In the last update I left off when the Creative Cruiser was dropped off at a shop near Chattanooga, TN. At the time, I was hopeful that they would be able to handle doing a lot of upgrades on the chassis for such things are power steering and might be helpful in finding a paint shop to handle this project. In the end, the shop was only good for overly basic and straightforward changes (like adding shocks where there used to be some but at some point had been removed) and they were not capable of doing the custom changes my project demanded (like converting windshield wipers to electric or adding power steering). So, the Creative Cruiser just ended up being stored in their yard from the time the vintage bus run was abandoned until now.
I researched a few paint shops near Nashville, but eventually gave up the search knowing that being there in person was the only way to get what I want. As each day ticked by, I resented what Craig Dorsey of Vintage Vacations did and how he handled my attempt to bring the Creative Cruiser to his location. That made me really want to find a different shop to fabricate and install my interior. I simply could not fathom bringing my bus to anyone who could do what he did. Because of his actions, I ended up wasting three weeks of my life driving around the country and easily spent over $2500 on fuel, food, lodging and related expenses for no reason.
I researched dozens of potential alternative shops for interior work and ended up only considering a few. They included (in no particular order):
- David Winick at VintageTrailering.com in Michigan who produces very nice designs, but cannot fit my bus into his shop (it’s just too tall)
- The folks at TimelessTravelTrailers.com in Colorado who could finish the project quickly (3-4 months), but just didn’t have the attention to detail I was looking for. These guys stayed on my list until I made my final decision though.
- Flytecamp.com in Oregon. I never got a chance to visit their shop but decided not to use a vintage trailer company at the point I was about to visit.
- FunkyJunkFarms.com in California does some nice work, but are just too used to working on big budget projects for Hollywood clients, so I think they’d blow my budget.
- Able + Baker Design who did an interesting Airstream conversion. I really liked Josh’s enthusiasm but didn’t want to go with someone that didn’t have much experience working on a mobile platform or bus systems. Would love to work with him the in future on a non-mobile substrate.
- I also investigated dozens of alternatives to the above list. At most places, I found that either they didn’t have the quality I demand, they didn’t have experience with the sophisticated systems that are common to bus conversions (like diesel fired heaters) or that they did not have the creativity to pull off what I desire.
Once I decided that Paradise Coach could handle the job, I thought it was time to talk to Craig Dorsey at Vintage Vacations before I made a commitment to make a change. I called Craig to break the news and was amazed at his total and complete indifference to anything I said. Now remember that I had told Craig that I was going to fly out to pick up my vintage bus, spend ten days driving it across the country to his location in Nova Scotia, only if he was ready. He responded that he was remodeling his kitchen and that my project would be a great dessert to that project. Only after driving halfway across the country did he reveal that he had taken on a new client and would not be able to work on my project until that one was done, which should be six months… eight months after an update he gave me. He took the new client BEFORE I emailed him saying that I was about to head his direction and he chose to not mention it to me and that resulted in me wasting over $3,000 on fuel, hotels, flights and other expenses associated with driving to his location. I will further incur expenses to re-ship all the appliances I had bought and had shipped to NJ that were to be picked up on my way to his location. I will also have to pay to have the bus shipped from its current location to the shop that will ultimately fabricate and install the interior. The expenses I will ultimately incur due to Mr. Dorsey’s actions will most likely bump up to around $5,000 by the time it’s over. Keeping that in mind, I expected him to at least be apologetic about how he handled the situation. But, then I called him, he said things like “I’m good with it… I’m going to move on the moment we hang up… and …I’ll be clean.” Had he simply said he was sorry about how he handled the situation, then I would have been OK (but not thrilled) about what happened. Instead, I registered the domain of www.vintage-vacations-sucks.com (which I’ll simply point to this post) and filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau as a few first steps. Next, I will consider small claims court or getting my attorney involved. None of which would have been on my mind if he handled things in a professional manner. Nobody should consider having him work on a project without knowing how much he can screw things up.
Here’s an edited version (stuff chopped out for brevity wherever you see “…”) of the email I received a day or two after he revealed that he took on a client and couldn’t work on my project. That was one hour when he actually seemed to care, unlike today:
I fucked up! And I don’t even know how to begin to make it right. Some how in my mind, not confronting you and telling you that I was working to button up another client and being open about the situation head on while trying to balance everything out seemed to be the solution, but it didn’t works.
BUT, now I’m in the middle of the flurking country and have no idea where anything will be done! I’m about to explode emotionally and don’t know why I should consider having you do the interior at this point. I have to say, I feel pretty screwed here. All you needed to do was tell me that you were asked to do another project. Look below and read the exact quote I sent you… here it is :
The vintage bus will be ready this week and I should be picking it up by mon or wed and driving your way… IF you’re ready.
Let me know what’s up on your end… it should take me 10 days to drive it there.”