A pictorial history of the Bus conversion

Every now and then we meet someone who wants to know how we did the bus conversion and such. For some they want all the details and others just want a summary.

For this reason I thought I would post a (not so short) pictorial summary in just one post.

Click on the photos and that will open a new tab taking you to the original post that goes into a bit more details. Feel free to ask questions. I will get Rob to answer the questions as usually any questions are too deep for me.

First we had to find the bus

Stripping the bus out

Our son Dean & Rob stripping the last bus seat out
In the process of dropping the floor

Lifting the roof

Lifting the roof was such a big job. Rob is 6'4". We opted to only drop the floor on the driver's side for the slide out. The kitchen and ensuite were built upon the original flooring.
Strengthening the chassis

Making good use of our forklift to lift the beams for raising the roof

Cutting hole in wall for slide out and planing the interior

Fibreglassing the front

Strengthening the roof

Of course the door frame needed lifting too

Removing the rear window to make way for back slideout

Mechanical Details

Much later we did get the mechanic to give it the bus the once over and that took more work than we had first hoped for... but that's way after getting the chain fixed. Eventually we had to get the chain hand made in America for us... took ages.

This unusual chain needed replacing
The springs needed work too!

Back on the outside of the bus

We replaced all the top half of the bus sides with aluminum panels. We installed windows according to purpose.

First panel goes up
Making the door
A new door has to be made to fit regulations

Installing windows and power points

Working on the skylight

Strengthening the bin where we are going to house the lithium batteries

Painting the roof
Installing the solar panels  - all 32 of them
Lithium Batteries to harness all that solar power
Installing water tanks including this one partially under the bed

Paint job done on sides

Two Slide outs

Making the slide out for the lounge

Using the forklift to help put the bed slide out into place

Bed & side steps under construction. Bed has to be high to go over rear mounted motor
Slide out for the lounge under construction
Bed slide out is more complicated

Fitting the ensuite, kitchen etc

Putting up the ceiling, wiring and insulation

Unique tilt cupboard above bed for storage (we store most of our clothes in here)

Making the mould for fibre glassing the ensuite
Installing and fitting out the ensuite

The kitchen in progress

The fridge and the lounge are amongst the last things installed.
Redesigning the dashboard

In writing up this post I realize that a post on the kitchen never got written up. I hope to suss that out from our private journals & photos and add this chapter into the blog soon.

This is basically the bus to motorhome conversion in a nutshell. There are many little details not included such as the sliding table and the unique tilt cupboard above the bed that go to make it a little bit different. If you have noticed any else I have left out or have any questions then feel free to make it known in the comments below. I love to get comments as it makes me feel that at least someone is actually reading what I write. 

We are where we are meant to be

OK So we are not on the road travelling around Australia as we had hoped to be in our motorhome.  For us it was never just about seeing our wonderful country and enjoying our retirement, we also wanted to do volunteer work along the way, to worship God in the beauty of the countryside as well as worship in various churches and meet many different people that we'd never get to otherwise meet.

The Robbiebago bus on the road

However God apparently has other plans for us and we have had to curtail our travelling for the time being at least. It started of with learning that truly, life is unpredicatable:  Michelle (yep that's me) was diagnosed with a rare head cancer. Finally I was given permission to go travelling providing I take it easy and have regular check ups along the way. So we began planning our RV trip to Tasmania. Then whilst in Tasmania I had my first attack of kidney stones and had the first two of my 5 hospital visits in Tasmania including some operations and one as soon as we get back to our home city.

My hospital bed

We were to be  home for a month or so for a daughter's wedding and then we had hoped to  head north.

Rob & I with our beautiful daughter
Now it was Rob's turn: Rob had started to notice that he was much more out of breath than was warranted. We followed it up with various tests, sadly it wasn't simple. Rob needed a bypass and a lung biopsy taken at the same time resulted in the diagnosis of Usual Interstitial Pneumonia which, as I understand it, is basically a hardening of the fibrous support around the lungs which stop the lungs from expanding (taking in enough oxygen). This is impeding Rob's recovery from the bypass. There is no cure and it will progressively get worst but at this stage, we have been given no time frame. We have yet to discover what treatments are available and with that we might have more information.

Rob recovering at home
We don't know what God's plan is. I have to remind myself time and time again that God never makes mistakes. We are as He wanted us to be: tall or short, shy or out going, simple or brilliant, practical or imaginative, pretty or plain, healthy or otherwise, etc.

Don't we sometimes wish we  could control certain aspects of our lives. I know I have fallen in this trap from time to time in my thinking. "If only ______, my life would be different and possibly better." But really all of our hard-wiring is the result of God’s glorious creative ability. There were no accidents, no glitches, no thoughtless moments. Sadly, most of us are not happy with who God made us to be nor where we are especially when life is not as we wish it to be. Sometimes the circumstances of life that we have had to endure have moulded us to who we are and the way we respond to life in general.

Hardships, in whatever format they appear whether it be health, death of loved ones, abuse financial strife are part of what makes life difficult at times. By the way that doesn't mean that He is happy when we suffer nor does He bring calamity upon us to 'teach' us or whatever. We need to have a sense of identity that will not fail us when we're buffeted by the guaranteed storms of this life, we must start at the beginning and recognize that we were made by God and we are very precious to Him.

Stop and think about it as these are powerful and amazing words! Every part of the fabric of your personhood was carefully knit together by God’s creative hands. There was no part of you that was hidden from him. He carefully examined every aspect of your unformed body before you were born.

We don't have to know where we are but we can rest in that we are exactly where we are meant to be. We can trust that God knows the way and that it will eventually lead to him.


When you are out on road, whether it be camping, in a caravan or in a motorhome, you will need to cook at one stage and a quick simple meal is something most of us want. Now if you can find one that is cheap and tasty too then you will come back to it time and again.

This tasty dinner hits the jackpot every time in every way. I love it so much that I like to cook it at home too.


1 Tablespoon oil
1 onion chipped finely
5 Tablespoon massaman paste
1 small (500g) butternut pumpkin peeled, remove seeds & chopped into small cubes
4 kaffir lime leaves
4 cups chicken stock
280ml coconut cream
200g raw prawns peeled & devined
100g grape tomatoes, cut lengthwise
60g snow peas cut into long strips
coriander leaves and/or shallots for garnishing


  1. Cook onion in oil until soft then add paste & cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  2. Add pumpkin, lime leaves and stock. Bring to boil. Reduce to simmer for 10 minutes until pumpkin start to soften.
  3. Add cream, prawns, snow peas & tomatoes. Simmer for 3 minutes until prawns are cooked – do not over cook the prawns.
  4. Remove from pan and add garnishes.
Exmouth Big Prawn on our way to Cape Range National Park


  • I chose to serve with cooked rice or rice noodles to make it more filling.
  • It is just as nice without the prawns if you want to go vegetarian or you could substitute with chicken instead.
  • If you wish to freeze half, my suggestion is that you eat ALL the prawns at the first sitting and just have the soup minus the prawns the 2nd time OR add fresh raw prawns and cook for 3 minutes as though you would in step 3. (I found the prawns went tough on reheating.) 

So that's it, just 18 minutes from start to on the table. 
It really is so fast, simple and tasty!

How much space is enough between neighbours when camping?

One of the reasons I love to free camp is that, we generally have a bit more room between neighbours than one does in a commercial RV or caravan park. Every now and again you come across selfish or plain inconsiderate people that do not think of anyone but themselves. What might seem perfectly acceptable and reasonable to you may have the person next to you going off the deep end in righteous fury.

Experience #1

We had one such experience recently. A very selfish motorhome/bus neighbour parked right along side our friend's rig. I like to believe he was just plain thoughtless rather than deliberately provocative, but he parked with one of his bins, the one with the generator in it, lined up less than 2m from our friend's caravan door. When questioned he states that he parked here, “because he wanted to have the water on tap to do his washing." He then proceeded to have his gennie running for hours at a time. (BTW There were quite a few other taps in this park that were 'vacant' at the time but none of the taps are meant for exclusive use by any one!)

It was easy enough to 'fix' since our friends just partly packed up and moved away from them rather than put up with such rude neighbours. Actually this is how we met as they moved to an area a bit closer to us and we joined together for happy hour - our gain!

Experience #2

I recall another time when we were camped in a National Park on the banks of a lovely lake in Queensland. We were set up there for about 36 hours when a young family moved rather close. We thought it a little odd, but we just quietly put up with it. They spread out with a tent for themselves and the kids had a couple of smaller tents amongst themselves. They had a canoe which often was 'parked' right in front of us. The next day, they had friends or family join them and another lot of tents were set up plus a large marque. Some of the teenager's tents were so close to our slideout that you could hardly walk around our bus. One had to step over their guy ropes etc. Apparently it was the beginning of the local school holidays and they were going to stay there for a week.

The coup de grĂ¢ce for us was when their extra friends brought a jet ski and parked the trailer right across the front of us between our motorhome and the water's edge so that they didn't restrict the beach access for their family and friends from their own tent sites. We asked them to move the trailer but then they set up a tent almost in front of the motorhome. It was obvious that they were not going to be considerate of us. At this stage we just shut up and put up as we were moving on the next day any way.

Normally we don't leave until something like 10 or 11am as Rob likes to sleep in and relax over breakfast then get moving maybe around 10am or so. This time, we got up nice and early and then told them they had to move the tent in front of us, which wasn't used for sleeping, as it would likely get damaged as we drive out of our location. They were very unhappy to do as requested. There was a 1 metre high wall behind us so there was no way we could reverse. As we left I asked why they parked so close to us when there were plenty of room else where for their large group with water frontage too. Their answer was “This is our spot. We come here every year and we always camp right here!!!” I guess you can get bogans anywhere (I think the closest American slang would be rednecks).

Good neighbour space etiquette

Everyone has their own idea of personal space and this applies to camping too. So what is a good etiquette to adopt? ‘Too close’ will vary according to each camper, so it is best to err on the side of caution and set up as far away from your neighbour as room allows esp when there are no designated site markers. If space is tight and you’re in a position where you may need to camp closer than you think they’d like, a smile,  a chat with the neighbours before parking and an acknowledgment of the difficulty goes a long way. Similarly, if you think someone is pitched too close to you, a quick move or a polite chat should sort things out before you’re smouldering as much as your campfire.
Also be aware that if you’re camping with children and or pets, that not everyone loves them as you do, do your best to make sure they don’t disrupt or annoy other campers.

Someone at Lets Go Travel Australia wrote a brilliant piece about Camping Etiquette in general covering Generators, noise, alcohol consumption, disposal of rubbish, emptying the toilet etc.

So play nice, and lets ensure that it is happy camping for everyone.

Grandma's Curried Sausages

There are many ways to jazz up left over sausages. So much so that I cook extra sausages nearly every time.

Traditional Curried Sausages
I seem to be really getting into a fair bit of cooking lately and ones good enough to write about.

I love to make this delicious old fashioned curried sausages. It is a recipe that was handed down from my mother who was a professional cook at one stage of her life. It is my absolutely favourite way to turn sausages into a fabulous meal and I like to pair this with mash potatoes and vegetables. To me sausages and mashed potatoes are a marriage made in heaven though it can be served with rice too!

English Style Curried Sausages

Serves 4 generously. (freeze one half for a easy meal another time)

6 or so sausages precooked (BBQ ideal)
2 large onions, chopped
3 carrot diced
2 teaspoons curry powder
½ apple peeled and grated
2 to 3 cups water
1 teaspoon beef stock powder
Salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons cornflour mixed with extra water to a smooth paste

Curried sausages in the Dream Pot


  1. Place vegetables, apple, water, spices, stock powder , tomato pasted and salt and pepper in a large saucepan, and simmer for 30 minutes (add more water as necessary)
  2. Add chopped sausages and simmer for an hour or better still pop it into your Dream Pot or thermal cooker and leave it for 4 hours.
  3. Stir in flour mixture and stir until the mixture thickens. (If cooking in Dream Pot then add flour just before placing in Dream Pot) 
  4. Serve with mashed potatoes combined and boiled vegetables of your choice.

You could replace regular white potatoes with sweet potatoes or at least add some to your white potatoes to make it  healthier as well as being yummy.


I placed my sausages in the top, smaller pot and filled the bottom pot with boiling water. This kept the food "hot"  for longer.  You could use the water for rice and I do when cooking an Asian style curry but for this curry recipe I actually prefer mash potatoes and I haven't had success with potatoes cooked in a thermal pot. I used the hot water for washing up after dinner but a buddy had a better idea: She suggested that I used the bottom pot to make some soup at the same time. It was one of the "Oh Duh - why didn't I think of that" moment. So from now on that is what I will do. Thanks Roma.

Rocky Cape National Park

We took in a drive around the coastal areas to the east of Stanley which includes the Rocky Cape National Park and Sisters Beach. I am so glad we did this little side trip. It is such a pretty area.

Rocky Cape Coastline

The road to Sister's Beach is a very steep and windy descent down to the tiny sleepy beach side village. We had a leisurely look around and then we headed east about 10km down another steep incline to Boat Harbour Beach which is a spectacular beach.

Rocky Cape National Parks is relatively small but it has extraordinary rock formations. The park is apparently ideal for easy grade bush walks. Being a National Park I am sure it is home to some unique Tasmanian flora and fauna but this wasn't the time for us to discover this, nor did we explore any of the Aboriginal rock shelters and caves in the area. We took the easy way out since Rob is noticing more breathing restrictions caused by the damaged lungs after the blood clots last year and it was rather cold so we just looked from within warmth of the car with just the odd excursion out to see this or that up close.