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Old 09-13-2009, 10:17 PM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 21
local knowledge needed

hey everyone

me and a couple of friends are planning a 3 month ski trip through the states and canada starting late nov. we are from new zealand so do not know alot about local driving laws etc. we are planning on purchasing a bus of some sort, possibly a school bus, doing a cheap simple conversion focussing on practicality and insulation as some places we visit will be very cold. we are planning on installing a wood stove for heat and cooking etc. anyway we are fine with the whole construction side of things it is more the legal side of buying a bus we are looking for advice on. we are flying into new york city and will try and find a bus somewhere close. what process will we have to go through to be on the road and legal? also the other thing i am not sure about is driving a bus in cold climates. in nz when there is snow and ice on the road everybody fits snowchains, from what research i have done though it sounds like that is not the done thing on your side of the world? we will be spending alot of our time at revelstoke in inland canada so conditions could well be dodgy. any advice would be greatly appreciated!


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Old 09-14-2009, 05:23 PM   #2
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 21
Re: local knowledge needed

also if anyone knows of any buses for sale near new york or somewhere on the way to canada then let us know! looking to spend not alot more than 2000 if possible but could stretch if getting something really good. not worried about aesthetics at all just needs to be legal, have good tires and be an easy starter. probably somewhere between 30-35' would be ideal. will be flying into new york on the 22nd of nov. thanks!
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Old 09-14-2009, 06:34 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Adirondack Mountains NY
Posts: 1,101
Re: local knowledge needed

Wow, sounds like fun.

Quick purchase and low price do not necessarily go together. Low price is scouting around the internet classified advertisements, or seeing what's parked with a sign in the window while driving around the neighborhood. Quick is going to a bus operator or used bus broker and buying what's on the lot, with profit mark-up.

Here's a clue for internet scouting - telephone area codes:

212, 347, 646, 718, 917 - New York City - not a likely area, especially Manhattan, but maybe something in the outlying boroughs
516, 631 - the rest of Long Island not in the city. 516 is near the NY airports, 631 is headed the wrong way for Canada, but not too far
914, 845 - Lower Hudson River Valley - you will pass through here on the way to Canada, within 1-2 hours of the city
201, 551, 973, 862, 732, 848 - Northern New Jersey - just a step to the side, not as far off the route as Eastern Long Island 631
518 - Upstate, from 3 hours north of the city all the way to the Canadian border.

This assumes you will make a straight trip up Interstate 87 from NYC Through the Catskill and Adirondack Mountains toward Montreal. If you are going through New England on I-95 to I-91 to ski the Berkshire, Green or White Mountains, you might look in Connecticut (203 or 860).

I can't help you with driver's license info, except that if the converted bus is legally a Recreational Vehicle, by federal law you can't be required to have a commercial truck driver's license in the States. Before its converted, it may be another story. I don't know how you would correspond a foreign license to operating privileges in the states. You might try a US Consulate or a travel information source.

In New York State, and probably most of the east coast, chains are never required for cars. Almost no one owns a set. Car tires in NYS in winter must be marked "All Season" (radial) or "Mud and Snow." Many people have the winter drive axle tires on their cars "studded" with metal or ceramic studs in order to get a grip when there is ice on the road. The highway crews usually spread salt to melt off the ice, which also means used vehicles from northern states are more rusted and less desirable than those from southern states. Studs are illegal here in the summer, and illegal year-round in most southern states.

In the Rockies, chains ARE required, depending on conditions.

Trucks and buses here generally do not have chains in winter, but occasionally you see them. Snow plows usually have them. As trucks are heavier than cars, they usually have less problems maintaining traction. Tractors for semi-trailer combinations sometimes have chains on, as they seem to lose drive traction first. I would plan on carrying a set of chains. There is an old saying: "Better to have them and not need them, than to need them and not have them."
Someone said "Making good decisions comes from experience, experience comes from bad decisions." I say there are three kinds of people: those who learn from their mistakes, those who learn from the mistakes of others, and those who never learn.
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Old 09-15-2009, 09:42 PM   #4
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 704
Re: local knowledge needed

Save yourself a lot of trouble, buy my's already converted... It has a propane furnace but would need to be installed, much easier than converting an entire bus. Don't let the price scare you, I will take the first $5,000 CASH $$ USD that comes my way!!
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...your motor home used to be a school bus!
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