Don't forget there was probably a very strong tailwind on the trip to San Diego at the time. Not sure about the reindeer, they're probably already booked.
I love those little buses. I'd prefer the diesel engine, but for an '88 and what appears to be a bunch of bucket seats in it the price seems quite high. Maybe they go for that much in your area, I have no idea. The '88 is a nice bus and the mileage is great. The other bus is nice too but personally I won't get another gasser. It all depends on how you want to use it.
Those short buses tow great, depending on your power setup. Problem is you can't get much into them. You might think you won't spend that much time in the bus, but if you're traveling cross country you will. You're probably going to spend a lot of time fixing it up like the rest of us, or partially. Whatever suits your needs.
I like both buses. I think they probably are both in quite remarkable condition for the age. They look good in the photos but I wouldn't pay that much for either of them.
I know that doesn't help you. To much information missing, but I think you're on the right track. Spend some time reading any of the build threads that interest you.