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School Bus

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Follow the progress of my bus conversion.

  • My School Bus
  • Tearing out the seats
  • Pulling up the rubber floor
  • Taking out the rust
  • Installing the frame
  • Adding the insulation and building the floor
  • Stripping off the "schoolbus-yellow" paint
  • Tinting the windows
  • Building the bed frame
  • Installing the insulation and wood paneling on the ceiling
  • I've been kicked out!!!
  • Installing the frame, insulation and panels to the inner walls
  • Washing the bus
  • Primering and painting the outside
  • Scrape! Oops, had a little accident
  • Cleaning off the years of grime from the engine and underside
  • Replacing engine parts
  • Installing the new "Captain's Chair"
  • Electrical Work
  • Adding the finishing touches, like carpeting, furniture and rope lights
  • Bus Expenses
  • Injuries sustained while working on the bus
  • Journal of my Cross Country Bus Trip

    So, what's the deal with the school bus, you ask? It has to do with my Florida Plans. While researching the cost of moving across the country, I found how expensive it was. The cheapest moving company I could find would cost me almost $5,000. Since I'm not 25, I can't rent a U-Haul and do it myself. With a moving company, I have to add on the cost for plane tickets and with U-Haul, I'd have to pay for gas and hotel and food. Then, what do I do with my stuff once I get there? I found out that no one will rent to someone until they meet them in person, but how am I supposed to meet someone when I live several thousand miles away? That would entail yet another set of plane tickets and hotel and food costs so I could stay in Florida for a week or two (loosing time at work) to meet prospective landlords. While researching moving vans, I came across a moving truck for sale. I thought, why not buy moving truck, pay for gas and food and hotel, then sell the truck when I get there? That way, I only end up paying for gas, food and hotel. If I buy one big enough, I can throw a mattress in the back and eliminate the hotel costs. If I get a gas stove and a cooler, I can cook my own food and eliminate the high fast-food prices (not to mention be healthier). So I started looking for a truck to buy.

    That's when I came across bus conversions. People all over the country are buying old and used buses (city buses, school buses, double-deckers, whatever) and converting them to motorhomes! I thought, what a great idea! I wonder how much this will cost! So, I found a bus for $1000. I decided to only do a partial conversion (meaning I would install the furnishings and electrical but I would not install plumbing. Instead, I'd use a chemical porta-potty) and supplies for this would run me another couple grand. Then add in traveling costs and gas, and that's another $1000 more or less

    So, the benefits: It will cost the same or less than hiring a moving company; I will have somewhere to store all of my stuff (and I have a lot of stuff) when I get to Florida while I'm looking for a place to live; If necessary, I will have somewhere to stay while I'm looking for a house and it won't cost me the rest of my savings for hotel fees if it takes me a while to find a house.

    The drawbacks: I have to convert it myself (not really a drawback, since I love this kind of work); It will take up every weekend until it's time to move (again, not really a drawback, since if I didn't have this conversion to do, I'd find some other project to take up my time); I'd be living in a bus (only a drawback after the novelty wears off. Hopefully I'll find housing before it does!)

    Conclusion: Factoring in my age and budget limitations, converting a school bus into a motorhome is the cheapest and coolest way to move to Florida for school. Plus, I can always resell it when I'm done with it and I should make back my money on it, if not a profit. Some people have tried to disagree with me, but I believe this really is the most economical solution to my problem, besides being pretty cool. I mean, how many other people do you know that can say they own a school bus? And how many other people do you know can say they built their bus/motorhome/house with their own hands? I'm pretty proud of it and I also owe a very big Thank-You to Scott for all his help. I couldn't do this project alone and his help has been invaluable.

    UPDATE I have made it to Florida, however, the bus did not. It threw a rod in Texas. The cost to repair it would cost more money than I can spend and I was unable to find a buyer, so I paid for storage of the bus for a year, then just gave up. Some day I'll convert another bus.

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