Went looking at another bus from Craigslist last night. It was located on the "other side of the water" from where I live... a good 1/2 drive on a good day. Potentially three times as long in afternoon traffic. Although it looked like a great day, I dread riding the motorcycle in bad traffic, so my mother volunteered to drive, no doubt curious what I'm getting into.
We were told the bus would be waiting for us "outside the fence" so we could see it. But when we arrived... nadda.
So we drove around a little and looked. There was a junk yard on one side of the road with a huge white bus that looked like it had seen better days parked just inside the fence. On the other side of the road behind a moat-sized ditch was the fenced-in area of a metal scrap yard. The fence had that green screening stuff over it, but we could just make out the shape of four nice-sized school buses.
Well the big white bus was definitely NOT an option. Just too badly rusted. But the other buses - what we could see of them - looked promising.
Okay, let's try the scrap yard.
When we drove to the front of the business, we asked the guy washing his truck if he knew of anyone selling their schoolbus in this area.
"Yeah, hold on." He threw his towel down and disappears into an office like building behind us.
A couple seconds later, he came back out with two guys in tow - a short, balding guy with a friendly smile and a scruffy looking guy who looks like he spends most of his time buried elbows deep in a motor.
"Smiley" pops his head in the car window. "Yeah, you need somethin?"
"I'm looking for a bus..."
Before I can explain about craigslist, he breaks into an even wider smile. "How many you want?"
I'm both shocked and amused. "Just one. We're supposed to meet someone who had one for sale on Craigslist."
"Who you supposed to meet?"
"Yeah, he prolly fell asleep. Hold on."
At this point Smiley whips out a phone and proceeds to wake up Sean, who forgot we were supposed to meet him and appears to be too lazy to come unlock the gate so we can see the bus. I'm thinking Sean really isn't very interested in selling his buses today.
The guy who called him, however, seemed interested. He pointed to Mr. Scruffy and says, "Go show em my bus."
Scruffy leads us to the side of the office. There's a couple of obviously dead cars, a skeletal truck, and a travel trailer that at first looks like scrap until I noted the new extension cord running to the outlet. And, of course, there was the bus. It wasn't exactly what I want, but what the heck. I took a look.
Nice body. Eight windows. Obviously "custom" black and white paint job with a funny little skull and crossbones painted on the side. Great looking tires with lots of tread. I crawl underneath the bus and look for signs of rust. It's black with grime, but no rough areas that would indicate a bad case of rot. Nice big areas for some grey and fresh water tanks! I'm happy about that.
I snap a couple of pictures and crawl back out from under the bus to go inside. The seats are all there, still in decent shape. The captain's area is the standard utilitarian seat and controls. Automatic drive... I'm liking that, even though I think I'll need a manual drive to crawl over the dirt roads. Scruffy says it's a deisel 9.something engine with air brakes. I'd need a CDL endorsement to drive it.
Overall, it's a very nice looking bus. Obviously well loved and used to take folks to the local games and such. But it's only about 20' of living space behind the captain's chair. I'd really like an extra 5' or so to live. And forget trying to make that small a space long-term livable with an 8' motorcycle in the back!
Just on a whim, I go inside to ask Smiley how much he wants for the bus. Unfortunately, he's on the phone with someone and another customer is waiting to speak with him. As I'm standing there waiting, I'm amused to see a 2 liter bottle of coke, a liter of orange juce, and a big bottle of vodka. These guys know how to relax at work!
Still talking on the phone, Smiley motions me into another office and writes a phone number on a card and stage whispers to call later for more information.
Although I left the scrapyard knowing next to nothing about potential buses for sale, it wasn't a wasted trip. I now know of a good sized scrap yard that has a couple of travel trailers on site that I might be able to scavenge parts from. I need to visit another couple of scrap yards in the local area first to see if they have anything comparable. But if not, I know I'll be making a trip back "over the water" to get some goodies.