The bus is here! After several months of research I found several Colorado buses that would fit my needs coming up for auction. I settled on a 1999 Amtran Genesis 19 passenger handi-bus. 185,000 miles with a DT466E and MT643 tranny.
Very clean, extremely low rust, new exhaust, air-springs, working lift... looks and drives pretty solid. It was in service until June of this year. I drove it 40 miles back to my house with no problems at all. Does 70mph on flat land without too much effort, but sounds like it prefers to run at 65. Doesn't bog down too much up those Colorado foothills. I also made it up a mile long dirt driveway, up the side of a mountain. I was worried the transit-style would cause the front of the bus to not have enough clearance when climbing a steep rocky grade. Made it with no issues, but it was close. :P
The 2 year plan for this bus is to turn it into an Art Installation & Performance stage for the 2017 & 2018 Transformational Festival circuit. My crew and I have applied for art grants from Burningman, Apogaea and Sonic Bloom. After a couple years of making money with the bus I will use those funds to turn it into a plush tiny-home for my lover and me.
The general vision for the stage is to use the mid-ship wheelchair lift as a base to build a removable/retractable DJ booth on the side of the bus. Using a laser cutter and C&C machines we will design intricate wood panels to decorate the booth and bus exterior. The white painted bus and panels will be used to projection map live visual art during performance sets. Working with another camp, we will incorporate their propane puffers to shoot giant fireballs off the top of the bus. …Burners are fun.
I had some friends over and we got super weird staying up all night ripping the seats and floor out. Progress pictures soon!