At the end of our 20 Months Fulltiming Report I mentioned that big things were afoot with regard to The Big Kahuna. The agonizingly long transmission rebuild was finally nearing completion, we could expect it would be shipped back to Charleston from Illinois soon, and if successfully installed and operationally tested, I would need to fly to South Carolina for pick up. So nine months after it was delivered to the rebuild company, they were finally done with it. Heck it would have taken even longer if I had not gotten, er, very excited during recent conversations with the head mechanic. I was under pressure from General Diesel in Charleston to get our bus off their lot one way or another. They have been pretty patient with us, but they had a point.
We tracked the shipment back to Charleston, and a few days later they reported everything was good to go. I stashed Rosemarie in a full hook up site at a regional park on the outskirts of Minneapolis, and flew to Charleston on a one way discount ticket purchased with American Airlines points. I arrived in time to catch an Uber to General Diesel to conduct a road test and make payment. The engine and transmission seemed strong and smooth, the only catch was the nearly three year old starter batteries were no longer holding a charge.
I think the manager and mechanic at General Diesel felt a bit sheepish for not having even tested them after having to jump start Kahuna multiple times following the transmission install, so they did a dynamic load test on them while I waited and confirmed they were shot. Nothing to be done except pay for new ones, which General Diesel was kind enough to only charge me for the parts, not the brief labor involved in hooking them up.
And away we went, on the road by late afternoon, I pushed the bus south three hours to Golden Isles RV Resort near Brunswick, GA. This was one of our first stops after buying Serenity last year, and it is a nice full hook up campground a couple of miles of I-95 that accepts the Passport America rate. Back in March during a stop to check on The Big Kahuna we had pre-positioned basic living items such as a plate, utensils, cleaning supplies, a towel, sheets and the like, in anticipation of this day, but I still needed to hoof it up the road on foot to purchase a bit of food from the nearby grocery store. Thus supplied I settled in for what might be the last night I spend in the old bus.
The next morning I pushed on to Geneva, Florida where I parked the bus at Uncle Bob’s while I researched storage options. The plan was to put the bus up for sale, and have it stored in a location close to where we would be spending part of the winter. This meant Central Florida north of Orlando, Southeast Florida below Miami, or the Gulf Coast between Venice and Tampa. Since I was already in Central Florida, and it would be the first place we would be stopping for any notable period of time after returning to the state in Serenity, we elected to go with the first option, at least for now.
Once that was decided I did some internet research backed up with a phone calls to local storage lots and RV Campgrounds that also have storage areas. I took a few hours of my second day in Florida to drive to half a dozen or so contenders, eventually settling on Wekiva Falls Campground’s storage lot. It was the most affordable, has 24 hour security, the lot is within site of the front office, allows the bus and the prominent “for sale sign” to be seen by a bunch of RVers every day, and just happens to be in the park that my dad will be spending part of the winter. Couldn’t ask for a better option.
Once settled in, I changed in some more American Airlines points for a deep discount flight back to Minneapolis from Orlando. It the bus doesn’t sell in the next couple of months, we may end up moving it south or to the Gulf Coast. We know this is a very small niche market, and we will need to wait for the right buyer to come along, so patience is the key. So, anyone in the market for a vintage bus, lots of upgrades, and a freshly rebuilt transmission? It has had nearly everything replaced, rebuilt, upgraded, or serviced, wish we had gotten it that way!