Monday, December 11, 2006

Bench building, part III

So, we're pretty much done with the construction aspect of the bus. The benches are built. They're mounted, as much as they ever will be, into the bus. Hasps and hinges have been added. The one thing we're waiting for is the cushion material to go along the top of the benches, which should arrive later this week (we still need something to cover the cushioning, but we'll figure that out).
We made fast work of a jimmied together roof rack system. Bolted some 2x4s onto the roof and added some left over art shipping crates as holders. It'll look somewhat bizarre, I'm sure, but it's definitely functional at the moment. The team's actually getting pretty good at putting wood stuff together into a cohesive unit that looks like what it's supposed to be.
Thanks again to Logan for supplying all the things we couldn't scrounge for ourselves. We'd be in trouble if it weren't for those 8" bolts. And special kudos go to Scott and Kara for hosting all the work at their place this week.
I'm giving myself a pat on the back, too, for the anti-rain and pro-warmth dance that I did on Friday night. I think our experience this weekend would be drastically different if it had been 20 degrees colder (or 20 degrees, period). There are some benefits to global warming, I guess (and is that joke ever going to get old?).
What's left? Work on the engine, for the most part. The most important aspect of the bus, and the one we've spent the least time doing anything about, besides worrying. Our little bus Thomas is going to go to the PepBoys clinic sometime today or tomorrow and have the radiator checked out again. We're hoping that someone there will figure out how to get the heat working again (needed for the first third of the trip).
Ed's friend, Rod, has donated some stereo speakers (for the yet to be acquired stereo) and some extra spot lights. These will all come in very handy. Thanks, Rod!
There's a ton of things that we would like done to the bus before we leave, but nothing's really standing out as necessary at this time. We're hoping to find someone, or some company, to donate some time, expertise, garage space, or parts to do any of the following:
-fix the radiator
-get the heat working (mentioned above).
-check out the oil fiter and diesel filter.
-replace the air filter.
-replace the hoses and belts.
-look over the brakes and give us a status.
-get locks on the emergency doors.
-Need some new tires!
-More importantly, we need to figure out how we're going to change the tires while we're on the road. We're not really sure what we're going to do about this right now, the assumption being that standard jacks aren't going to lift the rust bucket enough for a change.
-Speaking of rust bucket, we're looking for a chemical process that de-oxidates(is that a word?) the rust and turns it back to good old-fashioned and functional steel. There's some worry that a decent karate chop would go right through the suspension and the undercarriage, which doesn't bode well for the pounding we'll get driving off road across Africa.
Jenna's found someone to donate a bunch of spare parts, which will come in supremely handy on the trip, should we need spare parts. Now all we'll need is someone who can fix whatever's broken... I'm expecting her to provide an update on that front shortly.
So, things are looking up for the little bus that could. Maybe it's not clear skies and smooth sailing, but it's definitely better than it was. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
Lastly, we were able to turn off the warning sounds when the rear doors are open and the engine's on. Maybe not a huge thing, but something that will help us keep our sanity during the trip.

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