New to the forum but not to Skoolies. First off the wealth of knowledge on this forum in amazing. It's like a walking (rolling) encyclopedia.
Some personal background to help with some questions I have. In the early 80's I converted an old Thomas 66 passenger bus and lived in it for a couple of years while traveling around working construction projects, etc., so I have a fair idea of the work invovled in converting a bus. Of course that was a "budget" bus with a 5 gallon bucket under the sink for gray water, an outside shower and a 5 gallon bucket with a seat for black water. I plan on going a little further with this next project.
Now for what my plan is and what I'm looking for. I want to keep it under 26 feet because I plan on visiting a lot of State and National parks and want to be able to get in with no problems. I also have to have room for my motorcycle in the back which, if I bring it in the back, will take up eight feet. So the first question, if my research is right if I get around a 26 foot flat nose bus will that leave me about 20 feet of usable conversion space? That would leave me with 12 feet for living quarters, which is adequate for my needs. I know that seems small but I also spent a couple of years in the Navy traveling around on an old diesel submarine. After cramming 80 to 85 people into a 300 hundred foot hull with full operational equipment for a sub anything is spacious since then. Also, I'm used to living for a couple of weeks at a time with whatever I can pack on my motorcycle tent camping and I can do it in comfort. Plus once I'm set up and the bike is unloaded I've got a nice 8x7 open area in the back. Put down a couple of fold up camp chairs and it would be a nice open roomy area. I plan on putting in a couple of fold up bunks in the back for the occaisional guest and I should be OK.
So with those requirements my thought is that I would like to pick up an old activity bus. If my research is correct they usually come with better drive trains for highway cruising and fuel efficiency and many have the underneath storage already built in. Another plus is that many of them are already a different color than school bus yellow and would give me some extra time to worry about painting down the line. Does this sound about right? Also, if I can find one with a rear side door I'm pretty sure I can bring the bike in that way and park on an angle freeing up some extra space for living area. Anybody out there done or seen anything similar?
Now the tuffy, all the ads talk about passengers and not length!!! If the windows are about 2.5 feet would I need a 7 or 8 window flat nosed bus to give me the 20 foot usable interior space? Would that be about a 40-42 passenger bus? Is 6 feet about right for drivers compartment on a flattie? Very confusing.
Any thoughts, helpful hints, watch out fors and just letting me know I'm nuts would be greatly appreciated.
Roger the Dodger