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Old 02-26-2017, 09:55 PM   #1
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New direction? Need advice about next steps

Hey everyone! So, the dear wife and I have been discussing our options as the house goes on the market in the next couple of days and we have to start looking at our next steps. We will likely be on the road in 30 days.

One of the topics of discussion tonight was if we should move forward with a full school bus conversion or look at a new option that we both seem to like. The good news is it is still a "skoolie", i think. We would love your thoughts on our idea below.

After looking at all the costs of doing the conversion we want, we are now looking at the option of purchasing a 63-90's year Bluebird Wanderlodge and then retrofitting the inside to fit our tastes over time. These can be picked up pretty regularly for between $8000-$18K with lots of options and upgrades that we would have to buy separately if we do a full conversion.

The second part to this, and the most important I think, is that I have come to the realization that doing a full conversion may not be the best option for our family right now. We want to explore, and if feels like our time is worth more than the money we will save. This option would give us the ability to be on the road almost immediately, but still give us the flexibility to do what we want AND we get to say we still own a "skoolie"!?

Or do we.

That is the real reason I posted this.

Will I still be welcome in the skoolie club?
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Old 02-26-2017, 09:56 PM   #2
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BTW - This is an example of something we would be interested in purchasing. it is within our overall conversion budget and looks as though it is ready to roll!!

https://westslope.craigslist.org/rvs/5964636011.html

Thoughts?
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Old 02-26-2017, 09:58 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by ourmefa View Post
BTW - This is an example of something we would be interested in purchasing. it is within our overall conversion budget and looks as though it is ready to roll!!

https://westslope.craigslist.org/rvs/5964636011.html

Thoughts?
Looks like a skoolie to me 😉

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Old 02-26-2017, 11:06 PM   #4
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This forum might be useful for you too. We checked it out a few times when we found a '78 Bluebird that we thought was a gutted Wanderlodge. There's useful stuff here. http://www.wanderlodgeownersgroup.com/forums/


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Old 02-27-2017, 03:12 AM   #5
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At the end of the day, your tiny house/skoolie/RV is going to be yours. Only you can determine what is best for you.

The nice thing about a Wanderlodge is it starts with a school bus body on real medium duty truck frame or purpose built frame that is more than up to the task of whatever you put in your bus.

When Blue Bird was making the Wanderlodge they spared no expense on any part of the bus. When it left the factory it had the biggest HP available to Blue Bird at the time. The big HP engine was hooked to a transmission that was more than up to the task. The rear axle gearing was a good compromise between speed and gradibility. The air brakes had more braking area on one axle than most other Class 'A' moho's had on all of their axles. Most left the factory with Alcoa aluminum wheels and fancy paint jobs. The interiors were built to the highest standards out of quality materials.

In short, they were worth the price of admission. Which back in the day was substantial.

If you visit the websites that cater to Wanderlodge groups with classifieds you will find prices are all over the map. This is due in large part to the current condition of the different buses that are for sale.

I think I can hear your conversations with your significant other and your family. You are adding up the conservative cost of purchasing and converting a bus vs. purchasing a ready to go turn key unit. When you factor in the time element the idea of purchasing something that is ready to go right now begins to look more and more attractive.

The only real downside I see for you in regards to a Wanderlodge is very few were ever designed and built for a family of more than two people. The target demographic was a married couple with a lot of $$$$. Kids and pets never played much role in the marketing of the Wanderlodge.

If the Wanderlodge happens to have rear twins converting the bedroom into a bunkhouse is relatively easy compared to if the bedroom has a queen/king size bed instead.

Again, if time is a factor then purchasing something already to go makes a lot of sense. It becomes much more doable as an option when you determine your ballpark cost purchase, demolition, and reconstruction of your skoolie. Even getting something cheap from the local school and using used appliances, fixtures, and cabinetry you will be hard pressed to start down the road for less than $10K. The nice thing about doing it yourself is you don't have to pony up all of the cash today. That cost can be spread out over several months.

As far as I am concerned, if it says Blue Bird on the title you are more than welcome here.

Good luck!
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Old 02-27-2017, 09:07 AM   #6
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Thank you so much everyone for the advice!! You all are amazing!!

I am happy to know I would still be considered a skoolie member, hehe!


crimsonshivers - Thank you for the link!!!

cowlitzcoach - Great thoughts from experience!! I can tell I cannot wait to dig on the history of these buses. This looks like a really good option!
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Old 02-27-2017, 11:21 AM   #7
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that is an awesome Wanderlodge. Stumbling onto those rigs is what got me interested in Skoolies originally.
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Old 02-27-2017, 11:37 AM   #8
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that is an awesome Wanderlodge. Stumbling onto those rigs is what got me interested in Skoolies originally.
I was buying a VW pop top camper in HS. It was the very back of a used RV lot.
Paid $100 for it. But when I was leaving I saw a really nice Wanderlodge. I went in and looked around and wanted one BAD.
Here I am, building my own version twenty years or so later.
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Old 02-27-2017, 12:18 PM   #9
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I was buying a VW pop top camper in HS. It was the very back of a used RV lot.
Paid $100 for it. But when I was leaving I saw a really nice Wanderlodge. I went in and looked around and wanted one BAD.
Here I am, building my own version twenty years or so later.
I am happy to know I have your seal of approval EastCoastCB!!

We were actually talking last night about the fact that we still want to do the conversion, but after we have been on the road for awhile. This will help us define what we want in the bus. In the mean time, we can make due and improve upon something that is in many ways the same as an RV but so much better.

I am even wondering what it would look like come late fall of 2017, if we bought 3-4 good buses - raised the roofs on them, insulated, put down sub floor, tanked them and sold them as starter shells for others. I figure in 3-5 months wintering in FL this could be easily achieved. We have the land available for use anytime and it is located where we would not have to worry about having several buses parked at one time.

EastCoastCB, I know you and I talked on the phone about this. Lets see if others might be interested in participating in something like this. We could get several other skoolie owners together, park our buses, bang on the shell conversions for a couple of months and then everyone split the profits from their sale. Or if someone else is in the middle of a roof raise, provide the man power to do it in a couple of weeks. Just ideas that are flowin, let me know what you think.
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Old 02-27-2017, 12:29 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by ourmefa View Post
I am happy to know I have your seal of approval EastCoastCB!!

We were actually talking last night about the fact that we still want to do the conversion, but after we have been on the road for awhile. This will help us define what we want in the bus. In the mean time, we can make due and improve upon something that is in many ways the same as an RV but so much better.

I am even wondering what it would look like come late fall of 2017, if we bought 3-4 good buses - raised the roofs on them, insulated, put down sub floor, tanked them and sold them as starter shells for others. I figure in 3-5 months wintering in FL this could be easily achieved. We have the land available for use anytime and it is located where we would not have to worry about having several buses parked at one time.

EastCoastCB, I know you and I talked on the phone about this. Lets see if others might be interested in participating in something like this. We could get several other skoolie owners together, park our buses, bang on the shell conversions for a couple of months and then everyone split the profits from their sale. Or if someone else is in the middle of a roof raise, provide the man power to do it in a couple of weeks. Just ideas that are flowin, let me know what you think.
I like the idea, but in a litigious society I would be hesitant. You are changing the structure of something, and then selling it for profit. I would talk to an ambulance chaser and get some kind of boilerplate made up to keep yourself out of harm's way.
Not trying to be a downer, but sadly, it's the world we live in.

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