Dream Weaving, Bus Converting

We are going to live on a bus.

I often talked about an ambitious dream to travel around the US in an RV or van with our baby, never actually being specific about the vehicle but always mentioning “.. and we’d visit ALL the national parks”. I had been bugging Justin a little but got a sense from him that it just sounded like most of my big ideas do, overwhelming and a tad unrealistic for our current plans and goals. Still, relentlessly daydreaming I would bring it up with a series of tabs open on the computer excitedly showing him the emerald waters, geysers, and waterfalls we could experience.

Like an answered prayer, Justin says one day out of nowhere, “let’s convert a school bus into a tiny house”. Wait, what?

I know what you’re probably thinking. Unless you’re a wide eyed open minded adventure junkie with the travel bug, you probably think we’re kinda crazy. We have a great house already! It’s in an amazing location to boot, in a truly beautiful happening city with all the outdoor glory you could hope for.

To be honest, even to me the idea seemed a little nuts. That was until we immersed ourselves into the websites, forums and youtube channels offering endless information and encouragement. Now as I type this, the idea seems obvious and brilliant! We have to hand it to the Skoolie community for their wisdom, advice, their documentation of the process, and most of all their amazing ambition!

We were inspired by Charles Kerns who is doing wonderful things handcrafting bus homes in the US. Scott and Kayley and their youtube videos have kept us laughing and taking notes for what to do (and sometimes what not to do). Ian Robinson and V  have created an incredible series of videos documenting their conversion, doing many smart and creative things along the way. Our friend Jay Hocking of Buslandia has a 1988 Gillig Phantom and has written several well done and very helpful articles. We feel confident, nervous and excited to be a part of this network and also so grateful for those who came before us and left a trail.

The bus search is a time consuming one.  We have it narrowed down to a few specifications.

  • would prefer pre 2004
  • diesel pusher (rear engine)
  • flat nose
  • looking for a Cummins 8.3, Navistar DT466, or maybe a CAT 3126 Engine. The Cummins 5.9 is a great engine for smaller buses as well.
  • looking for an Allison MT643, or MD3060 Transmission
  • loving the white or blue (so we don’t have to paint)
  • transit bus would be great (undercarriage storage/better windows/higher ceilings)
  • 100 mile radius but who’s kidding, we will go a lot further 😉
  • NO RUST
  • under 200k miles
  • Ceiling height at least 77 inches

We will be posting updates during our bus hunt. Eventually, we plan to record the renovation process and later, our travels! This will be one hell of an adventure and we would love to have you join us as it all unfolds! Wish us LUCK!

xo Val

Photo by David at Bus 159

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