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Old 02-14-2017, 11:15 PM   #1
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mdeese's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Posts: 8
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International 3000
Engine: T444E
La Orca II

The year is 1994 and I am 8 years old, the youngest of three boys, and living in Sedro-Woolley, WA. My father shows up at the house honking the horn in a 1964 Ford Blue Bird. It is then my parents shock my two older brothers and I by telling us they had sold our home and my fathers photography studio and we would be going on the adventure of a life time by moving to the deep south of Mexico. Within a few weeks the family worked together and converted the bus into a comfortable enough living space. The bus was painted black and white and christened the Orca. After an awesome month long journey through the western US and practically Mexico in its entirety, we made it to our destination. We spent the next two years living out of the bus having amazing adventures in a small village about 30 minutes outside of Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico. When the it was time for the adventure to end, we made our way back to Washington to stay on my grandfathers property. The next few years that followed the Orca served as our base as we moved from Washington to Massachusetts to North Carolina. On our next move, which was to Texas, the Orca finally gave out(brakes gave out, ended up in a small accident)and finally was peacefully sold to a wrecking yard.

Fast forward to present day and my dream of finally owning the sequel to the Orca has come true. Meet La Orca II, a 2002 International Amtran RE T444E w/ 5spd Allison tranny. I got this from an online auction at 422sales and feel like I ended up with a pretty good deal. It was listed as 18+1 with 142,230 miles. The pictures were obviously a bigger bus than 18 passenger but the bench seats are smaller than normal so i'm guessing this accounted for the passenger size difference. The 142,230 miles listed on the auction was also incorrect. It was actually 14,230. This bus is in pristine condition, it seems like it was hardly driven at all. It is the tall body, 78 inches to be exact, and cruises at 70 like a dream. Unfortunately there is no A/C in the bus so that is going to be my first big purchase, I live in San Antonio now and it gets HOT and HUMID. Still haven't decided on a floor plan but I will be using this bus for both family outings and for doing mountain bike tours with friends. I look forward to the build and any advice I will be able to get.
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Old 02-15-2017, 12:23 AM   #2
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Richmond Virginia
Posts: 864
Year: 1984
Engine: 366 Big block Chevy! :) w/ Stick shift
Wow! Just wow!
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Old 02-15-2017, 12:46 AM   #3
Rusty's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Midwest
Posts: 157
Year: 2003
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 5.9L Cummins
Rated Cap: '00

Great story teller...I'm listening. Do go on.
Big and slow...
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Old 02-15-2017, 02:10 AM   #4
Bus Crazy
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 1,239
A bus like that requires an aisle wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair. As a consequence the seats have room for two 13" wide behinds instead of three.

It would appear as if it hasn't been used much at all.

Be careful with that power package. Neither the engine or that transmission can tolerate any sort of prolonged heating. When it is hot and while pushing it hard while fully loaded you will overheat that bus very easily.

Good luck on your continuing saga of the Orca buses!
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Old 02-15-2017, 08:09 AM   #5
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mdeese's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Posts: 8
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International 3000
Engine: T444E
Thank you cowlitzcoach, I don't plan on ever having it fully loaded down but being in Texas I will definitely watch the temp. My brother is driving it down from Seattle as we speak, 2084 miles. He said when he picked it up from STA a few of the mechanics gave him little tips on driving it and keeping the temperature down. I still have yet to actually see the bus in person.
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Old 02-15-2017, 08:27 AM   #6
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Brazoria County, Texas
Posts: 166
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 32 Passenger
mdeese, That was a fine story. It sounds like you have been here in Texas long enough you can call yourself a Texan. From another Texan WELCOME !! You're not truly a Texan unless you have a good story ! Some of us have a good story. Let's see some pix of the progress of a GREAT STORY !!
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