Skooliepalooza 2.0 1/31/22

Continued from here

We hit the road and formed likely the largest bus convoy since the invention of the modern school bus (which was 1927, in case you were wondering). We were thrilled that the new location was actually back in Arizona, about an hour south, very near Quartzsite. We were all following the GPS apps on our phones until we started seeing road work signs alerting us that 20-some miles ahead the bridge was out and only local traffic could pass through. Ugh! We all had to turn our rigs around on a two-lane back road and find another route. Once headed the right way, we were quickly left behind as many of the other smaller and lighter busses could take the hills faster. But we eventually had others from behind us catch up and we pulled into the new location behind, as well as followed by, so many busses!

We quickly found a new spot, unpacked, made a fire, and hoped to meet more people. The fire was shared with our vanlife neighbor, Jerome. We had a grand time sharing conversion and road stories back and forth until very late into the night!

The next day we met back up with our friends from YouTube, Jimmy and Natalie, and got to give them a tour of our bus. It’s fun talking through what works and what doesn’t work in your build with people who are living a similar lifestyle.

Over the next several days we met so many people, toured so many busses, and gave many tours of our bus. There was so much to see! We took a couple walks around the area each day and got so many ideas for upgrading our build, as well as for future builds, and renewed our motivation to finish existing projects.

One of our favorite ideas is a climbing wall on the side of this huuuuge raised-roof skoolie. We want to get some of the hand-holds as our “ladder” to the roof to wash off our solar panels and to eventually get to our rooftop deck.

We even took some time to finish a few projects while we were at Skooliepalooza. Everyone is at different stages of their build and it’s neat to be a part of the whole building fever!

We finally made a real mattress for Bray’s bed with three layers of egg-crate foam and I upholstered it with some fancy red fabric. He also got a cool map curtain and a curtain rod. (We had upgraded his bed to have 2x4s instead of a wall right before we left for Skooliepalooza.)
Jeff wired up and installed our CB Radio! One of the people in our bus circle, Konnie, had a hand-held CB Radio and we were able to test it out. It works! (Thanks, Dad!)

There were a bunch of things we had each hoped to do while at Skooliepalooza. Aside from hoping to get to meet some people who didn’t actually show up, we did everything we had wanted!

✔ I wanted to fly my kite at Skooliepalooza along with a bunch of other people who had kites in the air.
✔ Jeff wanted to shoot some of his guns, too. (Somehow I didn’t get a picture of him shooting his rifle out at 250 yards. We could barely see the target that far away!)
✔ Sue got a boyfriend. Well, actually two. The one with her here is fixed, but we aren’t sure about the other one. (Bus kittens?!?) This young man was super sweet and really big! He just walked into our bus and wanted to be pet. He even let us put a note gently on his neck to find out who owned him. It worked!

Braydon also wanted to find a girl who liked to play Legos. He did! ✔ I didn’t get a picture, but they got to build a boat quickly while her mom was chatting with our neighbors.

Many memories were made and between the good conversations around campfires, information gathered throughout many bus tours, and the relaxed but fun atmosphere, we can’t wait to go back next year! From a helpful guy named Chris we learned that our wood stove is actually a caboose-style stove. They were designed for the man in the caboose to be able to keep warm and heat a small pot of food on top. How cool is that?!?

“Random Friend Konnie” and I doing pedicures at sunset on her bus roof!
Pop-up concert out the back of this man’s converted box truck.
Walking through a sea of skoolies.
Finding BLM markers while 4-wheeling in the Jeep. (We went up… and then back down!… a hill so steep I wasn’t sure we could physically get up it! But we did… and lived to tell about it!)

Our other neighbors, Ashley and Andrew, had a stunningly gorgeous bus that they roof-raised and built out themselves. They had been flipping houses and decided it was time to unplug and do life differently. So they bought a bus, converted it expertly, and hit the road this past October (same as us!) with their big rescue dog (and Braydon’s new best friend), Vincent. Braydon said meeting Vincent was one of his favorite parts of Skooliepalooza!

A nice young lady who came to our bus to watch the sun set each evening and pet Sue took our picture with one of those cool printy cameras and put it in this frame she made with some dust from Skooliepalooza. What a fun memory!

So many activities happened throughout the week, we couldn’t attend them all, but we wanted to list a few of them. There were many concerts of all different genres of music, a wood chopping contest, an impromptu nomad wedding, yoga sessions, birthday parties, and organized hikes. Vendors were making up a large chunk of the complex selling all sorts of items from their skoolies, vans, and box trucks. Some sold artwork either painted or photographed. Others sold t-shirts, handmade clothing, custom vinyl stickers, blown glass, and even delicious food. There was even a library bus where you could borrow, trade, or even pick up a book for free and a van where a guy would sharpen knives. Another of our neighbors, Donald, ran a free bike repair business from inside his bus. It was cool!

There were so sO SO many busses it was incredible! We got a few pictures to show just how huge the event was.

Jeff took this one standing on top of our bus roof.
This is a photo of the emmense complex from a plateau Jeff hiked 20 minutes to get to! Click on the image and you can zoom in to find our bus and see many others.
Each night there was a gorgeous sunset. This is a picture of the last sunset we saw while we were at Skooliepalooza.
As we drove away, we could hardly wait for next year!

If you haven’t seen enough of Skooliepalooza 2022, check out this video from our friends Jimmy and Natalie. See if you can spot our bus in their drone footage! (Comment on their video and tell them we sent you.)

While writing this post, we feel as if we should have gotten so many more pictures of our activities throughout the event. We intentionally left the phone at the bus sometimes so we could enjoy whatever was happening at the moment. And the beauty of this platform being based mostly on words is that we can tell our stories without the need for pictures. So thank you for reading this long post and we hope you have felt a part of this exciting event!

11 thoughts on “Skooliepalooza 2.0 1/31/22

  1. oh my…where to begin! it’s great you all got together! there are tons of buses..that is so cool! love Braydons new bed! super job!
    good call on the CB dad! 💕 .. what are your handles? lol
    glad you got your ” to do list” done! so many memories made!
    I can’t believe all the room out there!! tons of buses and still room to shoot!
    nice kite flying!!
    beautiful sun set! what are temps like out there? do you have air conditioning??
    that’s great you got to meet so many people and make new friends!! so glad Braydon got to play Legos with a little girl😁 they all seem so nice and friendly!! love the stove story.. that is so cool!!
    sounds like you had an awesome time, so many activities and music!! just relaxing and chilling is fantastic!!
    but you towed the jeep too?!
    lots of stickers! but I don’t see yours, didn’t you get them in time? ☹️
    thanks for sharing this exciting trip and the pictures!! I can’t 2sit for next year either! lol
    I assume your back “home” and Jeff’s back at work? nice they let him have a week off!
    I hope Brandon can play with that little girl again and you get to keep in touch with all your new friends!! are any of them “local” so you can see them sooner then next year?
    enjoy your evening and stay safe!! 💕🤗


    1. We haven’t gotten cb handles yet. Not sure how to do that. Do you register somewhere maybe? Have to learn The lingo next lol We are going to buy a handheld one for the Jeep that we can also take out with us if one goes exploring or something. No, we drive the Jeep separately. So it would be good to have a radio in each vehicle so we can communicate while we drive.
      There were miles and miles of BLM land! It’s all free to use and federally owned. Temps are upper 70s during the day and 40s at night recently. We have a window ac unit, but we need to plug in to a generator or shore power to use it. Hopefully we won’t need it for a few more months! Our sticker is on there! Look closely 🙂
      We just pulled in to “home” about 20 minutes ago! It’s so nice to be back and we got a MUCH nicer spot than before. Can’t wait to share! Jeff starts back to one job Tuesday morning and the other Wednesday morning. Because they are both “gig” jobs, they don’t get to tell him when to work, he tells them when he’s available. Living the dream 😉
      Definitely hoping to see some of our new friends before next year. This lifestyle is very transient and everyone has different plans for their travels, so we have to see who we are near. But some have said they might pass through near Phoenix and we told them we have a spot if they want it!


  2. This was such a great recap of an amazing week! We are so lucky to have met you guys! And so lucky that Vincent made Bray’s highlights.


  3. not sure about handles.. your dad might! 😁
    oh didn’t know you’d take the jeep, nice!
    found the sticker!! 👍🏻
    gigs are cool! go Jeff! 👍🏻☺️
    nice to be home.. especially in a good spot!
    yeah, it should be a while before you need A/C!
    so what repellent do you use for scorpions?! 😳
    thanks again for the info!! keep live’n the dream!! love yas! hugs to all!!


    1. There wasn’t a place to leave it, so we took the Jeep and it worked out great so we could go into the tiny nearby town to get water instead of taking in the huge bus. Big busses and tiny towns don’t mix well haha
      We only just last night saw our first scorpion and it was dead. They are all hibernating now apparently. Not sure what we will do when they wake up, probably just learn about where they live and try to avoid them. 🧡💙💜


  4. just curious… looking at the pictures of all those buses .. I noticed people having different door ideas.. why can’t the original bus door be used? why did you choose wood? thanks .


    1. Great observation! Lots of people do use the bus doors in their entirety or even repurpose them into the new door in some way. There’s a bunch of reasons why most people don’t use the original doors as they are, though: they aren’t air tight, they are squeaky, their mechanism arm takes up a TON of space, they can not be locked except from the inside (unless you add a padlock or something), and they look like a bus instead of a house 😉
      I’m sure other people could add even more reasons, but those are the ones that come to mind right now. We chose wood as a “quick fix” and didn’t intend for it to be permanent. But it’s working great and everyone seems to love it, so it might stay haha! We are adding a window to it this week, though, as it’s nearly impossible to drive safely because you can’t see out of it!
      That’s about it. We’ve been joking that the motto of bus life should be “…so we just…” because there’s no right or wrong way to build out a bus. There’s going to be road blocks in the build and “so you just” make up something that works for you. It’s the neat aspect about building it yourself – it gets to be what works for you and you don’t have to try to make your lifestyle work around someone else’s design ideas. 😉
      Hope that helps! Keep the observations coming! 🧡💛💚


  5. Fell so far behind on comments….and this post is a good one to pick back up……
    Wow, so many busses…and all unique..! We checked out the YouTubers, Jimmy and Natalie, but couldn’t spot your bus in their video; will have to watch again. And we will leave a comment on their site.
    CB Handles – not a formal process at all. Go with a theme, or a favorite ‘thing’. When I was put on the spot to pick one at age 10 with my first pair of ‘walkies’ (and talking with Coyote and Bobcat), I blurted out ‘Beaver’, and it stuck..! Dad chose Superman (he looked slot like George Reeves), Mom picked Moonglow, and sis (AJ) picked Stardust. So, everyone else in the air and me on the ground…lol.

    Spoiler alert – The bus door window looks great….and Safe..!


    1. No problem!
      Check out their drone footage after it goes up and they wave, it turns around and we are there! They emailed us the drone footage to add to the website, but we have to figure out how to edit it down first 😉
      Good info on the CB. Thanks! And that’s a funny name story 😄


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