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Old 04-01-2016, 09:07 PM   #1
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Wannabe from Virginia

Hey, folks!

Photo of my rig:




(you don't see it because it's in my dreams at the moment)

I'm in the planning stage right now, and will be for a couple of years as we pay off the rest of our debt. But then we may very well go the Skoolie route: tons cheaper than any other option I see out there!

Thanks for all of the encouragement and information I find here.

-Tim
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Old 04-02-2016, 09:09 AM   #2
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welcome,what part of va.?
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my build pics
https://www.skoolie.net/forums/membe...albums942.html
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Old 04-02-2016, 10:22 AM   #3
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We live about 25 miles south of Christiansburg in the southwest corner of the state - Willis, to be exact. Where are you?
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Old 04-04-2016, 09:19 AM   #4
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SuperDave is between you and me

welcome
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Old 04-04-2016, 11:00 AM   #5
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Got a reality check, I'm afraid: while a Skoolie is a really cool idea and indeed surprisingly affordable, I fear that it would not be best for our family. 1) I have a hard time finishing jobs (or even putting my tools away); 2) we would be unlikely to live in it full time, and it would be a lot of expense and effort for a weekend every couple of months; 3) we hope to move to be near our daughter, and we're goofy enough to start with that we don't need any more 'baggage' that would cause folks to look askance at her or us; 4) in the county to which we hope to move, they don't let you camp (even on your own property) for >6 months, so we would have to either move back and forth or abandon the bus and pay rent to park it.

Sigh.

I certainly do wish you all the best, though, and wish I could join you. Might, someday, but not in the foreseeable future.
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Old 04-04-2016, 01:47 PM   #6
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I'll bet you could get away with one of those Ford or Chevy cutaway buses. The white fiberglass ones.
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Old 04-04-2016, 02:54 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Dapplecreek View Post
Got a reality check, I'm afraid: while a Skoolie is a really cool idea and indeed surprisingly affordable, I fear that it would not be best for our family. 1) I have a hard time finishing jobs (or even putting my tools away); 2) we would be unlikely to live in it full time, and it would be a lot of expense and effort for a weekend every couple of months; 3) we hope to move to be near our daughter, and we're goofy enough to start with that we don't need any more 'baggage' that would cause folks to look askance at her or us; 4) in the county to which we hope to move, they don't let you camp (even on your own property) for >6 months, so we would have to either move back and forth or abandon the bus and pay rent to park it.

Sigh.

I certainly do wish you all the best, though, and wish I could join you. Might, someday, but not in the foreseeable future.
It totally isn't for everyone in every situation.
My parents have a fine RV for the three weekends a year they camp. It sucks down fuel but was only about twenty grand fully equipped and road ready. Its a little over 30 feet.
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Old 04-19-2016, 08:54 PM   #8
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Well, it looks like I'm still in the running. I met the garage foreman for our local school district, and he was one of the most helpful and friendly folks I've ever met. Turns out they surplus out a half-dozen or so buses each year as they get new ones. The last batch (mostly 2001 models, I believe) went for $2800 to $4500, with most around $3500. These are Virginia buses, from Montgomery County Public Schools: light salting in the winter and no sea air. He sees occasional body panel rust, but nothing structural. Tires have plenty of wear left, and the buses have air brakes, the DT466 engine and an Allison transmission (forgot to ask which). They send 'em off with all of the service records. A couple of the buses were recently rebuilt, too. AND for the next batch (before I'll be ready to buy) he invited me over so we could poke around and he could show me what to look for and what sort of bus he would be likely to have when my time comes. Our plan is to get out of debt (2 years, probably) then buy from this guy: any savings we might find from a bus elsewhere are likely to be more than compensated for with the known situation here and the fact that I pass within a half-mile of the bus barn twice a day. No sight-unseen bidding and a one-way flight to six states away for me!

My dear wife is convinced that buying a used bus would be a good idea to help us in our move to Idaho. We would have the rudiments of an RV (mattresses, a camp stove, and a sawdust-filled bucket, presumably), and the majority of the cargo area would be, well, for cargo. We agreed that we will sell the bus when we get to our destination, but we're leaving open the possibility of keeping it and doing a full conversion should we find we enjoy our leisurely trip across country... and should we find a cheap place to park the bus when it is not in use.

So... I'll keep reading! And planning - already I'm considering an aftermarket exhaust brake, since we'll be going through the Rockies. Great fun. Thanks for the wealth of experience and wisdom you folks are all contributing.
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Old 04-19-2016, 10:06 PM   #9
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Well, it looks like I'm still in the running.
The research is key, But if you are unsure i'd 100% hold off. It took me awhile to pull the trigger. Just got my bus today. I do not regret it at all, I know me needs and wants, what i am willing to spend and what i am not. If you want to make a simple traveler with the basics. You can buy the bus as you stated for 2.5-4.5k. Then the rest you can deal with slowly, framing the bed is 1 job that can be planned 1 day, wood bought, cut and dry fit, and then done the third day. Take each project in tiny steps and they become much more manageable. this works in general not just for skoolie conversions
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Old 04-19-2016, 10:27 PM   #10
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Yes, I'll keep up the research. And with finalizing our decisions about our needs. For instance, the wife has yet to decide whether or not we'll be taking the geese with us. But we have pretty much decided to leave the cow in Virginia. Though with a long bus...?
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Old 04-20-2016, 10:21 AM   #11
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Oh, come on. Everybody needs a bus to play with. It's completely normal to have bus envy.

First question. Are you actually able to catch the geese? In my experience they do not like to be man handled at all, but they do make a good security alarm. I can't even begin to imagine traveling with a cow, or how that drastically changes cleaning the bus.
At one time I had thoughts of structurally lowering the rear frame rails of a long bus to make a two horse stable.
Can't you visualize the cow drooling while looking out the window at all the grass going to waste on the side of the freeway during the trip? So you would probably go to camp sites where, generically, pets are welcome and maybe you'd be giving away free milk and goose eggs.
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Old 04-20-2016, 03:28 PM   #12
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Yes, I'll keep up the research. And with finalizing our decisions about our needs. For instance, the wife has yet to decide whether or not we'll be taking the geese with us. But we have pretty much decided to leave the cow in Virginia. Though with a long bus...?
Depending on the engine and transmission you may be able to pull and animal carrier. Youd have to figure out how much one of those cost as well lol.
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Old 04-20-2016, 04:46 PM   #13
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You gotta know cows to love this post .
I used to love/hate my cows.
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Old 04-20-2016, 05:07 PM   #14
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Oh, come on. Everybody needs a bus to play with. It's completely normal to have bus envy.
I agree!! whats funny is I thought all of my friends would call me crazy the first time I got a bus.. they didnt say much..

so when I decided to get a new one I REALLY thought theyd call me Cray-Cray...

its been quite the opposite.. im hearing things like "HOW COOL!! the fun we can have in a bus!".. and

"we all kept waiting for you to get your other bus out but you never did.. it just sat in the garage.. ".

"what a Cool idea.. why didnt we think of that for an art show studio.." was one response..

its amazing how many people will think your bus and bus project is super neat!

-Christopher
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Old 04-20-2016, 06:14 PM   #15
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Anybody that has ever spent time in a cubical should clearly see the positive things about a bus. Obviously most of us are not exactly wealthy or we might have taken an easier route towards a mobile lifestyle.
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Old 04-20-2016, 06:23 PM   #16
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Anybody that has ever spent time in a cubical should clearly see the positive things about a bus. Obviously most of us are not exactly wealthy or we might have taken an easier route towards a mobile lifestyle.
I wouldnt buy a pre-made RV even if I could afford a $300k one...

yes I totally agree on the cubicle!! I thrive in my free-style world of working-walking-driving-travelling etc..

being a tech visionary and also a CodeMonster, and a Hardware DEV.. makes a Bus the PERFECT mix of work and fun....

-Christopher
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Old 04-20-2016, 08:14 PM   #17
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Well considering the Bluebird Wanderlodge that recently sold for $3,500 just 20 miles away, there are occasional RVs or even skoolies being sold that one could use. If I couldn't get a bus I'd get a box truck. If I got an RV as a freebie I'd take it, and if it was good enough even use it, but it would have to be a lot better than my bus.
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