Beginnings & Plans

Before the “Big Bus Purchase”

The Skoolie trend is not a new one in general, but it’s relatively new to us. It might have been floating about in the background for a while, as we were going about trying to determine a new place to live — a move out of California. For much of this planned move, the idea was to find land out-of-state and build a Quonset, a semi-circular metal building mostly associated with the military and agriculture/industrial, but has seen popularity in recent years as a residential option. As with any move, there’s lots of discussions about places, climate, work, schools, wifi, services, even maybe politics. We were not able to settle on any specific area, even after a couple of trips back east to Indiana (by road and air). Indiana was a focus of attention for a while, and is still to some extent, but curiosity has drifted to other states… Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio … it’s a big decision.

We can talk more later about the Quonset idea, which deserves a website of its own. It’s not a dead idea, but the Skoolie plan came along and cut in line.

Why a Skoolie for us? The short answer is… to live in while we find land somewhere. Working through the logistics of a move is stressful, and anyone reading who has done it is nodding emphatically. Somehow the idea of a Skoolie entered the mainstream of our consciousness, and we began the same process as just about everyone else … binging YouTube videos made by those intrepid bus modifiers before us. The more we watched, the more we became interested, perhaps even a little obsessed. With the demands of moving, the idea was appealing enough; the fact that it could be done on a relatively small budget was definitely the Big Plus.

Which Bus to choose? We’re a family of four, with the kids being late teens/early 20s. They’re special needs, so obviously still livc with us and will likely do so for some time yet. So a bus would need to be big enough to accommodate all of us. It would have to be at least a 30-footer. I was even considering the option of going bigger and looking at tour buses (Prevost, MCI, Van Hool). Obviously these are more expensive to begin with, but some were showing up in the $15-$20,ooo range. There’d definitely be more room in many ways: headroom, length, storage below. They’re built to last into the millions of miles and ride better than a school bus out on the open road. But the cost… plus a few other caveats that popped up in the YouTube binge: what if we can’t take it everywhere we want to go? Not all parks can accommodate a vehicle over 40 feet.

And just about the time we were going to go look at a tour bus, mostly for curiosity’s sake, a used school bus showed up on Craigslist, one we really couldn’t ignore. It practically had our name plastered all over it.

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