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Old 09-17-2019, 10:58 AM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: York, Pennsylvania
Posts: 3
New from PA—going off grid full-time

Hi everyone! I’m still in planning (and saving for bus purchase) phase but wanted to introduce myself and ask for a bit of insight on my plans.

The general plan: full sized bus conversion and live off grid in a secluded spot on my parents’ property with my partner and our 50lb dog. We would use it to travel as well but with our jobs and skill sets, we don’t think we’ll travel full time (yet).
It would be nice if we could hook up full time but their actual house is right along the road so it’s too risky for long term.

Systems: full solar, very large fresh water tanks (perhaps 150gal total if possible?), lots of propane usage to maximize solar (stove, fridge, water heater, maybe heat too?), permanent gray water drain system to hook up to (built in exact location we decide to park which may depend on the sun).

So mainly, we would have to focus on fresh water regularly. My mom suggested a separate tank that we could attach to our UTV to haul water from the well up to the bus and then gravity feed. The path up to the spot isn’t great and I don’t think the contents of the bus would appreciate a weekly jeep worthy trip down to the house. We would do laundry in the house (could put in a washer/dryer combo eventually in the kitchen).

Thoughts?

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Old 09-17-2019, 11:23 AM   #2
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Just want to add a little background to us and our resources: my partner is car guy. He doesn’t know much about buses yet but he certainly knows engines. I kind of know a little bit about everything and can learn just about anything through reading and remember it. Good thing, because we have a lot to learn.

My parents will be most helpful and are fully on board. My dad has a great shop and he is a good carpenter, mechanic, welder, and handyman overall. He’s what I call a serial builder. Some people watch tv, he builds stuff. Decks, bathrooms, full kitchen addition once, barns, etc. My mom is a retired electrician and also a very handy woman (sewing too!). My partner’s brother worked construction and is now a plumbing apprentice. Close friends include a building painter, masonry, solar installer (nice right?) and other blue collar workers.

Just had to add to that because I truly feel like we have a village of knowledgeable supporters and great circumstances to make this happen.
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Old 09-17-2019, 11:55 AM   #3
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Grayson County, VA
Posts: 1,287
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466
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Originally Posted by Animistic Katie View Post
Just had to add to that because I truly feel like we have a village of knowledgeable supporters and great circumstances to make this happen.
That seems to be the case. Many people struggle with where to park while building, and not having the knowledge and support system in place. You seem to have that covered.
I think you mom is onto something regarding the water situation. You should have a tank on the bus (grey too, for traveling), but definitely have a way to tote the water to the bus. Those plastic water totes are pretty ubiquitous, I've seen them for ATVs even. We (2 adults) go through 100 gal every 14 days or so, more if we were to shower as we did in our sticks-and-bricks, pre-bus life.
Our bus warms up nicely in the sun, even in the winter. We kept all of the windows, and so we get a decent amount of solar gain (maybe 20deg above ambient temps?). Night time is a whole different story. I think you'd be best served maybe by a propane system that's vented. We've got a wood stove that serves us well during the day, but the burn time is too short to be able to use it overnight.
It sounds like y'all may be on your way to a successful endeavor.
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Old 09-17-2019, 11:56 AM   #4
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Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: Hagerstown, MD
Posts: 55
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Thomas
Engine: CAT 3126
Sounds like you have things/hands/people in order.

Not sure what you budget is...
Marc is a good guy...generally has a number of busses.
https://outerbanks.craigslist.org/rv...952915453.html

Welcome to M and M Service and Salvage Yard Inc.
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...it?usp=sharing
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Old 09-17-2019, 12:25 PM   #5
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
Posts: 10,321
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/3060
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Originally Posted by StatTarget View Post
Sounds like you have things/hands/people in order.

Not sure what you budget is...
Marc is a good guy...generally has a number of busses.
https://outerbanks.craigslist.org/rv...952915453.html

Welcome to M and M Service and Salvage Yard Inc.
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...it?usp=sharing
M&M is where I was going to go pick up a door for my bus. They had it and were willing to open on a Sat. by appointmentwhen we worked it out as it was Labor day weekend and I was heading North on Sat., south on Mon. But of course they would be closed Mon. Everything looked good for a Sat, pick up, until he told me he wanted $500 for a $100 door.
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Old 09-17-2019, 12:56 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: Hagerstown, MD
Posts: 55
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Thomas
Engine: CAT 3126
Ouch. Good to know.

We never did get down there to look.
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Old 09-17-2019, 01:18 PM   #7
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Location: Ashtabula, Ohio
Posts: 1,494
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International
Engine: T444E 7.3L
Welcome to the site!
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