The Bajío Bus has been bumping down the road for two years, crossing the country four times. Many have followed the skoolie conversion’s wild adventures—from tracing the origins of American fly fishing in Upstate New York and searching for the storied Lahontan Cutthroat at Pyramid Lake in Nevada to the Gag Grouper snag of the century at Ozello Keys in Bajío’s home state of Florida. All along the way, Jay and his magic bus have been making smiles for miles.

“When people see us drive by, they visually respond to the bus,” explains Jay. “Whether it’s a quick smile, head nod or a thumbs up—people love it!”

But what viewers don’t see behind the scenes, are the three transmissions it’s burned through in just a matter of months and the mega wear and tear driving across the country for years has had on an old school bus. Lots of the little fixes and deferred maintenance Jay was dealing with while on the road had be addressed.

“If we wanna keep people smilin’,” reflects Jay. “We were going to need some serious shop time.”

The latest busted transmission was a show stopper, but there were a few other things that were about to become showstoppers, if Jay didn’t act soon. With deadlines looming, time ticking on by all too quickly, and the next shoot coming up on the horizon, he had to get this ship ready to set sail again—and then some.

The Makeover

Jay was broken down in Alvarado, Texas when he contacted his friend and Master Mechanic Cody Crafted for help.

“Cody gave me the keys to his shop and said ‘go for it,’” Jay explains. “Every day for two months was spent getting it ready—we put in a new tranny, new suspension, running water, working windows, more solar panels on the roof—everything the bus needed to become the coolest fishing rig in the world.”

Some not-so common additions that make the bus stand out from the crowd are the snakeskin interior, the rattle-proof liquor cabinet, and the mounted blow gun!

“I had to do upholstery for the snakeskin doors,” says Jay. “And I had never dealt with upholstery before.”

As for the liquor cabinet, Jay learned to do intricate leather work with bottles “belted” into place to keep from rattling.

“Driving the bus is like going through a seven-point-something earthquake, so trying to make it stable while driving was a challenge.”

And what’s with the mounted blow gun? Well, apparently Jay likes to hunt and eat iguanas, rabbit and squirrels while he’s adventuring, so why wouldn’t you make acquiring road snacks a little easier while you’re at it?

YouTube for the Win

How in the world does Jay know how to do all this crazy sh*t? Besides Cody, he credits YouTube for most of his bus rebuild efforts. 

“I didn’t know how to do any of this, so I went onto YouTube and figured it out! But I never just watch one version of what I’m looking to learn; I get at least three perspectives before I dive in on a project.”

Jay says the number one thing he’s learned is, “If you want to build something cool, you’ve gotta buy the tools and learn how to use them.”  Well, that, and rely on YouTube.

“I swear, if someone got hurt while were out and about with no help around, I could look up how to do simple surgery and get it done by watching a few YouTube videos. Anything you want to learn, it’s there.” Note to self: Don’t get hurt in the middle of nowhere with Jay.

In order to keep the Bajío Bus 2.0 episode under two hours, Jay does not reveal each and every fix from his mile long list. He also did woodworking, fixed the roof, installed a heater, put in airbags, and the list goes on. But plenty of blood, sweat and tears went into getting her back on the road—now, even cooler than before.

And like the films Jay makes, so shall be the making of the Bus 2.0—all by hand, on his own. The  takeaway—anyone can do some really rad sh*t if they want to!

Check out Jay’s raddest sh*t to date here.