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Old 02-10-2011, 01:56 PM   #1
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Re: Considering a Skoolie

Welcome to the skoolie forum Erin. I think your design is great! In your situation, I would probably come up with something very similar, if not identical. Here are some things you might want to consider though:

- The upper room will mean issues with low clearance bridges on smaller roads, and may create some issues getting into campgrounds or other areas with low hanging tree branches.
- Pulling a trailer and thus extending your length obviously limits accessibility to various areas and thus limits your options as far as where you can go and where you can spend the night.
- Putting music equipment in the trailer increases the possibility of theft. Band trailers get stolen/broken into all the time. There may not be much you can do about that in terms of your design though; you'll just have to take whatever precautions you can think of.

Generally, in building your bus and deciding how to design your utilities, the most important consideration (IMHO) is anticipating where you will be spending your nights. RV parks? State campgrounds? BLM land? Friends' driveways? Walmart parking lots? Public streets? How often will you be accessing external power/water vs. "dry-docking" or "boondocking" with just your own onboard utilities?

Also, if you put a room up top, you are going to draw more attention from people in general, and perhaps police in particular, who may think you are "some kinda hippies" and thus up to no good. I myself am wrestling with how far outside the ordinary I should go with the "look" of my bus. Skoolies by nature are going to attract attention, but how you paint it and any external modifications/augmentations may make a difference. I think the flat-nosed buses are likely to draw less attention since they look a little more "RV-like".

Just some food for thought...
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Old 02-10-2011, 03:51 PM   #2
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Re: Considering a Skoolie

My suggestion would be to go with an articulated bus. But the problem there will be getting into campgrounds. And you will have to have a 2nd driver for your car.

Seriously, lose the "play area", get a tent for a play area and get rid of 3/4 of the kids' toys (that will include your toys as well). You have to learn to live within 270 SF of floor space. Before you do this full time, have you spent anytime RVing? This is not a lifestyle for everyone.Get a cheap, SMALL RV and go camping for a week at a time in all types of weather. Better if you can be in it for a month at a time.. even thru winter. Cook every meal, do not eat out during your "test" phase. This is our second time at full-timing. First time we spent 17 months in Chattanooga campgrounds in a hard sided pop-up (2 adults, 2 kids, 1 large dog, 1 tiny cat). Close quarters is not something every marriage can hold up to. You can and will get cabin fever. You will get stuck inside for days (weeks) at a time due to rain and/or snow. And then there are times when the flu bug goes around. It's really worse in small cramped quarters. You can forget about "privacy". You really don't have any. And the whole campground will know when you and your hubby are "intimate". Split your bathroom. That way a shower can be taken when someone is "homesteading" in the toilet area. Rubbermaid totes make good kiddy bathtubs (We've been camping since 1979... The girls were born in 1986). If you plan on using the internet to do business over, you will have to have a good, steady connection. That means a sat dish set up or you are in campgrounds using their WI-FI. I can't connect about once a week on average. It was hit and miss last week during all the snow. If you can, try for warmish places during the winter.

I will never go back to a brix-n-sticks house. I've had four houses over the years. While I like houses, mostly because they can store all my books... which I no longer have, I dislike being owned by a house. We started full-timing again back in the fall of 2006. We were living in NC at the time. Since we moved into the RV, we have lived in GA, FL, NC, TN, NM, & TX. Our RV is a 22 ft long Class C. One of our daughters is living with us since we came out west. She was supposed to be living with her sister but her sister's boyfriend "couldn't live in the same house" as her twin (jealously and he's an idiot) so she's with us. Want's her own skoolie too (with a back porch like Smitty's to put a rocking chair on). She gets the Class C temporarily until she can get her own skoolie once we move out.

Stacey has a bad case of "let's go" like her parents. She loves this lifestyle.



The kids were homeschooled (5th/6th grades while full-timing) thru a TN umbrella school, our "home" state was/is TN and if you homeschool, you must be legal in your home state. For TN (and for many states) that meant we had to be in TN (Chattanooga) for 2 & 3 day SAT's for grades 3, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12. My kids did the Stanford Achievement Tests, not the dumbed down state tests. If they had scored poorly on any one of those tests, they would have been forced to attend public school (my kids scored in the top 10% of the country). Homeschooling is not a cakewalk. It involves alot of work. Get an umbrella school even if you aren't required to. They keep all the paper work. My kids have high school diplomas issued thru Family Christian Academy (our umbrella school), not GED's.
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Old 02-10-2011, 08:14 PM   #3
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Re: Considering a Skoolie

Hi Erin,

Welcome to the forum. I'm Nicole and my husband is John and we are a young couple too (29 and 26) with three girls ages 8, 5 and 20 months. We have a 37' Blue Bird TC2000 which is nearing completion. Last year we moved into the empty shell and converted it as we camped in it and got it mostly done before winter. As cold weather hit, we took a break but we are about to move back in the next couple of months when we get our heating system in.

We have homeschooled most of the time, although this year they really wanted to try school and we are stationary so we let them go to public school this year. However, next year they will be homeschooled again. I was homeschooled almost all the way through so if you have any homeschooling questions feel free to ask since I'm a bit of a veteran.

One thing I am hearing in your post and seeing in your plans is that you are concerned that you won't have enough space. We are lucky in that we are all fairly small people and so I can see why your tall husband might be worried, but I wouldn't worry as much about room for the kids. I would be much more concerned about your own space. What we did is put our bedroom at the very back, right next to the bathroom so that it would be a buffer between us and the kid's bunkroom. Each child has a bunk with their own shelving space for their own things and a reading light and if they feel the need to go get some quiet they can go shut the curtain. If they want to sit on the sofa and read in the living room they can do that too. During the day sometimes they play on the queen bed in my room too.

But at night, you are not going to want to be directly above the kids. When our youngest was very small she slept in our bed with us but we would put her in her own bed when *ahem* we wanted some alone time. A bus is built on suspension which is designed to... bounce vigorously. It's also not soundproof whatsoever. The way your room is designed right now be prepared to wake them up at the slightest nighttime activity, lol... We have had some questions from our oldest even then about why the bus was bouncing in the middle of the night.

The length and height of your bus will also make it very difficult for you to stay anywhere. Our bus is flat-nosed and looks pretty nice but we are not allowed to stay in almost all of the RV parks in the southern area of British Columbia where we are from. If your bus is older than 10 years old or is a conversion, RV parks want to see a photo. You can't boondock all of the time...sometimes you'll have to use a park. You would also be super long which eliminates many possibilities for parking as well. On top of that it's tough to drive something that long. I would also add that our bus gets 8-10 mpg and goes quite slow - top speed is 55mph. You'll want to keep it all as light as possible.

Your kids will want to be outside more than inside, which is a good thing. An awning is a good investment and something I would really like to have but don't yet. It means that it will be crowded but hopefully you will be keeping busy outside of your bus.

If you want to see our life in our skoolie and how we built it, check out our Youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/steampunkbus

We have our own thread on here too, it's called The Albatross: http://www.skoolie.net/forum/viewtop...lit=albatrosss.
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Old 02-10-2011, 11:38 PM   #4
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Re: Considering a Skoolie

Siting your bed front to back rather than side to side helps to keep the "motion" down a tad more. At least we found that true in the RV (unfortunately our bed is side to side). And that's with the airbags at 55 lbs!
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Old 02-11-2011, 10:51 AM   #5
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Re: Considering a Skoolie

If the bus is a-rockin', don't come a-knockin'!
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Old 02-11-2011, 11:28 AM   #6
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Re: Considering a Skoolie

DDan is right about a trailer with all your music equipment in it. BUT a couple magnetic signs that say something like "Stinky's Setpic Systems" or something like that might make a thief think twice. Who want's to steal from a "honey wagon"? As a musician myself we haul and keep our PA in a trailer full time. Though it never goes out of state, I've always been leary of advertizing anything on the outside.

The layout looks very good. Take the suggestions of the full timers here. Will save you a lot of heartache in the future. Learn from our mistakes, pilgram.

Oh, and welcome
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