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Old 01-24-2017, 09:22 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 11
New to the adventure/future full timers!

Hello, Skoolie people... skoolinites... skooligans?

I am Andy, and my wife is Heidi. We are currently living in Grenada, West Indies for Heidi's schooling, but we call Oregon home (Eugene is where we lived before) and will be returning in May! Though, I might return home a month or so early... more on that later! Heidi is finishing her second year of medical school on her way to being a Family Practice/Psychiatrist and wants to focus on alternative treatments for mental illness (alternatives to psychotropic drugs).

I am very much so just along for the ride! I was a student with little aim (but excellent grades!) before we came here. The first year here I built furniture on my front porch and planted a huge garden. Both having mixed results, but turned out very well for my first attempts either. After that first year of baking in the heat on my rented rural porch, I decided to take a break and enjoy the island and just relax for the rest of my time here. A work permit is nearly impossible to get as a foreigner here, so I spend my time reading, snorkeling and trying to get out of the heat... and plotting our future SKOOLIE!

Living in the Caribbean for 2 years has been an intense experience. A mix between being on holiday under waving palms and living in a nearly third world country where running water only happens for about 6-8 hours a day (or rather middle of the night) during dry season. It has been a great experience, but we are ready to be home for a bit!

The next step on the med school train, rotations (bet you can guess where this is going! Look at our handle...), is about 2 years long and could lead to us having to move every 6 weeks, then she does residencies for another 2-3 years... then we move somewhere near where we want to live... etc... etc... forever (or so it seems right now). Jumping from apartment to apartment and paying deposits and packing... Well, it all sounds awful to be honest. Our solution? RollinThruRotations!

We have a very ambitious plan, as our window to work on the bus may only end up being 4 months (May through the end of August) unless we find a great bus before May, in which case I will come back a month or so early to get started.

That is no time at all in terms of some of the conversions on here and youtube that have taken years, but we have a few things working for us; It wont only be a weekend project. I have been on vacation here for nearly 2 years and am really looking forward to doing something productive that I will actually see and get use from in the future. We are also lucky enough to have most, if not all the funds saved up, most of the tools needed already gathered, some carpentry skills and a hell of a knack for thinking outside the box! It is most certainly going to be difficult... and it may not be entirely 100% by the time we leave... but, hell if we aren't going to give it a whack!

Right now we are looking into buses and have been doing piles of research over the past months to see if it was going to be achievable. I know a fair bit about what engines, trans and rear end ratios to seek out, as well as a pretty solid understanding of the electrical and plumbing, layout and construction ideas. We are in need of two things right now to get really started: 1) a place to park/work on the bus. 2) a bus... hehe...

The idea is to find a place to park first (seems smartest) and then the bus. We do have a lead on a place and we have a few buses in our sites, as well. Public Surplus and the other sites seems to be hit or miss with the amount of information given on the ads, but with our location and budget these are a few that we have in mind. Any thoughts/opinions about these buses would be greatly appreciated!

Top choice based on it being 12 miles away.
Public Surplus: Auction #1760472

AZ bus. 4-5 available, all about the same from what I can tell.
Public Surplus: Auction #1773080

Just... awesome... and just a few hundred miles away. Mechanical nightmare, or...? (Wife's favorite! )
GILLIG 1968 C190-12

I will make a post in the appropriate section here soon regarding bus model advice, but thought it couldn't hurt to bad to share excitement!

Anyway, this has gotten long. I am excited to be a member and to be able to add to all of your awesome, knowledgeable advice and oversized yellow adventures! Pictures and such to come!

Roll on!


P.S. I am new to posting in forums and tend to be a bit socially off... so if I seem like I dont know what I am doing with a post... I probably dont! I learn fast, though!

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Old 01-25-2017, 03:26 PM   #2
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: FL
Posts: 34
WELCOME!.put add in Craigslist to park in exchange for work 20hr wk or so, i see they have apps to work and stay for free in farms and such. if i find i send to you. Have Fun!
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Old 01-25-2017, 04:00 PM   #3
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 11
Thanks, Pepe! I actually posted a few CL ads in the local area (Eugene & Portland Oregon). There is a lot of open space very near Eugene, but also a lot of people into the tiny house movement, so it could either turn out to be super easy to find a place, or it could be saturated and hard to get into. *shrug* Time will tell!
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Old 01-25-2017, 04:45 PM   #4
Bus Nut
Phatman's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Brazoria County, Texas
Posts: 818
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 32 Passenger
Well Andy, only way to learn is JUMP right in. Welcome
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Old 01-25-2017, 05:50 PM   #5
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 11
Thanks, Phatman! It does certainly feel like a bit of a leap! The hardest part about taking the jump is being so far away from home. My wife and I are actually talking about me heading back that way in as little as a few weeks if one of the buses we are looking at turns out to be worth picking up.

Something I didn't mention is that while Heidi was applying to schools, we were planning something similar, but the vehicle was a 30+ foot 84' Itasca (Winnebago) that we got from a friend who had nowhere to put it. We paid him $100 dollars and drove it off. Big 454 gasser sounded like a muscle car. After starting the initial tear down I found that it had, somehow, scraped all the way down the middle of the top and really badly mended. Couldn't tell if the AC's and vents had been ripped off or what could have caused the damage, but there were HUNDREDS of pin holes and tears and bad rivets all over under the thickest sludge of elastic roof sealant ever seen. It also didn't seal a thing. EVERYTHING that could rot or rust had done so. The counter was so water logged, it snapped in half and then crumbled under it's own weight when I started to remove it. We also learned that the roof skin and insulation are structural and held on mostly with glue. Seems safe!

After 6ish months of working on this nightmare outside, we had it stripped, the roof skin put back in place as best we could, new insulation in the ceiling and floor (removing the wall insulation was out of the question at that point as it seemed to be holding the fiberglass/plastic siding into shape), and most of it all covered back up with luan. Then Heidi got into SGU... literally the only medical school she applied to that we could not drive the RV (Leon was his name) to. We laughed and gave that empty shell to a friend who needed storage. Lesson learned.

It was insane how much time we spent just trying to keep the RV from falling apart around us as we worked (literally keeping the walls upright with braces and straps as we removed and repaired the roof skins). Probably 20 days @ 6-8 hours a day just to get to the point where we could start putting the interior wall and ceiling paneling in. I immediately wished we had just gotten a bus for the structural stability.

It is exciting to be jumping into it again with some first hand experience. I feel like having entirely dismantled an RV helps a lot with understanding some of the systems, even if everything was destroyed.
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