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Old 01-11-2021, 11:13 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2021
Posts: 2
Starting the Journey! Calling all Skoolie owners near Portland.

Hello Skoolie fam! My girlfriend, @kaitlin.wright28, and I have been swooning over school bus conversions for quite some time now and we have finally decided to get serious and begin the search for our future home on wheels! We live in Vancouver, WA but nobody knows where the hell that is so we just tell everyone we're from Portland, OR. The good ol' PNW has been our home for over 30 years now but we are excited to get our conversion started (and finished) this year and go explore parts unknown. I'm 34, have a background in engineering, and have dabbled in remodeling a few houses so feel fairly confident about tackling the task of converting a bus. My girlfriend is 31, loves the idea of living the nomadic, free-spirited lifestyle, and has been hounding my ass for the last six months because she's so damn excited to start the bus life journey! Oh, and there's also our dog Juniper. She's a 2 year old rescue who mostly cares about squirrels, squeaky toys, and cuddling, in that order.

We're looking forward to getting to know some of you and using this awesome resource you all helped create for our Skoolie build. And if any of you happen to be in, or somewhat near the Portland area we would absolutely love to come see your beautiful bus conversion, ask you a hundred annoying questions, and make lots of "ooh" and "ahh" sounds. We'll even bring you a bottle of wine! So if you're up for showing off your bus and helping us determine our build we would sincerely appreciate it.

Thanks,
Brandon, Kaitlin & Juniper
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Old 01-11-2021, 11:17 PM   #2
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Location: Parks/Flagstaff AZ
Posts: 261
What a great intro! With wine offered, even...

What kind of bus are you looking for? I know there were, recently, some interesting ones in WA on some of the auction sites. And I just drove one back from Whidbey Island a few weeks ago. Let the collective group know what your ideal bus looks like and you may get some pointers.


EDIT: I just looked at GovDeals again and there are 4 buses in Puyallup...one dognose and 3 flat nose. They're all full sized buses, if that's what you are looking for...and you'd want to look underneath to make sure there's no serious rust...but they look like viable platforms with good engine/transmission options. The flat nosed buses are front engine, which has pros and cons. But there are options out there. Let us know what you seek!
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Old 01-13-2021, 01:37 AM   #3
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Join Date: Jan 2021
Posts: 2
Hey thanks rossvtaylor! I signed up for one of those wine club memberships months ago and apparently they just keep sending you a whole box every month if you keep paying them. So Iíve got plenty to share!

Ideally, (I think) we are looking for something in the 3/4 range. We like the idea of the bus being a little more maneuverable and we donít need to have a more open floor plan. I really like the idea of getting a flat nose FE purely for the rear door and additional living space. We have a lot of gear we want to take with us so having some sort of garage/gear storage area is a must. However, the benefits of ground clearance and back road capability of a dog nose are also highly appealing. That was our initial image, a bus that would be somewhat off-road capable. But the more we look into it the more I think it might be wiser to just tow my truck with us and use that for backcountry exploration.

So to sum it up, maybe a 3/4 flat nose FE...or a full size FE, or dog nose, or RE...with some sort of garage area. Lol, does that help?!
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Old 01-13-2021, 03:16 AM   #4
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Fraser Valley British Columbia
Posts: 516
Year: 2007
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freightliner
Engine: C7 Cat
Hello BdoubleU
Welcome to the group and good luck with your search.
Seems like you've done lots of research about what you'll need. There are many merits to all the different bus styles and some negatives as well, only you can decide what will fit your needs. For my wife and I we didn't want full size because of some park restrictions and we prefer to get a little off the beaten path when we can. We looked at FE transit style and conventional's in the 30' range but decided we just couldn't get a decent floor plan in 30' if we wanted a garage. I wasn't prepared to give up the garage so we ended up with a 36' FE and are very happy so far. We have 7' of garage for all the spares, tools, bikes, and room for two small motorcycles/scooters for exploring after camp is set.
Again welcome and good luck with the search.

Oscar
image.jpg
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Old 01-13-2021, 06:50 AM   #5
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Virginia
Posts: 1,900
Year: 1971
Coachwork: Wayne
Chassis: International Loadstar 1700
Engine: 345 international V-8
Hello, welcome to the community! I know these would be a long way from you but, in the southeast there are Tiny home Festivals, and many bus owners show at them. Great way to see many different styles. Maybe there are get togethers or festivals out your way look for them. Slooliepalooza is going on I think right now in Arizona. Over a hundred buses last year went.



Speaking of Puyallup, we have family there.
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Old 01-13-2021, 11:45 AM   #6
Bus Nut
 
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Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 721
Year: 1999
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC1000 HandyBus
Engine: 5.9L 24V-L6 Cummins ISB
Rated Cap: 26 foot
Quote:
Originally Posted by BdoubleU View Post
Hey thanks rossvtaylor! I signed up for one of those wine club memberships months ago and apparently they just keep sending you a whole box every month if you keep paying them. So Iíve got plenty to share!

Ideally, (I think) we are looking for something in the 3/4 range. We like the idea of the bus being a little more maneuverable and we donít need to have a more open floor plan. I really like the idea of getting a flat nose FE purely for the rear door and additional living space. We have a lot of gear we want to take with us so having some sort of garage/gear storage area is a must. However, the benefits of ground clearance and back road capability of a dog nose are also highly appealing. That was our initial image, a bus that would be somewhat off-road capable. But the more we look into it the more I think it might be wiser to just tow my truck with us and use that for backcountry exploration.

So to sum it up, maybe a 3/4 flat nose FE...or a full size FE, or dog nose, or RE...with some sort of garage area. Lol, does that help?!

My bus is that 3/4 size, I think. As a HandyBus, it rides lower than any other bus I've seen (besides van cut-outs), and has smaller tires. Yet it has more clearance than my 4◊4 pickups ever did, and bigger tires. The short wheelbase is 6" longer than my minivan, and if you go 4◊4ing alot, you know the short wheelbase is where it's at when off-roading (but a "harder/harsher" ride on-road).


All that said, the first road I chose not to go down that I wanted to was simply too narrow for a bus. And get stuck in the boonies, even in a Jeep is bad. With a bus, even a dognose, it is a real problem. Who CAN help you? Not many. Who WILL help you? even less.


I'm all about deep-woods camping, but I don't know that I would want to risk taking my bus anywhere that may be any challenge.


My first road trips were in CA. I got stuck 1/10 of a mile from pavement on a wide smooth road at 15į incline in 2" thick mud (was solid, then not!), and ended in a ditch. I called the CHP (because it was a deathtrap for anyone coming down the hill), they never came. I then heard stories of people there for weeks - first the stuck guy, then the cops got stuck, then the tow truck got stuck....


here's the whole story:
https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f9/to...eek-20211.html


Bottom line: my advice is get a Jeep or 4◊4 truck and tow it, if you want to get into those places.
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Old 01-13-2021, 12:21 PM   #7
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: topeka kansas
Posts: 808
Year: 1954
Coachwork: wayne
Chassis: old f500- new 2005 f-450
Engine: cummins 12 valve
Rated Cap: 20? five rows of 4?
Winch

My bus is around 12,000 lbs. I have a 9,000lb winch, chains, straps, and two snatch blocks. Just for off pavement stuck situations. I have unstuck one bus already.

William
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Old 01-14-2021, 02:12 PM   #8
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Long Beach, CA
Posts: 124
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: MPV, 40'
Engine: 5.9 Cummins/B300 trans
Rated Cap: U/K
Quote:
Originally Posted by magnakansas View Post
My bus is around 12,000 lbs. I have a 9,000lb winch, chains, straps, and two snatch blocks. Just for off pavement stuck situations. I have unstuck one bus already.

William
That sounds like a milk crate full of good stuff to have around
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Old 01-17-2021, 09:14 AM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2021
Posts: 24
BdoubleU, keep us posted on what you end up choosing for a conversion. pictures are worth a thousand words! polite offer of you guys to donate a bottle of willamette valleys finest vino.

good luck on the search and best of luck with the conversion.
cheers.
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