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Old 10-23-2014, 08:47 PM   #1
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Be honest--how is it sleeping on school buses?

Hi, Skoolies. I just joined the forum so I could pick your brains a little.

I'm the booking agent for an indie rock band from another country. They want to tour the USA next summer, and a friend of the band's has offered to convert a school bus for us as the Official Vehicle. He'll even be our driver.

On the one hand... what FUN!!! Especially after looking at some of the conversion pictures online--there is some creative and wonderful work out there!

On the other hand... All I remember from my bus-riding days is that school buses are REALLY loud. Now, that was a long time ago (I'm not telling how long!) and I know some of it was from the kids making noise. But it kinda sticks in my memory that we always had to yell to be heard over the motor...

Our specific goal is to play the show, get on the bus, and drive to the next gig. The whole point is that we can keep moving and NOT need to rent hotels. So, we really, truly NEED to be able to get a good night's sleep while the bus is rolling.

We've talked about how we'd sacrifice daytime living space, in order to make sure we can sleep--so the conversion would definitely be oriented toward Bunk Central, not Awesome Interior Design.

What do you think, guys? Realistically... can we soundproof one of these bad boys to make a comfy Snooze Mobile? Can we do that for less than an arm and a leg? Will it feel like sleeping on a bucking bronco?

And please don't suggest earplugs--these guys have enough earplug wearing during the show, they have to have a chance to let their ears air out.

I'd love to hear the voice of experience! Thanks a bunch!
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Old 10-24-2014, 07:49 AM   #2
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Re: Be honest--how is it sleeping on school buses?

I would recommend a rear engine bus, over a flatnose front engine (these are loud)

also a dog nose is quiet, no weight in the rear would be a rough ride tho

we have 8 Inch memory foam with a 2 in egg crate topper, very comfortable
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Old 10-24-2014, 08:56 AM   #3
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Re: Be honest--how is it sleeping on school buses?

I have looked at this, as I have a family of 11 and basically need an entertainer bus setup.

How many bunks do you need? How much gear are you hauling on board? Will a "Partridge Family" bus fit with the band's style?

You need a really tall bus to do (comfortable) triple bunks, but double high bunks are no problem.

Air ride suspension is a huge help, but you can have the springs softened once you know the loaded weight. Rear engine is nice both for the weight in back and the longer wheelbase, plus the ability to have basement storage bins. But you will never have as much luggage space as an MCI.

You won't save a ton of money over an old entertainer bus up front, but you will have a bus with a hundred thousand miles on it instead of a million.

EDIT TO ADD: Oh yeah, schoolies usually get much better MPG, too. Which can really add up on a tour.
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Old 10-24-2014, 12:36 PM   #4
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Re: Be honest--how is it sleeping on school buses?

And...skoolies are much cheaper to repair, purchase, maintain. So long as you dont buy a Freightliner chassis. I would NEVER recommend buying an entertainer.

We sleep on ours all the time, love it.
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Old 10-24-2014, 03:41 PM   #5
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Re: Be honest--how is it sleeping on school buses?

Interesting! Thanks you guys!

I would have thought a rear-engine bus would be worse for sleeping, assuming the bunks would also be in back. But what I'm hearing is, having the weight in the back is better for the ride smoothness?

I wondered how many bunks we could stack. There will be 8 people on tour, including the driver. I'd hoped we could do 3 bunks high on each side of the bus, then a stack of 2 along the back. It would be a Sleep Cave. That would leave a lot of room in front for living space. But it sounds like we might not have enough vertical room for that. Rats.

Memory foam + egg crate... got it!

Partridge family... BWAHAHAHAHAHA! I suppose they could work with that.

I hear you about the repairs. I love the concept that, no matter where we break down, there WILL be a school district within 50 miles, and so a service station with all the parts we need.

I'd been thinking that maybe we ought to tow my Toyota van behind the bus, just in case. It seats 7, and if we did break down, I could at least get the band to the next gig (somewhat squished, of course, but I think it has room for everything. We might have to bungee the cello and the keyboard to the roof... but we'd get there). From what I see on the forum, it's possible to tow behind these buses pretty easily? Comments?
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Old 10-24-2014, 04:25 PM   #6
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Re: Be honest--how is it sleeping on school buses?

You can pad the bunk area. That 2" egg crate foam spoken of-just like the stuff in sound studios-put some on the walls + ceiling.
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Old 10-25-2014, 08:55 AM   #7
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Re: Be honest--how is it sleeping on school buses?

reason for eggcrate on top of memory foam is insulation

They are way to hot to sleep on (the are so dense no where for body heat to go) and when cold they firm up

If you raise the roof 16 inches or so you could get away with submarine/boat bunks three high
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Old 10-25-2014, 11:13 AM   #8
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Re: Be honest--how is it sleeping on school buses?

We had 2 bunks each side, just in front of rear wheel hump. In the back a queen bed but you could do bunks there too. It is going to be HOT back there so hope you have some ideas on cooling. Even with insulation. You wont be able to stack 3 bunks high.
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Old 10-25-2014, 02:46 PM   #9
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Re: Be honest--how is it sleeping on school buses?

Also keep in mind the skoolie is going to be the slowest vehicle on the road so depending on how far apart your gigs are and how fast you need to get there that might play a roll. A full size bus might be a better option for doing a north american tour, especially if you want to pull a cargo trailer for the equipment/merch/etc.

Have you looked into rentals? There are companies in the US that rent "Tour" buses for bands, artists, performers, etc. Most likely the most expensive route but hopefully less headaches. Just some food for thought. Good luck guys.
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Old 10-25-2014, 02:54 PM   #10
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Re: Be honest--how is it sleeping on school buses?

If you want to lease and entertainer, its generally $1000 a day, with a driver, then you pay the fuel. You better have better dates than we do. ;)
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