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Old 06-26-2015, 03:00 AM   #1
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Vancouver to Argentina... and then some

Okay so I don't have a Skoolie, but I've always dreamed of getting my hands on a school bus and gutting it. I am looking for something that can get me across America (Florida to Vancouver) and survive a very extended trip through all of South America and while a Skoolie may be my dream, I don't know if it is feasible for something like this. I am only in the beginning stages of figuring something like this out, I don't even plan to purchase a bus for another 6 to 8 months... But I need to start somewhere.

Does anyone have any experience getting a skoolie across the Darien straight? Has anyone driven anything so long as a school bus through any mountainous roads in SA (I haven't driven through SA on my own before, but from what I remember the road conditions are... less than ideal)? Would I be better off finding some other (much less exciting vehicle) to call home for the next however long this journey takes?

Does anyone have any suggestions on what kind of bus I should be looking at for a long haul trip like this which will have a good amount of mountainous road to it? Or am I just completely insane?

I plan on loading the thing up with solar panels, a composting toilet and other enviro-friendly things that will also make it energy efficient, and from what I've read about road tripping SA diesel is a must.
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Old 06-26-2015, 06:15 AM   #2
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...and from what I've read about road tripping SA diesel is a must.
Diesel's a must anyway for a bus, unless you're made of cash. And for a plant, I think Navistar, Cummins or MB would be your best options.
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Old 06-26-2015, 06:53 AM   #3
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Hmmmmm
On this (if it's just one) I would opt for a smoother ride... That being said - not as fun and a School Bus has most of the drivetrain components of an 18Wheeler... So it's got most to do with personal options. Buses HATE bumps... But they ARE built for them~
Honestly this is all about preference I would think.
Hope you do it - that sounds fun!!
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Old 06-26-2015, 08:23 AM   #4
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What part of Florida?
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Old 06-26-2015, 09:37 AM   #5
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There would be anywhere from 2 to 4 people (the second 2 joining us a bit later on in the journey) and we don't intend to haul through these places, but rather go slowly, stopping and staying for a few weeks at a time where we like.

EastCoast: southern, originally west palm area, I haven't lived there in a few years, but I'll be moving back to America soon and I'll probably settle back in there.
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Old 06-26-2015, 11:53 AM   #6
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Does anyone have any experience getting a skoolie across the Darien straight? Has anyone driven anything so long as a school bus through any mountainous roads in SA (I haven't driven through SA on my own before, but from what I remember the road conditions are... less than ideal)? Would I be better off finding some other (much less exciting vehicle) to call home for the next however long this journey takes?
Yikes.. It sounds like it would be plenty fun, but I'm an adventurous type and I wouldn't even consider this with a full sized bus. Maybe a shortie. I had similar aspirations before working out the costs involved.

The drive through Central America would be a breeze compared to "The Gap" and beyond. My biggest concern would be the cost of transporting such a large vehicle down to South America. You'll be ferrying it or loading it onto a freighter. A quick look at this fare chart shows it to be $1980 for a camper up to 5 meters (16ft). Each additional meter is $390. A full sized bus is a nearly 40 feet (12 meters).
Total price one way? $1980 + ($390*7) = $4710.

I haven't yet made it to SA, but many of my friends have. Some of the city-interconnecting roads are bad. Real bad. It seems Peru and Bolivia have some of the worst. I don't know about Columbia. It seems that Brazil has a good road network, though.

I eventually came to the conclusion that for a wheeled ride down to South America you can't beat a motorcycle. Versatile and the price is right.
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Old 06-26-2015, 12:48 PM   #7
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I saw this on an episode of Top Gear. Those mountain roads look treacherous. Take out a good life insurance policy.
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Old 06-27-2015, 09:41 AM   #8
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Colombia has decent roads, just be VERY careful about the drunk drivers. Seen waaaaay too many crashes where the driver of the coffin-box Renaults and Citroens challenged semis and lost. Also NEVER sit for more than two seconds at red lights unless you like to be targeted for a hijacking. Move when the traffic clears. The roads from Cali to Bogotá are decent. Going north/south from Cali to Cartagena were good but weird. The "exits" were diversion frontage roads with sort-of limited access points for vehicles, but people could walk across the entire road way. Never seen that set-up before or since. I know this because my ex-wife is from Cali, Colombia. That story is way too long to discuss here......
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Old 06-27-2015, 11:40 AM   #9
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