5. Creating a bus blueprint

We worked on a list of things we wanted in the bus, thinking of comfort, space, and functionality and then Rich created a working floor plan on Auto CAD.  We also used a graph paper notebook to take detailed notes on dimensions of various appliances and furniture that we liked.   All of this amounted to our scraping several intial ideas for others–leading us closer to the construction.  Before this process we had bought appliances at a ‘going out of business’ sale–to later realize that if we had created an accurate floorplan, we wouldn’t have spent money on items that were too large for the space. Therefore it is important to do the research and keep a log of your findings, setting up an organized way of determining what you will need in your home.

4. Insurance & Registration

After the bus was purchased we had to get insurance and registration. We were able to get the bus insured as a “bus conversion” through GMAC insurance. Word to the wise: GMAC is the only insurance company out there that will insure a vehicle like this, so the rules are tricky.

The bus was considered an automobile by the Department of Motor Vehicles. This is an important distinction because if someone at DMV thinks you are using your vehicle for commerical use they will require you to have a Class C license. So make sure it is registered as an automobile.  Also, when you have certain amenities in your mobile vehicle such as a tub, toilet, bed–this will constitute RV status to the DMV meaning you will want to go in and change your status with DMV from an automobile, to RV. They will require that you show them the inside of your mobile vehicle to recieve the status. The reason this is important is that RVs get home owners rights, which is helpful for taxes and credit.  Also the police cannot search your vehicle without a warrant when it has RV status.  This is an issue for those who live in a mobile home, automobiles can be searched with probable cause (police discretion).  Know your rights and protect them.

3. Where do you find a bus?

It was difficult to find a bus in California. There are  laws that prohibit the reselling of these vehicles which make them very expensive to acquire. We decided to search far and wide for a bus, and finally came across a website, Western Bus Sales based in Boring, Oregon.


On their site there was a bus that seemed to fit all our requirements: Diesel (for converting to veggie/biodiesel) engine, 4oft. long, low mileage, reasonably priced.

We contacted Donna at Western Bus Sales, if we came out to Oregon she would make us a deal. So we left California and within a day we had a used bus in our possesion.

2. A bus is the right shell for us.

We did quite a bit of research on mobile vehicles and came to the conclusion that a bus was the best option for us to live in. Buses are maintained with scrupulous attention and are generally used for short trips so they have relatively low mileage.  Buses are also built with steel framing, unlike most RVs, making them very strong and less likely to be totalled in an accident.  A bus would  allow us to have a blank canvas in terms of designing the interior  this would ensure our ability to maximize the space and functionality. The shell conformed to our lives versus us conforming to it.

Project Orientation

1. Live in a bus together; build a home, own property, design a lifestyle of independence and innovation.

Many people have wondered why we would start such a project, the same reasons people decide to buy a home together or start a family–love.  Deciding our home would be in a bus was secondaryand related to wanting to own our home, produce all of our neccessities of living and have the option to go where we wanted.  For these reasons living would be a creative endeavor always presenting solvable challenges. So we start our fortunate adventure.