N.B. university grads embark on cross-Canada adventure in converted school bus

·3 min read
University friends from left to right: Draydon Scott, Evan Larkin, Tom Gogan, Chanwoo Park, and Matt White are leaving for a cross Canada road trip in a school bus that they converted into an RV style bus. (Gary Moore/CBC - image credit)
University friends from left to right: Draydon Scott, Evan Larkin, Tom Gogan, Chanwoo Park, and Matt White are leaving for a cross Canada road trip in a school bus that they converted into an RV style bus. (Gary Moore/CBC - image credit)

It's a storyline straight out of a summer comedy blockbuster: five close friends who recently graduated from university are embarking on one last adventure before starting their careers.

But instead of watching the hilarity play out on the big screen, this group of friends in Fredericton are living it out for real.

Tom Gogan, Draydon Scott, Evan Larkin, Chanwoo Park and Matt White just graduated from the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton.

Then, they bought a school bus.

They've been working endlessly for several weeks since graduating to convert their new wheels into an RV-style tour bus that's going to take them across the country this summer.

"The plan is to go West," Gogan said excitedly. "We're going to go tour Canada and see all the major spots — the big ones will be Banff and Jasper [in Alberta]."

Gary Moore/CBC
Gary Moore/CBC

Gogan said the plan started coming together not too long ago when the friends were talking about what they would like to do to celebrate graduating.

And as fate would have it, touring the country in a bus was an idea a few of them had previously thought about.

So the friends started to scour the internet to purchase a school bus. Gogan said they got a bargain on one for $7,500 from Edmundston, N.B.

"It just got inspected, so it's all in good shape and we've driven around a good amount and it runs really well," he said.

Gogan said they didn't need a special license for the bus because the seats were removed and it has hydraulic brakes.

White, Gogan's longtime friend, said they've been working tirelessly to get the bus ready to leave this week.

Gary Moore/CBC
Gary Moore/CBC

"It's kind of surreal. We've been head down working as hard as we can for the last eight weeks to get it done," he said.

The interior now looks more like an RV.

A convertible couch sits at the front of the bus — behind the driver's seat — which turns into a table or a giant bed in case any of their friends meet them along the way for part of the journey.

They've installed a composting toilet, shower, kitchenette with a sink, fridge and freezer.

Five beds are set up like bunk bed in the rear of the bus.

Solar panels have been installed on the roof to provide the electricity.

Gary Moore/CBC
Gary Moore/CBC

Between the five friends, three of them just graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering. The other two friends have degrees in electrical engineering and software engineering.

Gogan said their degrees helped in designing the bus. But he joked that their carpentry skills were lacking.

White's father Jeff was one of several parents on hand Saturday afternoon as the guys put the finishing touches on the bus.

He said he's proud of them for taking on this adventure.

"I'm excited for them. I'm very proud of them. And it's been inspiring to watch them — what they could accomplish by just turning their energies towards it," he said.

The group plans to wrap up the adventure in British Columbia at the end of August and hope to sell the bus and fly home.

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