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Author Topic: Living fulltime in your bus?  (Read 3395 times)
harleyman_1000
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« on: February 16, 2013, 07:49:55 AM »

 I am wondering who lives fulltime in their bus, and if you travel while doing so? Also tell what kind of bus you are doing so in.
 Scott
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Scott 
St.Louis Missouri

1958 GM 4104 Extended 2 feet, with a 6v92 and 5 speed automatic

http://s783.photobucket.com/user/harleyman_1000/library/Gm4104%20bus?sort=3&page=1
bobofthenorth
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« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2013, 08:19:18 AM »

Depends what you call fulltime.  We live in the bus when we don't live on the boat.  1981 Prevost Bruce conversion.  Its got wheels under it - we like to use them.
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R.J.(Bob) Evans
1981 Prevost 8-92, 10 spd
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Simply growing older is not the same as living.
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« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2013, 08:36:19 AM »

I've been living full time in mine for 5 1/2 years now.  In that time have only put 5000 miles on it because my budget doesn't cover much fuel and now the bus needs tires.  While we don't exercise the freedom much, we love the ability it gives to travel while still having our home with us.
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harleyman_1000
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« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2013, 10:15:45 AM »

 Thank you both for your responses. Can you please give me more details about your lifestyles either here or in private messages to me?
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Scott 
St.Louis Missouri

1958 GM 4104 Extended 2 feet, with a 6v92 and 5 speed automatic

http://s783.photobucket.com/user/harleyman_1000/library/Gm4104%20bus?sort=3&page=1
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« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2013, 10:28:37 AM »

Maybe it would be better if you just spelled out exactly what it is that you want to know.  And I should warn you, I don't think Mike & I are a particularly representative sample of the universe of nuts who live in buses.
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R.J.(Bob) Evans
1981 Prevost 8-92, 10 spd
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Simply growing older is not the same as living.
harleyman_1000
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« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2013, 12:09:06 PM »

 You just hit the nail on the head without even knowing it and saying what I couldn't, because I didn't even know exactly how to  ask it.  If different people explain how they live fulltime, then I will get answers to questions that I hadn't even thought of. I hope that makes sense?
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Scott 
St.Louis Missouri

1958 GM 4104 Extended 2 feet, with a 6v92 and 5 speed automatic

http://s783.photobucket.com/user/harleyman_1000/library/Gm4104%20bus?sort=3&page=1
Chuck Hancock
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« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2013, 12:50:20 PM »

I am not currently living in my bus but did for almost two years and loved it.  My wife was still working for IBM (from the bus) and one day when I was pestering her to go out and explore she told me to "get out" and not come back until after 5:00 PM (end of her work day).  I wondered up to the rangers office and found myself hired as a camphost.  Being a camphost can be great duty.  I was a meeter and greeter and loved it.  If you camp host generally the park gives you a free space for about 20 hours a week of volunteer time.  We stayed in that park 6 months and then traveled through Calif, Oregon and Washington for six months.  We went back to the same park for another six months and then traveled east to our home.  We were gone about 20 months and loved it.  I have driven from Connecticut to Calif and backk seven times and covered most of the main east / west highways.  Our style of travel is to use interstates and rest areas and Walmarts for overnite when traveling and stay in campgrounds and use little, side roads when wondering.  We have met great folks in both kinds of places.  If you have any interest in being a camphost there are lots of good publications out there (Worker / Camper  is one).  We  used the FMCA facility to forward our  mail which worked great.  Most of our bills are sent via email and we pay using the internet which makes it easy. 

If I were to give some general advice I would say 1.  pack light,  2. have a general plan of where you want to go and what you want to see  3.  give yourself plenty of time to travel (probably 50% more than you think you need) 4. and most importantly realize that there is no magic in traveling.   You have to enjoy who you are traveling with, your close so you need to give and take easily, you have to be curious or the fun will fade quickly, but with a smile, a good bottle of wine (or two) a great companion and an intellectual curiosity it can be wonderful   Have fun!!!!!!
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Chuck & Beth Hancock
Ridgefield,  Ct
Dave5Cs
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« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2013, 03:44:29 PM »

We did it for 18 months until the wife got hurt and now we live on a ranch that I work on while be able to work on the bus. The 18 months of living in different areas of California and then 6 months of that time in a Sacramento area delta campground/ resort was really fun and met a lot of nice people. The bus always brough questions and curiosity from others. They wanted tours and walk arounds of the bus. Ours is a 5C Saudi and now it is up on blocks and I am almost done going over the whole air system. Next I will go in and sand a lot of wood panels and re stain the originals that I never had a chance to do before we left the House we sold.

The vinyl took a beating also when you have 3 cats that live inside the bus. Most campgrounds will let dogs out but not cats. so I will have to do some more vinyl work. The bus needs a full cleaning inside after just that short time. It got cleaned each week like a house but now has set outside for another 10 months and needs it bad. When I get done with all the work and the wife is healed we will probably go out at first for 3 months at a time to start and still work on the ranch when back and then out again depending on funds.

You do need a back up plan in case you have mechanical problems (coachnet or similar for sure), Back up fund that you might put money in and just leave it for problem times. Tire fund or fuel fund, etc.

We had a blast while we were out there. The management of the place we were at was not the best and you have to pick your places well. Make sure if you are going to work there and live that they offer you a spot and gas and a spot for your car at least for maybe 20 hours of work a week.

campgrounds in Oregon are a lot less than California so really check pricing in all states. check with Police Departments to see if a certain areas are ok or if you might want to stay out of that one etc.

Cook outside as much as we could to keep the heat down in the bus. If you cut up stuff in the bus like onions just keep a plastic zip lock there and as you peel and cut parts out put them in the bag and take it to the garbage so it does not leave bad smells in the coach. Fill voids in your freezer with ice in baggies so your freezer won't need to be de-iced as much.

Dave5Cs
« Last Edit: February 16, 2013, 04:37:57 PM by Dave5Cs » Logged

Dreamscape
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« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2013, 04:29:17 PM »

My wife and I have been living in our 1968 Silver Eagle 01 for almost 4 years. During that time while we were parked for extended periods of time we did most of the interior finish work in red oak, installed a new to us 8v71N along with an Allison 740 when we were in Vancouver, WA last year. I might add, the combo worked like a clock on our way to Texas last Thanksgiving.

We have also enjoyed Camp Hosting this past year and hope to do that again soon.

It was interesting at times, we are still married and enjoy the lifestyle.  Roll Eyes Although my wife is hinting that we need a home base with a washer and dryer! Wink

It has been an ongoing project since early 2004 and I'm still working on it! I don't think I'll ever get it finished! Cry Cheesy

We are now parked in New Braunfels, TX helping out a fellow busnut. A little house repair and hope to help him fix his bruised MC7! Cry

You can find out more by going to our travel blog listed below!

Happy Trails and be safe!
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Becky and Paul Lawry, On The Road
Travel Blog - http://dreamscapetravels.wordpress.com/
Bus Blog - http://dreamscapesilvereagle.wordpress.com/
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lostagain
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« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2013, 05:03:34 PM »

As much as we enjoy a road trip in the bus, it is nice to come back home. My wife likes her horses, and I like my shop, and all the other advantages of sedentary life. There is more to life than buses.

We have used the bus extensively for years for several reasons. Next winter will be the first time we can get away for several weeks at a time. Our youngest will be away at university, so we'll have the freedom to head South. Looking forward to that.

But sell everything and drive off in the bus for the rest of our lives, no, not for us.

My advice to you is: go away in the bus for a few months, but don't sell the house yet.

JC

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JC
Invermere, BC
1977 MC5C, 6V92/HT740
luvrbus
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« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2013, 05:22:26 PM »

If you are married you better be sure both parties are in sync and listen to each other, we tried it for a year neither of us really cared for the life style,women do miss a bathtub lol

 Me I missed my surrounding like my bedroom and bed I think we could do 4 to 6 months I doubt we could do a year now

good luck
« Last Edit: February 16, 2013, 05:26:53 PM by luvrbus » Logged

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Ed Hackenbruch
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« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2013, 06:48:58 PM »

 We are just starting our 10th year. We know people that have been doing it for over 20 years. Since i see you are going to Blytheville for the rally, look us up. We have a blue 68 MCI 5A. Much easier to talk to you than typing out our story!  Grin
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1968 MCI 5A with 8V71 and Allison MT644 transmission.  Western USA
technomadia
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« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2013, 09:20:39 PM »

We've been full time on the road in various RVs for going on 7 years now. The past year and half has been in our bus conversion (1961 GM 4106).

We work as we roam, remotely as software developers. Love having the flexibility to be where we want to be. Our bus is so comfortable for us, we look at it as our condo on wheels. My father is now in hospice, and being able to pull in near him and my family has been a true blessing. It's no disruption to our lifestyle... we can truly be there without needing the juggle vacation time, maintaining a home elsewhere, pet sitters, etc. 

More on our blog linked in the signature. We also have a fairly extensive series that answers a lot of the common questions people have about making a full time nomadic life sustainable (everything from money, family, pets, community, jobs, relationships, internet, healthcare, etc.) - http://www.technomadia.com/excuses .

  - Cherie
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Cherie and Chris / www.technomadia.com
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« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2013, 10:07:02 AM »

I full time and have done so for about 10 years now.  Used to travel a lot but now have bought land in Elko, Nv, and Pahrump,  Nv, and also Alturas, Ca.  so I travel between them mostly.

I do it to get away from everyone else!

MCI 5A, 1200 watts of solar on the roof.  Maintain water needs with two 55 gallon barrells.

Ed
« Last Edit: February 18, 2013, 10:10:16 AM by sommersed » Logged
harleyman_1000
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« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2013, 11:30:36 AM »

  I have been thinking about solar and boonedocking. Is 1200 enough to run everything except for microwave and ac? 
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Scott 
St.Louis Missouri

1958 GM 4104 Extended 2 feet, with a 6v92 and 5 speed automatic

http://s783.photobucket.com/user/harleyman_1000/library/Gm4104%20bus?sort=3&page=1
Ralph7
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« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2013, 07:32:43 PM »

       I have a 13 cu. ft. house frig, microwave 1000w, all LED lights, satlite TV setup, etc.  My solar is  4ea. 210watt x29.9volt and a Morningstar MPPT 60amp controller, 2000watt /100amp Magnum inverter charger, 6 golf cart batts. It will run fine if I have 5-6 hours of bright sun, a 3000si Honda is the backup.
     Frends have less watts and do very well, all depends on what you want, BUT the most importent is the size of the wire used, most wire to small.
     I have only been in my bus fulltime 2 1/2 years so far so good, it goes fast.
     Take your time lookin at busses!!!!!!
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harleyman_1000
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« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2013, 09:52:21 PM »

 Ralph, am I figuring correctly, that you have 840 watts solar?
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Scott 
St.Louis Missouri

1958 GM 4104 Extended 2 feet, with a 6v92 and 5 speed automatic

http://s783.photobucket.com/user/harleyman_1000/library/Gm4104%20bus?sort=3&page=1
Ralph7
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« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2013, 11:07:36 AM »

      Yes on 840watts@ 29.9volts, it maxes out the  60amp controller. I use a 12volt system.
       Also have an 8cu. ft. 12/24volt freezer, it is extremely efficent, holds -15 to-20 in 80degree days. it was about $1250.00 but worth it, NO propane, just electric. NOT high DC amp draw!!!
        Most 100- 140watt lanels are 19.9volt.
        On a sunny day I have seen 50plus amps@ 13.8V heading to the batts.
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harleyman_1000
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« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2013, 11:38:33 AM »

I am totally ignorant when it comes to solar. What is the difference between 19 volts and 29 volts in usage or whatever.
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Scott 
St.Louis Missouri

1958 GM 4104 Extended 2 feet, with a 6v92 and 5 speed automatic

http://s783.photobucket.com/user/harleyman_1000/library/Gm4104%20bus?sort=3&page=1
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« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2013, 12:16:41 PM »

  I am totally ignorant when it comes to solar. What is the difference between 19 volts and 29 volts in usage or whatever.   

    In practical terms, not a real difference.  In terms of designing a system, it makes a difference in that panels must be combined and wired together -- that means that some systems will be higher voltage direct from the panels.  That panel output (total) gives you the watts available, which is the important thing.  But every solar system has to have a controller and distribution sub-system and that design is what gives you the actual usable voltage.  So, some people get 12V (for vehicle use) from a solar array that produces 19V and others get 12V from panels that produce 29V (similar for 24V etc.).  So, basically, you have two different voltages in a solar system and the details of the system design are the important factors in deciding how much power (and this is a very non-technical term on purpose) and at what voltage you actually put into the vehicle.  As usual, other factors (many panels tend to be wired to produce higher voltages but this isn't written in stone) make some design details more efficient or cost effective, but most things can be "varied" to suit your needs.

    But the above is very non-specific.  If you're interested in solar, check out some of the good, basic websites for the in-depth details on how they work.
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Bruce H; Wallace (near Wilmington) NC
1976 Daimler (British) Double-Decker Bus; 34' long
6-cyl, 4-stroke, Leyland O-680 engine

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harleyman_1000
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« Reply #20 on: February 19, 2013, 01:06:35 PM »

 Ok but for solar dummies like me, which set up would be best for occasional high usage such as a coffee pot( mine turns off after brewing, and uses a cafe pot) and a microwave?
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Scott 
St.Louis Missouri

1958 GM 4104 Extended 2 feet, with a 6v92 and 5 speed automatic

http://s783.photobucket.com/user/harleyman_1000/library/Gm4104%20bus?sort=3&page=1
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« Reply #21 on: February 19, 2013, 02:36:25 PM »

   Ok but for solar dummies like me, which set up would be best for occasional high usage such as a coffee pot( mine turns off after brewing, and uses a cafe pot) and a microwave? 

      "Occasional high usage" implies to me a good house-battery bank and an inverter.  You'd have a hard time getting dependable power out of a solar system to run high usage items.  What a solar system is good for is providing a fairly continuous low-intensity flow of electricity to charge the batteries -- the solar charging is "small amounts for a long time" while the use you're talking about is "large amounts for a short time".  And solar depends on cloudiness, hours of daylight on a given day, orientation of the panels towards the sun, size of panel array, etc. and will vary across the hours of the day.  Like most things, you could spend a lot of money for a larger capacity system but whether that would help you much is a question of design, capacity of charging, capacity of storage, and demand of use; no sense in paying for capacity that you don't use. 

      The actual voltage of the panels into the controller is probably the least important part of the equation (except that larger capacity system tend to have higher-panel-voltage but that's related to design which is dictated by the parameters you would put into the system calculations). 

      I'm trying not to overload all this with jargon but make it informative -- hope it helps.    BH   NC   USA
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Bruce H; Wallace (near Wilmington) NC
1976 Daimler (British) Double-Decker Bus; 34' long
6-cyl, 4-stroke, Leyland O-680 engine

(New Email -- brucebearnc@ (theGoogle gmail place) .com)
harleyman_1000
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« Reply #22 on: February 19, 2013, 03:31:14 PM »

My head is spinning, but slower than before your all's help    Huh
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Scott 
St.Louis Missouri

1958 GM 4104 Extended 2 feet, with a 6v92 and 5 speed automatic

http://s783.photobucket.com/user/harleyman_1000/library/Gm4104%20bus?sort=3&page=1
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« Reply #23 on: February 19, 2013, 03:47:23 PM »

      The actual voltage of the panels into the controller is probably the least important part of the equation (except that larger capacity system tend to have higher-panel-voltage but that's related to design which is dictated by the parameters you would put into the system calculations). 


I'd argue that the panel voltage is hugely important at the design stage.  You can carry a lot of watts at a lot less amps on a high voltage serial arrangement.  That translates into lower wire gauges and less power loss in transmission.  Jack Mayer's website is a good starting point for anyone serious about designing a well thought out solar system. 
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R.J.(Bob) Evans
1981 Prevost 8-92, 10 spd
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Simply growing older is not the same as living.
Scott Bennett
Scott & Heather MCI-9
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« Reply #24 on: February 19, 2013, 08:00:36 PM »

Don't want to interrupt...but we have been fulltiming for two year solid now. This is our first winter up north in the coach. And tonight it's 14 F. And inside the coach it's 73 F. Works for us. I sing for a living and also do remote computer support. Between the two, we are financially comfortable. I'm 30 wife is 28 and we are planning on bringing a couple of little ones into our lives at some point.


Sent from iPhone via Tapatalk
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Scott & Heather
1984 MCI9 6V92-turbo with 9 inch roof raise & conversion in progress.
http://www.scottmichaelbennett.com/p/our-bus.html
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Jerry W Campbell
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« Reply #25 on: February 20, 2013, 04:50:13 AM »

  I have been thinking about solar and boonedocking. Is 1200 enough to run everything except for microwave and ac? 

   We have found 1000 watts is enough. The problem is you can not get 1000 watts from 1000 watts of panels. You need 1/3 more. That's why we got 1500 watts. We are currently living in a place with only 5 hours of sun.
We also live in the bus full time. We work during the summer and travel south in the winter
  Today we leave from Mexico to head back to Oregon. About 3000 miles. It will take us about a month and a half.
Good Luck
Jerry
   
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