Sunday, July 15, 2018

Joe Omundson

BB009: Subfloors are done! Also, goats

In seach of a place to park and work on my bus, I came across a guy named Dan on craigslist who has a shop in the rural area between Hillsboro and Newberg. People pay him a weekly fee to work on their buses there. It costs more than I can afford long-term, but I figured I'd pay for 7 days and get as much work done as I could in that time.

Aside from being a genuinely kind dude and making me feel very welcome in his space, Dan and his wife have a whole herd of goats that I was allowed to play with. They have about 50 total, 19 of which are babies. Every day I'd take some time to go sit with them because they were so funny, friendly, and therapeutic.

I'm happy to say that my goals turned out to be pretty realistic and I finished the two main things I went there to accomplish: installing the new subfloor, and making window covers out of reflectix.

When I started my week I had already cut most of the boards I needed for my floor, but I had two more I needed to cut at the front of the bus, so I started working on that on day 1. These were the trickiest ones to cut to shape, so I used cardboard to make a template, and I was glad I did because it took a few iterations to get it right.

On day 2 I cut those boards and was satisfied that they fit well enough.

The next thing to do was waterproof the underside of the boards I hadn't done yet, so I took all the wood out of the bus; with all the floors out for one last time, it was a good time to deal with the rusty seat tracks along the side of the bus. I decided that since they will be covered with insulation anyway, they didn't need to be cleaned as thoroughly with a grinder like I did with the metal beneath the subfloor.

So I wiped down the tracks and scraped the rust where it was deep and flaky and went ahead and coated them with rust converter and a green rustoleum enamel coating, just to hopefully keep them from rusting any further (I'm not sure how they got so rusty in the first place?).

Day 3 was my paint day. Each board needed 3 coats of Redgard, and some time to dry in between coats, so this took several hours to complete. I coated the entire undersides and also made a stripe along the outside edges of the tops.

I didn't get too much done on day 4 but I did decide to borrow one of Dan's ideas and use a layer of plastic sheeting underneath the subfloors. It may be overkill seeing as I already waterproofed the boards, but since they're in direct exposure to the road, I figured for another $10 it's an easy and effective way to make my subfloors quite a bit more water resistant from beneath. I tested the drilling/screwing process to make sure it was feasible before calling it a night.

On day 5 I screwed in a good section of my floor and got the process down. I found it best to pre-drill a hole with a 5/32" bit that was as long as the screw I was putting in (#14, 2 3/4") because then I could test what was underneath before committing to anything. It took a pretty big impact driver sometimes when there were a couple layers of steel to get the screw into, so I was glad I'd pre-drilled.

Day 6 was exciting because I got almost all the floors installed. Actually, I got everything screwed down that I was planning to screw down, and then I was going to work on a hinge system for a couple of boards on the sides of the bus so that I can open them from above.

(This was one of the friendliest and shirt-bitingest goats around:)

On the morning of day 7 I decided to scrap the hinge idea, because I didn't think my plan would create a robust, effective seal. So I decided to screw these boards down like the other ones. I realized that I can always back the screws out if I want to pull up those boards to make it easier to install utilities below them. So it's still good that I cut those pieces individually. I can rework the hinge thing later if I want to.

I made a new friend this week (actually on day 1 of my time here) and she helped me on day 7 by driving me to the property so I could drive the bus away at the end of the day, and she helped with screwing down the last 2 boards and cleaning everything up and also installing the reflectix window covers. So nice to have the help! It was a relatively quick job, I'd bought a roll of 4'x25' reflectix and cut it into two pieces that covered both of the side rows of windows. I then bought a roll of outdoor-grade velcro and we made 6 velcro attachment points for each of the window covers, which seems to be sufficient to hold them up; I'll probably create a more elaborate system later, but for now, this is easy enough and keeps the sunlight out.

as a side benefit, my bus looks like the international space station now

I drove my bus back to the RV storage place where I'm renting a spot, and cooked (reheated) my first meal inside the bus... and tried to imagine what it'll be like to cook in there when everything's done.

So the subfloors are 100% installed! And my windows have covers (well, most of them). I had no idea it was going to take this long, but it's a relief to have the floors done now. It means I can essentially start living in there whenever I please, and I won't have to empty it out to do any of the work that needs to happen next.

Speaking of what needs to happen next: My plan is to sell my minivan sometime in the next 2 weeks and move into the bus. My car insurance plan expires July 27, and my RV space rent is finished July 31, so it seems like good timing. Onto the next phase: bus dwelling around Portland and looking for good places to park it.

And because everyone likes baby goats (or should, at least), here are some more pictures of baby goats.

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Write comments
July 15, 2018 at 10:27 PM delete

Hi new friend! Glad you got the two main things you wanted to accomplish accomplished! Looking forward to watching this bus turn into your new house on wheels. (Also, hahaha, that goat-eating-shirt photo is priceless!)

Joe Omundson
July 16, 2018 at 8:08 AM delete

Thanks Keiko! It's fun that you got to see it at its most-torn-apart and can witness the whole process pretty much.