9 On A Bus

Rev. Charles Cain says: “I don’t know these folks, but I found their story to be pretty inspiring.” How would you like to convert an old school bus into a RV and than travel with a family of 9 across the country?

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain

Check out their story here.

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Tim - June 10, 2010 Reply

This is so very cool! I just found out about tiny houses in the last 6 months, and since then I have been addicted to anything like this that people live/play in, there is a site I found, it may even be listed here somewhere, Kent would probably know, it is called mrsharkey.com, and it has almost everything you would ever want to know about converting a bus into a livable space, and the real live stories of people that are living fulltime, and/or just useing their bus for a rec vehicle. It is my second favorite web site after the tinyhouseblog. I hope you enjoy many years in your bus, I am sure it will make for some fantastic memorys for the entire family!

Alex - June 10, 2010 Reply

I love the Mark Twain quote and this bus is really cool!! They did a great job on the bus. What an amazing family–awesome find Kent!

Stan - June 10, 2010 Reply

Converting a school bus into a RV is looking more and more appealing. I’m sure buses don’t have good insulation so in colder climates it would be impossible to live in but if you live somewhere that is warm all year around it would be good to live in.

    Melissa - June 26, 2010 Reply

    Actually, our bus was comfortable in the winter. We stayed in places that got below 20 degrees at night and our one rooftop heater did the job. Of course that is because my husband put insulation in the walls, sealed the holes well, and insulated the floor. It would have conserved more heat if we had closed in the ceiling but we opted for head room. We saw someone during our travels that used solor panals in his bus. Great option!!

Bill - June 11, 2010 Reply

Nice work on the bus. It looks like a great way to travel around and room enough for all. I bet they are having a great time traveling around.

    Melissa - June 26, 2010 Reply

    Our bus is very comfortable and we had a great time touring the USA. Thanks for all the kind words.

Benjamin - June 11, 2010 Reply

Definitely not ecological: poor insulation unless you thicken walls and double-pane the windows (very expensive), very poor gas mileage, probably high pollution due to diesel engine (probably old with few emission controls -fixable, but again, very expensive.)

This may be fun, and not too bad if you stay put and don’t travel much, but not my idea of following most of the tiny house principles.

Elisabeth - June 11, 2010 Reply

Benjamin – poor miles per gallon, but I’m sure if you took a look at miles per gallon per capita compared to a Prius or similar vehicle towing a trailer mounted tiny house, it would be about the same.

The ‘tiny house principles’ you ascribe by might not even be close to the reasons why this family has converted this bus, but it is still a very cost conscious and economical way to travel for a large family, as compared to hotels/multiple vehicles/flying, etc. Things that seem easy for families with 2-3 kids just get a bit crazy when you add in 7 kids! Practicality often trumps other concerns.

    Melissa - June 26, 2010 Reply

    Hi Elisabeth,
    We usually get 8 to 10 miles to gallon which compares to RV’s about the same size. The reason we chose the bus for our “tiny house” was that we purchased it for $700 and because we recycled item from other campers/motorhomes like doors, sink, toliet, holding tanks, etc. the total cost was less than $4500.00. By designing the bus to fit our large family, it made our “tiny house” feel bigger plus we had tons of storage. Compared to the alternatives this was a no brainer for our family. One trip to the beach for a week would set us back a minimum of $1200.00 off season.
    Thanks for your understanding. Things that we did when we had 2 children are just not as easily done with 7. We live practically, minimally, and realistically, with Joy. It is never dull in our “tiny house”.

Cheryl - June 12, 2010 Reply

looks comfortable and good to me.

alice - June 12, 2010 Reply

Great conversion, looks very liveable. I don’t think there’s only one set of ‘tiny house principles’ per se, just a general philosophy that varies in application. Some people are absolute minimalists, others need a lot of ‘stuff’ to do what they like to do; some are mobile, some stationary; some bigger, some smaller. Many tiny house people believe it isn’t necessary to live in a way that consumes vast quantities of resources but some may just see it as an aesthetic choice. If the people living in the bus use a lot more resources to get around they are still using a lot less in other areas, so it needs to be looked at in a balanced way. If you assign credits for various resource uses based on the complete life cycle of everything used from extraction to manufacturing to consumption to disposal (which I’m sure somebody somewhere has already done)you could come up with a total of what each ‘lifestyle’ choice truly costs. Given a total budget of ‘lifestyle credits’ you could pick and choose which ones suit best and still stay within a reasonable footprint.

Monica McLaughlin - August 11, 2010 Reply

I lived on a bus for a summer when I was 18 years old. (I am now 52.) It was a great space (especially for one person) and very economical. I can’t remember why I ever left. I am now working my way back to that bus. Well, maybe not that particular bus, but the lifestyle.

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