See Ya Side Panels and Reason to Do This #142.


Once the first layer of the floor was removed, we moved on to the next thing...the side panels. This felt exciting because it would clue us in on any hidden rust, we’d get to remove the 24 year old insulation (and more of that funky bus smell), and we’d get to really put our new tool, the angle grinder, to the test. Plus, progress! (Insert high-pitched squealing whenever there is even the tiniest inch of progress.)

It was a pretty straightforward process. Each panel is about 8 feet long and held on with aluminum rivets every two inches or so along the window edge and then down to the seat rail every few feet. The aluminum rivets (unlike the steel rivets we’d have to face once we tackled the ceiling), are relatively soft, so the angle grinder shore through the head of each one without too much fuss. It was just a matter of patience and knowing a stiff back was in your future from all the leaning forward.

Since it was such a simple task, Jake pulled Eli on to help. Eli was thrilled. By the end, he was completely controlling the angle grinder and only needed his daddy to help support the weight of it.

An hour later, he emerged with the biggest grin and lots to tell me about the idiosyncrasies of rivet removal.

And that brings us to Reason To Do This #142...even if the bus never leaves the front yard, our boys are gaining an incredible education from it as we try to pull them into as many aspects of the project as possible. From engine mechanics to construction to interior design to solar power to what it feels like to go from something raw and seemingly impossible, to something you worked out with your own two hands and a healthy amount of Googling. Plus, all of this makes me feel much less guilty when we skip school to do something bus related, but that's just another homeschool perk...everything is a chance to learn, you just have to say yes to it.