Announcing…

The suspense is over for us. Announcing the latest in the Liberty story:

The story starts April 3 when we took Liberty to Algodones, Mexico for a facelift at Navarros Paint and Body Shop.

They had done a couple other rigs that we had seen and we could tell they did a good job. We had been checking prices for quite a while because the blue paint had deteriorated pretty badly. It appeared to us that the only clear coat was on the graphics and the rest of the paint had seen better days. Near the roof, it was down to primer. Navarros had a much better price than other shops we had talked to so we chose them. Brian Reeve, who was married to LeRoy’s cousin Beverly prior to her passing a few years back, has a house in Yuma where he winters and he and his new wife Joyce invited us to stay with them. For a month!

Jose, the owner of the paint shop, told us four weeks initially. He told us we were welcome to come to the shop any time, so we made several trips each week to visit Liberty and check on progress.

The workers did a great job of removing the paint, even using who knows how many razor blades to get to the bottom of it. What you see on the ground are paint slivers.

After the paint was all removed and the body work done in a few places, they moved into the paint building to mask and begin adding layers.

We were so excited the day we arrived to find color!

We were sad to know that the mural would be going away and the shop really didn’t want to remove it, but it was time. We have lots of pictures of it. Dick and Debbie Bell, the original converters of Liberty, had the scene painted from their own back yard with a few small additions, so it was truly theirs, not ours.

Another change was the Liberty name on the front. It was done in silverleaf, I think, and due to a few bird hits, it was beginning to chip off.

We’re not sure yet in just what way, but the name will return. She’ll always be Liberty to us! (Our son says, still Liberty, just with a new wardrobe!)

Friday afternoon, LeRoy said “Well, we probably aren’t going to get the bus back tomorrow, since it’s almost quitting time and we haven’t had a call.” We were resigning ourselves to another few days when Jose called to say that Liberty would be ready at 10 a.m. Saturday morning! LeRoy jockeyed the bus out of the paint building, out of the lot and onto the street lined with vehicles that couldn’t be moved and we were ready to go!

One of our concerns from the beginning had been getting the bus back OUT of the little town. The drive through the border crossing into Mexico was a straight shot, with only one very tight right turn, so LeRoy managed that just fine. Jose kept assuring us that it would be no problem to get out, even though I estimate the turn at 60 degrees or less, with traffic barriers, fences and cones along the edge. See the man with a crutch? The car behind him is where LeRoy had to put our 40-foot Liberty!About the time the butterflies in my stomach started flying in formation, I was reminded that the Lord brought us through the Needles tunnels in South Dakota, he could surely do this.  I got out to help guide him and he only had to do two up-and-backs before he made it through. What an excellent bus driver I have!

We had been warned to drive toward the lane with the orange cones, since the others were narrow enough that some drivers have had to bring their rigs back to fix gouges. Fortunately, even the lane with the cones was open for business, so we pulled up for inspection. LeRoy had to open every bay and the gentleman went inside by himself to inspect all the possible hiding places for contraband or people, but after a thorough inspection, we passed and were able to drive out. That sign says “Welcome to California” and I heaved a sigh of relief.

While we got out without a scratch, we didn’t get off scot free. On the way in April 3, a speed bump broke off a cast iron manifold downpipe just in front of the muffler. Boy, did we make an entrance! No one missed our arrival! A friend from the Kansas City area shipped us another one and after we got back to Brian’s place and LeRoy reattached the eagle side emblems, he put on him “get greasy” clothes and climbed under the bus.

If you’ve been reading this blog long, you’ve seen similar pictures lots of time, but this time it isn’t a generator repair. The picture below is the broken part and the result of the replacement was amazing. Quiet! Well, as quiet as a bus gets, anyway.

While he was doing the repairs, I worked on changing the interior to reflect the new Liberty.

So look for us on the road. I don’t think you’ll have any trouble seeing us!

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4 Responses to Announcing…

  1. Ed says:

    Looking GOOD!!!

    Probably not big bucks to get a sign painter to add a new LIBERTY on the front of the bus. I thought you would be pleased with the work at Navarros.

  2. aelkins1 says:

    Beautiful. I love the bus conversions. 🙂

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