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Step 2: Passport and Making an Offer on the Bus

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Posted on : 10:13 AM | By : Nic | In : , , ,

So on Sunday I got everything sorted and priced for our garage sale next weekend, because we want to raise a little bit more money for this project. Then yesterday (Monday) John and I took the bus to Victoria to expedite his passport application. In order to cross the border into the U.S. we have to have that now, and he's flying on the 2nd or 3rd of August. We just had Rainn with us and she slept most of the time, we walked around the harbour and visited MEC where we looked at enamelware and baby backpacks and underwear. Then we had a smoothie and got back on the bus for Nanaimo.

One other good thing that happened is that we got some of the money back for the repair of the Range Rover. It's a long story but after we paid for new head gaskets it still spewed coolant and then they told us we needed an brand new engine. What!??? Needless to say we felt scammed since they told us they would fix it and took all of our savings to do so. We ended up giving them the Rover and getting about half of our head gasket money back, and I think we're pretty fed up with cars. We do have to borrow one this weekend for John's air brake class (you can't drive air brakes without a certificate) which he will write about later.

When we were in Victoria we made the offer on the bus we wanted. We looked at so many buses. Amazingly in Canada finding a used bus is next to impossible. Maybe it's just were we live, but even the ones we did find were over $10,000. That's way over our budget, so the next option was eBay. We originally were going to go to a bus auction in PIttsburgh, PA that was advertised on eBay to get an Amtran International bus for only $2500 US. But, we found out you can't import an Amtran into Canada. You can only import Blue Bird and Thomas buses, which is probably good because the engine on the Amtran was a Ford anyway. So we looked at their Blue Birds and they were very short... only 36 feet. Hmmm.... so then we looked at one that I originally wanted:



This one is 40 feet long, and was a customized as a skier transport at the Lake Tahoe ski resort. Not only does it have 4 more feet, it has half the mileage of a regular school bus and has some major parts replaced. One of the major benefits to me was that is is only 1400 miles away, rather than 4300 miles away. When you move a bus long distance you have to get a moving permit in every state you go through (I'm not sure if that is a Canadian thing or if its for everybody). From Pittsburgh he would have had to do that for 9 states, and from Tahoe it will be 3 states. The other trip took about 6 days, and this one take 3. Does it save us any money? Not really, because we spend more on the bus.

After picking up the bus and paying for it, we will already have spent about $7000 Canadian ($6300 US). Admittedly we now have some major appliances and sinks and a tub for the bus (plus whatever else we can salvage) out of the RV, a ladder, a compressor, jumper cables and we'll have a bus. Then we have budgeted about $5-8000 more for the conversion.

Some may wonder where all this money comes from. We are a young family and we really don't make a lot in the grand scheme of things. We just live very, very cheaply, with no debt. We supplement our rent by having people live with us, we have very few monthly bills (just utilities and internet and phone, no cable), no car payment, and now no insurance payment either. We still put money away into savings, and we eat healthy and without getting unnecessary snacks besides cheap vegetables and fruit. This allows us to have more money at the end of the month to do whatever we want with. It takes a lot of self-discipline but with a definite goal it becomes easier.

So that's the bus! Whohooo!

EDIT: The bus is 42 feet, giving me even more space than I thought.

EDIT AGAIN: Turns out the other bus was actually 34 feet, so I really have 8 extra feet. Also I goofed on my mileage/kilometers. Lake Tahoe is 1000 miles away (1600 km) and Pittsburgh is 2600 miles (4300 km). I think I was really, really excited when I wrote this, lol.

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