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Photographic Tour of Our Bus – Caution: Watch Your Step!

bus tiny home driver's seat conversion

WELCOME to the photographic tour (circa March 2016) of our bus in its tons-of-work-ahead, semi-overwhelming yet promising state. Our next step, which we’re actually REALLY excited about is to gut the entire thing. Here it is in all its original glory.

prison bus conversion tiny home project


the wild drive bus tiny home blog

The bus was 110% designed and outfitted to function for it’s past life purpose as a mobile command center, not for two people, a cat, and a dog to live in full-time. Once it’s fully gutted, we will add back features from its former life that we can still use for our full-time bus living needs.

We visited the bus yesterday to take some measurements, and take photos of the exterior and interior. It was great to see it on a clear, blue-sky day.

The bus is currently equipped with the following interesting elements from it’s mobile commanding days. They somehow all still function. This bus was WELL taken care of:

Air ventilation units on the roof (2)

A really solid commercial grade generator – Cummings Onan 8000 series

Baseboard heat that runs off the generator

A scary water heater/radiator (which makes weird steamy noises) doesn’t require the generator to run, just the engine.

A 30ft. pneumatic antennae – Located on the back of the bus. This is the only thing we haven’t tested yet. There’s a label on it that says “DANGER, YOU COULD DIE…” so I just stopped right there since we don’t know enough about it yet.

An interior and exterior intercom system (YES! Fun.)

Upwards of 50 electrical outlets. I’m not kidding. Most are setup on strips you’ll see below. I don’t know what kind of heavy equipment was setup on these tables and whatnot, but wow. Mobile commanding requires a lot of outlets.

An electric lock shotgun holder right by the entrance door. Ben’s favorite feature on the bus. We haven’t found the secret button that unlocks it, yet.

Will we use all of the above items in our bus to tiny home final product? That remains to be seen once we dive into the demo. Ooooh, I just can’t wait.

Along with the major things we discussed and discovered during our visit, I also found three post-it pads (score!), an old Virginia parking ticket, and vehicle service receipts from the 90’s. All in all, I’d call this a successful day.

Enjoy the photo tour, and don’t forget to subscribe below the post or in the sidebar to follow along this journey! 🙂


bus tiny home conversion
We really like standing on the bus. We’re pretty thankful that it’s in such great condition up there. I’ve seen other bus to tiny home conversions that add a storage and/or seating area up on the roof. Great idea!
tiny home school bus conversion
The bus in the clear sunny daylight. Is it a tiny home yet? No, we won’t stop until it is. I’m just thinking now, I REALLY should have taken photos of what’s under the hood. Next time!


school bus tiny home conversion wild drive
Check out these tires and hubcaps! I can’t believe I just said that. The chrome is in beautiful condition, and the tires still look great. It made it from Massachusetts to Maine just fine!


school bus conversion tiny home entrance
The bus entrance. Does this look familiar? One of the first things we did was sit in the driver’s seat and open and close the door a bunch (10+) of times. I’ve ALWAYS wanted to do that.


bus tiny home driver's seat conversion
In this picture you can see all of the pull controls over on the left. The dashboard controls the heat, the lights, etc. The generator controls are hidden in the picture, but they’re a little further over on the left. I was surprised at the condition this area was in given the age of the bus.


tiny home conversion school bus
Here we get a view from the back and see that strange pneumatic antennae over on the right. Inside the left window you can see the wire shelving/rack unit where we think equipment was stored.


Reason #5408 that we’re gutting the whole bus. Scary looking things like this. What you see here is the air compressor and controls that lift the pneumatic pole/antennae.


Ben is getting a closer look at the moisture release valves. We emptied the who knows how old water/debris from them yesterday. Super gross.


We’ve arrived at the generator housing unit on the drivers side of the bus. Inside is a Cummings Onan 8000 series generator with 250 hours on it. It works great!


We will leave this in during the demo because it’s REALLY expensive to have a generator installed. We’re really thankful that the bus purchase came with such a high quality one already installed. We saved money on this front!


This is one of the two roof air ventilation units that came installed on the bus. We tested both of them out during our visit yesterday and both are in great working order!


These are some of the million outlets sitting on top of drop down desks. What would this picture look like back in the 90’s?! I’m SO curious to know what this bus looked like when it was in full mobile commanding swing. If we gather more information, I’ll let you know!


Another shot of the desk areas in the bus. There is an exact copy of this setup on the other side of the bus as well. You can see the baseboard heating setup underneath the desk.


Just beyond the longer desks in the previous photos there’s another section with two smaller tables with bus seats on either side. Oh yes, you need to go through one of the scary locking cages to get into that section of the bus.


There are three of these sliding metal gates inside the bus. They’re bolted into the floor and can be moved. We plan to keep one toward the back of the bus to create a separation before the bathroom area. We’ll see.


This is the third and final “section” of the bus all the way in the back. The spot where our sleeping area will likely be.


The bus has two co-pilot type seats behind the driver seat which is kind of neat. They face each other. I tried to play with the buttons and levers to see if they rotated, no luck.


Ben LOVES taking pictures! This one was the last of the day and I think he was pretty happy about that. I wonder ALL THE TIME about what this bus saw and heard. WHO SAT IN THIS SEAT BEFORE US?! Too cool.


Stay tuned as we make more moves to turn this bus into our home!

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