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Old 10-23-2016, 12:40 PM   #11
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The goal is to get from Virginia to Idaho as inexpensively as possible, with a piano, bed, MAYBE a sofa, two dogs, and two or three pallets full of personal belongings.
  • A mover would likely charge eight grand on top of us getting there;
  • LTL shipping plus getting us there is likely to be four or five thousand if they would even take the piano;
  • A rental truck puts a time limit on us and would still cost several grand;
  • A used school bus would cost us an unknown thousands (I'm guessing $3K) and labor to strip the seats. And we would be likely to be able to sell it at the other end for at least a thousand.
The used school bus could be packed to allow a bed high near the roof (on top of stuff) and a sawdust bucket, cooler, and camp stove farthest at the back, or I could build bunks (we have a split King made of two twin beds) into the far back. We could spend several weeks getting from here to there as a result, and I would be less likely to hear about screaming across the country (in a rented truck thus skipping the sights) for the next 18 years as I have since we came out.

BUT... is two or three grand a realistic cost for a used school bus? The ones which went at auction just now from a local district were all over the place: they just sold (presumably to exporters):
Thoughts? Stick with a known district (and full records), or buy someone else's church bus or uncompleted project? Buy a short bus for us and the piano and ship the rest?
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Old 10-23-2016, 02:40 PM   #12
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I am sure you have done some measurements? Is there a bus out there that you could even fit a piano through either door without things being removed in or out or scratching it?
I guess my questions depend on your style of piano?
A convertible type skoolie is cheaper than a box truck ready to roll but you could also save the expense and still see the sights along the way by doing tent camping and cooking?
Buy a short bus long enough to haul your stuff and everyone else goes in the family car and see the sights along the way by tent camping.
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Old 10-23-2016, 04:09 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Jolly Roger View Post
I am sure you have done some measurements? Is there a bus out there that you could even fit a piano through either door without things being removed in or out or scratching it?
I guess my questions depend on your style of piano?
A convertible type skoolie is cheaper than a box truck ready to roll but you could also save the expense and still see the sights along the way by doing tent camping and cooking?
Buy a short bus long enough to haul your stuff and everyone else goes in the family car and see the sights along the way by tent camping.
The emergency exit on a standard bus does a fine job for fitting the upright piano. I haven't seen this smaller bus in person yet, but will do so with tape measure in hand. "Everyone else" is wife and two dogs. I thought to dump the cars (old Buicks) here and buy and old Subaru when I arrive in Idaho. Still think it might work...
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Old 10-23-2016, 05:17 PM   #14
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Seems like I'd go smaller for short term...
Something like this would have good resale value at the other end.
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Old 10-23-2016, 07:30 PM   #15
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That ol' Ford bus - who knows what's wrong with it, even after putting a driveshaft in it? I wouldn't want to take it straight out on a long trip without doing some local driving first, see what it needs and how it drives (and if it has any problems).

As for moving, it might behoove you to consider a larger bus (making sure your stuff will fit through the back door before buying it). Removing the seats shouldn't be too hard for a couple people to do.

Snagging a used box truck and reselling it on the other end is an option. You could also consider a cargo trailer.

It would seem to me that moving some stuff and shipping the rest is not the best (or cheapest) way. I mean, you're already moving the big stuff ... cram in the little stuff, too.

I also do some moving on the side, if you wanna PM me ...
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Old 10-23-2016, 10:20 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Brad_SwiftFur View Post
That ol' Ford bus - who knows what's wrong with it, even after putting a driveshaft in it? I wouldn't want to take it straight out on a long trip without doing some local driving first, see what it needs and how it drives (and if it has any problems).

As for moving, it might behoove you to consider a larger bus (making sure your stuff will fit through the back door before buying it). Removing the seats shouldn't be too hard for a couple people to do.

Snagging a used box truck and reselling it on the other end is an option. You could also consider a cargo trailer.

It would seem to me that moving some stuff and shipping the rest is not the best (or cheapest) way. I mean, you're already moving the big stuff ... cram in the little stuff, too.

I also do some moving on the side, if you wanna PM me ...
Thanks, Brad - I may be in touch. I agree that toss/sell/donate everything possible and move it all myself makes the most sense. I think I should probably start bidding on occasional buses from our local district. You know, pick a dollar amount I'm happy with and do the proxy bid thing: if I win, I have a bus to start with. If it goes to someone else, bid next go-round. But I think that the bang for the buck of an old schoolbus beats any other option out there.
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Old 10-23-2016, 10:28 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Dapplecreek View Post
Thanks, Brad - I may be in touch. I agree that toss/sell/donate everything possible and move it all myself makes the most sense. I think I should probably start bidding on occasional buses from our local district. You know, pick a dollar amount I'm happy with and do the proxy bid thing: if I win, I have a bus to start with. If it goes to someone else, bid next go-round. But I think that the bang for the buck of an old schoolbus beats any other option out there.
That sounds like a good plan.
I bid on about three vans and buses a month. Only won this one bus so far- but man, what a deal I got!
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Old 10-24-2016, 08:35 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Dapplecreek View Post
Thanks, Brad - I may be in touch. I agree that toss/sell/donate everything possible and move it all myself makes the most sense. I think I should probably start bidding on occasional buses from our local district. You know, pick a dollar amount I'm happy with and do the proxy bid thing: if I win, I have a bus to start with. If it goes to someone else, bid next go-round. But I think that the bang for the buck of an old schoolbus beats any other option out there.
Do you know what to look at before making an offer?
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Old 12-28-2016, 01:45 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Versatile View Post
Do you know what to look at before making an offer?
I think I do... which means maybe I don't.

What I *want* includes:
  • Conventional design (safety, price, and emergency exit door for cargo but will consider flat front with front engine);
  • Diesel (mileage and bulletproof tendencies);
  • DT466 (power and help to be had - will consider T444);
  • 2000 or newer (for garage rot issues, though a mechanical engine would be nice);
  • Allison Transmission not 545 (I'll be going over the Rockies - will consider manual);
  • Good tires (tread as well as age);
  • No rust (or minimal body rust - run from frame rot);
  • Rear emergency exit large enough for a piano (most are);
  • Air brakes (fail to 'Stop!' rather than to 'Whoa, Nellie!');
  • Power door opener (to permit easier mounting of co-pilot chair near driver);
  • Service records and from a known district that takes care of the fleet;
  • Automatic chains (for resale value in Idaho - I'll be moving in the warmer months);
  • Non-yellow would be nice, too, as we'll likely be traveling through states which get excited with non-school use of that color.

Again, this will be a non-insulated moving van sold at the other end - the reason for my champagne tastes is that I want to GET to the other end. And resale likelihood, of course, though I am resigned to recouping half of its cost if I'm lucky. Gonna remove all but the front row of seats and put in a copilot chair and bunks and a sawdust bucket in the far back and load it up.

I reckon I could get one of these for $3500 or 4000 from a local school district that I respect (not that I'm qualified to judge, of course - but the foreman was a whale of a nice guy).

Thoughts?

(BTW - I went to see this bus and ran from it. Turns out there was more wrong with it - good call - though the driveshaft was missing because someone stole it.)
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Old 12-28-2016, 07:14 AM   #20
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did you call about the converted bus in our bargan finder for 2000 bucks, i posted the # in the buses for sale thread.
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