Gilly's Story

While working as organic dairy farmers / homeschool teachers, we (Tony and Melissa) suddenly lost all our belongings, home, and jobs to a wildfire on one windy Friday in February 2017. After mourning the loss of beloved farm animal friends, our collected precious treasures, and accepting this major life change thrust upon us, we decided to take advantage of our situation. We had very little, and saw it as 'little to lose.' It was time to make our dream a reality.

Just the week before the fire, while discussing the potential of converting a school bus into a tiny house on wheels to travel and live the life we dreamed, it was mentioned how difficult it was going to be to fit all our STUFF into such a tiny space. Lucky for us (sort-of) we now had nothing to sort through, nothing to endlessly debate whether it was useful or necessary to keep, we had nothing. It was a blessing and motivated us to do the scary thing. We started looking for the bus to be our new home.

Synchronistically, Gilly came to us in the form of a text message ebay notification from our friend Charlie. We were driving to Santa Fe for spring break, and pulled off the highway somewhere south of Denver. "Should we just bid on this bus? Do I just click BUY NOW? Is this the right decision? Are we really doing this???!" We threw caution to the wind, decided Santa Fe would now be a pit-stop on our drive to southern California, soon to return with our shiny new bus-home. We did it.

Gilly, our 1989 Gillig Phantom School Bus, transported children to-and-fro in a posh hilly San Diego neighborhood for her first years of life. After accumulating less than 100,000 miles in her first 20 years, she was auctioned off to a bus dealer in Calexico, CA. Dan, the bus man and "king of Calexico," is old school. He has been in the business of buying and re-selling buses for 30 years. Although he loved this bus, he let it go at a steal of a price. He even removed the seats, stop sign arm, and lettering on her outside for our drive back to Colorado to begin her restoration and conversion.

The great Gilly drove Tony all the way back to Colorado with no issues at all (well, besides that bird that slammed into the windshield in the first hour of driving...) while I followed with Banjo, our dog in Ruby, the 4Runner. I never got tired of watching Gilly sway on the windy plains, or the fun walkie-talking conversations between Ruby and GillyGirl. Our first night spent shivering on an inflatable mattress with cheap blankets in a truck-stop felt better than any fancy hotel. Gilly was already our home.

As we bring our build to completion this summer, Gilly is parked on the concrete foundation of our old home. It reminds us of the phoenix, of the cycles of life, and gives us inspiration to step outside of the system and live the life we want, to constantly recreate ourselves, our values, and our vision. To live intentionally, rather than systematically.

We look forward to wild foraging, hunting, following the moon and seasons, herbal medicine making, meditation retreats, permaculture gatherings, fireside music jams, leather-works, farm work-trades, video/audio projects, meeting like-minded folks, exploring North America's most beautiful wild areas, "worldschooling" our little wolf, and moving gratefully and sustainably as we can.

We look forward to meeting you somewhere along the way. Happy adventuring!


Tony LoVerde

Meet Tony. Jack of all trades. Gypsy, artist, cowboy, musician, actor, farmhand, hunter, butcher, handyman, homebody... the list just keeps getting longer. Tony was born and raised in Denver, and dreamed of converting a bus and living in it long before any of this. He was working with a buddy putting in floors, while living up Denver's nightlife as frontman for a local gypsyrock band Bonnie and the Beard (yes, he was the Beard) when we first met. He continues to increase his list of random occupations in the last year, adding badass dad, teacher, voiceover actor, meditator, builder, welder, carpenter, electrician, plumber, automotive mechanic... to name a few. Tony brings his love of silence, his dreamy imagination, and patient problem-solving skills to the table every day while working to convert the bus.



This is Melissa. Jersey girl at heart, yogi, momma-bear, lover of plants, dance, travel, children, and truth. Although her worldwide exploration gear typically didn't extend beyond a backpack, Melissa was intrigued about this turtle-like method of travel. Carrying our home with us? A new concept. As a creature of the flow, she felt the call of the mountains to learn the steadiness of home. She brings her straightforward east-coast attitude, critical eye to detail, and ability to "ghetto-rig" pretty much anything to the build.



Wyatt Wolf came to us unexpectedly, in perfect universal timing, just as we were doing the difficult work of raising the roof on Gilly. We agreed that we really wanted to perfect this home for our soon-to-be-son and family, and slowed our progress with Gilly while growing and birthing this tiny human and now navigating family-hood. Little Wolf has refreshed our inspiration to create a funky, magical, beautiful, safe, sustainable home and future for our family. Wyatt's integral role in building this home, at the moment, is making sure we all feel immensely special and loved. He is doing a great job.



To save the best for last... meet Banjo, grandpa wolf, who has been adventuring with Tony for 13 years now. As the elder of our little family, he never forgets to remind us to take lots of naps, to go on slow meandering walks, to make time for rubs and cuddles, to eat lots of snacks, and to remember our inner child-like nature (although our aging bodies don't always agree!)