Dear Melissa — Prison Bus Conversion #15

Dear Melissa — Prison Bus Conversion #15

Dear Melissa, We’ve been married a bit over ten years now,
and it’s been occurring to me lately that it may have been a bit of a strain on our
nuptials to have bought this prison bus. I mean, there have been other schemes over
the years, but none have taken up quite as much space in the driveway as this one. And none have blocked as many of our windows
in the house. And none have had the aura of, I guess you
could say, incarceration … in the way that the prison bus has. Also, I need to acknowledge that it was a
bit optimistic … or maybe just plain dumb of me, to have parked the bus dead center
in the middle of the driveway before leaving it to sit for a few months this past summer,
as now the bus is pretty much un-moveable. Having it beached dead center in the driveway
instead of parked off to the side where it was has definitely made getting our bikes
by the bus difficult, and I know this makes getting to work rough. And then the trailer is now stranded in the
front yard, as I can’t get it past the bus, and it’s been hard to get anything but the
smallest garbage can by the bus … so we both know that the bus is kind of .. in, the,
way. So to try to rectify this problem of the fully
marooned bus that’s not only blocking three of our windows in the house but also largely
clogging up our driveway, I’ve been doing two things: I’ve been trying to get that darned
old prison bus started (more on that in a second), and this week I started digging away
at the soil alongside the house to put in those pavers we got on that Craigslist run. The pavers are now in … they’re not perfect
and level and all of that … but they should be better than the muddy and dirty path we
were slipping and sliding through as we made our way around the bus. And after you and I have sat in the house
listening to the noise of black walnuts careening down on the fuselage of the bus, I got up
there and trimmed away some of the overhanging trees … so that problem may get better soon. But let me backtrack to my efforts to get
the bus started and running again. Getting it running will change everything. I’m telling you, it’s going to work out. Not only will I be able to resume my prison
bus joy rides out in the country, which I sorely miss, but the best thing about starting
up the old bus will be that I will finally be able to move it back over to the edge of
the driveway and property line, giving us much more space. Last week assessed the starter, and after
those escapades, several of my newfound internet buddies suggested that the prison bus batteries
were not that great. I mean, the batteries were emitting juice,
but not nearly enough to excite a big honkin’ diesel engine like the one in the prison bus. So I ventured out to just about every auto-parts
and hardware store in town, finding only batteries that were only about half as big as what I
needed. But I finally lucked into a monster set of
very nearly comparable batteries at my favorite store, Rural King. Those new batteries are now installed in a
cleaned, de-moused, and de-rusted battery compartment. The second battery bank in the bus will have
to be a project for a future day. But the bus now has new batteries … and
they’re all charged up … and the bus still won’t start. So I turned my attention to the ignition solenoid,
trying to jump it with a couple of screwdrivers like various dudes have done successfully
on the internet. Somehow something went wrong during this screw-driver-based-jump-starting
operation, sparks flew, the screwdriver I was using got welded to the starter solenoid,
and there was a small fire. No big deal. Nothing like the first fire on the bus. After this mishap I had truly fried something
in the bus, as nothing had power. The bus was flat-lined on the table. I dug around in one of my other wiring and
fuse boxes, this time down under the bus, and found a big old 200 amp fuse that I suspected
was fried. After pulling that fuse and an assortment
of other ignition related items in my under-bus fuse and circuit box, I was ready to head
out in search of new parts. You’ve been patient. You’ve been supportive. And I really do think that after I gather
up replacements for everything in the bag of parts I pulled off bus, it’s gonna start
right up. And if not it’ll have to be the starter that
is the problem. So we’re dangerously close to having the bus
be mobile again. I will be able to resume my prison bus joy
rides and we will be able to get our bikes and skateboards past the bus much more easily
on on our ways to and from work. So that’s your status update and what amounts
to a bit of thanks. I’m mainly saying thanks for hanging in there
with me through this project. I mean, when I came back to the house the
other night after doing some archery practice in the bus, you hadn’t changed the locks on
the doors to the house or anything, so we must be good. Appreciatively and with much love,

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. I had the same problem you, my mechanic found that a wire connecting to the ignition wasnt getting power. He ran power to that cable put it on a toggle switch. Thunderville starts like a charm now

  2. wow i was shocked to see you in the tree … man i hope you figure it out soon .. im sure melissa knows your one of a kind … do i need to send you a nutdriver set mr pliers lol

  3. Well, the welded screwdriver makes me feel a little better of all the vehicular nightmares I've seen … or caused… lately. Anyways I hope that the 200 amp fuse might be the answer. Keep us posted I'm subscribed so I'll be following along

  4. I was't here for a while. And now i came back. I'm so excited when i saw your Prison Bus Episode's. You are such an amazing person. You are so warm. I love you and your videos. Take care of your self. Thanks so much… 😄

  5. Loved the 'Dear Wife' video. I'm fairly deep into the beginning of my short bus conversion and occasionally feel the strains and frustrations coming from my spouse. Kudos to all the significant others for their patience, understanding, and tolerating our crazy endeavors. lol

  6. I grew up with that sound of falling Black Walnuts at my house as a kid. LOL! I totally forgot all about them until I saw this video.

  7. 6:53 "After some archery practice on the bus I came back to the house and she didn't change the locks on me so we must be good…"
    I lost it on that one literally laughed out loud.

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