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Old 09-04-2015, 08:40 PM   #1
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
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Let the Planning commence

Well I am not quite sure where to post this so I will post it in the general discussions section.

I have been looking into building a shipping container home or a boat for a couple of years now. So I am fairly well versed on small space living and off grid living. Growing up as a kid my family would take trips in our travel trailer all the time. I also have been looking to making a stealth campervan to use for trips and return to the dogs/ home base. While I was staying home with my sick dog I happened across an article on a tiny living blog about a skoolie it made me think.
I want to get out and see things.
Who needs a home base when I can take the dogs with me.
8x40 shipping container not that different from 7.5x37 foot bus.

Well now that my sick dog has passed I will say the house already felt too big now its really to damn big. I have now put my full focus on this project, its time to stop lurking and start building. That said the first thing is a plan.

The bus:
I want a 12 row or bigger bus, I am having a hard time weighing the pros and cons of flat nose or dog nose. One of my main concerns is RV park Anti-skoolists I can see the dog nose being a red flag but is it any better with a flat nose bus? I would like to get a bus that can handle the highway but I really want to avoid the super slabs (read interstate highways) as much as possible. The next step is where to buy the bus, I have seen some really good prices on busses on places like Publicsurplus.com and govtdeals.com but I am super sketched out about buying a bus from only pictures, emails and phone calls. I live in Arizona and there is aaabussales.com - Home which seems to have some good busses and I will probably take a trip up there in the next month. I also have been trolling craigslist which seems to have prices in between the two. So my main question is on average where will I get the best bus for the best combination of hassle and money. I would love to hear your stories on bus purchasing. Also for advice on what would make a good full time live aboard buss with boon docking capabilities.

Stuff for the bus:
I will probably just do window ac units unless I come across a good deal dual zone minisplit (but I wont hold my breath).
I will use a Dickenson marine LP fireplace heater, I have wanted one of those since looking into tiny homes. And I donít want to carry around a bunch of wood/coal.
I am going to use my current queen sized mattress, because why not.
Composting toilet because who wants a black tank.
I am guessing that I will end up with one of those Costco 2800-watt generators.
Solar is a goal I would like to start with but we can work our way there.
Insulation now this is going to go one of two ways spray foam or foambord and great stuff.
Want to get an onboard mounted LP tank hopefully a used one.
Probably just a cooktop I donít see much a reason for an oven that size (toaster oven should do it)
Stabilizer jacks, yes please.

Now on the stuff I havenít decided about yet.

Water heaters, now I have read back and forth on many different sites on which way to go, I will say Natster makes some good points about electric heaters, but I hope to boondock a fair bit and donít want to use my power reserves to heat up water. So some good advice there would be helpful.

Fridges, WOW this is an area with an overwhelming amount of choices. I like the idea of the Norcold/Dometic LP fridge but I remember the bickering my folks had about it back on our vacations. I can see the value of getting one of those Haier 10 cubic jobs from the mega home stores. I just wonder how many Amp hours of battery they are going to eat up. Chest freezers with temp controllers, wow that takes me back to my beer making days. I know they use so little energy but how annoying is it to use on a daily basis going for stuff? I have seen some of those super insulated mega efficient fridges for the off the grid people but is there that big of an advantage to one of them. Any Fulltimers out there let me know what you think.

Being that I donít have a bus yet I have no idea how tall my individual bus will be. If I find my bus is a bit short for my liking I have some questions about what to do. I think raising the whole roof looks bad and seems wasteful also it certainly canít make it drive better. That said what about a partial roof raise or adding a coupla in the areas where standing upright seems helpful (kitchen and bathroom).

Roof top decks/ roof top storage: Is this a good idea? Is it a problem for insurance?

Water storage let me know your philosophical stance on skoolie ďwater fuĒ. One big tank or a couple of small tanks, inside or outside with a waterbed heater. I am currently thinking outside with heater to maximize inside space.

Should I start amassing my internals before I have a bus or wait until I have a bus?

I am sure I am missing things and other things will pop up as I progress.
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Old 09-04-2015, 09:19 PM   #2
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AAA is good people. Joe and Tony.. Check out Joe's office for a piece of art my S.O. made for them out of flagstone.
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Old 09-04-2015, 10:22 PM   #3
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I figure out a rough idea of what I want to do and let the pieces come together.
figure out what's "good stuff" and if you come across a deal on any part that you'll have a use for, then go for it. Generators, appliances, seats, these are examples.
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Old 09-04-2015, 11:02 PM   #4
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Re-arranging some of what you wrote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainInsaneo View Post
8x40 shipping container not that different from 7.5x37 foot bus.

I am having a hard time weighing the pros and cons of flat nose or dog nose. One of my main concerns is RV park Anti-skoolists I can see the dog nose being a red flag but is it any better with a flat nose bus?
Roof top decks/ roof top storage: Is this a good idea? Is it a problem for insurance?

I would love to hear your stories on bus purchasing.

Also for advice on what would make a good full time live aboard buss with boon docking capabilities.
I am guessing that I will end up with one of those Costco 2800-watt generators.
Solar is a goal I would like to start with but we can work our way there.

Insulation now this is going to go one of two ways spray foam or foambord and great stuff.

Probably just a cooktop I donít see much a reason for an oven that size (toaster oven should do it)

Water heaters, now I have read back and forth on many different sites on which way to go, I will say Natster makes some good points about electric heaters, but I hope to boondock a fair bit and donít want to use my power reserves to heat up water.
The shipping container is taller inside, with nice square corners and no windows to be removed or covered.. but the bus, having wheels, may be able to stay ahead of the code enforcement people a little easier (?).

Roof deck and storage probably won't help matters with the anti-skoolie-ists any.

My purchase: found one on ebay, took a one-way flight with a prayer to go see it.... turns out the guy had several; he thought they were more similar than they actually were and the one pictured on ebay had already sold. I didn't like the others he had in that lot, so we made a 6 hour drive to where he had two others stored and I took one of those instead. Whew!

Full-time.. live-aboard.. generator.. doesn't seem like a good combination. I'd get tired of living full-time with a generator real fast. IMHO hookups, or enough solar so that the genny only fires up for special occasions are the way to go.. but I haven't actually full-timed, so what would I know!

Good Insulation=important, especially for full-timing.

Convection microwave instead of toaster oven, maybe?

Electric heat for water and air is convenient and makes sense if you have hookups. If you don't, usually it's in last place because making heat from sun or from dino juice by converting to electricity and then heat is expensive in dollars and wasteful in efficiency. Consider the hookups-to-boondocking ratio in deciding how much to depend on electricity for heat.

Golly, I don't mean to be so negative tonight. All I wrote about is drawbacks.. You're doing a great job thinking things through and asking thoughtful questions. Some questions have absolute right-or-wrong answers (dogs or cats, for example. kidding!) But many more will be personal preference where isn't an absolute right or wrong.
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Old 09-04-2015, 11:38 PM   #5
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Yeah the convection-micro-toaster oven is more than likely what I would get and we have already said when the toaster oven dies that is what we would replace it with but that wood paneled 1970's beast keeps on trucking. That its hardly a build around me item anyways. Oh believe me I have noticed that missing 2 feet in height when planning the square corner thing however not so much I have noticed that that is the least used space in all of my cabinets so I doubt I will miss it much. I really want to go solar in the long run and will probably throw too much money at the battery bank first (fingers crossed for that tesla battery bank). I mean so far it looks like my rig is going to have 3 kinds of dino juice (diesel, gas, and LP)

No not seeming too negative, there are some real trade offs to this kind of rig/ lifestyle.

Is there a lot of anti-skoolie hate out there?
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Old 09-04-2015, 11:54 PM   #6
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"Is there a lot of anti-skoolie hate out there? "

Haven't found any....., very positive contacts everywhere we go. In AZ!

BUT.

Next month we are heading out OTR to visit some old friends and family too. Will be going to CA and NV. The old CA I knew in the 50's and 60's is long gone I know. Positive thoughts for a no hassle trip.
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