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Old 01-23-2006, 10:04 AM   #1
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What wrong with a skoolie

Greetings ladies and gentlemen,
First off I would like to say that I am new to this group and to doing conversions. I have however done A LOT of browsing and looking and reading. I have a B700 ford 429 propane powered carpenter. About 40 feet of big yellow love ;) it gets between 5 and 7 MPG FULLY loaded (ie: as a moving vehicle).

I would like to share my opinion on a few of the most interesting and popular subjects.

The first one is whether of not you can get into an RV park. On my 2100 mile trip across the us I never had a problem getting the big yellow school bus into an RV park. I did have one person at a higher end RV park call the manager to get approval, but since it was big and still yellow, and actually looked like a school bus, they said no problem. I suspect that if it had been any other color, or had a chimney sticking out of it they would have turned me away. No park wants a “hippie bus”. That it, end of story, period. So, how do you get around this problem? On to my next point.

Second, if you are using or plan to use your conversion as an RV, it MUST look like an RV, if you ever plan on getting into and RV park. That means no chimney, no window AC units, and NO bus windows, no wood siding. If you are making a “hippie art bus” just accept the fact that you will be “boondocking” 90% of the time.

And finally, why won't anyone buy your conversion for the same price as an RV. The answer is simple, IT STILL LOOKS LIKE A SCHOOL BUS. It is amazing what a few extra dollars could do for your resale value. Remove and skin those windows, bondo and sand the exterior and put a good paint job on it. Maybe fiberglass up a custom cowling so it looks a little more like a custom built RV. If we could just do those few things we could actually compete in the custom bus/RV market.

Its amazing, of the few hundred conversions I have seen, only one or two look like they could make it in to an RV park or be resold for what they were worth. Even those, while meeting most of the critera, still appeared as if they were done by a weekend handyman on the inside. Sure, skoolies have a bad name, but for good reasons. They may be far superior to the standard “stick and staple” RV's on the market, but unless we can get a few actual “high end” conversions out there, the bad name will stay forever.

Now I will don my asbestos underwear in anticipation of responses.
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Old 01-23-2006, 10:26 AM   #2
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Hi and welcome to the forum!

I guess all of that is important if one plans to stay in RV parks and/or wants to sell their conversion and expect to recupe the $ they put into it. I think Skoolie types usually don't fit that image. But I could be wrong!

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Old 01-23-2006, 12:09 PM   #3
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fmtaylor,
No need for the custom briefs. Everything you said has been demonstrated in the real world at some point or another. I had my first skoolie coversion for 18 years and in all that time, never stopped at a commercial RV park. The idea of "camping" next to the Interstate with all the noise never appealled to me. Most of the parks I camped in were out of the way in rural settings and everyone loved my bus. Of course I don't look the part of the dishevelled road bum either "not that there's anything wrong with that".
Resale? Good God, Man! Are you ripped on crack?!?! A skoolie you've converted becomes part of the family. After a few years, it actually becomes part of your identity. Sick, I know, but so what? So it would be like selling your trusted and much loved family dog. Ain't gonna happen.
Quality? You are "right on" there, Brother. Making your conversion as professional looking as possible is a lot better than slopping something together that functions marginally and looks like hell does not serve the Skoolie community very well considering most people prefer slotting others into their stereotyped mental pigeon holes rather than keeping an open mind. (Wow! How's that for a runon sentence?) A well thought out skoolie conversion is something at which most people marvel and at some point, becomes rolling art. My new skoolie conversion has yet to begin, unless you count taking the seats out part of the conversion. I call that part of the "demo", as in "demolition", part of the project. I plan to allow the conversion to mirror my own creativity and personality, KOA's be damned. I refuse to self-censor, not out of some rebellious political bent, but because that is counter to what the skoolie is to me, freedom. Instead of trying to blend in and not be noticed (almost impossible to do in a frigging school bus anyway!!!), I intend to stand out and show people there is another way and we do have options and the freedom to be who we are in this country. (Strains of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" starting to rise in the background) And since my drug of choice is Dos Equis Amber, let the drug dogs come aboard and, "Here Shep, have a dog bone!". Anyway, I seem to meet plenty of "kind" folks along the way who are eager to share. For me, the skoolie is my way of bringing a little joy into the world at 6 miles per gallon. Corny? Sure. So what?
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Old 01-23-2006, 02:47 PM   #4
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Quote:
Resale? Good God, Man! Are you ripped on crack?!?!


After all the work I put into it?!?! Not on your life. (That and the fact that I know I would probably get 10 cents on the dollar invested...)

Quote:
Making your conversion as professional looking as possible is a lot better than slopping something together that functions marginally and looks like hell does not serve the Skoolie community very well considering most people prefer slotting others into their stereotyped mental pigeon holes rather than keeping an open mind.
Hear, hear! With the understanding that you still have license to be creative. Just make it look....decent....finished....competently executed.... Wait, no, mine wouldn't qualify... Make it look like stuff isn't falling off it as you go down the road. Or drive at night when it's less likely to be noticed as it falls off.

Quote:
A well though out skoolie conversion is something at which most people marvel and at some point, becomes rolling art.
Some LEO types get a little interested in that
rolling art....


Quote:
...I intend to stand out and show people there is another way and we do have options and the freedom to be who we are in this country.
Stand up comrade! I'll be right behind you...well, I'll be over here keeping my head down, but I'll shout encouragement up to the battlements!

Quote:
Anyway, I seem to meet plenty of "kind" folks along the way who are eager to share.
THAT'S what I'm talking about! Let your buddy in the chartreuse VW microbus with the SYF painted on the front spare tire cover hold the stash! My hair is short, by beard is shaved, and I look every inch the upstanding citizen. And I don't allow no kind behavior in the bus. It's so much nicer out of doors.

Now, if only the chiquitas were as easy...
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Old 01-28-2006, 03:03 AM   #5
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I use campgrounds, I like them because I travel with my kids, and campgrounds have more amenities that the Wal Mart parking lot. I have never been looked at sideways or even felt any hesitation to let me in , ever. I pull up out front, check the going rate , pay up, and go park. My bus has a basic white paint job, no grafitti etc, and besides my http://www.skoolie.net sticker and a couple campground stickers, its plain. If my bus had a catastrophic failure on the road, I could simply walk away from it knowing that I cannot lose more money on it than I would have lost in depreciation on a commercialy built unit. My bus is simple, fun, cheap, and resale means nothing if ya don't want to re sell it . Go ahead and paint it white, make it look like you want to camp in it , and go enjoy yourself in it. I've never seen proof of anyone actually being turned away in a simply painted bus, and I probably wouldn't get along well with the campers there anyways. Paint it up and go, you can't lose !
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Old 01-28-2006, 12:31 PM   #6
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Hold up just one sec...

Hm. In defense of the "hippy" style bus (like mine) is that most art bus folks DON'T want to park in RV parks. Why should you pay/park when the point of owning your creation is to get out and SEE creation? Most folks I know with art buses have little problems with people making faces, more often or not folks want to know how they did it and take pictures.

I think perhaps we have misunderstandings with a dose of sterotyping going on. Shame shame! I consider myself a modern day hippy more of an individualist w/ a wild streak. Yet, I work for law enforcement, obey the rules like most good folks and other than a nose ring, some tattoos, I mostly go unnoticed in the world.

Perhaps instead of us pretending that the only way to "be like the Jones" is to look like them in everyway possible (if that was the case then purchase a regular RV and join the Joneses), we celebrate skoolies in ALL their new incarnations. Whether they look like a "professional" conversion for the family trips or a backyard work of art for Burning Man or Raves, all skoolies in my opinion are wonderful.
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Old 01-28-2006, 03:31 PM   #7
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Pangaia,
Ken Kesey is smiling down on you, Brother! Whether we realize it or not, without the infamous cross-country trek of the Merry Pranksters in the hippie bus, "Further", few of us would be piloting our own personal skoolies today. Well, that might be a gross generalization but then I am notorious for those. More accurately then, Ken Kesey inspired ME to take the road less travelled and I finally got my first skoolie in 1985 (see my avatar at left). While I may not advocate giant "in your face" pot leaves painted all over the bus, as a graphic designer I love seeing creativity displayed in skoolie paint. I'm planning for some rainbow colors on my newest conversion and if it's done right most folks don't think "acid trip", they just think it's beautiful. So in keeping with the spirit of the individualists who refuse to be abused by conformity, I salute you, Pangaia. I was sorry I couldn't find you on the Skoolie Map (see top tool bar). And thanks, Steve for such a great feature that is somewhat underutilized.
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Old 01-29-2006, 01:55 AM   #8
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I meant no offense to the hippie bus, I can appreciate busses of all colours and the workmanship and creativity of their creators. I was responding to the original post and its reference to campgrounds. If ya wanna camp in a campground, you just design it a bit different on the outside.
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Old 01-30-2006, 07:24 PM   #9
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Rick,
I don't think anyone took offense. It just shows how versatile of a platform a skoolie really is. Depending on a person's situation, purpose, resources, etc., a skoolie can take many shapes and can be made into almost anything you need or want it to be. Just one of the reasons they are so cool.
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Old 01-31-2006, 12:38 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zen Ken
It just shows how versatile of a platform a skoolie really is.
I think a used school bus has got to be one of the most versatile vehicles ever.
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