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Old 12-13-2009, 07:34 PM   #1
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Fulltiming in a bus

Who here is doing it? My friend is interested...he wants to convert a bus and live in it. He's sick of his $1100/month rent, he and his wife work in IT and can both work out of anywhere that has a good Wi-Fi signal. He's weighing two options and I figured I'd ask those who have done it:

Option 1) Buy my B-700.
Pros:
It's already converted.
It's well-proven by multiple camping trips, from 15 degrees (PA in February) to a muggy 98 degrees (FL in July).
Can be heated by diesel APU, electric baseboards, or propane heaters...heaters do NOT use electricity.
Fully insulated, top and bottom.
Insulated & heated holding tanks.
Has a diesel APU running a huge (275A) alternator & two separate A/C systems. (Also has rooftop air for when plugged in.)
Now has road (cab) A/C...a somewhat kooky-looking underdash setup that is still very effective.
Under-chassis storage bays.
Two big golf cart batteries.
Lots and lots of water tankage (150 fresh/100gray/50black).
Ample hot water (2 RV heaters in parallel...sounds stupid but it works.)
Regular (4-burner) stove with oven & vent hood.
3-way (LP/12V/120V) reefer, looks disco (worst case: get some stick-on vinyl to cover the faded avocado-green door) but works perfectly.
Fullsize shower with almost-7' height. (He's 6'4", she's 5'10")
New brakes.
Rebuilt engine, new clutch.
Onboard 12V (house batteries) air compressor & tanks.
He really, really likes my bus.

Cons:
Gas engine...about 6.5-7MPG.
It IS a 25-year-old vehicle.
A long-nose is not the most efficient use of space.
A bit noisy up front from the engine fan, gears, & wind.
Water tanks inside...keeps them warm, but also eats space.
Standard shift, no power steering. (I know he can drive it, not sure about her.)
Super-single bed...Liz and I don't mind, even with two or three cats (especially when it's cold), but they might. Though, there is room for a larger bed if you're willing to either move a wall or lose a seat.
Only sleeps two (though replacing my storage-sofa with a pull-out would probably take about 3 hours...)
No TV, no microwave (though one would fit next to the stove hood if he took out that cabinet), no connections for cable, satellite, or laptops.
Low ceiling: I didn't raise my roof. He'll have to duck to clear the roof A/C and some doors.
Needs front tires.

Option 2) Buy and convert a bus.
Pros:
Can get a diesel.
Can get a newer shell.
Can get a flat-nose or pusher with air brakes.
Can get PS and an automatic.
Maybe better head room.

Cons:
Not converted. (Duh!)
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Old 12-13-2009, 10:50 PM   #2
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Re: Fulltiming in a bus

Downsides to a skoolie. The bias towards them. It's not a problem with most campgrounds, especially the public parks. We are in the Corpus Christi area right now. Most of the campgrounds here are "resorts", even the ones that don't deserve the name. Some places object to older units and others don't. We fulltime in a 1977 Class C until we can get our bluebird from NM where it's in storage... gotta convert it while living in a campground. They will need to call and ask about the skoolie thing and the AGE of the unit. WI-FI isn't all it's cracked up to be (we're paying seperate bills for cable/internet and $200/mo rent... electric is paid by the KWH at the end of each month). They will need to pick up an antenna booster for campground wi-fi (last campground dropped in/out all day long). Not all campgrounds have wi-fi but most of the destinmation ones do. Currently we are in a mobile home park with RV sites (and is now under new ownership so things will change). 30 & 50 amp is the norm in private parks. They will need their own bathroom. Yes, they could use the parks but to full-time, your own bathroom is best. Full-timers tend to stay in one place more than traveling hither and yon. Your mpg is about the same as a big Class A. Most campgrounds will not let you do much of anything. These down here don't even want you to clean the outside of your unit much less do any real work. As for full-timing, you unit sounds like it would work. Personally I would object to the single bed. We have a full size (54" wide) in our Class C. I still have my King size water bed frame that I will cut down to full size in the bus. Full size works okay. Just need to cuddle more and much harder to go to bed mad.

www.escapees.com discussion forum and www.irv2.com forum are great places for your friends to find out about full-timing. Escapees has their own mail forwarding service (TX) and you can use their address as a "street" address. My mail forwarding outfit is out of TN (We're TN residents and were when we started full-timing). There are others based on FL and SD. There is a lot more to full-timing than just moving into an RV. There's things that you take for granted when you live in a "stix-n-brix". Some states are very much against "alternative housing". They do need to talk to folks who are doing it.
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Old 12-14-2009, 10:41 AM   #3
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Re: Fulltiming in a bus

If he really, really likes your bus, and really wants out from under the rent ASAP, then he should buy yours & make the needed changes. Doing a conversion for full-timing takes mucho time, money and labor.
During the 18 months I was doing my conversion, I was paying half of $1000/month rent on a house. That's a lot of scratch.

I agree with lornaschinske's summary of the realities of fulltime bussing.
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Old 12-14-2009, 06:45 PM   #4
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Re: Fulltiming in a bus

The compressor is an ARB (also sold as Old Man Emu), feeding a couple of air tanks off an old semi trailer.

The shower is sunk into the floor about a foot & drains with a marine-type 12V pump.
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Old 12-14-2009, 06:59 PM   #5
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Re: Fulltiming in a bus

Quote:
Originally Posted by lornaschinske
Downsides to a skoolie. The bias towards them. It's not a problem with most campgrounds, especially the public parks. We are in the Corpus Christi area right now. Most of the campgrounds here are "resorts", even the ones that don't deserve the name. Some places object to older units and others don't. We fulltime in a 1977 Class C until we can get our bluebird from NM where it's in storage... gotta convert it while living in a campground. They will need to call and ask about the skoolie thing and the AGE of the unit. WI-FI isn't all it's cracked up to be (we're paying seperate bills for cable/internet and $200/mo rent... electric is paid by the KWH at the end of each month). They will need to pick up an antenna booster for campground wi-fi (last campground dropped in/out all day long). Not all campgrounds have wi-fi but most of the destinmation ones do. Currently we are in a mobile home park with RV sites (and is now under new ownership so things will change). 30 & 50 amp is the norm in private parks. They will need their own bathroom.
Well, yeah...my bus is fully self-contained. With some care, I have gone 4 days without needing to fill or dump tanks. It is set up for 30A electric. I suspect they'll get a satellite TV setup and maybe satellite internet service. They already have wi-fi boosters for their laptops...they do lots of stuff via wi-fi already.

Quote:
Yes, they could use the parks but to full-time, your own bathroom is best. Full-timers tend to stay in one place more than traveling hither and yon. Your mpg is about the same as a big Class A. Most campgrounds will not let you do much of anything. These down here don't even want you to clean the outside of your unit much less do any real work. As for full-timing, you unit sounds like it would work. Personally I would object to the single bed. We have a full size (54" wide) in our Class C. I still have my King size water bed frame that I will cut down to full size in the bus. Full size works okay. Just need to cuddle more and much harder to go to bed mad.
It's not a twin bed...it's a super-single bed (mainly a waterbed size...I built my own using a bunk-board as a template), between a twin & a full. It could be extended to a regular full pretty easily...get a larger bunkboard ($30-40 at any mattress store) and either extend the platform I built or (easier) just add a couple of supports.

Quote:
http://www.escapees.com discussion forum and http://www.irv2.com forum are great places for your friends to find out about full-timing. Escapees has their own mail forwarding service (TX) and you can use their address as a "street" address. My mail forwarding outfit is out of TN (We're TN residents and were when we started full-timing). There are others based on FL and SD. There is a lot more to full-timing than just moving into an RV. There's things that you take for granted when you live in a "stix-n-brix". Some states are very much against "alternative housing". They do need to talk to folks who are doing it.
I'm on irv2 and RV.net already. They'll probably use his brother's house as a "street" address, and probably get mail there. They have talked to fuull-timers...that's why they want to do it.
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Old 12-15-2009, 08:03 AM   #6
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Re: Fulltiming in a bus

Have you pointed them to the Photo Gallery yet? Let them look around at what people are doing here, look at your bus, then have them make up their mind.

I figure this will work better. If there is something that they dont like about your bus, they arn't pissed at you for it later. And if they screw something up, its their fault. (Don't blame me, you _________ed it yourself!) ^.^
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Old 12-18-2009, 12:20 PM   #7
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Re: Fulltiming in a bus

We are full timing it- and it's been great to us.

I'd suggest they do their own bus- not to take business away form you. Just the type person I am, I want to do it myself. WiFi is hard to come by at times. So far we have never been turned away from any campgound. At some the folks with sat wifi have offerd to let me use theirs for a night. All on how friendly you are. So far so good for us.
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Old 12-21-2009, 03:46 PM   #8
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Re: Fulltiming in a bus

The problem there is pretty basic: they have nowhere to park it and noplace to work on it. Mine is pretty much a turnkey rig...livable now, needs maybe a day or two of work to add the stuff I don't need and they do.
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Old 01-23-2010, 02:16 PM   #9
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Re: Fulltiming in a bus

Well...I think Liz and i are looking for another bus pretty soon. The final straw came...their rent is going up $350 (!) when their lease expires (first of April). They want out, and are now very interested in my bus.

Which is unfortunately inaccessable due to me pushing all the snow from the driveway in front of it, resulting in a 6' snowbank. Well...the rain tomorrow should melt most of it, I'll take the rest apart with my F-350 & plow.
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Old 01-30-2010, 03:02 PM   #10
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Re: Fulltiming in a bus

They spent 2 hours this morning going over it with a fine-tooth comb...they want it.

Bonus: it was 16 degrees. I turned on the LP and cranked up the heaters before they came here...2 hours later, it was a steady 65 degrees in the bus and the heaters had actually kicked off. I no longer regret spending 3 days with my head poked into weird places insulating the heck outta everything.
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