Saturday, October 15, 2011

From Van to Bus

The time has come to sell our beautiful, big red fire truck.  We have only owned it for about 1 and a half years, but a lot has happened in that time.  We bought it and then had the wheelchair lift installed so that we could get Bryce in and out easier and so that he could have the support of his wheelchair even as we drove.  It took a bit to get used to the bright red color, and the fact that everywhere I went someone recognized me or would stare and wondered about this huge, red van.  However, it didn't take long for me to really like this van.  It gets great gas mileage for the size that it is and it is amazingly easy to drive.  I love this van!

However, like I said, a lot has happened in the past year and a half.  Last summer we realized that the rear air was not strong enough to keep the back of the van cool in this summer Arizona heat.  Since Bryce's body has trouble regulating temprature, that is a real problem.  We planned to put in a stronger, roof top air conditioning unit before the following summer.  But, before that time came, Annalise began having trouble and we soon realized that before long, we would need a vehicle that would hold two wheelchairs instead of just one.  

So, we began to look at our options.  As we did, we found that our options were very limited!  We began to look into mini buses.  One guy that John talked with in April said that he knew just what our family needed and then came out to show us this lovely Turtle Top Bus.
I do love that this bus had two seats up front.  That would be nice.

The turtle top really was a nice bus and the boys instantly loved it and thought we should buy this one immediately.  There were just a couple of problems with that though.  First, this one was not wheelchair accessible and we really didn't want to have another lift installed...if possible.  And, a new bus like this would cost us around $75,000!  Just a bit out of our price range!  

So, although we had decided that we would need to go with a "mini bus" (a name I find quite misleading), we knew that we still had some searching to do.   I'll spare you all the details of  the following months of searching, but finally we found one that was within our price range.  It was a 2006 and looked really nice.  The only problem was that it was not running at the time.  Minor detail ;)  Anyway, since it cost less than we had budgeted for, we bought it for $3500 and had it towed to the shop.  Just $600 later, we brought the bus home.  We were so happy that we had gotten such a great deal.  However, one week later, it once again would not start and it was towed back to the shop.  A few weeks and $8000 later, the bus finally came home...hopefully to stay!

Jacob and Spencer checking out the lift

Annalise liked the lift as well

It seats 13 in the back or the seats fold up and there is room for 5 wheelchair!

Bryce's first impression was NOT a good one!  He was terrified of it.  He has gotten used to it now and seems to be fine when we travel in it.

The signs throughout the bus crack me up.

The wonderful air conditioner!  My favorite part of the whole bus.

It is large and will take some getting used to, but hopefully it will work for what we need.  I will continue to search for a bus that is a bit smaller and still meets our needs, but for now, this is our new family vehicle.

When I realized what we were going to have to drive, I knew that I needed something smaller to drive when I didn't have all the kids with me.  I just couldn't see driving the bus every time I ran out to get some milk!  We looked and found a nice 2000 Jetta that should do the trick.  What we went through to get that is a whole other story for another time, but it is a nice little car.  We named it the Green Smoothie!

It does get dirty quickly, but the boys love washing a nice small car!

So, now that the bus is out of the shop, we cleaned up the van and have listed it on ebay motors.  As much as we will miss it, we hope it sells quickly and goes to a good family who will come to love it as much as we did.  And then we can move on to the next phase of our life.  
Good-bye to our Big Red Fire Truck! 


BeGoodBeKind said...

I Love your Big Red Fire Truck it has a lot of character I would love to own it but it's not in our budget right now.
I love the sign in your New Bus that says "No Firearms or weapon allowed on the bus" Does that include Water Guns?
I bet when you got married you never imagined you would have a family that would require owning a bus. Funny how quickly things change. Love how you keep a good attitude & sense of humor about your life. Your really wonderful!

Ann said...

Love the new bus! I was hoping to maybe catch up with you at the Ryan House Fall Family Event. But, I'll be in LA this coming weekend to participate in the LA 1/2 marathon on behalf of Cure CMD. I don't think I can convince Mark to take the boys by himself. Hope things are going as well for everyone.


Tammy said...

Oh bummer, I was hoping to see you there. As long as we can get and keep everyone well, we will be there for sure! That is great that you are participating in that run though. We'll just have to meet up sometime once you get back! Have a good, safe trip!

Tara said...

Wow, both of your vans are amazing! Just what an amazing family needs!!!