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Old 12-12-2010, 09:44 AM   #11
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Re: Best "RV" Option for a Woman?

The bus I'm aiming to buy will eventually be for little ole me only. Was gonna scrap 'em but frankly I love to travel too much to give up a mobile house. Your goals are similar to mine so here is what I am looking for

School bus with (preferred) high undercarriage clearance so I can store tanks. More water I can store the longer I don't have to deal with civilization. Shuttle bus might work but no undercarriage.

I know school buses get worse mileage than some RVs or roadtreks or even vans, but those things don't have the room I want. Trade off is the room and durability (have you seen an rv vs a school bus crash?) for mpg. BUT... if I'm staying put for a week at a time then mpg isn't that big of a deal.

You can carry a lot more in a school bus. Greater weight limits. I don't own a lot of anything but I do have a nice self-reliant setup (canning supplies, preps, etc).

And that seals the deal.... schoolie because it gives me the space and ability to carry weight = Solitude and self-reliance. Plus a school bus has the ability to go places a lot of RVs bottom out, like national forests and other free places. I've noticed many places I want to go don't like things over 30' so I'm aiming for less than.
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Old 12-12-2010, 09:47 AM   #12
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Re: Best "RV" Option for a Woman?

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Jarlaxle: RA Salvatore fan?
I'm posting as "Jarlaxle"! Of course! Useless trivia: he lives in Massachusetts & went to Fitchburg State College. He's a genuinely nice guy...I met him a few years ago at a book signing. (I have hardbacks of Legacy, Starless Night, Seige of Darkness, and Passage to Dawn that he signed.)

Quote:
Iíve been to the VanDwellers site. Thanks. Iíve also visited the Road Trek web site and studied the floor plans (and my grandparents owned one). They seem to snug for full-timing.
From what you posted, the problem for you will be their small tankage. I have seen people FT in tiny rigs (saw a married couple who had full-timed for 5+ years in a tiny Toyota Dolphin), but it sounds to me like you need to go a bit bigger.

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Thanks for the info on the Verizon card (been looking into the carriers and wanted more info). I have run the numbers. I like to stream; that is my downfall. Iíll have to save that for wireless at RV parks.
I am NOT the one to ask about technology...I know that I don't know much about it. However: if there's one nearby, I suggest hitting Radio Shack and Best Buy--they sell all sorts of cell phones and plans. Several companies have prepaid monthly plans with 3G coverage and UNLIMITED talk, text, and most importantly for you, data; most will run you no more than $5-10 more than just the Verizon aircard. You can hook a laptop to some of the phones...I didn't ask about that because I don't do it.

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Tyger: Thanks for your reply. Iíll look into those crash pics. Also, I did get used to my PTís limited visibility. It freaked me out a little at first, but I got used to it. I might be able to adapt
Simple test: can you drive a big moving van? I don't mean a small one, I mean the BIG 24 or 26' Jumbo Hauler or Mega Mover from U-Haul. If so...you should be fine in a skoolie or a motorhome.

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Youíve all given me a lot to think about. I donít want to stick to warmer climates, I just want to avoid really cold ones in the winter. I want to get away from the Texas heat during the summer, too. I try to modulate my AC/heat to decrease my electricity bill, but Iím a pansy. I do the best I can. I thought that I should insulate the heck out of a bus so that it would retain the cool/warm air if using AC or heat. Am I incorrect?
No, you're 100% on the mark! Paint the roof white or silver and insulate EVERYTHING! I spent lots of time & effort insulating my B-700...and the result is a bus that stayed 75 degrees parked in the sun in 104-degree heat (Montgomery, Alabama). It also stays warm in sub-freezing temps.

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In any case, I do not making trips to town. My only concern is in ease of parking (for the Laundromat). I used laundry facilities for about 12 years, so it wouldnít phase me.
Well...if you keep your PT, you can tow that & use it for laundry trips. If not...well, best bet might be to find a laundromat in a shopping plaza, park the bus in the back-40, and just accept that you'll have to do some walking on laundry day.

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The shower might be slightly more problematic, but after a few searches I realized how much you use in a regular shower. Iíd like to cut down on general principle. I probably take a 12 minute shower.
With a low-flow showerhead, that's 24 gallons of water. Workable with some care and a rig with large water tanks.

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I need to bathe every 24-36 hours. Any longer and my hair turns really nasty. I should start timing myself and see how long it takes me. Lots to think aboutÖ
My wife is the same way...her hair used to be longer, now it barely reaches her knees unbound and her waist when in its usual topknot. I just built large tankage into both buses (150 fresh/100 gray for the B-700). She greatly reduced the "nasty" factor by switching shampoo brands, though.

Regarding a fridge...I just could not convince myself to use a residential fridge. The ability to stay cool with no hookups is very important for me (I boondock)...my B-700 has an elderly 3-way (LP/120V/12V) reefer that still works perfectly, I'm hunting for another one for my Genesis. I agree that the newer reefers (Dometic or Norcold) are pretty crappy...they seem to have greatly cheapened them in the last 10 years or so.

I have already stripped one old trailer for my Genesis and will be doing another one as soon as the weather permits...it has stuff I will use and I plan to make a cargo trailer out of the frame & axles.
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Old 12-12-2010, 12:27 PM   #13
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Re: Best "RV" Option for a Woman?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerGirl
Lorna: The clincher is that you do not want your daughter in an RV. That gives me pause. The Escapees website is a bit social for my tastes and arenít in the states Iíll probably travel through (Texas to California, then up the coast and into the Pacific NorthwestÖperhaps down to Colorado). Iíll dig up the Solo RVers thread...
One of the best things about the RV forums (any of them) is to read about the problems they have with some of the various appliances, electronics, electrical and plumbing, We have changed a lot of things based on our own experiences (we've been in mostly public campgrounds since 1979) and what we've read of others experiences. you pick out what's best for you. BTW, Escapees is based in Livingston TX and has one of the best mail-forwarding setups out there. I also post on IRV2.com... they have a good vintage forum. But like Smitty said, most RVer's (and coach-type bus conversion owners) do not think of a skoolie as a "real" RV or "Bus conversion". Many Private campgrounds don't want them in especially if they look like a school bus or a "Hippie" bus. That is part of the reason I have always leaned towards a Blue Bird flat nosed bus.... I think I can get it into more private parks... and I like the looks of the flat fronted buses. For us, in our current situation, we have to have access to an HD approved water & commercial sewer system. So until I win the Lottery, we have to work and that involves private campgrounds (and some pavement parking).

BTW, I'm in Central NM. Temps last week during the day were nice... low to mid 60's for high... but at night it hits freezing (it's the desert). No matter where you go, during the winter, you will have to deal with an overnight freeze occasionally, even in TX (we had overnight freezes last winter in Corpus a couple of times). You can also hit freezing temps while traveling in high altitudes. Insulate your pipes, sediment filter (always run a sediment filter... sand is everywhere) and fresh/waste tanks. Don't forget to insulate the hookups as well. Build you a short (12 ft or so) heat-taped-&-pipe-insulation-wrapped water hose. Like the boy scouts... "Be Prepared"
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Old 12-12-2010, 12:45 PM   #14
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Re: Best "RV" Option for a Woman?

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It's just your first bus. It doesn't have to be your last bus. It doesn't have to be perfect.
You know what? Thatís very true, and itís a great way of looking at it.

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Don't worry if you can't build a lot of furniture stuffÖas long as it can be fastened down, you're good to go!
Also true, and itís a good point.

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Buy a junker RV. Pull parts off the trailer and use inside your skoolie. Sell off what you don't use.
My dad has a whole garage area where he works on his own projects. Iíd have the room; I just donít see any rv interiors that are aesthetically appealing to me (far from it).

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I would suggest you opt for a residential refrigerator and a freezer. Don't use the RV kind. They have a tendency to catch fire.
:shocked

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You can put a full size bed in the back of a bus with a narrow walkway around itÖa word of warning. If you plan on installing something Large.. like big refrigerator, freezer or Washer/dryer, don't forget that at some point you will need to move it back out. Allow for it.
Oh yeah, I already snagged onto ďthe real bedĒ pro as a reason to convert my own! Thanks for the Ďduhí warning. I wasnít even thinking about that.

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Fixing all the systems in an old one of these might be almost as much work as building a skoolie! If you build your own wandering home, you will know how it all goes together. You can overbuild or use higher quality parts than would be used in a commercial unitÖ
Agreed.

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Here in the midwest, "warmer climates" just means those that remain above freezing.
Oh! Yes, it rarely dips below freezing. If it dips here, the weathermen usually remind everyone to go cover their pipes and bring the pets in.

Quote:
If you hadn't noticed, ALL my plumbing (including tanks, other than the secondary water tank on the roof) are inside the bus. This was another reason I didn't want a black tank, or the related piping for the dump valve under the bus where it could be exposed to freezing temps.
Yes, I noticed that. I liked the idea of it actually. One less thing to worry about, and no pests (human or animal) might bother them.

Quote:
Another option for cooking (though certainly not a quick one) is a solar oven. YouTube is loaded with instructional videos of all sorts of solar powered projects, from water heaters, PV panels, and cooking (and more).
Iíll look into what that is. I have no idea.

Quote:
As far as the possessions you plan to get rid of.....heck, sell them and put the profits in the bus (or what ever you decide on) fund.
Meh, the amount Iíd get for books and clothes is negligible. The local library in this town is awful and could use the books, and needy families here could use the clothes and furniture. Iím blessed to have a job. Iíll just pay it forward. Iíll have lots of savings by the time I decide to embark on my adventure.

Quote:
Regarding the 5G limit which is the industry standard on the air cards, some people even get 2 accounts. It gives them 2X the data, but comes with 2X the cost naturally.
Another idea that I didnít even think about.

You may have converted me on this. Iíve repeatedly been annoyed by the way we (in developed countries) pee and poo in clean drinking water. Iíve been waiting for new solutions to become more widespread, But if I really believe in the premise, then how could not employ a feasible solution that is already out there? Although, to bring up a point from your conversion thread, where do you dump the stuff? Also, where do you clean your bucket?

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Try thisÖ
Or I could just run the water for one minute into a bucket and multiply that amount by my average shower time.

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(I have less than $600 total in my stove and 'fridge, both have warranty)
How much has your conversion cost so far? Just curious.

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I'll throw this out for anyone to consider.....look at my "portable" shower (I called my "winter shower"), I think I had about $30 invested in it.
Wait, where was this? I donít recall it in your conversion thread.

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(have you seen an rv vs a school bus crash?)
Where can I find some pics? Iíve done a few searches, but I donít want to pull up anything graphic.

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Plus a school bus has the ability to go places a lot of RVs bottom out, like national forests and other free places. I've noticed many places I want to go don't like things over 30' so I'm aiming for less than.
I do not understand this. Can you explain it differently?

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I'm posting as "Jarlaxle"! Of course!
BwahahaaÖ

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Simple test: can you drive a big moving van? I don't mean a small one, I mean the BIG 24 or 26' Jumbo Hauler or Mega Mover from U-Haul.
I have never tried. I have a male best friend. It makes him feel all manly and important when I ask him to do manly things. So I pretend to be a bit helpless on these things to boost his ego. Itís manipulative, but it makes him feel good.

Quote:
No, you're 100% on the mark! Paint the roof white or silver and insulate EVERYTHING! I spent lots of time & effort insulating my B-700...and the result is a bus that stayed 75 degrees parked in the sun in 104-degree heat (Montgomery, Alabama). It also stays warm in sub-freezing temps.
Wow! Thatís a blazing endorsement. Iíd like to paint it gunmetal gray though. I really liked how Smittyís skoolie looked (before he added the wood trim). It really did look like some sort of SWAT team bus.

Quote:
Well...if you keep your PT, you can tow that & use it for laundry trips.
HrmmÖwell, thatís an idea. Iím not thrilled at the prospect of towing it though. Plus, I think the decreased gas mileage might not be worth it. I really, really love my PT, but itís nearly 10 years old now. Itís likely it wonít last for another few years anyway.

Once again, lots of things to think about. Iíve pretty much changed my mind on the flush toilet, freezer, and washer/dryer. I only do laundry twice a month, so I suspect that I could find a Laundromat that I could pull into every couple of weeks (right?). Otherwise, I could pull into a campground and do it by hand and line dry it.
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Old 12-12-2010, 12:55 PM   #15
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Re: Best "RV" Option for a Woman?

Quote:
But like Smitty said, most RVer's (and coach-type bus conversion owners) do not think of a skoolie as a "real" RV or "Bus conversion". Many Private campgrounds don't want them in especially if they look like a school bus or a "Hippie" bus. That is part of the reason I have always leaned towards a Blue Bird flat nosed bus.... I think I can get it into more private parks... and I like the looks of the flat fronted buses.
Meh, that doesn't bother me so much. My grandparents stay in private rv campgrounds, and those places suck my will to live. I don't know why. I guess I'm not a joiner and I don't especially like being packed in on top of fifty other people with only eight feet of space on either side. Not unless there is a very, very good reason.

I don't like the look of hippie buses either. Until I saw smitty's gunmetal gray bus, I was thinking I'd never like the look of one. I could make it look less hippy. You know, maybe add some barbed wire around the whole thing. Maybe make a huge skull and cross bones hood ornament, and set my tail light in a worked metal skull. I don't think anyone would call my skoolie a hippy bus then. At least not to my face.
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Old 12-12-2010, 01:05 PM   #16
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Re: Best "RV" Option for a Woman?

also that fabled craigs list and other freebie sites help sometimes. If you're worried about a toilet walmart sells the port a potty type for 100$
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Old 12-12-2010, 04:42 PM   #17
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Re: Best "RV" Option for a Woman?

Quote:
Originally Posted by in reference to using a composting toilet
Although, to bring up a point from your conversion thread, where do you dump the stuff? Also, where do you clean your bucket?
If you do not have personal property to compost the manure, bag it and throw it in the trash. It's no different than throwing out a bag full of baby diapers, or cat litter - though not be as smelly ( new baby poo should be classified as weapon's grade material!!!).
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Old 12-12-2010, 09:24 PM   #18
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Re: Best "RV" Option for a Woman?

Quote:
My dad has a whole garage area where he works on his own projects. Iíd have the room; I just donít see any rv interiors that are aesthetically appealing to me (far from it).
I'm not stripping trailers for interior stuff, though one will donate sofa cushions...I'm plowing out a local upholstery shop this winter in exchange for having them make washable covers that can cover up the avocado green. (Who ever actually thought avocado green looked good, anyway?!) I'm getting water tanks, A/C units, maybe water heaters, a toilet (new and never hooked up), and possibly a sink & a shower. The chassis of one will become a cargo trailer. (The other was a bust, having a cracked frame.)

Quote:
[quote:3eojgf0n]I would suggest you opt for a residential refrigerator and a freezer. Don't use the RV kind. They have a tendency to catch fire.
:shocked:[/quote:3eojgf0n]

No kidding...though the older ones seem to hold up better. The one in my B-700 is easily 25 years old. It's a Dometic.

Quote:
Oh yeah, I already snagged onto ďthe real bedĒ pro as a reason to convert my own! Thanks for the Ďduhí warning. I wasnít even thinking about that.
I originally built my B700 with a super-single (sometimes called a "three quarter") bed...it's mostly a waterbed size. I built the platform in the bus using a bunkboard as a template. The couple that bought my bus wanted a full-sized bed...I kept the super-single mattress & bunkboard & it will be reused in the Genesis. It's a little tight for 2 people (especially two people and three cats), but works fine. If you have storage underneath (I did), it's also lighter to lift than a full or queen. Note: do not do this unless you are sure you and your partner can sleep in a super-single bed! (Liz and I have shared a twin bed several times, so no problem.)

Quote:
[quote:3eojgf0n]Plus a school bus has the ability to go places a lot of RVs bottom out, like national forests and other free places. I've noticed many places I want to go don't like things over 30' so I'm aiming for less than.
I do not understand this. Can you explain it differently?[/quote:3eojgf0n]

I think I can: check some pictures of motorhomes, then look at some pictures of school buses about the same length. The school buses will have more (often, LOTS more) ground clearance, especially on the rear overhang. Also, bottoming out a school bus is generally minor unless you take out dump valves or the fuel tank (not easy, but I would have to say possible)...scraped bumper, scraped trailer hitch, maybe a dent in the side skirts or a bent exhaust pipe. Bottoming out a motorhome even at low speeds can cost thousands to repair.

Quote:
I have never tried. I have a male best friend. It makes him feel all manly and important when I ask him to do manly things. So I pretend to be a bit helpless on these things to boost his ego. Itís manipulative, but it makes him feel good.
I suggest asking him to teach you to drive (notably: back up) a large truck. Shouldn't take more than a day or two.

Quote:
Wow! Thatís a blazing endorsement. Iíd like to paint it gunmetal gray though. I really liked how Smittyís skoolie looked (before he added the wood trim). It really did look like some sort of SWAT team bus.
The most important is the roof...my B700 is light gray with very dark maroon trim, black wheels, and black bumpers, but everything above the raingutters is white to reflect heat. The difference is staggering...on a hot day, the roof is warm, the sides are a little warmer, the trim is hot, the bumpers & wheels are too hot to touch. I went with the maroon trim because I DIDN'T want it to look like a SWAT team bus.

Quote:
HrmmÖwell, thatís an idea. Iím not thrilled at the prospect of towing it though. Plus, I think the decreased gas mileage might not be worth it. I really, really love my PT, but itís nearly 10 years old now. Itís likely it wonít last for another few years anyway.
10 years isn't that old...take care of it and it will last a long time. Sometimes, you will want a vehicle that fits in parking spaces & tight driveways. Also, it can double as a way to get help in an emergency. A PT is light enough the extra fuel will be minimal.

Quote:
Once again, lots of things to think about. Iíve pretty much changed my mind on the flush toilet, freezer, and washer/dryer. I only do laundry twice a month, so I suspect that I could find a Laundromat that I could pull into every couple of weeks (right?). Otherwise, I could pull into a campground and do it by hand and line dry it.
Laundromats are common enough almost everywhere...most truck stops have one on-site or nearby, many campgrounds have laundry rooms. Not sure they'd let you line-dry at the site, though.
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Old 12-12-2010, 11:57 PM   #19
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Re: Best "RV" Option for a Woman?

I have hung up clothes in the bathroom and strung a clothes line inside the RV. Don't you know you can make it rain just by hanging the clothes out to dry? Lots of campgrounds don't let you have clotheslines. I have a little trick that I use, I attach a long chain made up of big plastic links (got from either Lowes or Home Depot) to the open awning with bungee codes on each end. then I have clothes clips (like what you put on plastic hangers) that I use for towels, underthings, socks and pants. For shirts, I put those on Hangers. Looks like I'm airing out a few shirts.
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Old 12-13-2010, 10:17 AM   #20
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Re: Best "RV" Option for a Woman?

Lorna answered most. As to why I want it shorter than 30' is because many spots on the free camping lists/sites, the boondocking, and especially with National campgrounds that aren't as crowded as the uber popular resort ones--don't fit bus/rv's longer than 30'. Some places won't let you even drive the roads due to hairpin curves and what not.

Besides, under 30' is easy to drive. A luxary car is generally 18' long, just add a few feet Plus with a slightly smaller one you can pull little trailers when you need to, like for hauling a boat or ATVs then store them all in storage when you don't need 'em.
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