We had the land. The next question was how to get a structure on it so we could stay there.
I thought about a camper. I would only be able to afford an older one. I knew that it would likely be prone to mouse infestations. The winds can be high in our area and I don’t think the thin metal of a camper would hold up in the long run.
Then, we discussed a Tuff Shed. Funny, right? Have you seen the tiny house movement? It’s a great idea. Our original plan was to save for a 10×12 Tuff Shed with a loft and make it into a small cabin. As we were saving our mo, we started researching county laws and found out that in order to have a shed on your land, you first need a permanent structure of 600 sq. ft., a septic system, and a well. Crap.
I work for a non-profit and have four kids. Most days I have lint and pennies in my pocket. The pennies mark a good day. Realistically, the pennies are actually half-chewed breath mints that my kids put back in my pocket. Putting that much money into a piece of land so we could stay the night was absolutely cost-prohibitive. We had to back up and punt.
I started looking into school buses. Why? Structurally, school buses are built to roll. That was idea number one. They’re built well and rust isn’t much of an issue out here. Number two? The county can’t tax you on a mobile structure. And it’s my right to park my vehicles on my property. The taxes on the land are currently $75 a year. I’d like to keep it that way.
I found a group of 1986 GMC Bluebird school buses for sale on craigslist in Elbert, which is a long drive from where we live. We went and looked at them anyway. They were all fleet maintained school buses, each with their individual problems, from bald tires to cracked bell housings. That didn’t matter much to me, as the plan was to get the bus to the land and leave it there. I gave the guy $2,800 and got behind the wheel of a school bus for the first time. Mind you, I’m not licensed to drive one.
By the time I hit the town of Parker, I knew there was something wrong with me. I have lots of food allergies and thought I was having a reaction to something I ate. My lips, hands and feet were numb. I pulled over and my wife started giving me water and told me to walk. In ten minutes, I felt better. Turns out, the old bus had a biblical-sized exhaust leak. I opened all of the windows and the slider door and drove home.
The conversion was……fun. I really can’t say that enough. I spent about 40 hours and $400 on the conversion.
Next up: The Conversion.
Mike, Oscar, Hotel….out.