Years (decades) ago B was researching full time RVing for when he retired from the military and he and his late wife could “hit the road”. In the process he discovered that all the serious full timers were bailing on traditional RV’s and building or having built, custom RV’s out of bus chassis for ONE REASON….. motor homes at the time we designed to be taken out 4-6 times a year on a few hundred mile’s trek to a camping spot and parked in storage the rest of the year. 10 years in, the customer would “upgrade” and never realize that they’d bought a POS. Put that same RV on the road full time and 6 months to a year in it was falling apart.
Fast forward to 2015 or so. B has S convinced to think about hitting the road at retirement but she’s not sure. So they buy a used trailer that their 1/2 ton Dodge pickup is supposed to be able to haul. A few trips to the coast and a 100 mile tow home and it’s time for a bigger truck. The Dodge will do it but it’s maxed out. Enter an F350 with a 7.3 Turbo, International Harvester engine, 6 speed manual transmission, and a 9′ low profile utility bed (the type with all those doors on the side). This thing will pull whatever they want … and that’s a 40′ 5th wheel when its time to retire.
Alas, some water damage on the 5th wheel and B starts looking into how to repair it. He stumbles upon a YouTube channel called “RV ROOF INSTALL” and is AMAZED to discover that nothing has changed in the RV manufacturing industry except to be even more shoddy in construction and useful life. Year old $80,000 RV’s are coming in with thousands of dollars in damage from leaking roofs; the internal construction is revealed during the repairs and things like gluing the entire back outside wall to a piece of cardboard come to light.
The decision is MADE! It’s going to be a bus conversion and the search is on thus bringing the Skoolie movement to light for B & S. No longer are Skoolies ONLY the stuff of “dope smoking hippies” (they’re out there but are not the only ones) but retired couples, professional families, and everyone in between. They run the gamut from an air mattress on the floor and sheets hung over the windows to super high tech off grid family machines like the Broccoli Bus that supports a family of 6 and never has to plug into the electrical grid even though they sport air conditioning, washer, dryer, and all the other amenities.
So the search, and the research, was on. After hundreds of hours of YouTube videos on tiny homes and Skoolies, roof raises, how to’s, and the like, we started putting together our “build file” with all the components, prices, links, etc. including tools, raw materials, kits, etc.
Some of the greatest resources out there as far as we are concerned:
Wes of Transcend Existence and the skills he demonstrated helping others with roof raises, body work, transitions, etc. To be honest, we got more out of other’s videos that he was in than anything else but this dude has MAD SKILLS.
Brian and Erin with their BEAP channel documenting their entire build including skylights, a round shower, underside storage construction, and more!
And Juan, with a family of six, on the “Beginning from this Morning” channel where they’ve built an awesome rig our of a 1964 GM bus like Greyhound would use. Don’t miss their awesome double deck of solar panels that slides out a second layer of panels when they’re parked. I have to say that Juan is the reason S has imposed a major build criteria…… 24/7 A/C capability without shore or gen power….. ouch but HEY, Juan and others have shown it’s doable.
And now here we are…..patiently (cough, choke, gag) waiting on Vermont to process our RV registration as we begin the demo work. Okay we got the VT registration, plates, and re-designation as a motor home back after about 8 weeks. You can find a tutorial HERE on the web or PART 1 and PART 2 of our YouTube videos on that process.