“The Stoolie” - Bathroom in a Converted Bus
“The excitement of traveling! The sights! The sounds! The smells!” Says one dude.
“Sweet story bro! …but have you ever shat on a school bus?!” Replies another dude.
“Dude, no way! How does that feel?” He asks, as the dude smiles. “Sweet.”
Building the Bathroom
While my dad and I were researching RV toilets, we came across an expensive composing toilet, which we decided against. We also decided against building our own toilet out of a 5-gallon bucket. We chose to go the full plumbing, connecting a flush RV toilet to a 32 gallon holding tank. We considered running water and a toilet essential to making the bus feel like a long-term-home.
Next came figuring out WHERE and HOW are we going to put a toilet and bathroom in this 189 square foot space.
After putting blue tape on the floor of the bus, we realized the only spot we could fit the plumbing underneath the bus and with the layout of the interior, the bathroom could only fit above the wheel-well of the rear left/drivers side. We could tuck the waste tank underneath the chassis, the fresh water tank right above it inside the cabin, hidden underneath the wooden bed enclosure.
We took into consideration the fuel tank is heavy when full, and on the opposite side of the bus, for somewhat equal distribution. We only wanted to have plumbing on one side of the bus, laid out as short as possible to have less chances of leaks. We went with a combined black and gray water system, to keep plumbing simple and space limitations for tank placement.
Bus Life is a blessing
Hand forging a home, building and converting a bus into a Tiny Home on wheels, has been such a valuable experience. Learning about hard work, patience, perseverance, and communication; Time management, accomplishing daily tasks to meet goals, and overall, a strong ideal of finishing what you start.
There is nothing like living in a fully self-contained School Bus (maybe vans). It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Being able to hit the open road, while retaining that comfort feeling of home, because you are Home, brings an immeasurable feeling of contented joy. A feeling of fullness, completeness. New, yet familiar. Freedom of the open road; Drive anywhere you want to go.
Driving the miles and delivering smiles. Living on the streets and roads of the Land. Some place new, some place different; yet I’m always home. Sitting around all day in that driver’s seat, staring out the window. How boring of me!
Driving this International 3800 School bus, sitting in that bouncy leather seat, it feels like I’m steering my own Destiny.
I made the choice, and now I’m driving it.
Next Stop: Success.
Destination: Joy and Self-fulfillment.
6 wheels to the ground is all I have to my name. No storage units, no fancy enclosure for any extra stuff. All I have is in this bus.
That, and an overflowing shit tank.
Let me tell ya, driving thousands of miles across the country, the second you smell your own aged and fermented chunky poop water, sloshing around in the waste tank, gushing up through the shower drain, you realize that Reality always provides you with the Truth of the moment.
Priorities immediately get re-arranged. This ‘Stoolie’ desperately needed to find a dumping station.
Essentially, I’m driving a big vehicle hauling around 32 gallons of my own waste water. I need to continually find places to dump my poop tank, and sometimes finding one becomes difficult.
I don’t actually have an accurate way to measure what’s in my tank; it has no capacity sensors. I stay aware and conscious of my water usage; how much I’ve run into the tank through the sink, shower and toilet. It became apparent it was too full, the motion of the bus causing the tank to flow up into the shower. Time to empty the tank.
I used a free Android "RV Dump Station" app to see where I could dump my tank, on the way south to Colorado Springs.
As I drove south on the highway, I couldn't find any free dump sites. I went to the first gas station that was listed, which ended up having a non-functioning sewage dump system. The next gas station that was listen also did not have a way for me to dump. Aggravating that the app was not updated more recently.
So I drove to the nearest State Park, willing to pay the $7 entrance fee just to be able to dump, but no plans of staying there for the night. The wonderful ranger told me about a gas station up the road that definitely had a place to dump.
So I made my way north to that gas station, and sure enough, $10 for a code to unlock the functional dumping station. And sure as shit! Right across the street was an International Truck dealer!
After I dumped, I drove the bus over, and was lucky enough to find a mechanic to look at an oil leak around the air compressor, and bought a new filter.
A bit of Febreze, some bleach wipes, and I was ready to keep rolling Home.
The drivers seat moves the bus; The toilet seat moves my bowels.
In the three years living in the bus, I have used the shower maybe 10 times. It creates too much humidity, even with a small roof vent (I don't have roof escape hatches). The shower was only ever going to be for “emergency” cleanings anyhow; showering empties the fresh water tank and fills up the waste water tank too fast. It is nice to have, but realizing that the solar energy I have is not enough to heat the 6 gallon water heater, I don't care much for cold showers. I mostly had the intention of showering while parked, hooked up to shore water and sewage, with power to heat the water.
Finding places to dump is usually not that big of a problem. You can research the Rest/Truck Stops available in all states, many of which has free dump stations and potable water stations. I stay at campgrounds to use their shower and bathroom facilities, at the same time hooked up to water, sewer and electric to refresh the bus and charge it’s batteries. When parked with friends and family, I shower at their place.
Being permanently parked for the winter, we are currently using an outdoor shower, as well as our property owner's shower in the house; the shower in the bus has become a storage space.
-I have peed into a gallon water jug to conserve space in the waste tank. Sometimes you just gotta.. Especially the first pee in the morning, that one is a doozy. If I can pee outside, I do that. Nature finds that acceptable, crowded and busy cities not so much.
-I have stuck my arm, elbow deep, into the toilet to clear the 90” bend in the plumbing. Nothing else would work, the entire plumbing system came to a shitty halt. Adding that bend in the line was the only way to drop the waste from the toilet into the holding tank, where otherwise a straight down pipe is recommended.
“Peein’ and a Poopin’ in my driveway.”
My friend started signing this after I had washed too many dishes one day, not realizing it was time to dump the tank. It overflowed all over the driveway. He came over with a hose after he smell it. He hosed it down and washed it all clean.
We are still friends.
Sometimes I sit on the couch, looking out the windows, thinking everything is going to be alright. That’s when my loved one tells me the toilet is backed up. Apparently, the last shit I took, combined with the flush water, froze in the pipes. I immediately know I’ll have to boil some water, as that becomes the way you have to flush the toilet in the winter.
Thanks for hanging out and reading about a a guy using a toilet on a school bus; Living that #StoolieLife !!
Make it a great day everyone!