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Author Topic: What got you on the Busnut highway?  (Read 4997 times)
4905 doc
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« on: January 18, 2009, 10:57:01 AM »

I'm sitting here listening to my favorite Harry Chapin song "GreyHound" and got to thinking, what set everyone on the path to busnut heaven? For me, I rode the greyhound all across this country a bunch of times. Loved the way a bus seemed to float over the pavement. (air ride don't you know) Knew on the first ride that there would be a time when I'd own one. Little did I know it would take me into my 50's to finally create my dream bus. Circumstance forced me to sell the old girl, but now the circle has come back around and I'll have another. No way to get it out of your blood I guess.
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« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2009, 11:04:17 AM »

George & Ellen Lowry.  They made a trip across Canada about 7 or 8 years ago now in their GM.  I had toyed with the idea before that but we were pretty happy with our 5th wheel at the time.  After seeing Lowry's conversion and listening to George enthuse about it we were pretty well hooked.  We took a couple of years to look but it was a pretty straight path from their trip to our purchase.
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R.J.(Bob) Evans
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« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2009, 11:23:30 AM »

It all started when I was a very small little boy and buses were my favorite things to be around as my daddy was a bus driver for Greyhound Lines and I use to ride with him on many of his trips when the PD-3751 Silversides were new coaches.
Then the PD-4104's and the PD-4501 Scenicruisers were the number one buses on the road back in the mid 50's and through the early 60's.
The first bus that I bought was a PD-4104 converted it and later sold it to buy a P8M4905A Buffalo that we had converted and still own after a number of years.
It always nice to own a bus and to be able to drive it on trips across our great land. Roll Eyes
jlv
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« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2009, 11:35:42 AM »

I saw a Scenicruiser in a lot in Detroit...I started looking around for info on them...found this sight...talked to some folks...found a Scenic in Hollywood, FL...there you go!
And if I never get the bus going, (And I will) the friends met and experiences doing this makes it still worth every penny!
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Jack Hart, CDS
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« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2009, 12:04:57 PM »

In the mid to late sixties I commuted from Marin County across the Golden Gate bridge to San Francisco when I worked for PG&E.  My ride was a Greyhound 4104 and never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that twenty years later in 1985 I would own a a 1960 4104!! 

We had that wonderful ole girl for 16+ years and many, many wonderful miles and memories!
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Gary D

USBUSIN was our 1960 PD4104 for 16 years Ustruckin' is our 2001 Freightliner truck conversion
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« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2009, 12:32:59 PM »

Driving a bus for Brewster's through the 70's in the Canadian Rockies. We still had MCI Courier 96s then that were used for local sightseeing tours and to the ski hills in the winter. When they were sold in '77, I thought they would make a nice motorhome, but didn't do anything about it. Then 4 years ago, I saw one in the Trader that had been converted in '77. When I saw it, I had to have it! It followed me home! I redid the interior the first winter after using it all summer. The following winter, I put a turbo charger on the 4-71. Right now, I'm doing an out-of-frame engine rebuild. I have as much fun wrenching on it as I do using it in the summer. We use it a lot with my two teen-age sons and my wife. It draws a lot of attention where-ever we go. The MCI Courier 96 (built in Winnipeg), is what Greyhound was running in Canada in the fifties while the GM 4104 was all over the US. Greyhound in the US didn't start running MCIs untill the '60s with the MC5.

I also drive and maintain the local Junior Hockey team's bus as a volunteer, a MCI 102D3. (Replacing 2 air bags tomorrow or Tuesday, fun...)

Once a bus driver, always a bus driver.

JC
 
 
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JC
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« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2009, 12:35:15 PM »

Crazy as it sounds, way back in 1969 when I was 19 or sosss, I drove a school bus part time while pretending to go to junior college full time.  As my seniority rose, finally was assigned to a 1963 Crown 40-foot 10-wheeler hauling high school kids.

Number 21.  For awhile, went twice daily from Bakersfield CA up and down the Ridge Route to Frazier Park in the mountains South of town.  The Crown had a Jake Brake, which was kinda unusual at that time.  While driving the Crown, I got to thinking.

What a fantastic motorhome the Crown would make if it was so converted.  The chassis was/is very near that of a big logging truck with a bus body put on top. Have plowed snow with the front bumper.  Excellent handling and braking.

Sooosss, that was in 1969 or so.  Anyway, in about 2001, I found I had the desire, time, money and a 1974 Crown 10-wheeler became available, soss i bought it.  Another number 21.  Go figure.  Sadly sold the bus about 10 months ago.

Lived in the stripped shell for 3 years, summer and winter.  110 in the summer, 15 in the winter.  Drove it every so often.  Small Cam Cummins, 10 speed Roadranger.  Got over 10 mpg at 55.  Had the plans all drawn up.  I want another.  HB of CJ
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« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2009, 12:50:51 PM »

My buddy bought an MCI 7 from a church and I helped him gut the interior.  After a bad day at work I took my frustrations out on the lavatory.  I'll never forget the smell of a blue wrench and toilet bowl!  Tongue  He had a big stack of BCM's and I was hooked.  A few years went by and the 73 Winnie that my wife and I had a ball with finally gave up the ghost.  I talked her into buying a GMC 4905 that seemed to be in our price bracket and had been partially converted.  We re-assembled the interior with appliances from the Winnie and kept it on the road for almost 2 years.  After the SECOND fire, the insurance co. said "enough".  The settlement was decent and we kept the coach.  Sold old appliances, sold the bus and bought our current MCI 7 in Sept of 07.  I got enough of an interior and plumbing and electrical done by Memorial Day of 08 to put it to use.  I think we had it out at least a dozen times last summer.  Now the interior is almost done, just leaving the battery bank, solar panels, paint and odds and ends left. 

Glenn
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Glenn Williams
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« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2009, 12:51:11 PM »

Our exodus to a bus was as natural a thing as a person would encounter, we tent camped for several years and then in 1976 we bought a 1964 Frolic travel trailer and suddenly we were in heaven, wow it had running water tho only cold and we had to pressurize the tank to get it and wow a furnace and even a toilet, what luxury that was, we dragged it across country a lot of times and then in 1983 we got a good deal on a new class C so we upgraded to that, then in the early 90's I got a call from a friend that was an RV dealer in Pittsfield Illinois, he had a guy trade in a absolute beautiful Revcon class A, it was loaded and front wheel drive and the absolute top of the factory class A lines, and all custom built, no revcon left the factory until the new owner and the desighn team had designed all that the new owner wanted, they were built to order and this one was a beauty, all the factory schematics, all the engineering notes, it was all to be mine when I signed the papers, so off we went to pittsfield to see this modern engineering marvel and scary enough, it was everything the dealer had said and even more, now it was mine lol.  We spent the next 10 years enjoying it and just having fun, it had cool stuff like an electric couch, press a button on the wall and the couch whirred and turned into a bed, press it again and presto, it was again a couch, we were in heaven once again, then I got the bug for a bus,. we looked for 2 years and then I found one that looked ok, I dragged a friend of mine along, he is the deisel mechanic for a charter bus company up here, Superior Coaches and for the cost of a nice dinner he went from stem to stern and over and under it, around and down the road and back, he looked silently to me and signaled the thumbs up on it. In my best but disgustingly eager voice I asked the dealer what he would take for it and after much haggling and whining I signed the check and we were on our way home, via Red Lobster.  After dropping him off, I called my wife and sasked her if she would move the truck to the side of the driveway, she asked whyyyyyy? I told her to think back and remember how I had always wanted a bus? She said okkkkkkkk? I said well I'm ten minutes out bringing one home lol.  When I pulled into the yard the truck was on the side and she was waiting for me with fear in her eyes, her first comment as she walked up and looked into the open door was, " couldn't you at least have bought one with a floor?", it was completely gutted and I had a great view of the pavement going by under what used to be the storage bays, but not to worry, it was an easy job to fix it up and wouldn't cost much, right? lol
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« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2009, 01:09:51 PM »

I started looking for RV's in 1999 and the prices, even used, took my breath away.  I stumbled on some bus conversions for sale and thought, "I can do this".  After a year of looking I plunged and bought an Eagle 10.  Three years of converting and 25% of what a comparible motorhome would cost,  wifey and I have been tooling around the U.S.  as much as we can afford.  No regrets after 9 years.  However, in this market you could buy one already converted for less and save the three years of work. 

David
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« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2009, 01:18:19 PM »

Back in the early 70's I bought a converted school bus, a 1955 Ford, It had been used for a cross Canada trip to Expo 67 in Montreal Canada. It needed a lot of work, we stripped the interior, sprayed it white and redid it with some use RV appliances. I rebuilt the old V8 312 converted it to 12 volt, and we were on the road with the still yellow beast. As the cab was narrower than the rest of the bus you could drive with the door open and my oldest son (only 3 then) could sit behind me and look over my left shoulder. We put a lot of miles on that old bus including a trip from BC to Disneyland. I remember one time hooking a chain to the bumper and towing a motor home up a long back road hill because it didn't have the traction or the power. That old Ford in bull low would climb a wall. We used it for 5 years then went on to a series of different RV's when retirement loomed I just knew we would get another bus. We haven't put a lot of miles on yet but I should be free to travel the first of April. A bus is more than just a home on wheels, it's a life style and a community of many. It wouldn't be traveling if I couldn't look out of that big front window and hear that big diesel pushing us to places that dreams are made of.
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Fraser Field
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1972 Prevost, Detroit 8-71/740 Allison automatic, Jakes
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Songman
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« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2009, 01:19:58 PM »

Riding Merle's tour bus set my course to be a bus nut from the time I was a child. It also set me on the path to making a career of music. Forty years later I still love both. No complaints.
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« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2009, 01:24:51 PM »

I wrote a long story about getting into buses, but hit some key combo and erased it all.

The short version is my friend thought we should get a $1,500 school bus and I wasn't going for that.  I bought a Dina highway bus and the rest is history.  I had looked at motorhomes, but they didn't have adequate seating or sleeping facilities for five to nine people plus the used ones I looked at in my price range had wimpy little motors.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2009, 05:48:00 PM »

My desire for a bus started back in the 70's when I lived in Wheaton, IL. and visited Houseman Bus in
Des plaines, IL I looked at the MCI's he had, but I bought a new Barth at the time. But I never forgot the MCI, and to this day I still want one. I sold the Barth in the mid 90's, As I knew it would start costing me $$$ and I am now planning my future bus purchase, I almost bought one last year but passed on it. But it is a lot of fun thinking, and planning.

WVaNative
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Dean Hamilton Villa Grove, IL East Central IL. Near Champaign
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« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2009, 05:54:05 PM »

My first bus was a 1955 Ford Schoolie. Not converted but I sure dreamed of doing it one day. Went through a divorce and that stopped the dream......at least for a while anyway.....

I have always had a fondness for any bus, didn't make any difference what kind. One of my favorites and still is, is the 4104.

I just love the look of the more retro style coaches. Something about the "Look"!

I finally was able to achieve my dream in 2003, bought our 1968 Eagle 01. I fell in love with it the moment I saw her. Sure she was 35 years then, still looked pretty darn good. Now that she is forty, I like her even more. She's in better shape than I am at 59! Wink

There is a great feeling when I get behind the wheel and cruise down the interstate. I get a big smile on my face and it just feels darn good!

All of us are just very lucky to be able to pursue our dream!

Happy Trails always is a special term with me, now more than ever.

Paul
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« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2009, 06:39:29 PM »

In 58 or 59 my dad bought an old (1940s?) Chevy shorty schoolie. I can remember, ( i was only 9 ), helping him take the seats out and building the table/seats/bed/bathroom out of plywood. Nothing fancy but worked just fine. We only had it for a year or two and then he sold it or traded it for something......maybe a couple of Scotch Highland cattle.  I had forgotten all of this until about 2-3 years ago and so i looked and was able to find a picture or two that brought back a lot of memories. Smiley  In the summer of 03 i decided to buy an rv and become a gypsy.....travel some and work when i had to.  Had kinda narrowed it down to a Barth but could not find the size/layout/powerplant that i wanted in my price range. Then i happened to find a converted bus on ebay and ended up bidding and winning it. Been fulltiming ever since. Grin
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« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2009, 08:23:37 PM »

We went looking for an rv.  The more we looked the more we realized we needed something at least 20 feet to be comfortable.  There was an add in the paper for a 1950 bus conversion,  $9000.  We had never heard of such a thing so called about it.  It was sold, but the owner gave us the sermon on bus conversions.  We were sold.  Started watching Ebay for buses and knew that they were for us.  Well, the itchy finger pushed bid button and we became bus owners.  It needed a complete new interior, and a lot of other things, but it was mechanically in excellent condition and we never regretted buying her. Our GM4107, and it came with an issue of the BCM magazine in 2001.

Don and Cary
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« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2009, 09:02:55 PM »

My brother In-law was single and needed a place to stay, and i recommend gettin an rv and he could stay wherever he wanted. and move when he wanted.

At the time I was seriously considering a harley,  so jeolous of his abilty of freedom and harley wouldn't promote family togetherness, i decided i wanted an RV


We had discussed getting a motorhome and traveling some when we retired but i was not interested after being in the NAVY.

I was thinking I wanted a fifth wheel i could pull with my truck but took a trip a beach in the truck and decided that wouldn't be the best of comfortable travel. I want to ride in the rv.  Next was looking at motorhomes Calass c and A,  What i could afford i wouldn't have because it needed total rebuilding and what i wanted i couln't afford.  I wanted air ride suspension and started thinking if i had to rebuild start with a bus an build what you want plus , much more storage on bus. and the chassis just seemed so much safer and better quality.  Anyway isn't thats why the rock stars used buses.

Now the other benefit is attitude,  if the world goes to P#$$ and i have to give up the house etc.  I still have the bus.  So life is good when the worst thing that can happen to you is you have to live in bus Smiley Wink.  Won't have to worry about being homeless.  Always good to have a Plan B.


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« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2009, 11:01:11 PM »

http://www.poulsborv.com/pre_owned_detail.asp?sid=03363916X1K19K2009J12I51I39JAMQ3616R0&veh=918346

Need I say more,I fell in love when I saw this bus.But it was,is out of my price range and needed to much interior work for it to be right for me.But someday I keep on hoping. Hugs Peabody
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« Reply #19 on: January 19, 2009, 05:18:56 AM »

After my really bad divorce, I decided to look on the internet for new friends! Came across the BNO board and THIS site. The rest was history. Yea it's not what you think Tom! I met Susan someplace different than the internet! LOL

Anyway, since I never have flown in a plane and wanted to travel, and figured if John Madden could do it, why not me? Again, the rest is history!

Then when I visited the great state of Florida there was a small town (Eloise, Fl) where a fireman was converting a 4104 or 06 in his shop. At the time it looked cool to see all the windows open and extension cords hanging out with various items being made and installed in the bus. After a few months, the bus was finished and it looked like a home on wheels. No it wasn't mine! I think it was being built for Wynn Silver of Central Florida Transit but it was awesome. I knew I had to have something like that one day and after finding a 4107 that was already converted, I became a bus nut! The problem with that bus was where we lived. The land lord said I couldn't park it on the grass so one of us had to go. Oh and by this time Susan wasn't sure if "I" was the one for her! Always getting her into situations like this! LOL So we found a house together and bought that. The problem with that was the driveway was only 35 foot long at the house we bout which was in a cul-de-sac and by the time we moved, I had already made a deal for a 40 foot Eagle. Ahh the joys of becoming a bus nut!  Now where do we put the bus! You guessed it! In the back yard! Oh, I didn't think about the trees growing so getting the 40 foot Eagle OUT of the back yard almost a year later was well, lets just say challenging to say the least!
Not satisfied with that bus after completing it and staying at Jacks Rally for one week, I had already made a deal for what we have now. A 40 foot, very tall Prevost H3!
Yea I think I heard Susan say one day, "THAT'S IT"!

She may become like the land lord and say "one of you has to go"!  I pushed my luck thru the years and better not push it! LOL

Before I forget, the looking for friends thing on the internet was all made up but I wanted to include you guys in my post somehow!!  Wink

Ace
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« Reply #20 on: January 19, 2009, 06:12:24 AM »

    My grandparents raised me and they always had a travel trailer. Usually Florida in the winter and Colorado in the summer, so I grew up RVing.  After getting married, we traveled first in a tent, then a slid in camper in our pick-up, then a Dodge maxi van that we converted. From there, we got a 24' Winnebago. That was when we met Paul Lawhon at a Bluegrass Festival near Okeechobee in 84. Paul had a 4104 and we decided we had to have a bus. About 1 year later, we were the proud owners of a seated 4106. A couple years later, igt was a fully converted 4106.  We sold it when our boys got into high school. After they graduated and married, it was time for another bus. We now have our MC-8, which we bought as a seated coach in Oct. 99.  About 3 1/2 years to get it 90% converted. The last 10% will never be done, because we always find something new/different to add/change. 
    The other factor was that working as a paramedic, I saw what was left of S&S motorhomes after whay I would consider minor or moderate accidents.  Jack
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« Reply #21 on: January 19, 2009, 07:44:15 AM »

My wife and I cook chili on the CASI competion circuit. Many of the cookoff require that we spend the night. Most of our friends have fifth wheel trailers, and a few with class a motor homes.
  The first year we qualified to cook in the World Championship at Terlingua, my brother offered us his converted Fish bowl . I was a bit,maybe more than that , to take an old GMC bus 700 miles one way, and live in it for a week. He assured me profusley(and since he is a baptist preacher I knew he was truthful), that I would have no problems. Guess what! He was right. I loved it.
  We decided to get us a fith wheel and truck to pull it. $50 to $60 thousand dollars. Jeez... Then my brother called. He had a friend who had a PD4903 that was partially converted. Engine had been overhauled,new clutch ect, for $10,000.  Since he had been sick he would take $5,000 if I wanted it. I drove over to look at it and EURIKA.... I'm a bus nut.
  We love the bus, and I like sleeping in MY bed. It is still partially converted as I'm building a house now, but has been to one TBR and will return. I am a class A diesel mechanic and semi skilled carpenter, plumber, and electrician. I can fix this machine to fit Me! Many thanks to the people on the bus boards for their advice and ideas. This a great community.
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« Reply #22 on: January 19, 2009, 08:44:00 AM »

It all started in elementary school riding a GMC bubble nose 4 rows of seats bus to school and the lady bus driver (Mabel) allowed me to open the door myself (4th grade)!  Always had a pension for large vehicles.  In junior high (middle school now) rode Crowns to school.  The morning bus had a Cummins 220, the afternoon bus had a hot rod 250hp Hall-Scott gasoline which out accelerated the Cummins 220 and Detroit 210hp all the time.  But loved the sound of the Cummins and Detroits.  Always remember a student stuffing a grapefruit up the exhaust of one of the buses and the bus driver seeing that and starting the bus with his foot on the floor-needless to say that grapefruit went flying!
During junior high, made hundreds of motorhome floor plans for various length buses.  So when I converted my first bus, none of my friends were surprised.  The AMGeneral transit I converted was a hard convert since I spent nearly the first year on my back under the bus removing and creating the space for the tanks, batteries, generator, and storage space.  I anticipate my truck conversion to be alot easier since I am designing the rear living space myself.  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #23 on: January 19, 2009, 09:10:51 AM »

Was lucky enough to grow up in a house with a bus route out front.  In 1950s New york, would sit on the front steps and watch the GM Transits roll by about every 15 minutes.  Mostly GMs, but some Macks.  In high school (late 60s) learned how to drive working for a small bus company in Westchester County, parking and washing transits.  Always loved buses, especially GM transits and suburban models.  Bought my first bus (1958 GM transit) in 1991 and have had buses ever since. (Currently a 1967 GM fishbowl suburban with four-speed Spicer and 8V-71).
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« Reply #24 on: January 19, 2009, 11:15:45 AM »

I think for me (more than my wife at the time) it was a restless bone. I have a hard time staying in one place too long. It just seems to be a same old same old situation, which to me makes life drag out. As I trucked 48 states and across Canada I thought when my old truck gets tired I'll stretch it out and turn it into a motor home and go where ever, when ever.  I enjoy meeting people but have found getting close to people is usually a let down , therefore traveling is good. Meet lots of people help one another and move on before judgement gets too harsh.  It's all good. I never thought I'd be able to afford a bus , then I met a friend of mine who was on his way home with a BUS!! What a good idea, ecpecially when he told me what he paid. I thought to myself, hey,  I'm handy enough to do a conversion, we did a complete reno on our house. We've been working on our bus for the last year and a half with probably another year to go. As we move along with it, my wife also has been talking about more and more. Our dream isn't to go camping etc. but rather to live in it fulltme. When we finally get it more or less complete and have done a few decent road trips, (test runs)  we want to move onto the next chapter of our life. Sell almost everthing ( maybe even my other passion 1955 F-100 ) and hit the road, work when we have to, meet people , see some country and most importantly , Have Fun along life's journey!
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« Reply #25 on: January 19, 2009, 11:24:44 AM »

What got you on the Busnut highway? ... My GPS of course!  Lol...

When I was 4 yrs old,[68'] my dad converted his second bus for us to use as an RV. His first was a rolling showroom for his refrigeration equipment.

Dad also converted a couple of 4104's through the years too which I was able to help him with. Then it was my turn....

I have alot of bussin/camping memories with my family and that will continue for some time...

Yup, that's me... I think i was a problem child. Grin
Nick-
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« Reply #26 on: January 19, 2009, 11:27:37 AM »

Dad's first rolling showroom.

Nick-
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« Reply #27 on: January 19, 2009, 12:35:38 PM »

I did a real double-take looking at Nick's photos there. A Hillman Imp in South Carolina! Somehow that seems really incongruous but really cool. Probably a good car to tow as well as they're very lightweight. They were in many ways a superior car to the Mini, and quite advanced for the time with a rear-mounted all-aluminium engine.

Jeremy

PS. My choice of a bus was easy, as there aren't really any Class As or 5th-Wheels here, and I needed something that could tow a boat and have much more space and weight-carrying ability than a typical European motorhome. So it was either a bus or a truck, and while trucks can make good motorhomes a bus seemed fundamentally better as they were designed from the outset for people rather than cargo.
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« Reply #28 on: January 19, 2009, 02:27:05 PM »

Our adventure began when my sweet wife looked our 30 foot 5th wheel and said,
"I wish we had a motor home.  A short time later we purchased a converted PD4104
from a friend [we are still the best of friends] after refurbishing the interior and making
it suitable for our life style, we are basically full timers.  We sold the 5th wheel and have
never looked back.  Its great to drive home where ever we want to go.  Not to mention that
our miniature Dachshunds love their home as much as we do.  Once infected Bus-nut-itis it is
forever.
Blessings,
David, Alene and the Doxies 
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« Reply #29 on: January 19, 2009, 03:03:23 PM »

This has been a great thread. I'm reading about so many fulltimers taking the plunge. That's exactly what my wife and I are doing in March. Although we are staying in Abilene we will still take it out for short runs.

Keep the replies coming!

I'm getting more excited by the minute! Grin
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« Reply #30 on: January 19, 2009, 04:26:50 PM »

Last spring, the last of the kids were on their own, my wife was semi-retired and I was about to retire myself.  After living out of country (Alaska) for too long,  we decided we were going to hit the road and cruise the lower 48. We looked and looked for the right bus. I was holding out for Eagle 15, but she-who-must-be-obeyed saw our MCI and that was that.

We wanted to live some place where we didn't have to scrape ice off the windshield most mornings! We landed in Texas as a suitable place to work on the bus, a bit too close to Dallas for me, but not half bad.  Yes, we will melt this summer and I'll whine and snivel about it on line for ya'll. =)

We plan to full-time until when/if we decide to put down roots again.
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« Reply #31 on: January 19, 2009, 04:53:58 PM »

Dallas is ok, some like him, I get along ok with him lol, he's ok lol.  I couldn't resist lmao. now I'll hear about it the chatroom, I know lol but that was a gift that I had to take lmao.
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« Reply #32 on: January 19, 2009, 07:35:20 PM »




   We used to travel in a p/u camper 8' with 2 kids before we retired. When we stop at a camp ground there would be someone there with a rv with a horror story of a blown engine or cooked transmison. As once semi driver I knew that buses were simaler to trucks, to go down the road and make money with out breaking down. I thought I wanted a RV but at that time they were stick and staple like the p/u camper. So I had my mind set on a Bus. Found one in 1996 in OK. needed lots of mechanical work that I could do. One thing about a bus is that when you fix something it stays fixed. Buses are made to last. I always say that if one rivet would do the job they put in 5 and used grade 8 bolts everwhere. We have covered most all of the
US including Alaska & Nova Scotia. Have a great time. Its  now my  hobby as I can always think of some thing to make it  better.
                                         
                                                         Roger 4106





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« Reply #33 on: January 19, 2009, 08:54:26 PM »



I blame it all on Peerless Stages!!  If it wasn't for them running a local route (Los Gatos to San Jose, CA) with this bus back when it was new, I never would have become fascinated with how the driver could steer, shift and make change for our fare, all at the same time.  So it's all Peerless' fault!!

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« Reply #34 on: January 19, 2009, 10:08:11 PM »

Been racing for years and seen the various motor-homes and toter-homes and knew that one day I'd have something, but I like interesting. I'd been in various stick and staple motor-homes and while they were nice, it wasn't what I wanted. I had also spent time camping in truck camper when I was growing up and they are fond memories.

When I moved to North Carolina, I met up with a gentleman who drives to the track in his 1951 Beck. I though that it was so cool! I started looking at eBay off and on, but there was never anything that I could even remotely afford to buy, let alone have a place to park it. The Home Owners Association wouldn't be too happy if I parked it out front or in back. Still I kept looking.

Then I got married. Turns out my wife, Natasha, likes cars and old vehicles, too. One day when cruising eBay I came across the already converted 1951 GMC PD4103 we eventually bought. Turns out it was local, so we went to see it. We fell in love.

Did the bus have warts? Yep. Plenty.

Did it need work? For sure. Don't they all need work?

Did I have any idea at all what I was looking at? Sure. It's a bus.

Did I know what I was doing? Excuse me? Sure, I was buying a bus.

Did I know what I was getting into? Yeah, sure I did. I was buying an old bus, big deal.

Well, it's three years on, and I know many of the "mistakes" that I made when I bought the bus. First I didn't have it inspected by anyone. Nope, nobody looked at it. I drove it home because the owner showed me how to drive it, and I can drive car and pickup truck, so no problems, right? Umm, yeah, sure, whatever you say. Let's just say that I learned what poorly adjusted brakes and 20,000 pounds means for stopping distances. They are not short, and for a while I was worried that the bus wasn't going to stop, but it did, eventually.

There are things mechanically wrong with the bus, but it still ran and drove, so it's OK, right? Yeah, sure it is.

We've had it up to the local race track, Virginia International Raceway, a couple of times, the last was in 2006 for the Charge of the Headlight Brigade 13-hour sports car endurance race. Since then it has been parked in our driveway waiting for me to take it over to Carolina Coach Repair (formerly Dean's Coach) just 15 minutes away. I have also been on a quest to locate original parts to repair the "repairs" made by several previous owners. There are some things that will deviate from original, like the mirrors, and eventually LED lights where I can put them where they don't look too out of place.

We have also decided to rehab the interior, but that can wait as what is there is still serviceable, just not our style. In fact, when removing the appointments in the aft lounge, aka the Champagne Room, both of us were delighted to find that the rear windows and rear side windows ("D" windows) were still there, just covered up both inside and outside.

Would we have bought the same bus again knowing what we know now? Yep, no question. However, we might have been able to knock the price down a bit if we had a reputable bus mechanic take a look at it.

As much as I like the new buses/coaches on the road, I like the unique style and character that the older buses have.

Does that make me a certifiable Bus Nut? Yeah, I guess it does. Am I bothered? Nope, not at all.

See you on the scenic roads,

- John

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« Reply #35 on: January 20, 2009, 07:30:05 AM »

Why did I get into buses?.....The 1st bite was 25 years ago I had a band and we had a schoolie that we toured Canada in.  I think it was a '68 international with 315 dodge, 4 spd and a splitter.  It wasn't fast but it could go up anything in low low.  That bus was great and fixing it was easy except the electrical s that were always shorting which is not a surprise as I was fixing them and I knew nothing!  Eventually the band split up and I can't remember what happened to the bus.  Oh yeah, that bus had Armstrong steering and I remember sometimes we would hire ourselves out as movers.  One time we did a pick up in alley and for some reason on the way out we had to make a turn the required about 50 back and forths with 2 of us cranking the steering wheel hard left to right, right to left each time. Later I was living on the beach in Mexico for the winter, no car, just a pack and a blanket.  To get there I had taken trains and buses from Montreal, QC, all the way down to south of Puerto Viarta.  So I was in bus mode.  The beach I spent a few months on had a guy from Canada with I think a 4905 ('69) conversion.  I thought the the couple of RVs on the beach looked ugly but the bus looked nice (all stock exterior, no skinning).  Kind of got to know the guy a bit, but I knew less of old vehicles then so I didn't investigate much.   A couple of years later I was down there again, and when it was time to head north he offered me and my buddy a ride in exchange for a little fuel $.  Well the price and the timing was right so that's what we did.  I had driven schoollies before so I offered to take a few shifts, he said he'ld be fine and proceeded to drive 16 hrs a day, with a beer cooler as his constant companion, all the way up to Vancouver Canada.  Me and my buddy just lounged around in the back, sleeping and eating and the madman with the beers kept driving.  The ride was so smooth.  I didn't enjoy the endless days, or the 1/4 drunk driver, but we made good time and I was kind of sold, I told myself I should get a bus one day.  Another time I was in Mexico a group of hippies were living on the beach, they were heading south and their only driver wrenched his shoulder surfing.  They put the word out that they needed a driver, and I went for it.  I think that was a '68 dodge.
I drove them all the way to Guatemala, Mexican style, passing old trucks on curves etc...to keep the speed up so I could make it up the hills.  BTW until you have driven a coastal highway in Mexico you have something to look forward to.
 I really enjoyed traveling with that band of hippies and they are my friends to this day.  Back in Canada, the guy with the wrenched shoulder gave me an old Volvo at one point for fixing his son's 4x4 (I was getting better at wrenching).  Then the Volvo years came ('65 124, '66 122, and now a '68 220).  That was fun but my 220 is so reliable I drive it 8 months a year and all I do is PM.  Time for a challenge.  I went online and started looking about, found Mak and BNO (I could never have done my volvos so well without Brickboard forum) and I was on my way.  Searched 1 year 'til I found the bus I wanted (4104 with crash box and a 6-71) already converted and for the right price.  I could have spent more but then I wouldn't have had any wrenching to do Wink.  So far so good, I have a few upgrades to do, an when I pass safety I'll paint her silver, and if I can find a set of Jakes for the right price I'll put those on and go to Mexico, but I am not going to Mexico without jakes.  Longish story I'm procrastinating on finishing some layout plans....Back To Work!
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