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Old 02-14-2015, 05:37 PM   #1
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Getting on the Bus

Hi all. I'm new here. I've perused the forums for a while. I think deciding to join is for me symbolic of committing to a major lifestyle decision. I'm not certain now when the desire started in on me to have a permanent but movable home, but as best I recall it was shortly after I started college - which now seems like a lifetime ago. I started college at the age of 44 (with a GED from 1983), graduated from community college in the spring of 2013, and should graduate university with my bachelor's next year. By then I plan to have my new home completed.

I poured over a number of ideas, and researched the tiny house movement - though mostly from a psychology perspective - and finally decided that a school bus is the best choice for me. (I am a double major in anthropology and psychology - hence the research interest in the tiny house movement.)

So...I will be living more or less full time in the bus. If career plans go as I hope, I will be at times living outside the U.S., which is one reason a bus is a good choice for me - in that I have a free storage option if I am not living in it for a period of time. Grant it, lots of students dream of a career that allows them to travel the world....but then they get married, have kids...I've been married (more than my share lol), am single, have been for years and plan to stay that way; my one child is 25, in college himself, and completely independent; I have no aging parents to take care of (as my mother passed away several years ago); so I am truly in the perfect position to live that dream.

I have a wealth of experience with the various aspects of building, and the forums here have been a big help on mechanical things I need to know (before purchase). I also have peeps with general mechanical know how.

One thing these forums were a big help to me on was figuring out spacial issues...figuring out how big of a bus I need; knowing inside dimensions from which to figure that out and to begin making a floor plan. I was able to determine that I really need an 84 passenger bus.

I have completed a kitchen floor plan. One reason I determined that bus conversion was a good choice for me, is that I patently HATE the typical RV or travel trailer kitchens - which are either lined up on one wall or are like a hallway. In one apartment I lived in, I loved the kitchen layout above any other I have ever had. It was very tiny but had loads of storage space, and the best part was you could reach everything in it within a step or two...it was pretty much square. The only bad thing was a severe lack of counter space. So my aim in bus kitchen design was to take the best aspects of that kitchen and add some counter space. And, one other thing I wanted was a stove-top open to and facing the living room - which is something I had on the farm years ago. An eye level oven - like I had in that apartment and on the farm - was also a must. I've spent about as much time and thought on the kitchen layout as I have choice of bus, and that's hilarious because I don't even like to cook.

After some initial research I was pretty set on a flat front rear engine Bluebird. I like the look of the flat front buses. Also, I do not want any engine access panels inside my living space. I've not been able to confirm, but assume, there are no interior access panels when the engine is in the rear. I don't foresee engine cooling being a determining factor since I don't intend to travel in it other than to move it - perhaps only once or twice a year at most, and possibly only every two or three years.

However, near me I am finding almost exclusively dog nose buses. Those I have seen so far are too short for me. I remember that there is a limit to entire bus length. So is there such a thing as an 84 passenger dog nose? I just don't remember what I have previously read on this.

Also, most of those I am finding for sale are by bus sellers - not dealers, but just people who have acquired several they are reselling. I would like to find out what their source is and cut out the middle man. Ideally I would like to buy one coming directly from service in a school district. But I haven't had any luck as of yet finding out where those are sold. I assume some sort of auction. I didn't find anything of that nature listed in the forums, just a list of dealers in different states/areas. I tried a Google search and couldn't find anything.

Oh, one last thing... My bus will be named Pura Vida. I chose the name after recently living in Costa Rica for three months, on a study abroad.
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Old 02-14-2015, 06:21 PM   #2
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They make some pretty darn long dog nose buses. I like them myself.
One thing to consider if you do come across a great deal on a front engine flat nose bus is that you can wall it off right behind the drivers seat.
I'm not married to any one style of bus. I think the size is most crucial. But on that I was even a tad flexible. I say just figure out what is reasonable to spend and start watching for really nice buses that are good deals to buy.
Gov Deals is the site where I bought my bus. There is also Public Surplus.
I liked going that route as I cut out the middleman and bought it right from the school. My bus cost me a cool 2285 out the door. With a new battery and a FULL tank of diesel.
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Old 02-14-2015, 08:00 PM   #3
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Thanks, I checked both out just now and there is nothing in my region listed. I'll check back from time to time. I'm in the SW corner of Missouri, so also close to Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.
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Old 02-14-2015, 08:59 PM   #4
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When I was looking for a bus in Texas, I just called a few of the local school districts and asked for the number to the bus barn. I called and asked them how they disposed of retired buses, they all used different (mostly local to them) auction services. From there I just watched those auction houses announcements online, some of them handled schools I hadn't called as well. So I would say give your local schools a call and ask. Everyone I spoke to was very helpful, I didn't get bit once!
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Old 02-14-2015, 09:44 PM   #5
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Lots of GOOD buses in Arkansas. My bus was built there.
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Old 02-14-2015, 11:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
I've not been able to confirm, but assume, there are no interior access panels when the engine is in the rear
There are but, at least in a BlueBird not needed for any normal maintenance. Pretty much anything can be done without opening them up. Just build things so you can get at them.
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Old 02-15-2015, 06:08 AM   #7
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Here is a NICE one.
http://www.govdeals.com/index.cfm?fa...=1&acctid=7364
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Old 02-21-2015, 01:42 PM   #8
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Nice, maybe, but California is out of my travel range.
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Old 02-21-2015, 01:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malkieri View Post
When I was looking for a bus in Texas, I just called a few of the local school districts and asked for the number to the bus barn. I called and asked them how they disposed of retired buses, they all used different (mostly local to them) auction services. From there I just watched those auction houses announcements online, some of them handled schools I hadn't called as well. So I would say give your local schools a call and ask. Everyone I spoke to was very helpful, I didn't get bit once!
That's a good idea and I actually know a guy in the bus barn in our (very small) town. I don't think the school runs ones big enough for me, but probably all the schools here use the same services. There aren't that many auctions in the area. Also, I go to college in Springfield (Mo) - which has several schools -and their bus barn used to be near my university, but they moved while I was in Costa Rica. I'll have to find out where they are now and drop by.

I realized recently also that I was making a mistake by using "school bus" as my search term, as that doesn't give me listings of church buses or passenger buses, which is how some people list them when they have been used for other purposes.
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Old 02-21-2015, 05:36 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by somewhereinusa View Post
There are but, at least in a BlueBird not needed for any normal maintenance. Pretty much anything can be done without opening them up. Just build things so you can get at them.
Why might one ever have to use the access panels?

What year is your Bluebird? I was looking at your web page...I like how the steps in yours go straight up.
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