An onomatopoeia per the sounds of bus mayhem:
Plop! Books hit the floor. All around chaos, as one novels plunges after another.
Bang! The refrigerator door swings open. A jar of Hibiscus tea* shatters, bleeding red.
Drip. A water jug leaks after being thrown onto it side.
ShhShh. Baskets slide across the floor, acting in accordance with the law of centrifugal force.
During our first few trips with the bus, we had no clue what we were doing. We simply plucked a few things from the shelves, threw them into a basket, and off we went - ignorant of the horrors ahead. Boom-Crackle-Pop, the sounds of rattling shelves, clanking glass, grinding wood; each noise painting a devastating mental image of destruction. With every few feet of driving J and I would side eye each other. Our squinted glare signaling, "oh no!"
In one specific catastrophe, we lost a whole drainer worth of my grandmothers dishes, sigh. It was during our first "big" bus trip, we had travelled to Ontario, Canada and the Adirondacks. On our way out of a provincial park, we stopped to make lunch. After washing up, and filling the drainer with sparkling dishes, we got back on the road. As we were cruising down the Queensway, I heard the dish drainer slide forward on the counter. I shot a look at Jonathan and jumped up out of my seat. CRASH - I was too late! What a disaster, what a mess, what a lesson! We now double, triple, and quadruple check that things are secure.
We are still amateur skoolie travelers, even with several trips under our belt. For example, as I was editing this post, we managed to break another mason jar *grumble grumble*. That said, in the wake of our trip to Georgia, I figured I'd attempt to systematize our packing regime. When preparing to get on the road we keep in mind:
i. What stays?
We leave behind the random odds and ends that pile up - think house hold kitchen drawer, you know, the one with all the random ketchup packets and to go cutlery? Yep, that's basically what the front of the bus is but on a larger scale. When we are stationary, we treat the front of the bus as a mud room. We have a coat rack above the passenger seat and the dashboard usual holds kitchen appliances, recyclables, and random junk. Therefore, when preparing to move the bus, we need secure the clothing rack, and restore all the junk to its rightful place - the trash or the shed.
ii. What comes?
J has made a compact tool box labeled "Essentials", or rather I think he labeled it "essentals"... This DIY tool box is equipped with a square, hammer, drill bits, measuring tape, glue, snips, etc. All to fix minute problems, such as plumbing and electrical. Oh, we have also learned that we must carry along Zip Tape for the things that move that shouldn't and W-D40 for the things that stop moving that should.
A few other odds and ends are our bikes (for an alternative means of transportation), tire chucks and risers, a potable water hose, a grey water hose, and an extension cord (in case of us needing to plug in for electricity).
iii. Strap it down
In lieu of kitchen drawers, we have installed fisheye hooks and "lips" on our shelving. Our solution to keep things in place, when moving, has been to string paracord across the length of the shelf.
Our free standing items are either stored in baskets, the trashcan, or the sink. As for our dresser, we have added latches to keep each drawer closed.
We also stuff bath towels in the fridge. This prevents glass, or other fragile items, from falling over. However, at the start of this trip we forgot the towels - oops...
*Said jar of hibiscus tea
iv. Prepare for take off
After everything has been strapped down and/or removed from precarious locations, we walk around the outside of the bus, removing any outdoor components that would interfere with us moving. Like our stone walk way, which is too fragile to drive over. We also have to lower the bus off of it's jacks and risers and move the drain tubing.
In the midst of all the paracord-ing, storing, shuffling, we fill up on water, too. It takes us about an hour and a half to both prepare the bus and the property for departure. Not too shabby, eh? Packing up can certainly feel like a hassle, and yet, it's not enough to keep us from traveling with the Lil Peach.
After packing us the bus and moving it for the night.