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taskswap 02-12-2015 09:05 PM

Driving Home?
Hi all,

New couple here - my wife and I are seriously considering "roadschooling" and I love a good project so Skoolies really appeal to me. We're both active campers and love the outdoors, but we're kind of tired of row after row of white fiberglass, gel coat, and pin-striping, and love the aesthetics of a converted school bus!

I don't really have any fears on the project side - once the thing's in my driveway I'm pretty sure I can handle any mechanical or electrical work that needs to be done. What I'm worried about is that first day you buy the thing. I've driven plenty of good-sized vehicles and even diesels, but we're talking box trucks - not school buses and certainly no air brakes. I guess I'm a little nervous about how hard it is to just get in and drive these things? It doesn't seem like something people talk much about - I see lots of photos but nothing about those moments you're getting the thing going out of the parking lot! Is it a challenge, or really no big deal?

I'm also wondering what you all bring / have brought to the pickup. Do you look into the engines and bring along a belt or plug or two, or do you just "wing it" and play it by ear?

Maybe I'm making too much of this, but I'm kind of a plan-ahead guy and I'd love to know what others' experiences were like in those first few minutes and hours!


gbstewart 02-12-2015 09:31 PM

piece of cake to drive, I love driving my bus, you sit nice and high, a good view of the road. make sure your mirrors are adjusted right, remember your length and make wide turns so you don't hit the curbs. You will get the hang of it .

EastCoastCB 02-12-2015 10:10 PM

I actually was very nervous when picking mine up. There is a LOT of room for error. I definitely would be very careful and take my time.
I actually was in a fender bender picking up my first bus when I was in my early 20's. I'd driven plenty of BIG equipment and trucks but never anything so long that didn't bend in the middle. The whole deal was that the bus was free but I had to come get it and move it NOW. So off I went at the moment's notice to get my free bus.
I had to move the thing and someone was directing me. They directed me right into some "vintage" 1984 land cruiser. I had an insurance policy but was denied coverage because the seats were still in it. I was left paying the 4500 dollar bill for the guy's bumper and fender. the lawsuit took me two years to pay off.
I'm not telling you this to scare you. But I don't think its as easy as "a piece of cake". More like "a giant cake" and that cake should be handled deliberately and carefully.
Air brakes are no big deal, just check out some tutorials and online explanations. and you won't find many buses with "plugs". All I ever bring is my toolbox and a cooler with beverages and snacks.
Its totally do-able. Just put in the right amount of planning and don't go pick it up in rush hour in the business district of Orlando like I did.

EastCoastCB 02-12-2015 10:12 PM

Jumper cables are also very handy to bring along.

cowlitzcoach 02-13-2015 12:01 AM

Perhaps because I have been driving buses for almost 40 years I have forgotten what it like to get behind the whel the first time.

My only recommendations would be to be aware of your reference points. It is a long way between the axles and the rear swing can be rather impressive.

I would bring along a small tool kit with standard and phillips screw drivers, pliers, a couple of crescent wrenches, WD40, duct tape, electrical tape, zip ties, extra coolant, and some extra oil. Jumper cables might be needed as well.

Timing is important as well. I once picked up a bus south of L.A. at 3:00 PM on a Friday to head north for WA state--not one of my smarter decisions.

The-Breeze 02-21-2015 08:25 PM

Hi and welcome! My Hubby drives our bus, I have never but plan to once we get on the road. All I relate this to is when I was learning to drive a stick shift vs an automatic. I was scard shitless and drove very, very slow. Whenever a car came up behind me I froze, but eventually continued on. Once I had to stop & start on a slight incline and when a firetruck (with lights & siren going) came up behind me I started crying, yelled at my husband to take over and got out.

Evidentually it became second nature to me.....moral of story

Find someone who will bale you out when you feel you can't handle it and keep on moving on till you get past the part that scares the sh-- out of you then get right back behind the wheel and truck on down the road. Go as slooooowwww as you feel you have to (easy to say....when the horns start honking)

Before you know it, you'll be handing out advise to one of the next newbies who aren't afraid to ask.

Let us know how it all turns out and "take lots of pictures" (No, most of us can read.......but you know the old adage "one picture is worth..."

HolyBus 02-22-2015 07:15 AM

I took my brother along. Having someone to talk to the seller while you look it over is good. It distracts the seller. You get more done in less time, he asks questions and you climb and inspect. Also don't forget that you need someone to follow you home with the vehicle you drove to go get the bus. This lets you have someone behind you with a cel phone that can say "lookout, stay in your lane, use your signals, check your gauges again" etc. on the way home. Just kidding but my brother did help me stay awake for the 9 hour drive home.

EastCoastCB 02-22-2015 07:29 AM

Yeah, I had two friends ride along.
One drove my car back from ky to fl, the other rode in the bus with me to keep me sane on the long drive.

taskswap 02-23-2015 08:38 PM

Thanks, all. Maybe I'm just overplanning this, but... I just have this superstitious history where when I overplan, things go fine and the backup plans weren't needed. When I UNDER-plan, things go way South and I end up knee-deep in crickets and toilet paper.

Over-planning is my preference...

EastCoastCB 02-23-2015 09:01 PM


Originally Posted by taskswap (Post 101085)
Thanks, all. Maybe I'm just overplanning this, but... I just have this superstitious history where when I overplan, things go fine and the backup plans weren't needed. When I UNDER-plan, things go way South and I end up knee-deep in crickets and toilet paper.

Over-planning is my preference...

I have a friend who plans everything down to the last detail.
I tend to plan nothing. it makes him sick. :cool:

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