Well the conversion has began. I picked up our 1991 Thomas for $2500 here locally. It is rust free with 128k on the clock. I was also able to speak to the head mechanic of the school district it came from before I made the purchase in order to build some confidence of my purchase. He had all good things to say about the bus as he was able to recall tons of useful info on the bus by sheer memory.
It has the CAT 3208 turbo backed by a Allison 643 tranny, and air brakes. It drives down the road like a dream. It likes to go 60mph on the highway at about 2500Rpm but will top out at 64 at 2850rpm. It also has plenty of acceleration power.
The name just kinda hit me one day after about a week of trying to come up with one. "Double Duce" kinda has mulitple meanings I guess, but mainly it is based on the buses history as being bus number 22 from the district. It will house 2 adults and 2 children, and I was later reminded that it was the name of the bar on the moive Road House. (Get it, Road...House...)
Anyway we all agreed with it so there it stands.
Our plan for the bus is to be able to not only camp at the lake during the summer but for all vacation purposes, year round. We want to be completely self contained if needed for up to a week. The plan is to build it to be pretty Plush inside since I figure if it was just to sleep in we would have bought a pop-up. However we plan on using it as we build it so at first that is what it will be, a place to sleep and stay dry. It will also serve as a tow vehicle, pulling our boat to the lake and my Rock Crawler to the trails.
Here it is at the house. We have plans for the outside to make it look not so much like a school bus by removing some of the rub rails and removing the drivers emergency door and rear emergency door, repalcing the front door with a motorhome door and replacing the windows with a few selectivly placed motorhome windows among some other items.