Saturday, January 2, 2010

Robbie Benson's Making Bus Magic Happen!!

Robbie Benson stopped by the bus again today! And here now my head is still spinning after the two very focused hours we spent together scoping out how the inside of the bus needs to be laid out. The first order of importance was determining what kind of toilet we would need to have on board. Robbie who had spent a few summers traveling in his grandparents RV, knew how crucial it was to get this very primal need taken care of first so wse could the rest of the bus around it.

We settled on a location ¾ of the way back so we could take advantage of the space under the bus where the air tanks are surrounded by a lot of empty space. Agreeing that the waste needed to be under the floor, we now knew where that would be after a few more measurements and we moved to the other components that are going to make this machine a showpiece of the highest order.

The U-shaped lounge area in the back of the bus that was already built for the purposes of seating party gueestss, will move to the area directly behind the driver. The two 7'11' seats that come out two feet from the wall will soon cover the front wheel wells instead of the back. The middle of this seating structure will be cut out so that full front and rear bus access remains.

One wall and two curtains will partition off this area so passengers can have a comfy seating area as they drive along. As it then doubles as an interview area for the press interviews I will be giving and podcast interviews I will be doing. Handsomely represented on the inside of one of the windows will be a map of the United States with our route drawn on to it. When in use for outreach, the curtains will close off the hallway that will exist in this part of the bus.

Behind this important area will be somewhat of a large multi purpose room bordered on one side by the kitchen and bathroom we foresee..It is here that a two burner stove (maybe a Coleman Camp stove or oe we can scavenge from a dead camper – can anyone help here?) will be made mobile so we can place it under of the vents that already exists. For which Rob thought solar powered fans would be a great way to vent the vapors and heat out of the bus. And to make this approach novel, he suggested we put them on bike wheels supported by old bike frames. This as all the cupboards will open with brake lever handles and the like.

Rob came up with the idea for a pedal powered sink. He will do some research and see if it is possible to use pedal power to build up pressure in the same way water pistols work. Ron Bishop had suggested I talk with David Butcher about creating a perdal power system for my computer. While that did nt feel right for the web and writing work that I do, for many hours at a time, it does seem like David may have some answers for pedalig water from the tanks below the bus up to the sinks above. Rob thought this would be a great way to get showers going until he realized the water would have to be heated. When we came back to John Oleary's original solar shower idea.

All of which left us at refrigeration. After talking about relying on a cooler and dry ice, quickly we agreed that we have to turn up the volume for our need to salvage the insides of a dead motor home. From time to time, these show up in the Free section at Craiglist. And when they do, it's just someone trying to get am ugly decaying sheel off their prosoerty. A shell with perfectly good inner workings. Many with refrigerators. As well as showers, even toilets. Who can help us here by keeping an eye out for such a resource?

All this will be built in such a way that the public will be able to enter the bus through the rear wheel chair accessible door and see the diarama (Rob also foresaw this scale model of the Nat Bicycle Greenway as being mobile and also on bicycle wheels with attractive bike framing) that Sylvie Maxwell built of the Greenway (take picture when taking other pix for Rob of the inmdioe pf the bus), the storyboard of NBG accomplishments that Gail Michael built and even hanging from the ceiling the recumbent and trailer I reached 40 million people with for the Nat Head Injury Foundation in 1986. The books I have written will also be on display and there will be literature racks that people can browse while their waiting their turn to ride the Busycle for example

The huge wiring harnesses that run from front to back along both sides of the bus will be enclosed by nice looking cabinets from which the lighting track that Ron Bishop and Barry Burr have been talking about will run.

Rob, much excited about this project wants me to take pictures of the inside of the bus tomorrow when there is light, we ran out of it. What's more, he will cut the plywood and frame supports needed to get us storage under the bus for my books that we will also be touring with. And he will install it all some time before next weekend!! And if that's not enough, he will start coming over on Saturday mornings before he plays football (and major tempts me to join him).....

Who else wants to help!! ???

sSo exciting!!

Btw: Just learned about an affordable 52 DB electric power generator for less than $300. I went out on the web and cheapest I could find was in the $500 realm but wow would that let me crank away here on the computer without disturbing anyone as I did!!

Adjacent to the above stands Skyline Solar. Based in Mountain View, does anyone here anyone there? Im a perfect world, solar panels would be a god ssend to power all the devices we will have on board now and especially by the time we hit the road.

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