My Skoolie Conversion of Bubba the Bus
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My Skoolie Conversion: Smogging

Smogging laws are very strict in California and I knew Bubba would have to get smogged. A shop in my neighborhood was recommended to me. Their reviews struck me as odd; they weren’t great and the primary complaint was that the shop was dirty, loud, covered in grease and a haphazard array of tools. I’m not sure what San Franciscans expect at an auto shop? Cappuccino served in fine chinaware? Bagels and Lox? I gave the shop a call and when the phone went unanswered, I went in person.

The shop was what I expected; filled with an array of greasy tools, loud machines and the sweet smell of oil in the air. I spoke to the attendant, explaining that I have a 1989 bus that needed to be smogged and shared pictures of Bubba showing the conversion process and upcoming dream. The gentleman who would do the smog on such a vehicle happened to be on vacation, so, I made an appointment for the following week.

My appointment time arrived, and I took Bubba to the garage; only to discover that he wouldn’t fit inside, where the smog machine is located. This fine San Francisco morning, found me stuck on the sidewalk of Geary Street at 8:00 a.m., with a bus that could not go forward into a too-small garage or backward into a relentless river of traffic.

During the cacophony of horns blaring, MUNI drivers on megaphones and bicyclists shouting out comments like; nice move and learn how to drive, I had a thought. In my own job, I have to ask, “Do you need room for cream in your coffee?” hundreds of times a day. I have to ask because I work at Starbucks and this query is part of my job. Did it never occur to the people who work at an auto smog shop, equipped with information and pictures of my bus; how high is the bus? Will it fit in the garage?

Eventually, a 38R Bus took mercy on me and stopped, blocking traffic, so I could back out and be on my way. I went back home and began calling smog shops in the San Francisco area. 18 calls later—(I counted)–I had the good fortune of being referred to Chris at The Smog Shop in SoMa–(South of Market). I immediately hopped into Bubba, popped the new Tracy Lawrence album; Made In America(which was a long time in coming and very good), and headed to SoMa.

When I arrived, there was one glitch; the plastic engine cover which had to be removed, was conveniently located behind the door mechanism, which also had to be removed. It was extra labor and time, and the price was more than fair.


Although, I did not receive a Cappucino served in fine chinaware or bagels and lox; I did receive amazing service at a fair price…and Bubba ‘easily passed.’

Until next time….

Go forth


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