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.