A Diamond in the Rough

This is where it all started, with a simple for sale ad on  Kijiji.

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Welcome to our story, well actually the journey we took turning this 1962 Bristol Lodekka Double Decker Bus into a Food Truck. Before we start the story of the bus lets tell you a little bit about the owners of Perks Coffee House.  Shantelle Lewis and Ken Turlock opened Perks Coffee House on October 3, 2013. Shantelle was born and raised in Spruce Grove, Ken was born and raised in Canmore; but had moved to Spruce Grove in 1998. Went they first got together they had started a renovation company, then moved on to finish carpentry in new homes. In 2004 they talked about starting a coffee shop in Spruce Grove, but the location they had picked would not allow a take out coffee shop to go in there, so they had put the idea on the back burner. The next adventure they started was Kassel Homes, a home building company in 2011. They built and sold two executive style homes in Countryside Ravines and one custom build in Genesis on the Lakes. Ken always said it was good to be deversefied, especially after the economy slowed down in 2009; and the market was flooded with new homes. One night they were having dinner at Peters Pizza with the family and started to look at the King Street Plaza, thinking that it would be a perfect spot for a coffee shop; and what do you know it was :- )  The community welcomed us with open arms, it was a slow start for sure but once we got our name out there it picked up and continues to pick up every day.  Ken decided to set up a booth for Canada Day in Jubilee Park, we rented a tent; loaded it up will all of our supplies and machines and started to sell coffee, italian sodas, and iced or hot lattes. For our first function everything  went really well, except for the fact that we were in a tent, and honestly did not have much signage, from the back of the tent no one know who or what we were.

After that function Ken said we need a food trailer or something of the sort, running out of a tent was just not right for us he wanted something that was unique; something that we could take to other local festivities. Ken was now on the hunt.....he  found some trailers that were turned into food trucks, or trailers that we could turn into one ourselves; but the cost to set up a trailer was way over our budget as well as it was a bit to small for what he had in mind. Nothing caught Ken's eye he wanted something that was going to stand out and that people would flock to; so he started looking for a Trolly Bus like the one he had seen driving around in Drumheller. That search lead him to the Double Decker Bus ad, the bus was located in Legal, AB and the man was asking $2500 for it. Ken gave the guy a call, he had told Ken that so many people have called him about the bus and no one has physically looked at it; if you go check it put and want it, it's yours. The next day we all loaded up in the car with our two boys and a employee from Perks, and took a drive put to Legal. Well let me tell you this bus was a sight for sore eyes, pictures don't do it justice. There were windows missing/broken, flat tires, the floor on the bottom level of the bus was missing you could see the ground below!! Animals had been living in it, as well as spiders everywhere...it was a mess; but Ken seen potential in it, he said "it was simply a diamond in the rough" Shantelle though he was crazy, like look at it..... but what the heck it will just be another lawn decoration at our acreage for the boys to play in :- ) 

After talking about the bus on the way home, Ken called the guy back and told him we went to look at it and wanted to buy it. The guy told him to meet the next day, bring $500 and the bus is yours....WOW what a deal we could not pass that down. After meeting up Ken started calling around to see who could tow the bus to our acreage, call after call and driving out to Legal to meet towing companies that never showed up; we finally found Road Runners Towing. They said they would have no problem at all towing the bus for us......WOOHOO Finally!!!!

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It was a bit of a treat getting the bus out of the yard, after sitting for a few years it did not want to move; the tires had created ruts and sunk into the ground. There was one tire that was half way off its rim...oops. Road Runners slowly inched it down the drive way, once they got it out of the drive way and on the road; it got hooked up to Tweety Bird. With the way that the tire was we decided to have it towed to Road Runners yard in Mornville, AB,  to get the tire fixed so it could make the rest of the journey safely. 

The bus ended up staying in Mornville, AB for two days, before it was able to make its final journey to our acreage which was 67Km away.

July 23, 2014

July 23, 2014

Now that the bus is in its place for the summer, its time to start stripping it down. Ken thinks we can just strip the paint off of it, replace a couple of windows and re-paint it; then work on the interior of the bus...we will see how it goes, she's in pretty rough shape!!!

Well there is about 5 coats of paint on this bus, and we are pretty sure the last coat of paint is marine enamel. After 2 cans of air plane stripper you can finally see the original pain colour in some spots....it's Green!!  As summer turns into fall, and the weather gets cooler it is getting harder and harder to work on the bus; and our count down to Canada Day is getting closer and closer. Ken decided to fire it up and drive it into the shop.....after sitting for years with our being started she fired up like a charm once we got two new batteries :- )

Ken jumps into the drivers seat which is right hand drive, so everything is backwards for him as well as it is a standard. We only had to move the bus about 40 feet to get it into the shop, between a stiff clutch and strong arm steering Ken finally manages to get the bus into the shop!!

After looking the bus over and figuring out how many cans of stripper we have already used, Ken figures its easier to remove the panels that are in the worst shape and replace them with new ones.  Well lets just say a few panels turned into pretty much the whole bus striped down to the frame.

The whole back end of the bus needed to get rebuilt, it looks like she has been ran into or back into many times. The back door would not close properly, Ken figured the back of the bus flared out 8 inches (20 centimetres)

This is what the main floor of the bus looked like when we got it, all of the benches had been ripped out of it.

As Ken is working on fixing the back of the bus Joe is taking apart the front of the bus to investigate the engine and wiring.

As the boys are working on the bottom of the bus, Shantelle figures she will start ripping the upstairs apart. First ting first the carpet mush come out, it smells like animal urine. It was not an easy job, someone had placed metal strips over the joints in the carpet, as well as it had been glued down in some areas. 

WooHoo the carpet is almost all removed, once the metal strips came off the carpet was easy to roll up...but definitely a dirty job. Time to start removing the benches as they do not work with our plan to have tables and seats upstairs for customers to enjoy their coffee.

Here is Ken's masterpiece, the rear end of the bus made out of maple.

It's a family project, even the boys are helping out...but safety first. We must have masks on with all this old dust up here.

Joe's working on the rear end of the bus.

Ken's masterpiece is finally in place, things are starting to come back together slowly. Although there is still a lot of work to be done.

We should take a quick check upstairs and see how Shantelle is making out......

January 2, 2015

January 2, 2015

WOW it's stating to look really good, definitely a big change with all the benches taken out. They were bolted to the side of the bus then to the legs of the benches, most of the bolts were easy to get out. Next step is to remove the legs, to be honest Shantelle is not looking forward to that...they had used flat head screws to install the legs and over 50 years of crud is in the screw head !!

Here is the drivers area, with a little bit a TLC it should look better,,,,we hope. 

The upstairs is finally bare!!! It took A LOT of work to get those legs off. Shantelle first started cleaning each screw, but then gave up when she started stripping the heads. She then started to drill out the tops of the screws....that took along time and a few drill bits. Joe took over while Shantelle went to start stripping the paint off the bus.

January 3, 2015

January 3, 2015

After looking the bus over and figuring out how many cans of stripper we have already used, Ken figured it is easier to remove the panels that are in the worst shape and replace them with new ones.  Well lets just say a few panels turned into pretty much the whole bus striped down to the frame. Shantelle and Joe were not so happy about all the panels having to be removed....they had to clean like 5 coats of paint out of each screw head in order to remove the panels.

January 3, 2015

January 3, 2015

The passenger side of the bus was in worse shape then the drivers side, we were lucky we did not have to remove as many panels on that side.

Poor bus is looking pretty sad, at this point it feels like it will never get finished!!

January 18, 2015

January 18, 2015

Here are all the windows sitting upstairs, it only took Ken and Shantelle one day to remove them; and only broke one window woohoo :-)

January 24, 2015

January 24, 2015

Panel after panel the bus is slowly getting stripped....and we are finding rotten wood that needs to get replaced before we put the panel back on. Shantelle and Joe thought that they were finally done taking panels off....haha well weren't they won Ken had other thoughts :-)

January 24, 2015

January 24, 2015

As you can see the top panels are now off, Joe is continuing to remove the rest of the front panel. Shantelle is sanding the paint off around the window jambs. Ito seems like a never ending process but things are slowly coming together. At this time we are only working on the bus on weekends.

February 16, 2015

February 16, 2015

Here the bus sits getting more panels taken off as we have uncovered rotten wood!!! This whole bus was made from wood, aluminum and some steel, She truly is a work of art!!! Above is a picture of the waste water tank that Ken built from scratch.

February 20, 2015

February 20, 2015

Here is the front cone awaiting repairs, the deeper we look the more things we find to repair. July 1, 2015 is quickly approaching and it honestly feels like we will not be finished in time!!

February 22, 2015

February 22, 2015

Here is a picture of what this bus used to look like, we believe that our bus got painted red when it came over from England and landed in Winnipeg. River Rouge was the first company in Canada to have this bus (as far as we know), then they sold it to Edmonton Night Tours. After Edmonton Night tours was done with it, it had sat in Ron Hodgson's yard till a man bought it and was going to turn it into a tour bus for his band. When he found that he did not have time to work on it; he decided to sell it, and we were the lucky ones that bought it off of him :-)

The roof of the bus, we figured that since it was never painted since original that it would be easy to remove the paint....well we were wrong with all the oxidation from the sun it baked the paint on.

Ken getting into all the nooks and crannies removing paint so we can paint soon!!

Ken trying his hand at sand blasting.... to be honest it did not go over well :-(

March 8, 2015

March 8, 2015

This poor bus, you can only imagine the stories it would tell you if it could talk.  

Between layers of bondo, and pieces of steel pop riveted to the corners, Ken definitely has his work cut out for him fixing the corners.

March 21, 2015

March 21, 2015

All prepped and ready to start soda blasting

March 22, 2105

March 22, 2105

While Ken and Shantelle were working on stripping and soda blasting the bus, Joe has been working on the inside wiring....WooHoo we have lights!!!

March 29, 2015

March 29, 2015

The weather has been beautiful and we are all getting tired of being cooped up in the shop, so we decided that today was the day that we move the bus outside. Seeing how the bus is not running at this moment we need to pull it out of the shop with the skid steer, and as you can see in the pictures above we got a little helping push from Nathan :-)

April 9-13 2015

April 9-13 2015

We ended up taking a weekend off of working on the bus to head down to Seattle for the 2015 Specially Coffee Event. It was a nice little break away to recharge and learn more about the coffee industry,

April 18, 2015

April 18, 2015

Finally the aluminium is going back on the bus!! This has been a long interesting journey, taking this bus from day one till now. Can't wait to see what the finished product will look like.

April 20, 2015

We ended up taking off the front aluminum.....boy was that a surprise. The wood on the drivers corner was all rotted out, just a pile of dust!!!

April 20, 2015

Here is the fuel tank, it turns out that bolts and rubber stops leaks in fuel tanks...hmmm don't know how long i would trust that!!!

April 20, 2015

Soda Blasting time!!! :-)  As you can see we gave up on stripping the bus ourselves and hired ASI Alberta Sodablasters to do the job for us.  They were amazing and would recommend them to anyone looking at getting soda blasting done!! If it wasn't for them we would not have gotten this far on the bus.

April 26, 2015

Time to weld and clean windows!! in order for Ken to weld he "HAD" to go out and buy Nathan a pair of coveralls :-)  Nolan decided to help clean and polish the windows too.  Gotta love all the hep we are getting from the boys.

May 2, 2015

Here is the front of the bus all put back together, you can see how rotted out the old wood was.

May 2-3, 2015

Time to work in the fenders we need to get this project done it is only 2 months till Canada Day!!!

But here is the shocker Ken wants the bus painted and drivable for The Farmers Day Parade in Stony Plain for June 6, 2015.......AHHHH!!!  In the picture above Shantelle is dumpster diving for a piece of fabric the Ken decided he wanted to keep....oy

May 9, 2015

Here we are working on bending the rear corners, they are definitely a treat when you don't quite have all the proper tools.

May 10, 2015

May 10, 2015

May 10, 2015

Working on the floor!! only a couple of weeks to go.

May 10-11, 2015

The fuel tank is all fixed up and undercoated, ready to be put back where it goes.The top of the bus is all primed, just need to finish putting the rest of the panels on and we can prime of the rest of it.

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May 18, 2015

We have LIGHTS!!! Woohoo :-)   

We are also working on the fibreglassing of the bus, between the nose cone and the vents for the roof we will be busy this weekend.

May 21, 2015

WoW what a beauty she is all primed off and ready for paint, good thing we are only 16 days away from the Farmers Day Parade.

May 21, 2015

Here is my little helper Nathan helping me drill 1000+ holes!!! I often wonder why I agreed to this project LOL

May 31, 2015

Couple last minute fixes before paint time!!

June 1, 2016

WOW what a beauty all painted up. Great job Ken!!!

June 3, 2015

Decals are going on thanks to Steve at 360 Designage!!  As you can see Ken still has to finish painting the front of the bus....3 days to go

June 6, 2015

We made it, slowly driving down the road at like 60 km/h, all the way to Stony Plain

At the Farmers Day Parade

June 6, 2015

A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone that helped us get this bus together, we could not have done it without you!!

Farmers Day Parade 2015

June 27, 2015

We are just starting to work on the inside of the bus, yikes not many days left till we start serving out of it on Canada Day!!  Better get our butts in gear.

July 1, 2015 6am

July 1, 2015 6am

July 1, 2015 6am

Here we are crunch time, Joe and Ken stayed up all night to get this finished. Time to hurry up and get it loaded so we can hit the road and get set up for Canada Day.

July 1, 2015

July 1, 2015

We are here and all set up and ready to rock, check out the line. Out of all the vendors that year we were the fastest line. Poor Ken and Joe were working on 33hrs with no sleep, it was a hard day for them!!!

Happy Canada Day!!

It was a long haul for everyone, we ran into some complications like  the weather was hot and there was a lack of cool air in the bus so everyone was cooking, we were staring to run out of things by the end of the night and Ken lost all his mojo off 44hrs with no sleep so we ended up shutting down at 10pm that night.

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