Morris County News

Big Ideas for Planet Earth in a A Roxbury Man's Bus

cb670f8dd340c319a44b__IMG3827fava.JPG
Donna Elazar and Bryan Callahan work on their bus while Lila, their dog, watches
4f8cd4c31c07b119afad_153a720389507ad179c1_busfront.PNG
7939e56932000ffce106_4135db36c9f6fc47da85_businside.jpg
Bus appliances operate on low-pressure propane. Callahan is adding solar panels and batteries for other electrical needs
cb670f8dd340c319a44b__IMG3827fava.JPG

ROXBURY NJ – Back in his Roxbury High School days, Bryan Callahan wasn’t a football star, a gifted member of the marching band or president of the student council.

He preferred running wires to running fields. His favorite instruments didn't make music; hey measured volts.

The Kenvil resident said he did receive one acknowledgment from the school, an accolade somewhat related to his passion for tinkering with wires, switches, bulbs, gauges and the like: “I graduated in 2003 with the Senior Award in Science Excellence,” he said with a chuckle.

Sign Up for E-News

Now, the kid who installed a siren and a pushbutton alarm system in his backyard treehouse, is close to accomplishing a long-held dream: He and girlfriend Donna Elazar are planning to hit the road in a 43-foot-long, 2001 International Genesis school bus on a mission to help the planet.

The bus has been converted into a home on wheels that the couple will use to roam the nation as evangelists for off-the-grid, sustainable living. This week, Callahan, 31, and Elazar, 24, were busy installing solar panels atop the huge vehicle. They hope to get the bus road-ready in time to take it all the way to Oregon next month, where they volunteered to work at Oregon Eclipse a week-long “sustainability event” that starts Aug. 17 and coincides with an upcoming solar eclipse.

Callahan planned to be rolling across America by now with Elazar and their frisky white Lab named Lila. But rash of last-minute bad luck put the brakes on that idea.

“During this year, we overcame various setbacks, all the while pushing onward,” Callahan wrote on an online crowdfunding site where he is seeking donations to finish the bus project. “But, on what was to be the eve of our departure a few weeks ago in June, a fender bender and our only two cars breaking down on the same day destroyed the capital we had left to finish the conversion and get us to our first destination.”

It’s not the first setback. Callahan bought the bus in November from a man in Egg Harbor. While he was driving the rig home to Roxbury, one of the front air brakes failed. There was also an issue with some frozen waste water lines this winter.

But with Callahan installing security systems and Elazar - a 2015 honors graduate of Ramapo College - also working, money was found to fix the brakes and water lines. Before the recent setbacks, they had the cash they needed to finish the bus and head west.

“Our main goal is to look for farms and small communities that are trying to integrate permaculture ideas,” Callahan said. “Permaculture is a form of farming that integrates the natural cycles of the earth … What I’m trying to do is bring in the off-grid and sustainable power to run pumps for irrigation and do all the heavy-lifting stuff our technological society does.”

Callahan and Elazar are no strangers to nationwide travel. They’ve already crisscrossed the country – in a pickup with a homemade camper top – helping out at events and projects aligned with their belief in sustainable lifestyles.

“These individuals are some of the most inspiring people I have had the pleasure to know,” said Ryan Vander Horn, a friend of Callahan and Elazar. “They live their life untethered by the mundane and superficial aspects of everyday life. Bryan and Donna have a drive that stems not from concern for the expectations and desires of others, but rather from the needs and cries for help that rise up from the collective.”

Vander Horn, a former Rutgers University English major about to head to law school, said he’s seen Callahan and Elazar in action and is awed by their conviction and generosity.

“No matter what environment they find themselves in, you can notice their sense of duty to the community around them,” he said. “Whether it is at a friend's house lending a helping hand with chores, or teaching workshops at festivals around the country, the main goal is to help those around them.”

Callahan said he is acutely aware there are people in dire circumstances, facing illnesses or situations far more worthy of charity. In the first sentence of his crowdfunding page, he says “asking for help isn’t easy for me.”

His hope is that others who share his beliefs will chip in a little to help. He said the bus, with almost everything inside powered by the sun, will be like a “portfolio” on wheels, a lumbering, tan and blue example of simple living and ingenuity.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Denville

10-Year Old Boy Battling Cancer Receives Generous Donation From Randolph Hockey Family

May 20, 2018

RANDOLPH, NJ- While the inter-town hockey battles on the ice between Randolph and Roxbury are fierce at every age level, when it comes to real life battles off the ice there is no hesitation to offer help to their neighbor.

Such is the case with a recent gesture of unity and support from the Randolph Varsity hockey team, when they came together to deliver good wishes and ...

TAPinto Featured Franchisee: Steve Lenox of TAPinto Paterson

This week's feature will focus on TAPinto Paterson's franchisee, Steve Lenox. Find out how the current owner of a public affairs firm went from a former State Director for Senator Frank Lautenberg to a proud TAPinto franchisee for New Jersey's third largest city.

 

Q. When did you join TAPinto.net?

I joined TAPinto.net in September, ...

Join the Fight, Morris: Water + 7 Days = Mosquitoes

May 23, 2018

With the sun finally expected to show itself starting tomorrow and over the Memorial Day weekend, Morris County residents can reduce the number of all mosquitoes, including the aggressive Asian Tiger variety, in their own backyards by taking action now.

The ankle-attacking, aggressive Asian Tiger variety transmits viral disease and bites all day long, unlike many other varieties that come out ...

Congressional Candidate Tony Ghee Candidate Statement

May 17, 2018

With the retirement of longtime Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen, the good people of Morris, Essex, Sussex and Passaic Counties will elect a new representative this November. It also means that our Republican Party has a choice to make, as well.

Do we nominate a career politician in an age when most people don’t trust their government or the people serving, or do we seize this ...

SURVIVING A STROKE: Quick Medical Response Gives Mom Her Life Back

Carotid artery dissection. It’s one of the most common causes of stroke in younger adults.

And while you might not associate the word “stroke” with younger patients, the condition – if not treated immediately – could lead to paralysis and even death.

Lindsey Singh can attest to the importance of immediacy. The 31-year-old mother of two from Flanders experienced ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, May 23, 7:00 PM

Livingston Community Center (lower level), Livingston

NJ-11 Congressional Candidates Debate, hosted by ...

Education Government Law & Justice

Fri, June 1, 5:30 PM

Darress Theatre, Boonton

Magic Show Extravaganza

Arts & Entertainment Giving Back

'Turning Off the Morning News' brings comic twist

‘Turning Off the Morning News’ tackles today’s issues with a comic twist

By Liz Keill

PRINCETON, N J – Despite the late night comics, no one quite captures the insanity of the political/social status world like Christopher Durang.

His latest play, “Turning off the Morning News” hit the ground running.  John Pankow as Jimmy addresses the audience, ...

'To Kill a Mockingbird' Sustains Timeless Appeal

SUMMIT, NJ – The Summit Playhouse provides a stellar production of a much loved classic, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

The Harper Lee novel, later a Gregory Peck film and now a stage production, retains all the warmth, intensity and integrity that made it such an appealing hit in the 1960s. And there will be a new production on Broadway in December with a script by Aaron Sorkin ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 15

On this week’s AtlantiCast, learn some important tips for controlling and avoiding diabetes from an Atlantic Health System expert, see how Atlantic Health is advancing cutting-edge research, hear what’s being done to keep health care environmentally friendly and much more!

 

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin's Press, 2018)

            What is the “final frontier” on the Earth's surface? Many people would say Alaska, the 49th state, which was added to the United States fifty years ago. Once one has traveled to that remote land, it is impossible to forget the magnificence of the terrain and beasts. Floating by ship in Glacier Bay, surrounded by ...