Gypsy Josh & the gang out of Iowa
Rig: 1998 Ford E450 Shuttle Bus with 7.3L Diesel
Intent: Convert rig to RV for (at least) 18 months of full time travel
I found this forum a few days ago after our travel plans morphed from a month long trip through Alaska and BANFF to a 18 months tour around the states and (hopefully) all state parks.
We started out with a 2000 Chevy Express 2500 3/4 ton 12 passenger van I intended on making the travel mobile and pulling a travel trailer. Well, that plan busted when we found out the van needed a new engine so we were back to the drawing board. We figured with that we would forego the expense of a new engine AND a travel trailer and just get an "all-in-one" rig and go with a custom set up in a bus.
Fast forward until we found one we liked in MN about 4 hours up the road and struck a deal over the phone but quickly changed our minds when we learned how dismal the MPG was in a gas rig. We cancelled that deal the same night and decided we would start searching for a diesel. Intimidated a little by the fact that I have never owned a diesel and knowing we would have to spend some extra money, I am handy and savvy enough to know we could make it work.
So, the next day we found a diesel rig about 4 hours the opposite direction from the first, in Kansas City. We also found another 5 hours from us in Wisconsin at the same time. KC rig was priced more like we wanted but the WI rig looked a little cleaner and had 50k less miles at 150k, down from the 200 on the KC rig. We decided we would go with the lesser priced rig and know that we could use the extra money for any needed repairs and since we weren't looking for a beauty queen anyway, we wouldn't worry about what it looked like. We are planning a complete gut and remodel anyway!
After we get around for the morning we head out to Kansas City to go look at, and most likely purchase, our new diesel home! We are about 45 minutes out when we get a phone call that says "Sorry, but my wife just told me you were coming to look at the bus and it has actually already been sold" .. and my response was something like, "You've got to be f-ing kidding me?" With our tails between our legs we spun around and headed home while my co-pilot scoured craigslist for a new option.
About halfway home her phone went crazy and Craigslist blocked her IP address? for some reason so that cut our search short. It just wasn't our day ..One good thing out of all this is we were able to see A LOT of different buses and their setups and find out the things we would really like to have out of a rig.
...AND THAT'S WHEN IT HAPPENED. Almost as soon as I walked in the door I sat down at the computer and got to work researching. Somehow I ended up on craigslist in Texas and we found it. The rig we wanted. 24 passenger. Shuttle bus. 7.3 diesel. CO-PILOT SEAT!!! In our price range. & a couple things we didn't expect, but love, like a backup camera and a rear luggage hatch! This was it. This is what we had been waiting for. I struck the deal, booked the flight, and I will be picking it up tomorrow!
I am attaching a lot of pictures because I know you guys love them! I will also be starting another thread with our build once I get it picked up.
Hope it makes the 1000 mile trip home!!
Thank everyone for the inspiration and the rally point for some great knowledge. I look forward to interacting with you, and hopefully meeting up sometime along the road.
Gypsy Josh, out.