Key West man heads to Wilmington in duct taped bus - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Key West man heads to Wilmington in duct taped bus

This is what Rock Soloman's bus looked like days before he escaped Key West from Hurricane Irma. (Source: Rock Soloman) This is what Rock Soloman's bus looked like days before he escaped Key West from Hurricane Irma. (Source: Rock Soloman)
A shell of a bus sits in a garage days before Rock Soloman pieced it together to escape Irma. (Source: Rock Soloman) A shell of a bus sits in a garage days before Rock Soloman pieced it together to escape Irma. (Source: Rock Soloman)
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) -

Rock Solomon calls Key West home.

As a musician playing at local establishments there, his main mode of transportation is a bike.

Several years ago, he purchased a limo bus, saving it from a scrap yard. The large metal contraption turned into his labor of love for the next several years.

"I bought it with the intention of touring around as a musician, but it started to become a huge financial burden," Solomon said.

As Hurricane Irma closed in on the Keys of Florida, Solomon worked for three days around the clock to put the bus back together so he could evacuate. He has his sights set on Wilmington, where his daughter lives.

"Just days before the hurricane, the bus had no floor, no windows, no doors, no rear wheels, no fuel system, no windshield," Solomon said.

It's hard to imagine that a day later he drove the contraption north toward Wilmington, but with duct tape and bungee cords, he pieced the bus back together and hit the road.

"I drove to West Palm Beach through the hurricane, Soloman said. "Water was coming through the floor, through the ceiling, I was soaking wet driving through the hurricane."

"I am driving the thing, holding the window in place, no windshield wipers, so I couldn't separate the rain from the road," he said. "I was getting poured on. Branches were falling on the bus and water was coming up through the floor." 

He encountered more problems with the vehicle in West Palm Beach, including a failed starter.

He faced another bump in the road when he broke down in Myrtle Beach at the state line. That's where WECT's Chelsea Donovan met him.

"This bus is a sturdy vehicle, and she saved me from the storm, just as I saved her from the scrap yard," Solomon said. "But I am wondering if this is the end of the road."

Determined, he cranked the engine, and after three tries the bus roared her tired waterlogged engine. Solomon continued on, another leg of his unpredictable journey he can live to tell about.

Solomon did mention he knows the vehicle wouldn't pass inspection. 

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