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Author Topic: Intro  (Read 10830 times)
PacNWNomad
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« on: March 04, 2009, 08:47:47 AM »

Hi, I am Tamri. Hubby is Hoppy. We have six kids ages 16, 13, 10, 7, 5 and 3. I am a Child Passenger Safety Technician, advising parents on which car seat is appropriate for their child, and proper installation of said seat. He is a sys admin/server engineer/consultant. We are transitioning to full timing - only fifteen more days in a stick built woot! Currently we own a 25' KZ Frontier with a 5' queen slide. We would like to upgrade in the next six months to a bus. We feel this is our best option for space. In looking at bumper pulls, by the time we get to something big enough to handle all of us, we're out of options for a vehicle that will pull it, and seat all of us. Somebody suggested a bus might be the route for us, and by golly, I think that's right on!

We have no idea what we're doing. We have a short list of what we would like, but have no idea if what we want will fall into our price range. I do have some specific questions about seat belts, I'll save that for another post.

Tamri
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Will & Wife
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« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2009, 08:57:45 AM »

Welcome aboard Tamri and Hoppi and kids! Grin You have found the best source of information on buses and bussing on the internet. I wish I had found this place before we switched from everything else available (nothing has worked for us like this bus  Grin) There are a lot of smart people on this board that will answer your questions and then some. Don't be afraid to ask, we all want to help. It sounds like you're on the right track. If you're not already addicted to bus fever, you will be soon enough. Once you've taken a bite of the fruit, there is no going back. Good luck in your bus hunt and ask lots of questions before you dive into one, Will & Wife
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PacNWNomad
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« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2009, 09:02:56 AM »

Quote
If you're not already addicted to bus fever, you will be soon enough.

We've not seen a professional yet, but I do believe we are already afflicted. The word "bus" enters into our conversation approximately 48% of the time. We look at every day on CL to see if there are any new listings in our area. And also, we drool on the keyboard when looking at some of the pics.

Truly. I heard there's no cure for this, either......  Wink
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BG6
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« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2009, 09:37:16 AM »

Hi, I am Tamri. Hubby is Hoppy. We have six kids ages 16, 13, 10, 7, 5 and 3.

We are transitioning to full timing - only fifteen more days in a stick built woot! Currently we own a 25' KZ Frontier with a 5' queen slide.

I admire your sense of adventure.  6 kids in a 25-footer!  I'm fulltiming in a 24-foot trailer until I can get my coach here to convert, it's just me and my dog and there isn't enough room!  Slides will certainly help, though.

My first suggestion is to find a coach which can tow the trailer, as soon as you can.  You will discover that you really need that much space.

That would lock out the GMCs.  Later MCIs can be fitted with hitches good to at least 12,500 lbs.  I don't know about other coaches.

OTOH, the GMC "Buffalo Buses" have more basement storage than any other coach, and if you can caravan with one person driving the coach and the other towing the trailer, a GMC might be your best choice.  They also are generally less expensive than MCI and other brands, but if you keep your eyes open you might walk into a really good deal on a partial conversion.

You DO NOT want a school bus or a transit bus.  Skoolies are hard to get insured, and transits have pretty much NO storage, and are geared for in-town, not on the highway.  Many RV campgrounds don't allow skoolies or transits to come in.

Whatever you do, good luck.
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John316
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« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2009, 09:38:37 AM »

Tamri,

Why don't you fill us in on what you are looking for. What make, price range, length...you get the point. What part of the country are you located in?

BTW seatbelts are your option. You can build them however you want. Just make them strong.

Welcome aboard! You will find a lot of info here.

God bless,

John

BG6, funny, looks like our posts crossed. Good info...
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PacNWNomad
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« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2009, 09:49:04 AM »


I admire your sense of adventure.  6 kids in a 25-footer!  I'm fulltiming in a 24-foot trailer until I can get my coach here to convert, it's just me and my dog and there isn't enough room!  Slides will certainly help, though.

My first suggestion is to find a coach which can tow the trailer, as soon as you can.  You will discover that you really need that much space.

That would lock out the GMCs.  Later MCIs can be fitted with hitches good to at least 12,500 lbs.  I don't know about other coaches.

OTOH, the GMC "Buffalo Buses" have more basement storage than any other coach, and if you can caravan with one person driving the coach and the other towing the trailer, a GMC might be your best choice.  They also are generally less expensive than MCI and other brands, but if you keep your eyes open you might walk into a really good deal on a partial conversion.

You DO NOT want a school bus or a transit bus.  Skoolies are hard to get insured, and transits have pretty much NO storage, and are geared for in-town, not on the highway.  Many RV campgrounds don't allow skoolies or transits to come in.

Whatever you do, good luck.


Interesting, it hadn't once occurred to me to keep the trailer and tow it. Yes, 25' (30' with the slide) is a little small, but we manage. We just got back from about two weeks in it, and we were in it last year from June - mid Sept (Philly to Seattle). When we bought it last year, we figured it would be our break-in rig. I grew up around RV's (gparents owned a KOA at one time, and then were snowbirds), but this is my very first very own rig. Moving up to a bus skeers me a little bit....

We had already eliminated skoolies and transits as a possibility. We liked the looks of the Eagle and the MCI - but do keep in mind we are not mechanical people and know nothing about that side of it.

Tamri

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JohnEd
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« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2009, 09:53:00 AM »

Tamri,

In this market you should be looking for a Prevost with a good 8V92TA.  The market is tanking and those are the absolute best buses for affordable conversion.  It will cost you a ton of money to convert a bus....get one already converted.  The Pre's have a lot of models with bunk beds in the center for 6(or less) and still have a queen bed in the master bedroom.  Others have a hatch in the floor so two kids can use a baggage bay as a bed room.  Most awnings will have a screen room option for outside sleeping and I sleep in comfort in freezing weather by choice with the help of down comforters.  I think you could eliminate your trailer and pull your car and eliminate a lot of expense and investment.  Tents work!  Post 1982 as you will NEED the 102 inch wide bus.

Just some thoughts,

John
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PacNWNomad
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« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2009, 10:02:49 AM »

Tamri,

Why don't you fill us in on what you are looking for. What make, price range, length...you get the point. What part of the country are you located in?

BTW seatbelts are your option. You can build them however you want. Just make them strong.

Welcome aboard! You will find a lot of info here.

God bless,

John

BG6, funny, looks like our posts crossed. Good info...


First, we're not quite ready to buy yet. We're waiting on our settlement from the insurance company (house fire), and (more importantly) we want to make sure we're putting enough thought into it before moving ahead.

Make, I'm not settled on one over another yet, although I do like the MCI and the Eagle. A Prevost would be nice, but please. Even I'm laughing at myself at the very idea of finding a Prevost in our price range. Price range - I think we're settling on around $30K as a top price. Length - 40 feet, no shorter, 45 would be better. I realize 45' limits our options for campgrounds, but the extra space.... I'm not seeing a whole lot of 45' in the places I'm looking though. I'd like larger tanks, 100+ for freshwater at the least.

Currently, I'm in the Seattle area, although we go to Olympia fairly often. We also have some family property in Hoodsport, so we're kind of up and down the peninsula at times.

Tamri

We're looking at this on Saturday http://seattle.craigslist.org/sno/rvs/1056594901.html.
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JohnEd
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« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2009, 10:04:41 AM »

Tamri,

If you can't do mechanical/electrical/plumbing/upkeep and won't learn......stay with the trailer.  There isn't anything out there that won't require you to be a general handy man with tools and knowledge before its over.  Kids help!  Bus Knuts will save you.  Still, you gotta have talent on board eventually.  It can't be all that difficult cause I learn't it. It is costly to not know that you have to check tire pressure at precise intervals and how to do that.... for the safety of all on board, not to mention the extreme cost of screwing that one up alone.  There is a lot of challenge here.

John
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"An uneducated vote is a treasonous act more damaging than any treachery of the battlefield.
The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." Plato
“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”
—Pla
PacNWNomad
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« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2009, 10:07:43 AM »

Tamri,

In this market you should be looking for a Prevost with a good 8V92TA.  The market is tanking and those are the absolute best buses for affordable conversion.  It will cost you a ton of money to convert a bus....get one already converted.  The Pre's have a lot of models with bunk beds in the center for 6(or less) and still have a queen bed in the master bedroom.  Others have a hatch in the floor so two kids can use a baggage bay as a bed room.  Most awnings will have a screen room option for outside sleeping and I sleep in comfort in freezing weather by choice with the help of down comforters.  I think you could eliminate your trailer and pull your car and eliminate a lot of expense and investment.  Tents work!  Post 1982 as you will NEED the 102 inch wide bus.

Just some thoughts,

John

Wow, I thought the Prevost would be out of our range. We had definitely planned on finding one that was already converted, or partially converted and just needed some finishing work. And oh LORD. Sleeping in the baggage bay? I know some kids that would absolutely plotz over the very idea......

Thanks for the tip about post 1982. BTW, we're willing to hold out a few months longer than originally planned if it means getting something we can stick with for a few years. In another month, our living expenses will be minimal, and everyone in the family is on board with being as frugal as possible to save as much as we can to get A Bus (which will need to be named, and hopefully have a BSG inspired name. Or, I might get outvoted on the BSG thing, but whatever. As long as it's a GOOD name!).

What kind of side storage does the Prevost have?
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prevost82
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« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2009, 10:07:52 AM »

I would also look at a Prevost entertainer coach ... look for one that has 6 bunks in it, then you could redo the rear solon into a master bedrm.
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BigDougInOregon
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« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2009, 10:08:14 AM »

Tamri,

  Welcome aboard.  This board has been invaluable to us (I wish I would have used it BEFORE I bought our bus, but lets not go there right now).  I have looked at that bus on CL for quite some time.  I would think those sellers would be amiable to a lower offer like $11,900 or so, but that is just my .02 worth.

Doug
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PacNWNomad
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« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2009, 10:09:34 AM »

Tamri,

If you can't do mechanical/electrical/plumbing/upkeep and won't learn......stay with the trailer.  There isn't anything out there that won't require you to be a general handy man with tools and knowledge before its over.  Kids help!  Bus Knuts will save you.  Still, you gotta have talent on board eventually.  It can't be all that difficult cause I learn't it. It is costly to not know that you have to check tire pressure at precise intervals and how to do that.... for the safety of all on board, not to mention the extreme cost of screwing that one up alone.  There is a lot of challenge here.

John

I'm willing to learn. I've been doing all the stuff on our trailer. When it gets to stuff that is electrical, I pass it off to dh. Given his line of work, as long as he has a schematic he's fine. We're not afraid to get dirty, we're just vastly undereducated at this point.
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BG6
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« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2009, 10:22:16 AM »

Interesting, it hadn't once occurred to me to keep the trailer and tow it. Yes, 25' (30' with the slide) is a little small, but we manage. We just got back from about two weeks in it, and we were in it last year from June - mid Sept (Philly to Seattle). When we bought it last year, we figured it would be our break-in rig. I grew up around RV's (gparents owned a KOA at one time, and then were snowbirds), but this is my very first very own rig. Moving up to a bus skeers me a little bit....

We had already eliminated skoolies and transits as a possibility. We liked the looks of the Eagle and the MCI - but do keep in mind we are not mechanical people and know nothing about that side of it.

You would be surprised how many people are able to rely on the Flat Plastic Toolkit (aka the credit card), so that's not a problem.

Every cubic inch of living space is priceless when you have kids.  You will learn this about halfway through the first rainy week you have to deal with.  The trailer can become the older kids' room (or the girls' or boys' room) and a pantry/storeroom.

If you are going to tow behind the coach, you need to get a coach no longer than 40' long (look up the discussions on overall length of coach and toad) to be able to pull your 25' trailer.

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« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2009, 10:25:04 AM »

Hi Tamri,

First, Welcome aboard.

You have found a great resource.

You will have way too many hours of reading while you pursue this project.

Might I suggest you have fun with the search up on the upper right of your screen.

You can search the archives of this BBS and find information and opinions on Everything.

You will find almost every topic and they will lead you to others.

Most of all, have fun....we still are.. Grin

Cliff
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