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'Gotta Go Out West': High School Seniors Convert School Bus Into RV For Post-Pandemic Cross-Country Road Trip

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - After being stuck at home for most of the school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, two high school students in Pennsylvania had an overwhelming desire to get out and explore the country.

Max Ferrari and Jack Thornton just graduated from Shady Side Academy, an independent preparatory school located in Pittsburgh. As seniors, they had the option to complete a project before graduation. They could've chosen just about anything but decided to go big. Really big.

"I've been seeing these people on social media turn these buses into RVs. How cool would that be? That'd be an awesome project to do during COVID, during quarantine," Ferrari tells KDKA.

They started searching online last fall and found the perfect school bus in nearby McKeesport.

"We actually just looked like on Craigslist and eBay, as funny as that sounds," Thornton says.

They bought it, painted it blue and named it "Bessie."

"I just think she looks like a Bessie," Ferrari explains. "Designing the inside of the bus was a project in of itself, because you have to a lot of things make the use of the limited space you really have."

The two ripped everything out inside and either bought or built what they needed -- from their family room to the kitchen to putting a floor down and building bunk beds.

"We built the bunk beds out of just 2x4s and composite sheets," Ferrari recalls.

They did just about everything to make it a home on wheels because that's what it'll be for Max, Jack and two friends for the next few months. Now that they're graduated, the foursome is on a cross country trip. Their first stop is Chicago.

"And then from Chicago, we're going down Route 66 to California. From there, we'll be in LA, go to San Francisco," Thornton says.

"I gotta go out West, I gotta go see these national parks. Just go on a big road trip and explore so much America out there that I haven't personally seen that I would love to," Ferrari adds.

Ferrari, who will major in film and television at DePaul University in the fall, will document their journey on their Instagram account @thebuscalledbessie.

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