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Old 08-08-2017, 09:02 PM   #1
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Lightbulb Summer Skoolie - two college kids and a bus

My roommate and I had this crazy idea to travel across the country and back next summer in a converted short bus. The only problem is that we're broke college kids from the northeast so we don't have a lot of money to pay for everything and we don't have a lot of experience. So here are our questions:

1) What's the least amount of total money could we possibly do this for? All we need is a bus that will get us there and back and in regards to the interior we are not looking for anything comfortable or lavish (bare 2x4s and plywood are ideal).

2) What kind of buses should we be looking at? Shuttle buses? School buses? Vans? What make and model is optimal for what we are looking to do?

3) Does anyone have ideas on what we could do to raise money? We've thought of blogs, volgs, and sponsors but will any of that really get us enough money to fund the trip?

4) Is there anything else we need to know? Obviously we'd be doing a lot of research over the next year but is there anything that would stop us in our tracks or does anyone have any reasons why any of this would not be feasible?

It's really amazing what you guys have done with these buses and the community you all have created and we hope we can join the party one day! Thank you guys so much, any response would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 08-08-2017, 11:56 PM   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2015
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Originally Posted by stoney View Post
My roommate and I had this crazy idea to travel across the country and back next summer in a converted short bus. The only problem is that we're broke college kids from the northeast so we don't have a lot of money to pay for everything and we don't have a lot of experience. So here are our questions:

1) What's the least amount of total money could we possibly do this for? All we need is a bus that will get us there and back and in regards to the interior we are not looking for anything comfortable or lavish (bare 2x4s and plywood are ideal).

2) What kind of buses should we be looking at? Shuttle buses? School buses? Vans? What make and model is optimal for what we are looking to do?

3) Does anyone have ideas on what we could do to raise money? We've thought of blogs, volgs, and sponsors but will any of that really get us enough money to fund the trip?

4) Is there anything else we need to know? Obviously we'd be doing a lot of research over the next year but is there anything that would stop us in our tracks or does anyone have any reasons why any of this would not be feasible?

It's really amazing what you guys have done with these buses and the community you all have created and we hope we can join the party one day! Thank you guys so much, any response would be greatly appreciated!
Not sure where to start with this. But let's get to the basics.

Do either of you have a CDL? Depending on what you do, and how you do it, it may be required.

Do either of you have any experience with fabrication, woodwork, metalworking, had tools, power tools, air tools, auto mechanic by chance? If so, you are ahead of the game.

Any idea how much you guys want to invest in this project? A vehicle isn't free, and neither is upkeep. Creating a budget with a bus project fund would greatly benefit you.

Finally, where are you located. A lot more specific information can be given if you provide an area you are at. Just city and state, no giving out street address! It's no use for me to help you out with Texas Regs if you are in California.

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Old 08-09-2017, 04:32 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stoney View Post
My roommate and I had this crazy idea to travel across the country and back next summer in a converted short bus. The only problem is that we're broke college kids from the northeast so we don't have a lot of money to pay for everything and we don't have a lot of experience. So here are our questions:

1) What's the least amount of total money could we possibly do this for? All we need is a bus that will get us there and back and in regards to the interior we are not looking for anything comfortable or lavish (bare 2x4s and plywood are ideal).

2) What kind of buses should we be looking at? Shuttle buses? School buses? Vans? What make and model is optimal for what we are looking to do?

3) Does anyone have ideas on what we could do to raise money? We've thought of blogs, volgs, and sponsors but will any of that really get us enough money to fund the trip?

4) Is there anything else we need to know? Obviously we'd be doing a lot of research over the next year but is there anything that would stop us in our tracks or does anyone have any reasons why any of this would not be feasible?

It's really amazing what you guys have done with these buses and the community you all have created and we hope we can join the party one day! Thank you guys so much, any response would be greatly appreciated!
I mow yards. My customers are my "sponsors".
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Old 08-09-2017, 08:19 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Charlies.Contingency View Post
t's no use for me to help you out with Texas Regs if you are in California.
Last I checked neither TX nor CA are considered NE. Maybe they edited their post after your reply. CDLs aren't required for shorties unless you're hauling live bodies for pay.

Stoney,
If you're going bare bones, some guys on here do that even in full size buses. Check out Dredman. His first bus left him standing on the side of the road so he sold it and bought another. He doesn't have the time, sweat, blood, and tears invested in his.

For a short bus and a summer, you want something disposable. Disposable but dependable is the hard part especially if you aren't at least a shade tree mechanic. Personally and maybe for most of the skoolie folk here, I think the bus based shorties are preferred over the van with skoolie body. But honestly doesn't make any difference unless you're keeping it at the end of summer. Something to consider if you have a place to park it for 9 months out of the year.

Watch the auction sites. Finding a shortie for $1500 should be no problem. Interior made of 2x4s and plywood? 15/32" ply is trading for $19.25 a sheet, 2x4 stud is $2.22. Buy some "jerry cans" from Walmart for potable water, an old paint bucket and just a toilet seat... Grab a Coleman stove from the camping isle. A sponge and Dr. Bronner's soap. Thru-hikers manage with just a backpack. You're going in the Waldorf Astoria in comparison.

As for ways to pay for it, you're on your own there. I'm Gen X and you kids with mobile jobs, blogging, etc. I hate you all ... only because I missed the train on that one.
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Old 08-09-2017, 09:49 PM   #5
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Last I checked neither TX nor CA are considered NE. Maybe they edited their post after your reply. CDLs aren't required for shorties unless you're hauling live bodies for pay.

Stoney,
If you're going bare bones, some guys on here do that even in full size buses. Check out Dredman. His first bus left him standing on the side of the road so he sold it and bought another. He doesn't have the time, sweat, blood, and tears invested in his.

For a short bus and a summer, you want something disposable. Disposable but dependable is the hard part especially if you aren't at least a shade tree mechanic. Personally and maybe for most of the skoolie folk here, I think the bus based shorties are preferred over the van with skoolie body. But honestly doesn't make any difference unless you're keeping it at the end of summer. Something to consider if you have a place to park it for 9 months out of the year.

Watch the auction sites. Finding a shortie for $1500 should be no problem. Interior made of 2x4s and plywood? 15/32" ply is trading for $19.25 a sheet, 2x4 stud is $2.22. Buy some "jerry cans" from Walmart for potable water, an old paint bucket and just a toilet seat... Grab a Coleman stove from the camping isle. A sponge and Dr. Bronner's soap. Thru-hikers manage with just a backpack. You're going in the Waldorf Astoria in comparison.

As for ways to pay for it, you're on your own there. I'm Gen X and you kids with mobile jobs, blogging, etc. I hate you all ... only because I missed the train on that one.
Just an example. The point is, not knowing where he is. Each state has different laws. And non CDL is no guarantee with a short bus. All depends on GVWR or other requirements.

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Old 08-10-2017, 07:36 AM   #6
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Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Essex, MD
Posts: 3,591
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Blue Bird TC RE 3904, Flat Nose, 40', 277" wh base
Engine: 8.3L Cummins ISC 260hp, MT643, 4.44 rear
Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlies.Contingency View Post
Just an example. The point is, not knowing where he is. Each state has different laws. And non CDL is no guarantee with a short bus. All depends on GVWR or other requirements.
I'm pretty sure the 26,000 GVWR is standard else U-Haul and Ryder would be out of business. I have no idea if there are any shorties over 26,000; that would be a beast of a shortie for sure. No problem with mountains.

Stoney,
I forgot to include... good to have you and welcome but don't discount the Econolines and Sprinters or even a old box truck. For a one and done, do you care what it looks like?
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