Week 1

So week one was interesting! We went to Polk County last Monday to pick up the bus. It was surprisingly way easier than expected that’s for sure. We had the maintenance men on hand to help us in getting the bus jumped (as it had been sitting for a while) and explained to Surge how to drive this behemoth of a machine. Surge got it in no time and off we went, 3 hours Northeast back to Daytona. The trip couldn’t be complete without torrential downpour of course. At one point I-4 was traffic jammed and I could barely see the bus in front of me. But other than that we had no issues whatsoever. We got it to our temporary location in Daytona where we’ll be prepping it to get it registered and ready for Missouri.


Now the fun part: removing the seats. From what we read we knew this would probably be the most tedious thing on the bus. We first removed all the bolts along the outside of the seats (bolts closest to the windows). This was not too bad for the most part, just a lot were corroded and a tad difficult to get out. But onto the hard part, Surge thought that taking an angle grinder to the inside bolts may be the easiest solution but that was not the case. With the exception of the few seats that were not easily accessible under the bus  the rest of the seats were removed by one person on the bus and someone else under the bus holding the nut for the bolt. It was lengthy to do it this way but worked efficiently enough. The angle grinder to ALL the inside bolts would have taken even longer.

So as of Day 3 the bus seats have been completely removed. We are planning on scrapping them but we aren’t sure what we will get for them, hopefully something worth the time and effort but we will see. We were told that the bus more than likely needs a battery as it needed a boost to start. However, we have been starting it every single day with no issues, which is great, one less mechanical thing to worry about. In fact, everything is running perfect, the oil pressure, water temp, etc are all normal. The only issue we have at the moment is that the rear signal lights don’t work (probably a bad fuse). We are going to address that issue at a later time when she is closer to getting on the road.


One of the few seats left

After we got all the seats out we started removing all the metal trim on the floor. Once we got all that out we started working on removing the actual plywood floor. It was incredibly heavy as the rubber flooring added a ton of weight! As of day 7 we had scrapped the bus seats, a measly $38 but hey that’s still $38 dollars we didn’t have before. In this time frame Surge also started taking apart the dashboard for cleaning and modifying. He figured that the cockpit of the bus should be taken care of first since it will be utilized first when being driven all the way to Missouri and I think that makes a lot of sense.

For one week I sure feel like we got a lot accomplished. We in no way have unreal expectations that the bus will be transformed overnight. We know it’s going to take a loong time and a lot of hardwork, blood, sweat and tears. Week 2 coming soon as well!!




So a little bit of background information always helps. This is the blog of Surge and I (Jamie) and our school bus conversion. Though we haven’t been together for too long we both knew right away that our dreams and goals coincided with each others and as corny as it sounds, sometimes things just fall into place and you know you’re on the right path.

Surge is an amazing tattoo artist and has been tattooing for the past nine years. He travels to various conventions and bike rallies to tattoo and is part of a very unique operation called Purple Pirate Tattoo & Side Show. It’s exactly as it sounds, they tattoo amazing custom work and yes, perform side show acts as well. Ray, the owner of Purple Pirate can breathe and spin fire and hang a bowling ball from his tongue (yes, a real bowling ball). Surge can swallow swords, perform human blockhead and spin fire staff. It’s all quite an amazing feat to witness.


I am a professional photographer specializing in family and modeling portraiture. I’ve been in business since 2014 and every year it grows exponentially.  As much as I love doing what I do, I know that my photography is an avenue to be able to venture outside of our home base, Daytona Beach, FL.

So back to the good stuff! We bought a school bus! This is just the first step in probably a million but every adventure starts somewhere and has a beginning. The school bus is a 2001 Thomas MVP-ER with a Caterpillar 3126 Diesel Engine and an Allison MD 3060 Transmission. It is an 84 passenger, meaning 14 windows along the side, with a side emergency door (a huge potential plus!). It’s quite the vehicle and we have yet to even pick it up yet! It is sitting in Polk County, Florida at the moment. We have until next week to pick it up and move it to its next destination to start the conversion process. I will be documenting and blogging the entire experience, through good and bad so that hopefully we can create a larger fan base for Purple Pirate Tattoo and also help others who are thinking of simplifying their life and converting a bus to live in! We have also created a GoFundMe that we would love for people to look at and possibly contribute if possible.

Much love and good vibes as we begin this awesome, rewarding new journey in our lives.