Man renovates late grandpa’s bus for cross-country trip

A couple remodeled their family’s 65-year-old school bus to travel 15,000 miles across North America

Josh Jackling and Carolyn McKenna plan to spend two years seeing the U.S. and Canada in the remodeled bus from 1954. The bus belonged to Jackling’s grandparents who made their way around North and South America in it, racking up 275,000 miles. 

The couple is documenting their bus life on TikTok where they give a behind-the-scenes look at tiny living and all the cool views along the way.

“My grandfather passed away kind of unexpectedly and my grandmother sold me the bus,” Jackling told In The Know. “So it’s been in my family over 51 years now.” 

Jackling and McKenna will travel from Southern California, stopping at Taos, N.M. first, then making their way southeast in Florida, then up north to Canada. Jackling spent three years fixing up the bus, which now has bar stools, heated shower floors and a full kitchen.

Living in a bus is certainly a one-of-a-kind experience, but for Jackling there’s enormous sentimental value. While his grandmother also passed away a year ago, he still has her bus guestbook that includes the signatures and addresses of everyone who has seen the bus. 

“I could tear up about it,” Jackling said. “It’s super crazy as a kid, I was drawn to this bus. I’d go to my grandparent’s house and I’d climb underneath it [if] the door was locked — I was looking to see what my grandfather was doing.”

When he was renovating the bus, the hands-on experience made him feel connected to his grandfather. 

“When I pulled the motor out, there was dirt on top of the engine. I’m like, ‘The last person to touch this was my grandpa,'” Jackling said. “Like, it’s definitely near and dear and special.” 

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