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Old 11-25-2015, 03:14 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Vancouver Island, Canada
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Talking Hello from Vancouver Island, Canada!

My wife and I generally have some pretty crazy ideas - we lived aboard a sailboat (two actually, a 27 footer and a 33 footer) from about 2007 to 2010 - and we have recently arrived upon our newest crazy idea: to build a skoolie to use on a longish travel adventure with our two kids (who are currently 1.5 and 3.5). ...I realize of course that this idea will likely not seem crazy to any of you. :P

I'm a software developer so I can (and do) work remotely, so the plan will be for me to work over a mobile data connection while we explore North America - which I did with my family when I was 10 in a travel trailer.

I've got a buddy who turned a 14-window Thomas into a motorcycle hauler - the Zombie Response Bus - who helped inspire this a bit and will likely continue to be bombarded with questions; I think that a 14-window Thomas MVP or WestcoastER is likely what we'll end up with, though I see there doesn't seem to be much love for the Cat engines on here ... so we'll see. We're definitely all over the rear engine configuration, though. There aren't a lot of buses available in British Columbia - we just missed one a month or so ago - so I may end up trying to import one from the States, we'll see...

Anyways, this site is a fantastic resource, and I'm glad to be here!
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Old 11-25-2015, 03:36 PM   #2
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If you can handle a sailboat, bus living will be easy!
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Old 11-25-2015, 04:45 PM   #3
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Welcome

I'm just to the east of you in Alberta.

If you need help finding a bus in Alberta, shoot me a PM.

Nat
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Old 11-25-2015, 07:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nat_ster View Post
Welcome

I'm just to the east of you in Alberta.

If you need help finding a bus in Alberta, shoot me a PM.

Nat
Awesome. We are planning on waiting til spring but I will likely take you up on that. Thanks!
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Old 11-25-2015, 07:30 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
If you can handle a sailboat, bus living will be easy!
The first boat was maybe 80 square feet inside, and the second about 130, so a 250 square foot bus is going to feel like a mansion.
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Old 12-03-2015, 05:25 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
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My wife and I have basically gelled on a layout - this is based the line drawings of the Thomas 14-window RE bus, so will obviously require tweaking to match whatever we end up getting, but this is what we've come up with:





From the front (left):

The Driving Space:
Driver side: Driver's seat and a 'driving dinette', with four sets of seatbelts and carseat anchors where the kids will sit while we drive, and where I will work when we're parked. Seating for six should hopefully cover us off forever, because if I have more than four children I will go insane.

Passenger side: navigator's chair followed by a 'hanging locker' for jackets and boots and shoes and such.

Kid's Bunks and Heads
Driver side: Bathroom with Nature's Head Composting Toilet (not gonna argue about it :P), 32"x24" tub and counter.

Passenger side: Two bunks, 28" wide at the aft (pillow) end, 23 (if I remember right) at the forward (foot) end.

Kitchen Area
Driver side: Kitchen counter with sink and 24" propane cooktop - we did just fine on the boat with no oven, and we figure the same here. I'll be building the cabinetry with an 'insert' there so we can swap a full stove in there if we change our minds.

Passenger side: Closet, then (24") fridge, then pantry space. Weeee.

Seating and Living
Seating and living space is basically just a giant couch/settee, with a foldable table, and some empty wall space for a Christmas tree and strewn about toys.

Mommy-Daddy Sleepy Space
At the back is a king bed up on the engine cover, which will also double as a playspace.

I'll update this with a link to the conversion post once we finally get a damn bus - which will probably be in the spring.
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Old 04-04-2016, 02:04 PM   #7
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Any progress on your rig?
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Old 04-08-2016, 09:44 AM   #8
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nice to see a fellow DEV on here.. I plan to use my bus to travel around as a mobile DEV lab.. it will have a server rack in it and all.. I travel to write code now.. hopefully you are rockin and rollin on your project.. looks like it will be super !
-Christopher
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Old 04-08-2016, 11:28 AM   #9
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...Honestly, we've revised the plan. Our kids are too little - and we are too busy - to make this happen in the next ~4 years, so we're parking the idea for now, and we'll use a truck and trailer for the short term.

But we both still want to do this, so it will happen ... one day.
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Old 04-08-2016, 02:53 PM   #10
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I can't think of a safer way to take small children out camping or even just on trips. I mean, it never rains up there does it? Bus living is my way of traveling even when there's rain, because it never rains here either.
I think you just overwhelmed yourself with you floor plans and stuff. It's a lot to consider doing all at once. It doesn't happen all at once, believe me.
When my kids were small I replaced a floor in a bus and kept just enough seats to keep things legal with the whole family in there. It was a big van that coolers and bikes could all fit into, basically just for day trips. A bus is fantastic to take to a fair because you can go rest and eat like you never could in your hot car. Your kids are comfortable enough to take naps. I tried a lot of vehicles with my kids and buses were by far the most superior for comfort and safety. You can buy pickup trucks that get worse mileage than a bus, and you can still tow a camp trailer with a bus.
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Old 04-08-2016, 03:01 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Robin97396 View Post
I can't think of a safer way to take small children out camping or even just on trips. I mean, it never rains up there does it? Bus living is my way of traveling even when there's rain, because it never rains here either.
I think you just overwhelmed yourself with you floor plans and stuff. It's a lot to consider doing all at once. It doesn't happen all at once, believe me.
When my kids were small I replaced a floor in a bus and kept just enough seats to keep things legal with the whole family in there. It was a big van that coolers and bikes could all fit into, basically just for day trips. A bus is fantastic to take to a fair because you can go rest and eat like you never could in your hot car. Your kids are comfortable enough to take naps. I tried a lot of vehicles with my kids and buses were by far the most superior for comfort and safety. You can buy pickup trucks that get worse mileage than a bus, and you can still tow a camp trailer with a bus.
Pours rain here, but it's for travelling the continent, so 'here' doesn't matter much. As for comfort, when I was 10 and my siblings were 7 and 4, we travelled around North America for a year and a half - 65,000 miles - in a Chev Suburban towing a trailer. I assure you, we were quite comfortable.

The reality is that we have near-zero time available right now, and we don't want to get stuck in the 'half-a-bus' mode and not be able to use it. Truck and trailer is incremental:
  1. Buy shitty truck [DONE today]
  2. Buy shitty camper
  3. Buy nicer trailer that I'd take across the continent
  4. Buy nicer truck that I'd take across the continent

It's incremental - we can use the '97 F-150 I just bought two hours ago to go camping locally RIGHT NOW, instead of in six months - or a year, or two, or never as happens far too often.

Also, our kids are 1.75 and 4, so basically that means we have about 1.05 people available right now to do the conversion work. In five years, they will be 6 and 9, and we will have FOUR people available to do the conversion work. Plus we can continue camping in the (yet-to-buy) trailer while we build it.
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Old 04-08-2016, 04:26 PM   #12
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Oh, you're making a tramper? The ubiquitous trailer/camper. I understand you.

Just a personal preference but for now, or even in the winter (because we share much of the same weather), I'd much prefer camping in an empty bus more than camping from a pickup with or without a trailer. Buses are awkward for parking in most public areas, but for actual camping even an empty bus is a cabin in the woods. When necessary I use this as a van or truck. It's just handy and I've never felt better when camping than waking up in a real bed.
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