Short School Bus Conversion with 64 square feet of easy living.
-Written By: Brock Butterfield
-Conversion By: Ryder Karkus
If you scroll through Ryder's Instragram feed you'll start to get a feel for the kind of man he is. Motor head, jet ski enthusiast, adverture seaker and likes to make things with his hands. It's no surprise that all of these key components led Ryder to the future of owning and converting a short school bus into a tiny home. His bus conversion sits on the highly sought after Ford 7.3l diesel motor which is know to run for as long as you keep putting oil and fuel into it.
I reached out to Ryder for an interview and small tour of his bus conversion of which he has given the name Tumbleweed. It goes wherever the wind blows...
-Motor: 7.3l Power stroke
-Interior Square Footage: 64sqft
-Current Location: Fonthill, Ontario, Canada
-Purchased From/Location: Cayuga, Ont, Lomoca Auto Wreckers
-Cost in materials for the conversion: $700 for interior, $4000.00 mechanical. We bought a bit of a lemon that we suspect spent some years on a farm being abused.
-Is the conversion complete or still in progress? In progress, finishing touches
-Does your bus have a name? We noticed on a trip to Nashville a Tumbleweed or piece of dried grass on the antenna, it stayed with us for the entire road trip. That’s when it came to us… Tumbleweed,it goes where ever the wind blows it.
Tell us a bit about how the idea to build a bus into a home on wheels came about.
From the start I have always talked and fantasied about buying A bus and converting it into a home on wheels to take a trip to a place called Peace River. No particular reason except we thought it would be such a spiritual place because of its name. Over the years friends and I often talked about this dream, mostly on tent camping adventures or around the campfire. The talk and some friends faded away and even grew apart.
Except for one, Years went by of me and my very good friend Tom Tom, adventuring, camping out and always coming back to the same topic… imagine if we had a bus.... we didn’t know why a bus. But something about inventing our own layout in such a large diesel machine just made our imagination run wild. A lot has changed since those noble conversations around the fire.
I found the love of my life at an event actually where I was camping with 4 other guys in one tent… talk about a gross feeling in the morning in a scorching tent. We hit it off instantly. Within weeks we met again by me picking her up from the train station near my work. 9 month’s later we bought a house together.
About a half year into us now attending events together in a ford ranger sleeping under the truck cap my dream of the bus came back to me.
The vision of having a strong powerful diesel bus converter into exactly what we need, done for cheap! So I put the ranger and cap up for sale and set out shopping, it took a little while to find a bus and I talked to many different people online as well as on the phone about the different laws, restrictions and problems. I then found myself at a wrecking yard in Cayuga. It was there we purchased our bus and were on the quest to convert it to our family adventure camper mobile. Since that time Tom Tom and myself have taken trips in the bus. “A guys weekend” but majority of the time and to this present date my girlfriend, our puppy and I have really taken our bus life to the next level.
Who is involved or part of the crew with your bus?
My direct family, my Father especially has been an extremely large help mechanically in making our dream bus built come to light. But I mustn’t forget the few friends that have helped with the initial painting.
What materials did you use during your build? Any reclaimed/upcycled items?
Mostly plywood, with L brackets, with a good plywood surface you can screw almost anything to it. Also, yes, we did purchase a set of lower kitchen cabinets from Habitat for Humanity, which is all donated home items.
How many can the bus sleep and how is the sleeping arrangement designed?
The bus is currently setup with a double bed at the back with enough floor space to setup a cot need be. The bus seats 4 + driver.
What is your kitchen and cooking setup?
We have a complete kitchen counter top, using a hot plate to boil water. And we have a small microwave for warming up something premade quickly.
What is your power source?
Our recently updated power source is a EU3000iS Honda gas inverter generator. This unit producing enough power to run an entire household.
Do you have a heat source for colder weather?
How do you stay cool in the hot summer months?
We have a portable apartment AC that runs off the generator. Typically, only run the AC at night for sleeping, but our generator is more than capable to run it continuously.
One way to keep cool!
What are you doing for water source? Do you have a bathroom solution for the "rumble guts" hit?
No indoor bathroom source
What is the most unique feature of your conversion?
We have a delicate balance of hominess and functionality. Our bus is setup for hauling toys and long distance ventures with or without local power sources.
Back deck for hauling dirt bikes was added after this interview.
What do you do for income while living in the bus?
We only vacation in the bus. Work 5 days a week typically
What do you do for Internet while on the road?
We haven’t encountered a problem with this. We use our phones as a Hot Spot need be, if there’s service.
What’s the hardest thing about living bus life?
Not enough time for adventures
Where can people follow or find out more about your bus? (social media, website, etc.)
Instagram is a greats source for ideas and help. Everyone is very helpful, you can follow me @koonamaflopa on instagram