WUFT News

Gainesville Residents Gear Up For School Bus-Based Summer Road Trip

By on March 20th, 2014
Tara Kleemann and Vlad Pascu, former members of the Outdoor Adventure Recreation Club at the University of Florida, demonstrate the amenities of the refurbished school bus they will live in during a two-month road trip on March 18, 2014. Kleemann and Pascu, along with Jeff Depree and Nick Logel (not pictured), who will  also take part in the trip, are part owners of the bus, which is parked outside a friend’s home in Gainesville, Fla., until this summer.

Daniela Mencos/ WUFT News

Tara Kleemann and Vlad Pascu demonstrate amenities of the refurbished school bus they will live in during an upcoming two-month road trip. Kleemann and Pascu, along with Jeff Depree and Nick Logel (not pictured), are part owners of the bus, which is parked outside a friend’s home in Gainesville, Fla., until this summer.

Four former members of a University of Florida organization are reuniting for their next adventure — a cross-country road trip from mid-June to mid-August in a refurbished 1971 Blue Bird school bus.

Gainesville residents Jeff DePree, Tara Kleemann, Vlad Pascu and Nick Logel purchased the school bus in January. They said they hope to promote outdoor recreational activities and communal living with their bus excursion.

The four met three years ago through UF’s Outdoor Adventure Recreation, an organization that focuses on outdoor activities.

DePree, a 30-year-old web developer, said although he and his friends have traveled on road trips for the past eight years, he hopes that by having more participants, this effort will promote communal living.

The group found the fully refurbished and furnished school bus on Craigslist for $2,500.

Andrea Gorder, a 26-year-old social media marketer for Stark Raving Foods, bought the school bus in Tampa in 2011. She refurbished it and used it as a workspace and for branding. Gorder later sold the bus to Brian Collins, who held it in storage for a year before selling the bus to DePree, she said.  

“The seats were already removed, and the furniture was structured for a family,” Gorder said. “There were a lot of renovations to take it from the state it was in to one in which I would consider living.”

Kleemann, a 23-year-old algebra teacher at Buchholz High School, is currently living in the bus, which is parked at a friend’s home until their summer trip begins.

The bus hooks up to the house through a standard extension cord and uses the home’s electricity, she said. Six people are able to sleep on the bus.

The lights inside the bus charge while the engine is running. Outlets were installed to charge phones and other basic electronics, Kleemann said.

“The trip is more of a novelty,” Kleeman said. “It will create a community aspect that you wouldn’t get if you just hop in a car and have a few friends with you.”

DePree said each traveler will share the cost of gas and camping expenses, which will equal about $1,000 per person. He said they would like more people to join to lower the cost further.

“Those who stay on the bus will probably be people within our network,” he said. “And people we have no connection to will probably only join us for day trips and activities.”

DePree said because of work schedules, some friends and acquaintances may meet the rest of the group for mini trips and later return home after a few days.

Trip destinations include North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, the Canadian Rockies and along the Pacific coast. The group will stop in different cities to mountain bike, hike and rock climb, he said.

“We’d like to use the bus as an example of a place where we can pack people and have everything we need without a lot of space or expensive things,” DePree said. “We are much about doing well with less.”

Nelson Anderson, a 22-year-old nutrient contamination graduate student and president of Adventure Recreation at UF, said he helped with some minor details of the bus, including painting and organizing it. 

“The reason I do outdoor activities is to relieve stress,” he said. “I think what they’re doing is a great idea.”

Kleemann said she hopes to encourage people to explore and take advantage of the outdoor activities available to them.

“We want people to get outside, wherever they are,” Kleemann said. “Sometimes people take it for granted.”


This entry was posted in Local and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Local

David Brown, 50, sits on his bed in the newly opened Dorm 1 at Grace Marketplace. The shelter opened its first overnight housing option on Wednesday to help those living on the streets transition into more permanent housing.

Grace Marketplace Opens Dorm For Homeless

On Wednesday, emergency shelter Grace Marketplace opened its first dorm for the homeless. Residents must adhere to criteria, but the dorm offers a more permanent housing option.


New Digital Map Launched to Decrease Hunger In Florida

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is fighting to decrease hunger and sustain the health of Florida residents. The FDACS has created a new digital map to help locate and determine which areas of Florida have the least amount of access to food and resources.


Additional Parking, Lighting and Community Access Planned For Midtown Area

The Community Redevelopment Agency plans to break ground next year on NW First Avenue, the street a block north of University Avenue bordering the businesses in Midtown.


The Waldo City Council met Tuesday night to vote on disbanding the local police department. After hearing from residents and officers, the Waldo City Council disbanded the department due to lack of funding.

Waldo City Council Votes To Disband Local Police Department

The Waldo City Council voted 4-1 in favor of dissolving the local police
department on Tuesday night. The city noted negative publicity and outdated equipment as concerns, but ultimately, it was a lack of funding that led to the disbanding the police department.


Do Local Charities Deserve Your Money Or Trust?

According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, some charities spend as much as 99 percent of funds raised to help fulfill their mission statement while others funnel the same portion into administration costs.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments