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Old 03-26-2017, 08:26 PM   #1
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Question Getting A Bus Home W/O CDL?

I'm sure this has been asked already, and I've searched as best I can, but I just can't seem to find a satisfying answer:

If I buy a bus that's exactly what I'm after but rather far away, how the <blankety-blank> do I get it home?

I'm thinking its in this order:
  1. Complete financial transaction and get bill of sale / title (but negotiate about a month's worth of storage);
  2. Do the "Vermont Trick" to re-title to a motorhome (about two-three weeks' time);
  3. Once that is done, get insurance (Progressive? A few days' maybe);
  4. Now, schedule a trip out to pick up the bus and drive it home.
What other options am I missing that won't break the bank?
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Old 03-26-2017, 08:39 PM   #2
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some states don't require a CDL, check yours, but if you have a bill of sale and or title in hand with a fresh date on it, the cops usually don't bother you. Make sure all the lights and brakes lights are working of course.
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Old 03-26-2017, 08:46 PM   #3
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If you want to "do it right" then getting it titled as an RV before moving it or finding a buddy with a CDL to drive it for you would be good options.

Most of us here, myself included, drive it CAREFULLY home, pull the seats & title as an RV before driving it any more than necessary.

Make sure that the rig is legal as far as lights etc, drive the speed limit etc.

As far as insurance goes, chances are that your existing liability coverage will extend to a new purchase for 2 weeks (check with your agent) so insurance would not be an issue for the trip home.

Just my $0.02

Good luck.

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Old 03-26-2017, 08:54 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Marcano View Post
some states don't require a CDL, check yours, but if you have a bill of sale and or title in hand with a fresh date on it, the cops usually don't bother you. Make sure all the lights and brakes lights are working of course.
So, referring to RV Driver's License Requirements it seems that Indiana doesn't require CDL for a vehicle until its over 45' long. I'll try verifying it with our DMV once it opens on Tuesday (Indiana's DMVs are all closed on Mondays!).
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Old 03-26-2017, 08:56 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
If you want to "do it right" then getting it titled as an RV before moving it or finding a buddy with a CDL to drive it for you would be good options.

Most of us here, myself included, drive it CAREFULLY home, pull the seats & title as an RV before driving it any more than necessary.

Make sure that the rig is legal as far as lights etc, drive the speed limit etc.

As far as insurance goes, chances are that your existing liability coverage will extend to a new purchase for 2 weeks (check with your agent) so insurance would not be an issue for the trip home.

Just my $0.02

Good luck.

S.
So if I'm extra careful, #2 and #3 wont be necessary until after the conversion?
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Old 03-26-2017, 08:58 PM   #6
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Indiana DMV Reference

Well, now that I know what to look for, I found this: : Frequently Asked Questions

Pretty clear cut - especially since the bus I'm looking at now doesn't have very many seats in it....
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Old 03-26-2017, 09:09 PM   #7
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Question 40' Having A GVWR Of Over 26k lbs.?

Next question based on what I'm reading: do 40' skoolies really weigh in at over 26k lbs.?
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Old 03-26-2017, 09:10 PM   #8
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A CDL is generally a commercial for profit license. Most states don't require special licensing for private use vehicles, like motorhomes with air brakes.

I spent one winter in Indianapolis. Painful cold.
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Old 03-26-2017, 09:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkyDee View Post
Next question based on what I'm reading: do 40' skoolies really weigh in at over 26k lbs.?
Mine's rated at around 33k, and its a 40'.

And as for your initial question- Go pick it up, get in, drive home and don't be a schmuck about it. I drove home from Maine, through NYC evening rush hour traffic, without a CDL. I drove both defensively and responsibly.
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Old 03-26-2017, 09:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkyDee View Post
I'm sure this has been asked already, and I've searched as best I can, but I just can't seem to find a satisfying answer:

If I buy a bus that's exactly what I'm after but rather far away, how the <blankety-blank> do I get it home?

I'm thinking its in this order:
  1. Complete financial transaction and get bill of sale / title (but negotiate about a month's worth of storage);
  2. Do the "Vermont Trick" to re-title to a motorhome (about two-three weeks' time);
  3. Once that is done, get insurance (Progressive? A few days' maybe);
  4. Now, schedule a trip out to pick up the bus and drive it home.
What other options am I missing that won't break the bank?


The easiest option is to get in the bus and drive it home.
Drive carefully.
Unless you do something dumb you will be fine.
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Old 03-26-2017, 09:43 PM   #11
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And you know how school bus drivers always look annoyed? Practice that facial expression.

You should be fine. Just make your route as easy as possible. It's always good to avoid rush hour, but then again rush hour brings anonymity.
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Old 03-26-2017, 09:50 PM   #12
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Quote:
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A CDL is generally a commercial for profit license. Most states don't require special licensing for private use vehicles, like motorhomes with air brakes.
That may be, but a LEO pulling me over and seeing that (1) I don't have a CDL, and (2) I'm "driving" a "commercial" vehicle, may become dubious fairly quickly, hitting me with some nasty fines. Since I'm contemplating a 2000mi trip if I get the particular bus I'm looking at right now, LEOs will have quite a chance to pull me over and "check my papers". I'd like to minimize my inconvenience as much as possible - that means "blending in".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin97396 View Post
I spent one winter in Indianapolis. Painful cold.
Yep, I'm pretty sure I know which winter you're talking about. I've been here about 14 winters now and there's been at least 7 or 8 that I didn't like, and about 5 of those would rate pretty high on the "pain scale". I'd much rather go back to Oklahoma where I was raised. Long, hot summers, but the winters barely dipped below 40F (unless you factored in wind chill). I also love the thunderstorms in Oklahoma where the thunder just rolls and rolls and rolls. Here in Indiana the thunder just doesn't do that very often.

But Indiana does have its positives - Indiana's weather isn't as extreme as Oklahoma's (I didn't know what a "garden variety shower" was until I moved to Indiana...). Many times I could do outside work even though it was "raining". Also, drivers are generally more friendly. Oh sure we still have the nuts that go 85+ in 55 mph zone during rush hour, weaving in and out of traffic, but generally people get in the left lane and just, well, go. Okies have people who will just sit in the left lane going 10 under (usually right next to someone in the right lane, which causes a 'rolling roadblock'), causing everyone behind to boil.
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Old 03-26-2017, 09:52 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkyDee View Post
Next question based on what I'm reading: do 40' skoolies really weigh in at over 26k lbs.?
My 40' bus weighs 17.9k lbs.
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Old 03-26-2017, 09:54 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Mine's rated at around 33k, and its a 40'.

And as for your initial question- Go pick it up, get in, drive home and don't be a schmuck about it. I drove home from Maine, through NYC evening rush hour traffic, without a CDL. I drove both defensively and responsibly.
No schmuck here, I drive a little Aveo and am as nice to the truckers as I can be. I was on the road a lot one year and saw some accidents that would turn people white as a sheet. Every one of them was car vs. 18-wheeler and that cured me of being a schmuck. I just don't mess around with moving steel like I did when I was a "kid"....
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Old 03-26-2017, 09:56 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Robin97396 View Post
And you know how school bus drivers always look annoyed? Practice that facial expression.

You should be fine. Just make your route as easy as possible. It's always good to avoid rush hour, but then again rush hour brings anonymity.
Thank you. Its been a really long time since I drove anything that big. Last time was a 20' box truck when moving the family....
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Old 03-26-2017, 09:57 PM   #16
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My 40' bus weighs 17.9k lbs.
Beautiful!
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Old 03-26-2017, 09:59 PM   #17
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GVWR and curb weight are two different things, though. My bus' GVWR is 33k.
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Old 03-26-2017, 10:00 PM   #18
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Thank you all for your advice! This point has had me a bit concerned since I started investigating skoolies. Its had my wife petrified. Now I can soothe her worries....

I'm still a bit concerned driving an unknown vehicle so far, but I'm much more confident about it now.
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Old 03-26-2017, 10:02 PM   #19
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GVWR and curb weight are two different things, though. My bus' GVWR is 33k.
Unfortunately, Indiana CDL regs are for GVWR, not curb weight.

But with the advice here I know how to proceed.
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Old 03-27-2017, 07:50 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkyDee View Post
Unfortunately, Indiana CDL regs are for GVWR, not curb weight.

But with the advice here I know how to proceed.

same here in MN, regardless of actual weight if the GVWR of what the manufacturer made the vehicle to handle exceeds 26,000 you'll need a different class license. (im pretty sure that applies to all vehicles, although not entirely sure)

-that being said though. i still drove mine home without a different license.
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