear bin has the tanks. There are 4 75 gallon tanks. Two 75 gallon black/grey and two 75 gallon fresh tanks. There are two water pumps, one for the front and one for the rear of the bus. The washer/dryer drains into the grey tanks. There is also a small portable generator on the outside bin under and rear of the drivers seat.

This is a work in progress motorhome, rv, bus, project. It needs some TLC if you want to make it into a home, if you want everything we have put into it at this point, you will still need to remove it from the current location first. I am sure there are a tons of things that are included here that I forgot to mention. Keep in mind that this is a DIY project. A ton of work has been done, and we lived and drove the bus while we did the work, but it is not a finished and polished half a million dollar motor home or Prevost. It can be if you want to put some work in it, or you can use it as is like we did for many years.

I will answer any questions here on the listing. Please review all the photos included. They are from the time we bought the bus in 2000 through the conversion process. The cabin with the snow is where the bus is currently sitting. I can give you the exact address if you like, the bus is actually viewable in google earth where it sits.

We did not place a reserve on the auction and we started the listing at a penny because we need to sell the bus and have it removed from the property so the owner can sell the house. We currently live in Alabama and can not afford to pick it up and drive it down to our house, otherwise we wouldn’t sell it because we have put so much into this bus.

The winning bidder will need to pay 10% up front through paypal within 24 hours of the end of the auction. The remaining payment needs to be made within a few days through a money order or cashier’s check from a U.S. bank only. We will only sell to U.S. bidders that can remove the bus from the property. Once we receive the final cashier’s check payment we will express mail the title to you. The next door neighbor to the property is a very helpful person who works in construction. He can fill the fuel tank for you and possibly help with logistics. We will provide you his name and phone number when the auction is over.

If you do not have any feedback or low feedback, have negative feedback please contact us prior to bidding. We are only taking serious bidders and if your user ID does not look to be legitimate, your bid will be removed and your user ID blocked from future bidding. We have sold professionally on eBay for many years under the ID piecesofthepast-al, so you can check our great feedback over there too. Any attempt at fraudulent bidders will be removed.

On Jul-08-08 at 03:39:23 PDT, seller added the following information:

I am very sorry I can’t believe I forgot to put the year and transmission type. The bus is a 1980 TMC MCI-9 with a 4-speed automatic transmission.

On Jul-09-08 at 12:30:40 PDT, seller added the following information:

There have been a few questions that I will try to address here.

1. Q-Can the next door neighbor help with getting it started?
A- you would need to work that out with him. I will provide the winning bidder with his name and phone number, he is aware we are selling the coach. He will probably do what he can for you, he is a super nice guy.

2. Q-what do I need to do to get the bus started?
A- the coach has been at this location in storage since we stopped traveling about 2 years ago. The new engine has about 10,000 miles on it, about 1,000 hours total, so the engine is in great condition. Anyone familiar with big diesel engines knows they need a few things to get going. Heat, fuel, and power. So,
(1) You will need two new truck sized starting batteries (these are big rig bats).
(2) You will need to prime the fuel lines. This just takes filling the tank with diesel (full if possible), disconnecting the fuel line from the engine and starting the flow into the filters. The reconnecting them.
(3) and heat. The engine is equipped with a great engine block heater. It will need to heat up the coolant for several hours to get a good crank (this is just because it has been sitting, don’t have to do this each time). Coolant levels should also be checked.
(4) block heater must be turned off prior to cranking the engine. There is a rear engine starter on the control panel from the back, pretty standard.

3. Q-are there any repairs that need to be made prior to driving off.
A – The only thing I know of is the throttle cable. It came disconnected at the engine block. This is just a metal wire that broke. All you need to do is connect the two pieces together with a bracket or metal crimp. This is an easy and very very cheap repair but needs to be looked at. Once you start it and air it up, just as a standard practice you will need to check the air lines/valves to make sure you don’t have any air leaks. No bus is air tight, they all seep air from their systems.

4. Q-How many miles does the coach have, what kind of gas mileage does the Detroit 6V92 get?
A – this is almost impossible to answer since it spent its life as a greyhound bus. Once retired we put about 80,000 miles on it, and about 10,000 miles on the new engine (1,000 hours). The bus dash board does have an accurate engine hour gage which is total hours for the bus but I don’t remember what it is reading right now. Gas mileage on a 6V92 is 6-7mpg and doesn’t change much no matter what you do. It is a HUGE engine.

5. Q-When is it available to be picked up?
A – we are going to be at the bus the first week in August to remove our personal belongings from inside. This is just a few remaining clothes and items like that. After that, you can take it any time you like between August 5th and September 5th or so. It needs to be removed prior to the winter setting in when you will not be able to move the bus due to the weather in that part of CO.

6. Q-Do you have clear title?
A – yes, we do. The title is from the state of Alabama and it is stated on the title as a motorhome.

7. Q-Can I call you to ask you a question?
A – yes, just send me an email and I will send you my office phone number where you can call me during office hours.

On Jul-12-08 at 04:15:38 PDT, seller added the following information:ADDITIONAL Q&A

There have been a few more questions come through that I wanted to address, these are a continuation of the first posted Q&A.

1. Q – What condition is the generator in and, how big is it, where is it?

A – the generator is just a small portable 3500 watt gas generator, same as you would buy at Lowes or Home Depot. It was running when we left it, but it is a gas generator so I am not really sure about its status. The cost from Lowest was something like $500-$700 or so. We used it a lot, so it might need a good carburetor cleaning after sitting a while. You can take the 50amp plug for the coach electric and plug it into the 30amp generator and it runs everything except usually only one a/c unit at a time (or the hot water heater in the front bin). The front bin has the 120v on one side and the 12v wiring on the other side and there is a 20 gallon electric hot water heater in the middle of the front bin. The wiring isn’t real pretty looking but you can just plug the 120v into either outside RV power or the generator. Any other questions at all just let me know, thanks. Scott

2. Q – Will you send the keys with the title?

A -there are no keys to start or run the bus, it is a push button, but there are also several switches you have to flip, in order, to be able to crank it. Almost all buses built during this time were built without a key ignition. We did however put in a keyed entry on the door which is locked, and that we will send with the title, but we also have a copy of that key in the cabin where the bus is sitting and when we are up there in the first week of August we will place that key in the bus somewhere.

3. Q – I know the bus is being sold as-is, but what if I don’t know how to get it started, what then?
A – it will be the owners responsibility to move the bus off the property. The winning bidder will need to make their final payment within 3 days of the winning bid. At that point the title and key will be mailed to you, and then you own it, it will be your responsibility to move it, if not by you, a local mechanic can get it started, or you could have it transported to a local shop to have them start it. Either way, I could safely say, using the steps I outlines in the auction, I could go right up there and have it running in a matter of a day. There are several good diesel mechanics around the south central Colorado area. If you couldn’t get it started, I would have one come out and start it.

4. Q – Is September 1st the last day to move it set in stone?
A – I said it needed to be moved by September 1st, this is not set in stone, we have a little wiggle room on the “remove by date”. It starts to get very cold up there in September / October so it is as much the weather as the house being sold, so no, if you needed to move it on September 3rd or 8th, that is fine, just needs to be moved before the freeze starts to set in or the house is sold (freeze will most likely come first).

5. Q – Can I stay in the bus a few days while I am there to pick it up?
A – You can stay there in the bus while you work on getting it ready to move if that is what you want to do. Keep in mind there is no water there. Everything gets winterized in a severe way when no one is there, that includes the outside water. There is 50amp electric on the pole where the bus is parked, that will be on and you can plug in there if you need to while you are there.

6. Q – Will the guy next door fill up the fuel tank for me?
A – I will provide the name and phone number of the next door neighbor. What he does and doesn’t do for you is up to him, but he has told me in the past that he can get the fuel tank filled up. You will probably need to send him a payment and then he can have it fuel up before you arrive. It holds about 150 gallons of diesel.

7. Q – Can I go see the bus if I am close by?
A – yes, by all means, please run by and take a look at it if you like. Email me and I will send you the address where the bus is located, but the auction ends on Monday and we will not “hold” it until you go see the bus, sorry.

These are all very good questions and I will post additional Q&A’s here as they come in over the weekend if needed. Please contact me with any questions you might have, I will respond as quickly as possible. Thanks, Scott

It is Minus 30 Degress Outside, Can You Say Cold Weather

Ok, this is what I would consider an indication that it is cold outside.

If that doesn’t convince you, look at the (cold) hard facts.

The dogs think it is cold too and they both insist on sharing the same chair. I think this is the warmest spot in the bus for them. It is quite funny to see them argue over who gets to sit here and for how long. They usually end up sharing.

When not on the chair, they have been found sleeping in various other places.

We Have Arrived in Colorado for Our Winter Stay

Scott and Deborah made it to their winter home. They will be staying there until next April or until the bus will start again, whichever. The temperatures are 60+ during the day and 40+ at night right now. They are lovin it already. Scott is thrilled not to be sweating any more!

Here is a view of thier place.

And here is the view from their front window as of today.

After arrival, a sewer dump had to be installed for the bus. Scott, David (Deborah’s dad), and Randy (the next door neighbor) spent about three hours laying the pipe and getting it working.

We Have Officially Arrived in Colorado for a While

Well, we made it to our winter home. We will be staying here until next April or until the bus will start again, whichever. The temperatures are 60+ during the day and 40+ at night right now. We are lovin it already. Scott is thrilled not to be sweating any more!

View of our Bus from the Road

Here is a view of our place.

View looking out the front of our bus

And here is the view from our front window as of today. When there is snow, etc. I will post more pictures.

Our Time in Texas with David and Georgia

Deborah and Scott have been in Texas now for about four weeks and will be leaving on August 5th for Creede, Colorado. Everyone is anxious to get on the road again and to head north to hopefully cooler temperatures. While they have been at Deborah’s parents property in Texas Scott and Blazer have been working hard to help clear the land for the new house. Scott likes to drive the tractor and Blazer likes to ride.

Texas with David and Georgia

Texas with David and Georgia

Every Exit is an Entrance to Somewhere Else, Leaving North Carolina

It is difficult to say goodbye to friends and to leave a place you have come to call home. We left North Carolina last week to travel to Texas where we will be staying for a month or so before going to Colorado for the rest of the year. Eddie, Nora, Leslie, Jerry, Josh and Obidiah (pictured below) had come to be our surrogate family while we were in North Carolina for the last year and a half. We will miss them greatly.

Nora showing off her new North Carolina dish cloth that I knitted for her.

Here are some more friends we made while at Twin Lakes. We watched this mother duck raise these babies from hatchlings to this size. Somewhere along the way they picked up a friend who would follow them around and he became like a foster parent.

Before leaving North Carolina we had to have the sailboat pulled out of the water and put into dry storage. We had to do this because when Scott went out to close her up and batten her down for the season he found that she was taking on water. The sheath that surrounds the swing keel had a small fracture in the fiberglass and was leaking. Luckily, he found this out before we left and we were able to get it taken out of the water. Now it will spend this hurricane season on land where it is safer anyway.

We left North Carolina and headed for Dallas, Texas. It was so hot outside that our generator would not hold power for the air conditioner to stay on. So, we sweated a lot. We decided to make it a 3 day drive instead of 4 and arrived here in Texas on the 2nd of July. Blazer and Aubie were so happy to be plugged in to shore power and to have air conditioning again. Here is Blazer showing his relief.

Although we will miss our friends we are very excited about our future adventures in Colorado. Scott is planning on getting back into his photography and I am looking forward to knitting a lot during the colder months.

Birthday Surprises with a Washer and Dryer // 39 Years

What a wonderful birthday I had this year! Thirty nine is not so bad when you have people around you that love you and a Father in heaven who guides you.

Scott and I celebrated my birthday this year by installing a new washer and dryer in the bus. They work like a dream! No more laundr-o-mats for us! Yipee =0)

Here is a picture of Scott watching the washer spin:

Then we went to dinner at a little steak house here in town. They are small in size only. There are no menus and the chef/cook comes out from the back (if it is your first time dining there) with a huge slab of meat on a very large cutting board. He explains their dining selections (steak or chicken) and then retreats to the back to prepare what you ask for. The sides were baked potato or sweet potato and salad bar. The dinner was wonderful, but $50 for the two of us was quite steep. Oh well, it was our first (and probably last) time dining there.

At dinner Scott surprised me with a new camera. I have been wanting one for some time now so that I can take pictures for this blog and other group stuff.

So since I have the camera now I can take a picture of the gift my wonderful friend Cathy sent me. She is such a wonderful blessing and truly a gift from God. Here is what she sent.

She sent me a wonderful book and a really neat scarf that she knitted for me.

Weather Blues Promotes Cabin Feaver, Even in a Bus

This is the 5th of May and it is supposed to be 58 degrees tomorrow for a high with 30 mph winds. Right now it is raining, cold and windy outside. ARRRRGGGGHHHH. I am not sure spring/summer is ever going to get here. Well, maybe I can get some knitting done anyway. You would think we wouldn’t get cabin fever in a bus, but perhaps being cramped into a 40 foot by 8 foot space makes 58* feel like -30* sometimes. I still love it, but can’t wait for some warmer weather so show up out here.