After our first experience attempting to cross the bus into Mexico to get to our painter was a bust, we were a little gun-shy to try again. But, what was the worst that could happen? We would have to turn around and come home again...for the second time? We had to at least give it the old college try.
So, we built walls for our bathroom, stuck a toilet in there and hung up a curtain for good measure, threw a mattress with a quilt and pillows in the back, loaded in a sofa up front, and installed a passenger chair. We sent pictures to our painter to share with a person he knows that works at the Mexican border. He asked her if it was “RV”-enough now to let the bus through. The message was passed along to us that they would now let us in. With that “pre-approval”, we headed back to Mexico to try again.
The kids and I followed in the car, and after about four hours, we all made it to our border crossing. The kids and I crossed through the border and sat in the car on a side road awaiting word from Juan that he made it through. Certainly, it would be quicker this time around since the gal who “pre-approved” us would be there. Of course, she wasn’t outside right away. A couple of other guys came out to inspect the bus. Juan explained to them the situation and that this other lady told us we could come through this time. Still, they brought out the dogs and the x-ray truck to thoroughly inspect everything. They hassled him a bit, and it still took about an hour of all the run-around. But, finally, after all of that, they opened the gates and let the bus pass through.
Whew!! We were so relieved. About an hour later, we were at the painter’s shop. He seems to be a great guy (highly recommended by a bus friend, which is the main reason why we were willing to go through all of this to get it to him - and also way less money than the painters we found stateside). He went through all of the details with Juan of what he would do to properly prep the bus. He showed us things that the previous paint job had ignored that caused the badly peeling paint. Finally, we showed him some renderings of what we want the bus to look like (in very rudimentary photoshop-edited pictures). We left the pictures with him, and feel confident that when we get it back, it will look like a million bucks compared to what we left him with.
Spoiler alert: He has been updating us throughout the process, sending pictures along the way. Looks like they are finalizing all the prep work (stripping it completely down to bare metal - imagine how much work sanding around every single rivet must be), body repairs, priming, etc, and it already looks so much better just with the primer on. We can’t wait to see her with her new paint!
We are excited to get the bus back and start putting the solar panels on the roof and then building out the interior. It feels like a turning point, and after such a long journey so far, we are ready for a new phase in the renovation.
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