One Year in the Bus
As Michael and I walk through the campground, we pass 2 brand new Airstream trailers. Ahh, the memories. We realize that this week will be one year since we bought our bus. Wow! Although we have fond memories of the Airstream, it’s crazy to even think about going back to it! Now that we’ve had time to get used to the bus, I thought I’d go through some of the advantages.
No hitching! We really thought this might be a disadvantage. We thought we’d miss having the van to jet around town. We have been able to cut out unnecessary trips. If the trip is important, then driving the bus has not been a big problem. Mostly it is really nice to pull in somewhere and just press the “off” button! If it is raining, no problem. If it’s cold, no problem - just press off! No getting gout in the elements and unhitching, leveling, etc.
What we miss - using the van to haul laundry.
Big Tanks! Our Airstream held 30 gallons of water. Our bus holds 144! This means that everyone gets a shower when ever we want. In the Airstream, we were constantly hunting for campgrounds with full hookups. As soon as we arrived, we all got in line for a shower. Dishes? No problem. Let the kids wash them - no need to worry about running out of water.
What we miss - Having the sewer hook up on the left side. All campgrounds have the hook up on the left.
The Generator! In the Airstream we were constantly battling low iPad batteries and trying to get by without running our air conditioning. Now, we bring our own electricity. If the kids want a movie on the big TV, just turn on the generator. This also means that we can park anywhere. That nice state park with beachfront dry camping. YES PLEASE!
What we miss - quiet. The generator is very large and pretty loud.
Privacy! When we had the Airstream, we had reflective windows so that people could not see in during the day. Often we had people walk by and put their hands up to the glass to try and see the inside. They had no clue that we were sitting right there watching them. At night we had to be sure to close the curtains or use low lighting so the outside could no see in. The bus has tinted windows, but the bottom of the window is about 6 feet off the ground. Even if people want to peep, most can’t reach.
What we miss - being able to open the windows and let in fresh air.
Space! The Airstream had 2 main areas, divided by a curtain. The bus has 3 main areas, with closing locking doors. Now that we have a napping baby, the 3rd area is invaluable… and, well, DOORS.
What we miss - storage. Although the square footage is larger, we lost all of our under-bed storage and overhead cabinets.
Easy Travel! Traveling in the van was cramped and we were always passing things back and forth, accumulating trash, taking bathroom breaks, sleeping sitting up, etc. In the bus, Michelle sits in the captain’s chair and we send the kids to the back section. They can stand up, watch movies, sleep, use the bathroom - whatever. We only stop when Michael needs a rest from driving.
What we miss - A nice driver’s seat. The bus had no cup holder, no radio, cell phone charger. It’s from 1984, people.
Looking at this list, we love the freedom that the bus has given us. We also see the projects and expenses that have come with it. We could not have withstood those our first year on the road. The Airstream was a great introduction to touring. We are grateful for the time that we had in it - but I don’t think we will be going back.