Moving Right Along: The Miller Family Converts a School Bus

Often on road trips, Drew and I have played a silly game where we try to find the most ridiculous item for sale on the side of the road.  While living in a one-bedroom apartment in Dayton, we would say, ”We should buy that.”, as we drove by a large hay baler with a For Sale sign proudly posted.  Over the past twenty years, we have never actually followed through on one of those unlikely purchases.  But that all changed two weeks ago when we bought a school bus.

For 5 days we anxiously watched the price of the bus slowly rise during the online auction for Rockingham County Public School surplus items.  We bid on smaller items in an effort to perfect our bidding strategies.  (We can use hazard cones, right?)  We argued back and forth about what our high bid should be.  Friends and family jokingly offered to fast and pray.  In a normal year, auctions are done in person and most buses are bought and taken apart for scrap metal.  But this year we might be bidding against someone in California.

On Weds., October 7th, we blocked off time to make sure to be the top bidder.  Then an hour before the auction closed, I got a call to show a house.  Clients that I have been working with for years finally had the house of their dreams come on the market, so I left my house with a dream hanging in the balance.  Thankfully that night two dreams became reality.  My clients have their dream house under contract, and we now have a bus sitting in our yard.

Our very own Skoolie!

For the uninitiated in the world of converted school buses, the term for this type of vehicle is a “skoolie.” There are people that actual do these bus conversions for a living.  We are not those people.  This is a project we are doing as a family during a season in life where we don’t have travel sports and school is online at home.  We are hoping to unplug, unzoom, and engage on a different level as a family.  The end game is a summer trip, cross country in 2021.

My greatest fear is that this will unhinge our relationships.  We are all spending a lot of time together these days.  When demo is dirty and painful, will we dig deep and support each other, or bicker and point fingers?  I am hoping that we will keep smiling as we did for these “first day” pictures.

Day 1 Demo

Recently I had a run in with a power washer which required multiple stitches in my knee. (Drew remarked that only someone with arms as long as mine would be able to injure themselves this way.) With this unique ability in mind, I decided to limit my demo tools to man powered ones only.  In less than 45 minutes, my 16 year-old son, Noah, and I were able to remove all seats from the bus using only a hammer and socket wrench.  My boys have recently started a recycling business in Bridgewater since the town no longer picks up recycling.  We are saving all scrap metal that we pull off the bus and will recycle it.  I am thankful for the industrious people in this area who run scrap yards.

Day 1 = blissfully easy and conflict free

Stay tuned for more updates as we follow the Miller Family on their bus converting journey!

About Peyton Miller

Originally from Richmond, Peyton relocated to Harrisonburg in 2001 when she got married. She has lived in the Town of Bridgewater since 2006 and has a passion for promoting community involvement and collaboration within her town. After receiving her Masters in Education from James Madison University in 2009; investing her energy on her family and friends by leading mom’s groups, church groups, and running a variety of children’s programs at Covenant Presbyterian Church; and teaching Literature at Redeemer Classical School, Peyton decided to jump into the world of real estate. Having fallen in love with her home and community, Peyton now helps others find the same thing. She enjoys walking alongside individuals and families as they make the significant decision to purchase or sell a home. She handles all of the details and proactively tackles any obstacles, so that her clients are able to focus on the joys of finding a home and community of their own. When she is not working, Peyton enjoys reading, backpacking, and watching soccer.