IT IS OFFICIAL - CALIFORNIA SAYS WE ARE A MOTORHOME
I went to the California DMV to try and get the bus changed from a school bus to a motorhome for registration purposes. This is important for several reasons. First, the difference in registration costs for a year are $1,200 as a commercial vehicle school bus vs $119 as a motorhome. Second, in California you do not need a commercial Class B license to drive a motorhome that is 40 feet or less. A simple Class C will do. Finally, as a motorhome we will be exempt from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) regulations governing diesel large trucks and buses.
My first experience with the California DMV and my bus was horrible. This took place just after I had purchased the bus and had to go and pay sales tax on the bus purchase and get it registered in my name. The clerk I got clearly hated her job, hated the public, and particularly hated me. She was rude and refused to answer any of my questions related to what it was going to take to have the DMV allow the bus to be converted to a motorhome. I thought I was in some SNL skit or some hidden camera prank video. It was incredible.
So, eight months later, I walked back into a DMV office with great concerns. I filled out California DMV Form 256A, declaring that I was converting the bus to a motorhome. I waited 45 minutes before my number was called. I showed my Proof of Title, my Proof of Insurance form and gave her my two commercial license plates off of the bus. I told the clerk about converting the bus to a motorhome. I also explained that the registration had expired back in October 2013 and I had not renewed it since it was in storage getting converted. I told her that I wanted to now change the registration to a motorhome so I could move it to another location to get some additional mechanical work done on it.
She looked stuff up on her computer and then excused herself. I saw her go and talk with two other DMV employees. They then came over to her window and were still discussing whether or not they were going to require me to bring the bus to the DMV for inspection. The issue was the dreaded and vague issue about what DMV considers "habitable" for a conversion. Thank heavens I had been cheerful and friendly to this particular DMV clerk. I heard her say to the others that she wasn't going to inconvenience me or hassle me and came back to her desk and promptly gave me my non-commercial plates, my new registration tags, and I gave her a grand total of $119.
I am now officially a motorhome in the eyes of the State of California.
You will see in the pictures below that I also did some chrome bling for the license plate frame.
Front Image of Bus
Close Up of License Plate Frame
Rear License Plate (Note the Refurbished License Plate Light)