A Year in the Bus

Published by on December 1, 2017 at 11:14 am

November 11 marked one year of being on the road and living out of the bus!! So here is a list of questions (and answers) that we get asked a lot, now that we have been in the bus for some time.

What are your favorite places

We have seen a lot of cool places, but Zack and I really love Montana. We have visited there before and then we spent the largest amount of time there this year (about 12 weeks total). The Beartooth Wilderness is incredible as well as Hylalite Lake region.

Timberline Lake

My favorite hike was the hike to Timberline Lake. I also got super jelly when I saw the pictures Zack brought back from his Pine Creek Lake hike. I got a little less jelly when he described the hike to me. 

Zack and Lola (the blur) at Pine Creek Lake

Knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently

Meh, not much. The only thing we have really learned by being home for a few months is how much money we can save by being stationary. I think next year we are going to try to not be all over the place.  In one year, we have been to 19 states!

You always talk about the good. What about the bad

  • Most, if not all, of the bad comes from bus breakdowns & repairs. They are usually untimely and can be expensive. Everyone always wants to talk about how cheap bus life can be, and it can. However if your bus is mobile, you have to be prepared. Here are a list of repairs we have had to make since January, while on the road:
    • New tires & brake drum
    • Bus batteries
    • Alternator
    • Starter
    • Fuel filter
    • part of a diesel line
    • some fuses & lights
    • probably other things that I have blocked from memory
  • Deadlines. A few times this year, we have needed to stick to deadlines, which just makes it a little more difficult sometimes. Ideally we like to get wherever before a deadline in case of the unexpected (see above) and to scope out the area. In Idaho, we couldn’t find any good bus parking where we could get a good signal, so we ended up paying for a campground for a week. It’s not ideal but we always use it as one of our backup plans. Parking lots have also become a good short term backup plan. Also, we miss things/places that we might otherwise stop to explore. 

What do you miss being on the road

Honestly, not too much. But, in no particular order: regular amazon deliveries, family & friends, good sushi, a freezer, and running hot water

Thanksgiving with Zack’s family

What’s your favorite thing about having a home on the road?

You know that feeling when you’ve been on vacation for a week and you think, 

Man, this has been great but I can’t wait to go back home and sleep in my own bed, be in my own house, see the pup…

We get the exciting feeling of traveling and exploring but don’t have miss the comforts of our home.  

What next

We plan to attend the next Skooliepalooza gathering in January. We always have a list of places we want to go, but as always, we will see where the road takes us. Long term, we want to purchase land to park the bus.

But as of this morning, our bus has been in the shop for about a month with hits that just seem to keep coming. It looks as though we will have to wait until Stormy is all fixed and re-evaluate. 

Is speed your favorite movie now?

It’s up there, but not the favorite.

When are you coming back to the East Coast?

When the bus stops sucking up all our extra funds.😓 

If you want to ask more questions in the comments, I will answer them and update the post. 

How much would you say the bus “repairs/maintenance funds” should be?

From our own experience, I would say you need at least $2500 for simple things that break down along the way. If you do the work yourself maybe less.

Our biggest expense since we’ve on the road was having all 6 of our tires replaced with brand new tires out in Phoenix and that ran us $3200. That was by choice, having one replaced would have been around $600.

If you can, I would argue a fund of $5000-$10,000 for anything BIG that comes along the way. Diesel shops aren’t cheap and they’ll be who is working on your bus if you have an issue.

Of course all of this depends on the size, year, how much you travel, etc. of the bus. If you are towing a car, then you might want to up it as that will come with more maintenance costs. This is just our best guess/goals for ourselves.

A born and raised Arkansan, Annie has always had the desire to get out and travel. To explore new places and experience new things. It wasn't until she was in college that she really discovered her love for the outdoors: biking, hiking, kayaking. Growing restless with her 8-5 job in a cubicle she and Zack were looking for ways to get more fulfillment out of their lives and to do what they really loved. So what better way than to buy a school bus and travel the country!

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