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Old 05-24-2020, 02:59 PM   #1
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HELP! Chicago city dwellers need space to park & work on school bus conversion!

Hi, everyone! We just officially cancelled our wedding to instead put all that money to better use... a home on wheels!

Our first obstacle is turning out to be more difficult to solve than we expected. Since we live in a very small Chicago apartment, we don't have anywhere safe and/or legal to park a bus for as long as we need to in order to do the work ourselves.

How have other people worked on their skoolies while living in a city apartment? Where did you begin? We've reached out to everyone we know with any large yards/farms and no luck thus far. They probably think we are nuts!

We are hoping through this thread to maybe find a farmer or homeowner with an outbuilding, pole barn, etc.. or even just safe outdoor space with access to power.

We are willing to work out a fair rental plan for the space, and are very respectful and responsible! Our families will be helping us and are construction workers, electricians, tilers, and woodworkers. So although we have never built out a bus, we are not amateurs!!

Will also bribe with baked goods!

Please let us know if you know of anyone within approximately 90 minutes or so of the Northside of Chicago (zip 60625) since we will be commuting back and forth to our apartment!

We would LOVE to start as soon as possible and leave our city life to hit road. Please let us know any and all ideas/recommendations you may have!!

Thank you!!
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Old 05-24-2020, 03:40 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by emwhalped View Post
Hi, everyone! We just officially cancelled our wedding to instead put all that money to better use... a home on wheels!
Wow. That's impressive for sure.


Quote:
Originally Posted by emwhalped View Post
Our first obstacle is turning out to be more difficult to solve than we expected.
Expect this to be a pattern going forward. My first obstacle was parking mine, I had to pave new driveway for it.

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Originally Posted by emwhalped View Post
We are hoping through this thread to maybe find a farmer or homeowner with an outbuilding, pole barn, etc.. or even just safe outdoor space with access to power.
This is definitely doable, I've heard of folks doing the very last one on storage lots. Depending on the lot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by emwhalped View Post
Since we live in a very small Chicago apartment, we don't have anywhere safe and/or legal to park a bus for as long as we need to in order to do the work ourselves.
So a few questions come to mind:
  • Are you stuck where you are, or can you get out of the city limits at all?
  • What size of bus were you hoping to convert?
  • How much time/money do you hope/expect to spend on this project?
  • Once the bus is finished, what do you intend to do with it?
I'm a guy who built my bus parked next to my house. I could walk outside at any moment and work on it, and I expected to be done in 1 year or so. I'm just now finishing up at 3.

Not trying to discourage! I've seen people build in weeks or months of time, you just have to have good expectations and the ability to compromise.

Best of luck, feel free to ask any questions!
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Old 05-24-2020, 04:57 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by kazetsukai View Post
Wow. That's impressive for sure.


Expect this to be a pattern going forward. My first obstacle was parking mine, I had to pave new driveway for it.

This is definitely doable, I've heard of folks doing the very last one on storage lots. Depending on the lot.


So a few questions come to mind:
  • Are you stuck where you are, or can you get out of the city limits at all?
  • What size of bus were you hoping to convert?
  • How much time/money do you hope/expect to spend on this project?
  • Once the bus is finished, what do you intend to do with it?
I'm a guy who built my bus parked next to my house. I could walk outside at any moment and work on it, and I expected to be done in 1 year or so. I'm just now finishing up at 3.

Not trying to discourage! I've seen people build in weeks or months of time, you just have to have good expectations and the ability to compromise.

Best of luck, feel free to ask any questions!


Hi there! Thanks so much for the response! Congrats on almost finishing your bus. So exciting!

We are definitely open to all the changes and compromises this will bring! We have both felt stuck for a very long time and cannot wait to explore and bring our pets with us.
  • We are not stuck in Chicago, luckily! We have two vehicles, and are lucky enough to live on the Northside which leaves us less than 90 mins from the Wisconsin border, about 90 minutes from Indiana, and only 30 mins or so from northwest Illinois. Our rent is shockingly low for Chicago, so we'd really like to stay if we can. I have been looking into renting a farmhouse in Northwest IL so we could work on the property, but I haven't found anything for less than double our current rent.

  • We are looking at flat-nosed buses around 35ft external length, as much as I would love the interior space of a 40ft, we want to be able to park slightly easier and may also be towing a small car some of the time.

  • Ideally, if all goes well, we would love to be on the road in a year. My father-in-law (most of the brains behind construction) just completed a full gut rehab on his house in 9 months and is eager for his next project. The man was not made for retirement! We also have a few other very handy people like my mother-in-law who is an electrician and will supplying us with our solar panels. So considering all of this I am hopeful, but cautiously so!

    We would really like to stay under $30k for renovations since that's about what we would save by cancelling our Chicago wedding! However we are comfortable re-assessing once we get going, because being safe and being green are very important to us!

  • Our dream is to explore and see some less traveled roads, but we don't want to be *always* on the move, which is why we want to be equipped to be as off-the-grid as we can! We ideally want to spend time camping on public lands as much as possible, as opposed to campgrounds and RV parks. We have a bucket list of places within the US and Canada and we can't wait to get started on the hard work.


Thanks again for reaching out! I do have a couple questions! Do you live in a residential area, and if so, how do neighbors feel about you working on your bus?

And are you looking to live in it full-time, or is it more of a vacation home?

Did you do a roof-raise? My fiancÚ is 6'6", and I'm 5'10", so we unfortunately don't have a choice!
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Old 05-24-2020, 08:47 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by emwhalped View Post
Hi there! Thanks so much for the response! Congrats on almost finishing your bus. So exciting!
And scary! Change always is.

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Originally Posted by emwhalped View Post
We are definitely open to all the changes and compromises this will bring! We have both felt stuck for a very long time and cannot wait to explore and bring our pets with us.
We love our cats...

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Originally Posted by emwhalped View Post
I have been looking into renting a farmhouse in Northwest IL so we could work on the property, but I haven't found anything for less than double our current rent.
I notice you didn't mention work- if your jobs aren't tying you down that's already a pretty good start I think. Keep looking and you'll likely find something.

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Originally Posted by emwhalped View Post
We are looking at flat-nosed buses around 35ft external length, as much as I would love the interior space of a 40ft, we want to be able to park slightly easier and may also be towing a small car some of the time.
I have a RE flatnose and the engine compartment does invade the space a bit. A FE will give you more space and likely a rear door for (garage/rear storage access), but will be hotter when driving and louder on the road. I do like how quiet my rig is, but I ended up giving up on a rear bedroom because of the engine box. Instead I have a rear kitchen! Love the results- think over the tradeoffs. Check out my build thread by searching for my name.

Quote:
Originally Posted by emwhalped View Post
Ideally, if all goes well, we would love to be on the road in a year. My father-in-law (most of the brains behind construction) just completed a full gut rehab on his house in 9 months and is eager for his next project. The man was not made for retirement! We also have a few other very handy people like my mother-in-law who is an electrician and will supplying us with our solar panels. So considering all of this I am hopeful, but cautiously so!
If you have good resources like these, they will accelerate the process. Does he have anywhere the bus could live, even temporarily? I'm guessing not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by emwhalped View Post
We would really like to stay under $30k for renovations since that's about what we would save by cancelling our Chicago wedding! However we are comfortable re-assessing once we get going, because being safe and being green are very important to us!
With upcycling and smart sourcing of materials, 30k is very doable. I'd say we are in the 40-50k range, including the bus and delivery.

Quote:
Originally Posted by emwhalped View Post
Our dream is to explore and see some less traveled roads, but we don't want to be *always* on the move, which is why we want to be equipped to be as off-the-grid as we can! We ideally want to spend time camping on public lands as much as possible, as opposed to campgrounds and RV parks. We have a bucket list of places within the US and Canada and we can't wait to get started on the hard work.
Off grid was a focus in my build, as was solar. I didn't want to be stuck plugged in or running a generator.

Quote:
Originally Posted by emwhalped View Post
Thanks again for reaching out! I do have a couple questions! Do you live in a residential area, and if so, how do neighbors feel about you working on your bus?
We're zoned rural but it is very residential. Before I started I looked into zoning on the topic. I also drove around the neighborhood looking for RVs or big rigs: They were all parked to the side or behind the houses. I had nowhere to park such a thing in a little house like mine, so I had to have driveway paved, which I positioned alongside the house.

Neighbors, servicemen and delivery people were in awe from day one. I was too, honestly, standing next to the biggest single piece of equipment I've ever owned. I think this will depend on where you are, really. I can totally imagine getting the stink-eye somewhere else.

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Originally Posted by emwhalped View Post
And are you looking to live in it full-time, or is it more of a vacation home?
That's a story. For us, we were looking at our lives and felt like we were spinning in a hamster wheel. The house-and-picket-fence lifestyle necessitated debt and bills which necessitated work. Vacations were "stay cations" with the exception of some local trips (that were fun!). I kept thinking to myself, really? Two weeks or maybe a month I get for me in the whole year? Nah, there's gotta be a better way. How do I get rid of the bills?

When I tried cutting expenses it was always from the bottom-up- the lowest cost items. Well, I happen to like my morning iced coffee. What about those big bills at the top, the mortgage, the car payments- how do we get rid of those? This lead to us discovering the Tiny House (on wheels) movement, to discovering skoolies.

TL;DR: To us, the skoolie is a means to blow away our debt. We intend to find land and buy it outright so we can live on our own terms- start a homestead, start a family. The bus is the way we make that transition. Its designed for full time living if needed, and that's probably what will happen for a period. Depends on how adventurous we're feeling.

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Originally Posted by emwhalped View Post
Did you do a roof-raise? My fiancÚ is 6'6", and I'm 5'10", so we unfortunately don't have a choice!
I ruled it out at the beginning when we got our rig for a variety of reasons. We both have clearance just fine.

But if I were to do it over, I'd raise the roof. Why is more than just our height- you can fit cabinets and murphy beds and shower assemblies you otherwise couldn't in a standard high-height rig. More vertical space is more space, period. Just mind the maximum height for highway clearances, _including_ anything that is going on top of the roof. AC units, solar panels, etc.
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Old 05-24-2020, 09:41 PM   #5
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While I don't reside in this area, I have been through it quite a bit driving 18-wheelers, and I can tell you I think you're going to have to settle for a bit of a commute in the process. I doubt there will be many places that will allow working on your skoolie while it's being stored there.

There are areas east of you in Indiana (Portage eastward to Westville, etc.) that a deal might be struck with a self-storage place or something. I ran from the Quad Cities to Ashley IN quite a bit and found a nice stretch of US-6 / US-421 that's pretty quiet and desolate, great for stress-free driving on the loads I ran through there (US-6 runs all the way to I-69 for final delivery). Portage is about 45 minutes from you, so you might look in that area east of you to see if anything is doable out there. You might also poke around self-storage places south on I-55 and I-57...

That's not to say anything closer might not be doable, but I think you'll find it a tall order in the city. Not to mention Chicago has tons of low overpasses, some of which not even a skoolie can fit under. Just my $0.02. I'll be sure to pass along anything closer I think of.
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Old 05-26-2020, 11:22 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kazetsukai View Post
And scary! Change always is.


We love our cats...

I notice you didn't mention work- if your jobs aren't tying you down that's already a pretty good start I think. Keep looking and you'll likely find something.

I have a RE flatnose and the engine compartment does invade the space a bit. A FE will give you more space and likely a rear door for (garage/rear storage access), but will be hotter when driving and louder on the road. I do like how quiet my rig is, but I ended up giving up on a rear bedroom because of the engine box. Instead I have a rear kitchen! Love the results- think over the tradeoffs. Check out my build thread by searching for my name.

If you have good resources like these, they will accelerate the process. Does he have anywhere the bus could live, even temporarily? I'm guessing not.

With upcycling and smart sourcing of materials, 30k is very doable. I'd say we are in the 40-50k range, including the bus and delivery.

Off grid was a focus in my build, as was solar. I didn't want to be stuck plugged in or running a generator.

We're zoned rural but it is very residential. Before I started I looked into zoning on the topic. I also drove around the neighborhood looking for RVs or big rigs: They were all parked to the side or behind the houses. I had nowhere to park such a thing in a little house like mine, so I had to have driveway paved, which I positioned alongside the house.

Neighbors, servicemen and delivery people were in awe from day one. I was too, honestly, standing next to the biggest single piece of equipment I've ever owned. I think this will depend on where you are, really. I can totally imagine getting the stink-eye somewhere else.

That's a story. For us, we were looking at our lives and felt like we were spinning in a hamster wheel. The house-and-picket-fence lifestyle necessitated debt and bills which necessitated work. Vacations were "stay cations" with the exception of some local trips (that were fun!). I kept thinking to myself, really? Two weeks or maybe a month I get for me in the whole year? Nah, there's gotta be a better way. How do I get rid of the bills?

When I tried cutting expenses it was always from the bottom-up- the lowest cost items. Well, I happen to like my morning iced coffee. What about those big bills at the top, the mortgage, the car payments- how do we get rid of those? This lead to us discovering the Tiny House (on wheels) movement, to discovering skoolies.

TL;DR: To us, the skoolie is a means to blow away our debt. We intend to find land and buy it outright so we can live on our own terms- start a homestead, start a family. The bus is the way we make that transition. Its designed for full time living if needed, and that's probably what will happen for a period. Depends on how adventurous we're feeling.

I ruled it out at the beginning when we got our rig for a variety of reasons. We both have clearance just fine.

But if I were to do it over, I'd raise the roof. Why is more than just our height- you can fit cabinets and murphy beds and shower assemblies you otherwise couldn't in a standard high-height rig. More vertical space is more space, period. Just mind the maximum height for highway clearances, _including_ anything that is going on top of the roof. AC units, solar panels, etc.

Wow. You put into words exactly how we feel and why we also made this decision. Living in Chicago for so long and both working tiring jobs, just to be able to afford the city life that feels suffocating most of the time. You really are on a hamster wheel at that point. We have been discontent for years, and felt a massive weight lifted once we realized the potential of this lifestyle.

We also have a dream of buying some land some day, parking our bus, and building a homestead. Part of why we want to explore is that we have never wanted to put down our roots in Illinois! We've been looking at houses for years, but we don't want to live in the city, we don't want to live in the burbs, or just Illinois in general. We hope to find a location during our travels that feels 'right' for us.

I checked out your build! Very cool! Knowing how much labor and love goes into these bus conversions is so inspiring. I can't wait to see where you take it!

And yes, we are very lucky to say that work is not an issue for us right now. It really is the time to do this. We are young, I am able to work remotely and with minimal bills will be able to support us both for a while, so my fiancÚ will actually be taking a leave from his job once we find the location to work on our bus full-time. We are incredibly lucky!

Exciting news-- WE OFFICIALLY BOUGHT A BUS yesterday! We were incredibly lucky to find a 1990 Crown Supercoach Series II, one of the only buses ever made with an almost 6'6" clearance. This is incredible for us, since the other buses we looked at were about a 5'10" clearance, so we are now also opting against the roof raise. For multiple reasons, cost being one, but the biggest being that we have been told by Crown Coach fanatics not to mess with the structural integrity.. We know once we finish the flooring, my fiancÚ will be hitting the ceiling. But with the outside as our backyard, he is okay with it! Our bus also has an incredible amount of undercarriage storage, a newly built engine, and a ton of other perks we just have never seen in another bus for sale. We are simply over the moon about it.

For now, the bus will live with its seller who is a vintage bus restorer in SoCal (I have seen already that tons of people on here know him!! Such a good guy) until we find a safe space. We have a few spots we could park, but nowhere that will allow us to do construction so far. Hopefully very soon! Today I am calling a few mom & pop RV/Boat storage locations about 45 mins out from the city... Wish me luck! It's starting to feel real

PS cannot figure out for the life of me how you multi-quote so I'm sorry for my long winded responses. I'm a millennial, until it comes to technology
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Old 05-26-2020, 11:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CHEESE_WAGON View Post
While I don't reside in this area, I have been through it quite a bit driving 18-wheelers, and I can tell you I think you're going to have to settle for a bit of a commute in the process. I doubt there will be many places that will allow working on your skoolie while it's being stored there.

There are areas east of you in Indiana (Portage eastward to Westville, etc.) that a deal might be struck with a self-storage place or something. I ran from the Quad Cities to Ashley IN quite a bit and found a nice stretch of US-6 / US-421 that's pretty quiet and desolate, great for stress-free driving on the loads I ran through there (US-6 runs all the way to I-69 for final delivery). Portage is about 45 minutes from you, so you might look in that area east of you to see if anything is doable out there. You might also poke around self-storage places south on I-55 and I-57...

That's not to say anything closer might not be doable, but I think you'll find it a tall order in the city. Not to mention Chicago has tons of low overpasses, some of which not even a skoolie can fit under. Just my $0.02. I'll be sure to pass along anything closer I think of.
Thank you for the advice! Yes, this is actually exactly where we have been looking for space as there's several storage facilities off I-55 near the south side. Also Indiana, Romeoville/Joliet area, and the whole northwest rural IL/southern WI area.

We live in Chicago but can drive to the WI border in about an hour. And luckily we live a few miles north of all the city infrastructure that would cause us problems! If you are familiar with the Skokie/Evanston area, we are just a couple miles south. We are so far north in the 606 that we are *almost* in the burbs, so we have a few places we can park but so far nowhere that will allow us to work.

Today I am calling around to some RV and boat storage places to see if I can strike a deal! We are also considering moving the bus back & forth to a working location during the day, and to safe parking at night. Not as convenient at all, but we will do what we have to do!
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Old 05-26-2020, 11:33 AM   #8
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One thing to consider is that having electricity on-site is not all that important. I got a couple of generators on Craigslist, including the main one I use for $75, and run it as needed. You could also invest in a better generator (an inverter type, perhaps) now and use it as part of your build later.

I would consider running water and drainage to be more important than electricity although it's very hard to find in a spot. But proximity to your apartment is probably the most important thing. My first spot was 35 minutes away by car and it sucked - I'm now parked 10 minutes from my house and it still sucks, I get way more work done when I bring the bus to my house for a couple of days at a time.
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Old 05-26-2020, 12:09 PM   #9
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Wow. You put into words exactly how we feel and why we also made this decision.
Just goes to show you and I are likely not alone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by emwhalped View Post
We also have a dream of buying some land some day, parking our bus, and building a homestead. Part of why we want to explore is that we have never wanted to put down our roots in Illinois! We've been looking at houses for years, but we don't want to live in the city, we don't want to live in the burbs, or just Illinois in general. We hope to find a location during our travels that feels 'right' for us.
Sounds like us- we're probably going to buy something small almost immediately to have a "home base" so that we can continue the 9-5 for a while. Getting rid of our financial obligations comes first, the freedom that follows we'll have to really think hard about. We want to travel but are leaning on the side that it isn't quite yet time to do that. Its possible one of us may quit to work on the property we end up with temporarily.

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Originally Posted by emwhalped View Post
I checked out your build! Very cool! Knowing how much labor and love goes into these bus conversions is so inspiring. I can't wait to see where you take it!
And it would be quite cool to crack open a drink at a skoolie gathering sometime. Looking forward to meeting some folks here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by emwhalped View Post
And yes, we are very lucky to say that work is not an issue for us right now. It really is the time to do this. We are young, I am able to work remotely and with minimal bills will be able to support us both for a while, so my fiancÚ will actually be taking a leave from his job once we find the location to work on our bus full-time.
Wow. That certainly will help you keep things rolling. I do want to mention that the build was quite stressful for the both of us, for both silly and good reasons, I can probably go over that privately if you'd like. That kind of teamwork takes work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by emwhalped View Post
Exciting news-- WE OFFICIALLY BOUGHT A BUS yesterday! We were incredibly lucky to find a 1990 Crown Supercoach Series II, one of the only buses ever made with an almost 6'6" clearance. This is incredible for us, since the other buses we looked at were about a 5'10" clearance, so we are now also opting against the roof raise.
Congratulations, good you found something that fit. =)

Quote:
Originally Posted by emwhalped View Post
We know once we finish the flooring, my fiancÚ will be hitting the ceiling. But with the outside as our backyard, he is okay with it! Our bus also has an incredible amount of undercarriage storage, a newly built engine, and a ton of other perks we just have never seen in another bus for sale. We are simply over the moon about it.
You might be able to get away with minimal above-floor insulation by spraying insulation under the floor, between the floor joists. Depends on where you want to take the vehicle how much you'll need to insulate there.

I would try to preserve the ability to stand in the bus, if you can. Most of your time you'll probably be seated but both when working and living in the bus, having to duck will become a real pain point.

To multiquote, I quote the person, copy the whole post in the reply, take all but the bits I want to respond to out of the quote, write my response, then paste the full body again below. Repeating as necessary for each section. Sorry as well for the long reply.

Again congrats, and good luck!
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Old 05-26-2020, 01:00 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
One thing to consider is that having electricity on-site is not all that important. I got a couple of generators on Craigslist, including the main one I use for $75, and run it as needed. You could also invest in a better generator (an inverter type, perhaps) now and use it as part of your build later.

I would consider running water and drainage to be more important than electricity although it's very hard to find in a spot. But proximity to your apartment is probably the most important thing. My first spot was 35 minutes away by car and it sucked - I'm now parked 10 minutes from my house and it still sucks, I get way more work done when I bring the bus to my house for a couple of days at a time.
This is an excellent point! We will definitely be needing a generator with an inverter in the long run anyway.

Another good point about water! Right now, I have one storage place that is totally on board with us parking our bus in an RV spot and using their facilities during the day (electricity and they do have water) as long as we clean up and return the bus to its parking spot at night.

I wish we could park closer to home, it sure does sound tiring to commute like you did, but for now its the only way! this location is about 50 minutes from us.. a bit of a drive, however my father in law who is the brains behind the construction will just be 2o minutes away. So far, it is our best lead! If it has everything we need, its at least where we can start for now, and move the bus when we need to!

Thanks again for your reply!
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Old 05-26-2020, 01:04 PM   #11
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Wow, 60625. I lived there many years ago! More recently we were in Brookfield, before we took off for full time skoolie life. We rented a spot on Lynwood, near the Indiana border, for $35 a month, and the guy was super flexible on letting us work on the bus. Many many months of commuting on the weekends, ordering pizza and other takeout and eating it in the bus, running to Menards and Home Depot...ah, fun times.

He rents spots for RV and boat storage, so he didn't want us painting. Anything else though he was cool with. I dunno about a roof raise, but maybe? It's off grid, so you'll need a generator. I can PM the number if it's not too far away (though it should be less than 90 minutes). There's another member here from Chicago, I think his name is Chiggins? and I think he might have spot near Wisconsin that he's renting. The details are pretty foggy for me though.
We found it on Craigslist in the RV / Boat storage category.
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Old 05-26-2020, 01:14 PM   #12
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Lived between Gary, IN and Merrilleville, IN in 1987. Man was Chicago a cool but potentially terrifying place.
Lots of nice folks up that way, though. And the museums were amazing.
I miss the restaurants that hung over the interstate/freeway. I remember making my mom exit so we could eat some fast food and watch the cars go under us.
Nothing I can actually contribute here... other than to wish you luck with the build!
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Old 05-26-2020, 01:14 PM   #13
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Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 10
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: Supercoach Series II
Engine: 6V92 Detroit
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Just goes to show you and I are likely not alone.



Sounds like us- we're probably going to buy something small almost immediately to have a "home base" so that we can continue the 9-5 for a while. Getting rid of our financial obligations comes first, the freedom that follows we'll have to really think hard about. We want to travel but are leaning on the side that it isn't quite yet time to do that. Its possible one of us may quit to work on the property we end up with temporarily.
I love that idea. Getting rid of the mounting bills will open so many doors.

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And it would be quite cool to crack open a drink at a skoolie gathering sometime. Looking forward to meeting some folks here.
Yes! We will definitely have to do this! Just dipping our toes in so far and already, we are amazed at the hospitality of this community!

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Originally Posted by kazetsukai View Post
Wow. That certainly will help you keep things rolling. I do want to mention that the build was quite stressful for the both of us, for both silly and good reasons, I can probably go over that privately if you'd like. That kind of teamwork takes work.
I would love that! PM me any time! We are definitely sure it will bring some hardships. We keep joking that being locked inside a teeny tiny 3rd floor apartment for the last 10 weeks in lockdown has really proven to us how much we really do like & tolerate each other!
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Originally Posted by kazetsukai View Post
You might be able to get away with minimal above-floor insulation by spraying insulation under the floor, between the floor joists. Depends on where you want to take the vehicle how much you'll need to insulate there.

I would try to preserve the ability to stand in the bus, if you can. Most of your time you'll probably be seated but both when working and living in the bus, having to duck will become a real pain point.
This is hopefully our plan. We were originally going to raise our ceiling to 7'8" since we will have air conditioners and tons of solar on the roof, we don't want to go too high. Unfortunately as a giant, he was expecting this from the beginning. Hoping we can get away with thin insulation and still have just enough clearance for his head!

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To multiquote, I quote the person, copy the whole post in the reply, take all but the bits I want to respond to out of the quote, write my response, then paste the full body again below. Repeating as necessary for each section. Sorry as well for the long reply.

Again congrats, and good luck!
How did I do?! And thank you! We are very excited that things are in motion! Can't wait to see you get your bus on the road and find your land!
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Old 05-26-2020, 01:17 PM   #14
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Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 21,911
Year: 1999
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Chassis: Freighliner FS65
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I love that idea. Getting rid of the mounting bills will open so many doors.



Yes! We will definitely have to do this! Just dipping our toes in so far and already, we are amazed at the hospitality of this community!



I would love that! PM me any time! We are definitely sure it will bring some hardships. We keep joking that being locked inside a teeny tiny 3rd floor apartment for the last 10 weeks in lockdown has really proven to us how much we really do like & tolerate each other!


This is hopefully our plan. We were originally going to raise our ceiling to 7'8" since we will have air conditioners and tons of solar on the roof, we don't want to go too high. Unfortunately as a giant, he was expecting this from the beginning. Hoping we can get away with thin insulation and still have just enough clearance for his head!



How did I do?! And thank you! We are very excited that things are in motion! Can't wait to see you get your bus on the road and find your land!
Just remember to have money stashed somewhere. Buses like eat up money at every opportunity. A set of tires is at least $1800.
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Old 05-26-2020, 01:28 PM   #15
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Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 10
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: Supercoach Series II
Engine: 6V92 Detroit
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Wow, 60625. I lived there many years ago! More recently we were in Brookfield, before we took off for full time skoolie life. We rented a spot on Lynwood, near the Indiana border, for $35 a month, and the guy was super flexible on letting us work on the bus. Many many months of commuting on the weekends, ordering pizza and other takeout and eating it in the bus, running to Menards and Home Depot...ah, fun times.
Small world!! I bet its a much different neighborhood than you remember! We have been here just under 10 years. Crazy to watch it change. And to watch rent double We really do love it here, but at this point, it feels like a great place to visit family and friends

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He rents spots for RV and boat storage, so he didn't want us painting. Anything else though he was cool with. I dunno about a roof raise, but maybe? It's off grid, so you'll need a generator. I can PM the number if it's not too far away (though it should be less than 90 minutes). There's another member here from Chicago, I think his name is Chiggins? and I think he might have spot near Wisconsin that he's renting. The details are pretty foggy for me though.
We found it on Craigslist in the RV / Boat storage category.
Sounds exactly like what we are looking for! I kind of expected we will do the painting elsewhere, I'm a little worried about the woodwork as well? Assuming that can't really be done inside of the bus.

I would definitely appreciate the number if you have it! Going to see a place in Orland Park today, its about 60 minutes from us. He has a 35ft spot he said we could use even though we are 40ft... so a backup contact would be great to have in case this doesn't work out!
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Old 05-26-2020, 01:31 PM   #16
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Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 10
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Chassis: Supercoach Series II
Engine: 6V92 Detroit
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Just remember to have money stashed somewhere. Buses like eat up money at every opportunity. A set of tires is at least $1800.
Oh yes! We've read some stories already! It will be interesting but we are prepared!
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Old 05-26-2020, 01:44 PM   #17
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 21,911
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
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Oh yes! We've read some stories already! It will be interesting but we are prepared!
Thats good. A lot of folks give up when their $3000 bus needs $4000 in repairs.


I'll admit there was a real sweet bus I splurged on. Spent over four grand to buy it. It immediately needed more than ten grand in repairs. I coulda threw 15k at it easily.
Sold at a loss and moved on.

Since its early on I'd suggest taking care of all the mechanical stuff first. At least give it a thorough going through.
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Old 05-26-2020, 01:56 PM   #18
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Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 10
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: Supercoach Series II
Engine: 6V92 Detroit
Quote:
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Thats good. A lot of folks give up when their $3000 bus needs $4000 in repairs.


I'll admit there was a real sweet bus I splurged on. Spent over four grand to buy it. It immediately needed more than ten grand in repairs. I coulda threw 15k at it easily.
Sold at a loss and moved on.

Since its early on I'd suggest taking care of all the mechanical stuff first. At least give it a thorough going through.
Funny you mention that! I'm sorry to hear about that experience. Good for you for moving forward and cutting the loss. Sounds rough!

We splurged a bit and all the mechanics are done. We are extremely lucky to have found the owner of this bus. He is a passionate vintage bus collector and restorer, and also just the nicest and most honest guy ever, and this particular model is his absolute favorite. The bus is almost like brand new mechanically, as well as the interior and exterior. Tires are in great shape. It's incredible. The engine was completely rebuilt just 3 years ago, and it runs amazing. Thats what sold my fiancÚ, he's a car guy

It already has all of the undercarriage storage we could ever dream of building, which is absolutely incredible! I've never seen a bus with so much space for storage, and such high ceilings. We could not get over the fact that we can get to work on the interior, right away, while the other buses we looked at felt like they could very well be secret money-pits. Instead of buying a bus for 4k, having to fix unknown issues, and do a roof raise, and whatever else-- We have one that we can start gutting and working on as soon as we find space to do so!

Thanks to an abundance of good luck and perfect timing, we snagged this bus for much less than what it would have cost for a 4k question mark and a roof raise. It feels like a dream and makes me feel much more confident moving forward, although I'm still ready for anything! As that's what it seems bus life is!
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Old 05-26-2020, 02:26 PM   #19
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Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Picton,Ont, Can.
Posts: 1,950
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: GMC
Engine: Cat 3116
Rated Cap: 72
Hello and welcome folks! Seems like you have found a great bus and good luck converting.
About a spot to work on it, find some shade and maybe protection from a lot of wind. Some wind isn't bad at times but heavy winds hamper working outside at times. You will be glad you did. Weather has added considerably to my construction and my building is about 8 feet to short to put the bus inside.
Can't wait to follow your build and you won't find a better or more co-operative place for all your questions than this site.


Cheers,


John
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Old 05-30-2020, 04:46 PM   #20
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Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 288
South bend Indiana.
Three miles from 80/90
Three miles from niles Amtrak station.
Or seven miles from the south shore end of the line.
Further than maybe you want but have room.
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