Bob’s bus

As promised, here are more photos from the interior of Bob Waldmire’s school-bus-turned-zero-energy-home. I’ve always been fascinated with small, environmentally friendly dwellings, but Bob took the concept to a whole new level. Pictures don’t begin to do his home justice, but at least you can get a rough idea of how efficiently he used a limited amount of space to create a residence with all the creature comforts anyone could want:

This is Bob's office. It is approximately two feet wide. I own a pretty cool old manual typewriter, but his typewriter kicks my typewriter's arse.
Protip: When decorating a small space, consider displaying an assortment of Micro Machines on a shelf at eye level.
Built-in bookshelves and careful attention to detail allow for the accumulation of a small library of materials related to subjects of interest.
I like the handmade ornament.
Marty Blitzstein of the Illinois Route 66 Association spends a lot of time on Bob's bus, educating visitors about his old friend's life and work.
A loft built onto the top of the bus allows for extra storage and the display of a few additional decorations.
You read that right. Bob built himself a sauna. Why? Because he could. Bob spent 30 years doing exactly as he pleased, and he was good at it. I'd be lying if I said he wasn't a major influence on my own tendency to indulge my inner child's every whim.
I love this adorable little stove. It's even smaller than the one Ron and I had at our old house in Illinois. Tiny appliances delight me for reasons I cannot begin to comprehend.
I love the window above the kitchen sink.
My mom used to have a set of tiny Tupperware containers like these. She used to fill them with gorp and pack them into my lunchbox when I was in first grade. Must be a hippie thing.
You have no idea how much this blue whale delighted me.
Everything about this kitchen is just totally Bob.
Especially this.
I think this was actually on Bob's van, not his bus, but he had copies all over the bus, too. Also, he gave me a couple of those IMPEACH BUSH bumper stickers a few years ago. I still have one on the bulletin board in my office.

Bob had dozens of copies of that little Peace Pilgrim pamphlet scattered around the bus and the van. I’m assuming he liked to hand them out to people. You can read the pamphlet online. I have, of course, added it to my summer reading list.

Bob’s bus and van are both on display at the Illinois Route 66 Association Hall of Fame Museum in Pontiac, Ill. If you haven’t been there yet, I highly recommend going. It’s a great little museum, and the bus alone is worth the trip.


I did it for Bob

People ordinarily don’t drive over 1,200 miles in a single weekend just to get a button … but the latest addition to the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcar’s collection is no ordinary button.

This weekend, the city of Pontiac hosted a Route 66 festival and public-art project in honor of the late Bob Waldmire, better known to readers of this blog as the inspiration behind the Dreamcar’s elaborate paint job.

Bob was Mother Earth News on the Mother Road. Equal parts Robert Crumb, Cyrus Avery, and Gandhi, he was one of Scout’s favorite people. I adored him, and I miss him terribly. When I found out the folks in Pontiac were going to paint a mural he’d designed, I started trying to figure out whether I could manage a weekend getaway to a town 605 miles from my doorstep.

When I learned they would be handing out “I did it for Bob” buttons, I quit thinking about “whether” and started thinking about “how.”

It was an incredible weekend. A few highlights:

The mural was designed to be an interactive community project, with people’s handprints incorporated into the background. Below, Bob’s former sister-in-law, Sue — owner of the Route 66 restaurant founded by Bob’s dad — adds her handprint to the mural:

When he wasn’t driving 66 in his famous VW Microbus (which is on permanent display inside Pontiac’s Illinois Route 66 Association Hall of Fame and Museum) or his Mustang fastback, Bob lived in an old school bus he’d customized for himself. The bus is on display behind the museum and was open for tours this weekend. I could devote an entire post to Bob’s bus (and probably will later this week), but for now, I’ll just give you a little peek:

The Dreamcar got some special treatment this weekend: The festival organizers let me park it next to the mural all afternoon.

I came back to find the chalkboard filled with friendly messages, some of which made me cry.

It’s hard to see some of them in the picture, but there’s a sweet note from Sue and a message to Bob from John and Lenore Weiss. Lenore passed away less than two months after we lost Bob. She and John started the Illinois Route 66 Association’s historic preservation committee, which was instrumental in turning my mild interest in 66 into a blazing passion for the road.

I hadn’t seen John in ages, but when I found his message, I went looking for him. I found him, obviously, and we had a great visit.

I have more to report, but I’m wiped out, so I’ll have to fill you in on the rest later. Hope your weekend was good, wherever you were.