We found our dream bus.. 2500 miles away

After my husband Justin and I spent countless hours scouting out the bus that would become our future tiny house, we found it. It will be sitting in our backyard in exactly one week. Justin plans to fly out to California and drive it the 2,500 miles home across the US. This is a much bigger quest than we anticipated a month ago but I’ll tell ya why it’s worth it.

The bus is a very sexy 1987 Gillig Phantom School Bus, born the same year as Justin and I. This company manufactured only 2,700 outside of San Francisco between 1987-1993 and it’s the last school bus they ever made (they went on to make transit buses).

What sets this bus aside from some of the others we were looking at is it’s ceiling height which comes in at a whopping six foot five or 77 inches (that’s of course before insulation and flooring.) Many of the buses we liked were just 6’1 or 73 inches which was not ideal for us after checking out a bus with that height locally. In addition to being higher in head space, we were attracted to the large tinted windows, pass-through under carriage storage, Detroit Diesel 6V92 engine (not our first choice but definitely not our last), and on top of the list is the absolutely unique look of this bus! We felt that this bus was The One and couldn’t move past that even when the distance seemed like a true inconvenience, never mind the added costs.

Having this trek across country with the bus will no doubt allow Justin to get comfortable driving this giant 40 foot box. His buddy Andrew is going along for the ride and sharing driving duties so they can try their best to make it here in 4 days! Can’t wait to meet Gilligan and start this process. I better go enjoy the calm before this project rules our lives for the next 9ish months!

Xo Val





  1. I just retired from driving a school bus for Huntington Beach union High School District in California after 24 years. We had a Gillig and I wonder now if it is yours. The gas gauge never worked and we used to have to rock it back and forth to get it into gear. It drove like a dream though.
    What you did with it is remarkable! I can’t wait to follow your adventures!


    1. Hey Sheri! Really glad you enjoyed driving your district’s Gillig. Ours is from Burton School District. Thanks for the compliments and I look forward to getting this bus back on the road! -Justin


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