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Author Topic: Family Bus  (Read 4365 times)
lotsokids
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« on: December 19, 2006, 04:53:11 PM »

Smiley
Hi all,

I have silently been observing for a while, and still trying to learn my way around the site, so I apologize if this has been asked and answered.† Maybe someone could show me to the links?† I see most people tend to be older without kids, we are a family with 7 sons (soon to be 8!) and are interested in trying to do full time/near full time for a year or so and take the kids to see America instead of just reading about it.† †It surprises me that with these huge bus sizes and motorhomes, very few have sleeping arrangements for all of us.† So a few of my questions are.

1) It seems that I am heading towards a custom job to get the sleeping arrangements, and layout where kids can do schoolwork, and I can have a mobile office.† Are there any examples of conversions who have done something similar? Maybe we could learn something from there floorplans and equipment so we don't re-invent the wheel

2)I see a lot of talk about MCI-9's and Prevost coaches.† To my limited understanding I see that a Prevost costs a lot more typically than the MCI-9, but don't know why.† †Is there anyplace on the web, or in these forums that outlines the advantages between the two and the differences between the years/body styles/engines, etc?

3)† Reputable people/sources for purchasing used ones?† Any place that list appropriate price range for year/mileage/coach condition (like a blue book), I know the conversion options would add to the price but, at least if I knew a base price it would help.

3)I am a little scared by what happened at walker coach, Not that I was looking at anything near that price but are there a list of companies that do interior work with a good reputation and not a fortune?† I am not looking for something for a movie star, but something practical, but will hold up also to all the kids.† I think that would steer me a way from a lot of the big places as I donít think I could afford them, but I donít want to go to Fast Eddies Kustom Koach and drive off with things falling off down the highway!

4) I have seen truck conversions that seem cheaper, but I am concerned about the safety of the box for the family.† It seems that buses are the safer option, but I donít know that for sure.† Are truck conversions only as sturdy as the typical motorhome?

I am sure I will have many more questions, thanks in advance!



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brojcol
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« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2006, 05:23:05 PM »

You should consider looking at buses designed for group travel.  That would be buses called "Entertainer Coaches".  It is not terribly unusual to see one of these buses designed to sleep as many as 16.  They have 40' or 45'. 

Of course, money is probably not a factor with you.  I have one kid and I can assure you that I could not take off a month, much less a year to travel around the country.  So, if money is no object, why not buy one of the entertainer coaches at www.staleycoach.com.  Now, I've never done business with them, but I know folks who have.  I did go and tour their facility once and got to check out their buses.  They are nice folks.  But, as with any business, you will probably find folks on this board, or any other for that matter, that might poor mouth them.  I've even seen people poor mouth some of the folks on this board that I know would rather take a beating than to try to beat someone else. 

MAK, who operates this board, can probably customize a bus for you that would fit your needs quite nicely.

Whatever you do, have fun!  I wish I had a house full of youngins, but I can't talk my wife into it.  With as many kids as you have, you should have plenty of cheap labor Grin

AND WELCOME TO THE BOARD!  WE ARE ALL IN YOUR CORNER!

Jimmy

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Kwajdiver
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« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2006, 05:24:10 PM »

http://busbuilding.com/bus-conversion/mci-bus-model-history/

http://busforsaleguide.com/mci.htm

What you need is an Entertainer.  Like a band or traveling group would use.  Lots of bed space.

There are a ton of websites I used, when trying to shop for a unit.  Here are a couple.

Good Luck in your search.  Of course, I'm sure someone is about to tell you that you need to get down to Arcadia, Florida next week.  For Bussin' 2007.  

Bill
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lotsokids
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« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2006, 05:36:06 PM »

I wish money were not a factor! Grin† It just happens that I can do a lot of my work by telecommuting.† So, if I can have an internet connection I can make it work.† †Thanks for the tip of staleycoach, I will take a look brojcol.† †My kids are still very young (the oldest is 9) but they can still help a lot, but probably not exactly a fulltime work crew yet!

Thanks for the links Kwajdiver! Those look very helpful.

You should consider looking at buses designed for group travel.  That would be buses called "Entertainer Coaches".  It is not terribly unusual to see one of these buses designed to sleep as many as 16.  They have 40' or 45'. 

Of course, money is probably not a factor with you.  I have one kid and I can assure you that I could not take off a month, much less a year to travel around the country.  So, if money is no object, why not buy one of the entertainer coaches at www.staleycoach.com.  Now, I've never done business with them, but I know folks who have.  I did go and tour their facility once and got to check out their buses.  They are nice folks.  But, as with any business, you will probably find folks on this board, or any other for that matter, that might poor mouth them.  I've even seen people poor mouth some of the folks on this board that I know would rather take a beating than to try to beat someone else. 

MAK, who operates this board, can probably customize a bus for you that would fit your needs quite nicely.

Whatever you do, have fun!  I wish I had a house full of youngins, but I can't talk my wife into it.  With as many kids as you have, you should have plenty of cheap labor Grin

AND WELCOME TO THE BOARD!  WE ARE ALL IN YOUR CORNER!

Jimmy


« Last Edit: December 19, 2006, 05:40:19 PM by lotsokids » Logged
brojcol
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« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2006, 05:47:06 PM »

Lots of busnuts use their buses like a "steel tent".  If you are going to convert it yourself, don't let it scare you off of traveling if it ain't finished yet.  Just put in the basic necessities (toilet, shower, TV) and hit the road.  Your kids will love sleeping on the floor.  When I was a kid, after I watched Rambo, I decided that "mountain man survivor" was the only life for me.  Santa Claus brought me a survival knife for Christmas and I was out to the woods.  I built my own leanto's and cooked my own little fish out under the stars.  Of course, when the matches got wet, it was time to go home.

Point is, it don't take much to make kids happy!  Just feed them and keep them out of the elements and they're good to go.

BTW, keep your eyes open on buying an entertainer coach.  Some of them are very well cared for, but most of them are rode hard and put up wet!

Just my opinion...

Jimmy
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deal with it."            Professor Bubblegum Tate
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« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2006, 05:58:24 PM »

Hello lotsokids,

Welcome to our BBS!  We are glad to try and answer your questions.

Seems that bunks will fit your needs well, sort of like an entertainer set up.

Jimmy [BROJCOL] has given you a couple great ideas and starting points.

I can add that a good way to get a feel of a layout is tape out a 40' X 8' area and maybe use cardboard to partition some

walls. This will give you a sence of space in a bus. Then work on it from there.

Good Luck to you and Happy Hollidays!

Nick Badame
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JerryH
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« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2006, 06:03:45 PM »

I would second the opinion of getting an entertainer coach.
9 boys and 2 adults?  You can find a 12 bunk unit (typ.) or a "star coach" which would often offer a queen/double and six bunks.
Although others will shoot down this suggestions, I'd for sure go for a 45-footer.  With eleven dedicated family members, I wouldn't short yourselves on space.

Look at the following links:

http://www.busforsale.com/
http://staleycoach.com/

Of the entertainer coaches, Prevost will be most common for newer models, with Eagle and Prevost on older models.  The Eagles will (should) fetch less money than the Prevosts.  I am an MCI fan, but the list of entertainers in an MCI will be fewer.  You'll also see Van Hools -- but would suggest the Prevost over the Van Hool.  You'll get different answers about the Eagles and their pros and cons.

Jerry H.

oh ... a final ps:  camping in your "tin tent".  I have two kids, wife, me and the dog.  I personally can't see tenting it in a bus.  But that's just me.  Just me and the wife ... maybe?  A family of 11?   Just depends on your needs and lifestyle.
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captain ron
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« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2006, 08:27:37 PM »

It would help to know where your located, that way we can steer you to closer places and a lot of us are capable of converting or helping in the conversion or even revamping an existing conversion or entertainer coach to better fit your needs. Good luck
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jatnip
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« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2006, 08:53:19 PM »

You will have a great time touring with your children!  We have 10 children and have been all over the last five years.  It is not uncommon for large families to travel in buses. Next month we will be at a prison ministry that will have five families that I know of with a totla of 48 kids up to the age of about 24.  Do it now and never look back, you will never regret it.  People worry about the money, if we did that we would never have had any children.  Now we have a great life.  Spending time with your children is the best investment that you can make.  I'll stop now before I get started

Jim
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Barn Owl
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« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2006, 11:53:05 PM »

Quote
I see most people tend to be older without kids


That would be true, but there are still a few out there with kids, a bus, and a job. My wife and I have six children, the oldest turned 16 last month and our youngest is 3. We have three boys and three girls (not in that order). We home school, so that made it somewhat easy to have a flexible schedule until my oldest started collage this year. Now we have to schedule trips around her classes. I also have a job that is not conducive to full timing, and I am the type that likes to have a ďhome baseĒ anyway.

There are a few families that had a very positive influence on our decision to buy a bus; they each have proven that it can be a fun and rewarding experience.

Here are some links:

Brian Brown (Spaceship Buffalo) is one family that I would most like to emulate; they have a home but still manage to tear up some serious pavement. When I get discouraged I sometimes visit the brownland links and get excited about bussing again.

Brian gives one of the best arguments on why a bus instead of a stick and staple RV (I think he has some pics to back up his point). I think if you do a search in the postings you will find it. If not, I am sure he would go over it again.

http://www.brownland.org/travel/western05/cover.htm
http://www.brownland.org/travel/texas05/
http://www.brownland.org/travel/iowa/
http://www.brownland.org/travel/texas06/1.htm
http://www.brownland.org/travel/cosprings06/1.htm
http://www.brownland.org/bus/index.htm

Modified 12/20/06 - The link I was looking for, thanks Brian & Lotsokids

http://www.archtex.com/bus/why.htm

This family is one of the first I found when I started looking into the possibility of buying a bus. They do it full time and are having lots of fun doing it. I also find their adventures a great motivator for me as I pursue my dreams. This family has several links to other families that are full-timing that are very good, but most are just using a RV.

http://www.extremefamily.com/
http://www.extremefamily.com/thebus.htm
http://www.extremefamily.com/buildingthebus.htm
http://www.extremefamily.com/pastadv.htm

This site is dedicated to families that are on the road full-time or those who want to be:

http://www.familiesontheroad.com/

Here is a pic from one of our trips this year, we had a blast!

« Last Edit: December 20, 2006, 04:05:12 PM by Barn Owl » Logged

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Dreamscape
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« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2006, 03:57:55 AM »

Greetings lotsokids,

Can't imagine how you came up with your name! You have a quite a tribe there.

As other have stated an entertainer coach is your best bet, the bigger the better, at least in your situation. At least they are still young and won't take up too much space. Some have even installed small bedrooms in the luggage bays with access through the inside floor.

Half the fun of this busnut stuff is the planning, that does not hurt the pocket book, yet.

Whatever you purchase, Good Luck and enjoy your time with them. One of the best you will ever have.

Many Happy Trails,

Paul

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lotsokids
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« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2006, 07:59:23 AM »

Thank you for all the great posts/links!†
A few more questions, if I buy an entertainer coach does that mean it is not an RV or can I get it re-titled as an RV? Or does that mean I just have to get a CDL?†
Are you allowed to tow vehicles in places like california where I think I read the 45' limit on length if you purchase a 45' bus?†

Also, as to Captain Ron's Question, we live in new hampshire.   Jatnip, I wish we had some singing talents, that sounds like a lot of fun!

Thanks again!
« Last Edit: December 20, 2006, 08:13:00 AM by lotsokids » Logged
Lee Bradley
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« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2006, 08:09:58 AM »

..and do consider a bay as a bedroom.
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lotsokids
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« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2006, 08:24:53 AM »

The bay bedroom idea sounds great, I haven't yet searched all the sites you all have been so nice to provide me, but does one of those have an example or can you post a link?
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Lee Bradley
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« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2006, 08:29:43 AM »

Check this site. Moose Creek MotorCabins builds bay bedrooms.
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