Bus Trip to Galiano
Bus Trip to the Coast
On September 30th I drove my bus from Kingsgate BC to Galiano Island. That’s 827 Kilometers or 514 miles. Fortunately, because this is not a passenger bus, I am able to drive it with my regular drivers licence. However the bus does have brakes so before I drove it anywhere I needed my air brake certificate. My previous certification had lapsed. Not a big deal. Two days of classroom, then a practical and written exam… along with $300 CAD and I was recertified. Time for a bus trip.
Ready to roll except the bus required some work. After sitting for almost 15 years a few things needed attention. The bus battery system would not charge. That took a couple weeks to troubleshoot. A previous owner had modified the wiring so the factory manual was not the most reliable source of information. Also the turn signals, modified by the first owner, were mostly non operational. After a few weeks of electrical and body work things came together.
In British Columbia many of the mountain passes require that vehicles carry chains and have winter tires. My bus has neither. If I couldn’t get it on the road before September 30th it would be stuck in Kingsgate until spring, even though there currently was no snow on the roads.
Everything looking good I took the bus for a shake down drive. And about 200 meters down the road, just as I shift into 3rd gear I heard a loud clunk! followed by the unmistakable sound of a corroded wheel bearing grinding away. The front right wheel bearing had spun on the spindle before it broke free but not enough to damage the spindle. Damn. Fortunately replacement bearings were available after a couple days.
BC Scenery is Amazing!
I’m throwing in a small gallery showing some of sights along the way to and from Kingsgate. It took me several trips back and forth before I made the purchase. Along the way I always stop to capture amazing sights.
How did I find Harley? (the bus)
I first saw the bus in 2015 on a motorcycle tour around the interior of BC. Harley belonged to friends I have known for almost 30 years. When I saw the bus I was fascinated but never considered buying it. At the time I was committed to my plan of traveling the world so buying a bus was not an option.
A year and a half, 3 continents and 14 countries later the topic of buying a bus or trailer came up in conversation with a friend. She wanted to have extra sleeping space on her property. I remembered Harley sitting in the shed in Kingsgate. So I contacted Rod and Lynn and asked what they wanted for the bus. The price was within my means so I started to plan the logistics of the whole enterprise.
The gallery below shows images I shot on my first visit to see Harley. Not the best as there isn’t much light.
More bus Photos
In the next album there are photos of getting Harley out of the shed, and starting work to get Her rolling. Repair work also started getting going around this time. Mostly just smaller stuff as I needed Rods help with a lot of the major stuff. I’ll also take this time to give a huge shout out to Rod for being an amazing mechanic and Lynn for taking care me during my time staying with them.
Driving Harley Across a Province
Kingsgate, BC is a very tiny place out by Creston. Its a good 9 hour drive to get there from Vancouver. And that’s in my nice fast Audi. To get Harley to Galiano Island I would need to drive over several mountain passes. It’s a bus with a 4 speed manual transmission that requires double clutching. Also no power steering in this baby. She requires muscle, good spacial relationship, and confidence on the stick to drive. It took me two days, one flat tire, two ferry rides, and a fender bender before my arrival at her new parking pad.
Two days before I started the bus trip I purchased the ultimate version of BCAA. Only $165 CAD to get full car, motorcycle, and RV roadside assistance insurance. I’m so glad I did, it’s already saved me money. Just outside Vancouver I heard a loud Bang! and the telltale thumping noise of a blown out tire. Surprisingly the tire that blew is the one I replaced while getting the bus repaired.
I called BCAA thinking this would take at least a day to sort out. I put a hold on my ferry reservation to Galiano. I thought I would never make it on time. But BCAA came through with flying colours. They had Kal Tire meet me at my bus and the service guy had my spare wheel (So glad I had a spare!) put on the bus less than an hour after the blow out. I was on the road again and able to use my ferry reservation after all. But the ferry is where things went downhill.
Ferry Terminal Fender Bender (Literally)
Finally I made it to the ferry. But the adventure didn’t end just yet. The ferry does a relay on Mayne island. I had to drive the bus off the ferry, turn it around, and reload on a second ferry. They put me in a super narrow lane. As I hugged the lane to my left getting as close as I possibly could, I heard a sickening screeching noise from the right hand middle of the bus. The large awning on the right side of the bus caught the bumper of a truck waiting in the lane to my right. Shit. Well, this is what insurance is for I guess. No serious damage, except to the awning and the bumper.
I got Harley parked on her parking pad and the bus trip adventure came to an end. Water and Electricity are hooked up and renovations started.
More adventures with the bus coming up.
Have any questions about the bus? Ask them below.