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Old 09-19-2005, 10:21 AM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Plymouth MA
Posts: 197
I want to go full-time, need advice/suggestions!

OK, so here's where I'm at:

I've been 'stationary' for 20+ years now, been there for everyone else for 30+ years, it's time for ME and MY selfish desires. My question for all of you is:
With what I want to do, has anyone any advice on living a mobile lifestyle? Pros? Cons? Real-world (as practiced) suggestions on dealing with police, overnighting, arranging work, etc. is highly desired!!!

I want to full-time in a bus. I've been looking for some time now, think I MIGHT have found a decent rig, and I will be converting it as part shop (the last eight feet), the rest as home. I want to hit the road and do itinerant timber framing and handyman stuff, and maybe also work at the many Renaissance Faires around the country: travel, work, merchant as well.

Layout is as follows, from rear to front: workshop, bedroom, bath/closet, galley with microscopic living/dining area. I THINK it'll all fit, according to my layouts....

What tools and accessories I have that don't fit in the workshop would be stowed underneath or on top of the bus (long handled tools, wheelbarrow, etc.). In the shop, a six-foot workbench with vises, lots of cabinets; bench grinder, table saw, jointer, etc. would be tucked against the wall opposite the bench, and would caster out for more usability. They would be retained against movement while travelling. A small wet/dry vac would be installed with ports to control sawdust from tools. There would be a good insulated door between bedroom and shop. The shop would be unheated for a while, maybe a portable used later.

A couple fresh water tanks would be under the queen bed, the bath would consist of a shower stall and toilet, with a closet across from the bath. The closet doors would swing open to close off the bath from the bedroom/front room. The only sink would be in the kitchen (saves plumbing, space, work and money). An RV water heater or Bosch Aquastar for hot water supply would be OK. I understand many use the RV water heaters and low-flow shower nozzles with reasonable success.
Black/grey tanks would be underneath in insulated boxes.

Question: do I REALLY need a grey water tank? Or is it better to have one to help flush the black tank?

The kitchen sink would use the same (common) wall as the shower to reduce pipe runs, and improve drainability for winterizing if needed. Vent stack and plumbing (and maybe water heater vent, depending) would use this common wall to reduce interior volume taken up by mechanicals.

I would install a window AC unit or two in the passenger side windows, unless or until I do a clerestory-style bump-up of the roof for more headroom, interior light, and ventilation. The wall-mounted units would be partially recessed/boxed INTO the bus interior to reduce exterior overhang, overall width.
A roof deck MIGHT also be in the distant future, but I question it's utility and weight, as access would be from the outside via ladder. I have salvaged a long (approx. 20 feet) RV canopy for the right-hand side for shade and shelter when stationary.

A propane line would be run to the passenger side so I can cook outdoors in warm weather. The line would be capped off AND have a shut-off valve for safety reasons, both behind a small door that can be locked. Exterior shelving would be mounted on shelf standards, to allow counter space when stationary. These shelves would be stowed underneath when moving.

A 30 amp breaker panel for shore power, with a genny for boondocking slung underneath. The genny BTW would be a genny/welder combo, in keeping with my handyman capabilities. While a bit bulky, it should fit somewhere under the left hand side, with slides so it can be pulled for on-site work (it has wheelbarrow-style wheels on it). Power would be transferred from shore to genny connections via a simple plug-in 30A cord, to avoid backfeeding problems.

Most lighting would be either kerosene or propane: I've salvaged a couple of those wall-mounted propane lights from older trailers, and have some VERY nice Aladdin lights for kero use. 110VAC lighting and outlets would be scattered throughout the bus, but mostly used on shore power. I LIKE kero lighting!!! Plus, did you know that some money spent on kero for heat, light etc. is deductible from federal taxes when itemizing? (consult your local feds at the IRS to confirm this!)
Propane tanks would be 4 twenty pound tanks, unless I salvage a couple RV tanks.

Question: Is getting the RV tanks refilled a pain in the butt? The 20-pound tanks would be relatively easy.....mounted on a slide-out drawer for access. I could swap them for refills most anywhere.

Heat would consist of a propane heater, type to be decided. Auxiliary heat would use the existing bus coolant system converted to baseboard (providing pressures aren't too high) for heat while travelling.
It's possible that the same system could, with a couple shutoff valves to isolate the engine/radiator, be plumbed through a small furnace and recirculating pump instead of using a separate forced-air unit for heat. Powering the pump would be via 110VAC shore power/inverter, or maybe 12VDC/transformer, depending on the pump voltage requirements.

So, knowing what I intend for facilities and capabilities, what do you all suggest for living the lifestyle?
Banking? Insurance? Poste Restant (at a friend's house) for mail, or do I use forwarding services? Documentation? Should I have a small safe on board? (actually, that's a good idea!)
Contacts for gigs? I get many of my LOCAL work gigs via internet, so what about web access via libraries, etc? (a friend is giving me a PC, Oh Joy!)

I REALLY want to do this! Your help would be greatly appreciated with advice, etc.

Ryan Grimm
The tool storage is nice, but where do I put the bed?
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