My wife and I purchased the bus from a dealer in Phoenix Arizona. We drove the bus to Flagstaff, where we spent 2 years building it and then hit the road. Over the course of the next 4 years, we traveled to New Mexico, then back to Arizona, and ultimately to California, where we have resided in the bus (Grace) for the past 3 years. We have used Grace to travel and live in while doing mostly volunteer work for several different Faith Based Substance Abuse Programs. Grace has made this mission of ours possible, but now we must return home to Arizona to be with our family.
Grace is a 1997 BlueBird All American, with a Cummins 8.3 Diesel and an Allison MT643. This engine and transmission combo has been great, with no issues traveling at 70 MPH on the freeway. The lockup transmission keeps the tranny cool and maximizes efficiency. The mileage is less than 180K. We had the bus serviced before arriving in California, fluids and filters changed and 4 rear tires replaced. The bus has been driven less than 1000 miles since then.
The cabinetry is all built from 2×3 and 2×4 lumber. No corners were cut and the build is very secure and strong. It has more of a Lake Cabin feel to it than a Posh New York Apartment. And that was obviously by design. The curtains and curtain rods are also hand made and overbuilt. The dinette table was salvaged from an antique table.
The plumbing is all PEX, and the water storage consists of 3 50 gallon chassis-mounted tanks and 2 50 gallon gray water tanks, also mounted under the bus.
The 100 pound DOT approved horizontal propane tank is also mounted under the bus, and has a cage around it for protection.
The electric system consists of 4 300 watt roof-mounted panels, 2 60 Amp MPPT controllers, 5 220 AH sealed batteries, and a 3000 Watt Wagan Pro Inverter. The AC system consists of a shore receptacle, an 80 amp panel with 4 20 amp breakers, and many outlets conveniently arranged in the living quarters. There are numerous 12 volt USB charging ports as well. The batteries are about 6 years old, and may have some diminished capacity, but still take and hold a charge very well. We spent the entire month of July 2021 off grid, and did not change our power usage. A TV, multimedia server, laptops, lighting, microwave, coffee maker and more were operated daily with no issues.
The compost toilet is a Natures Head, and is vented through the floor. The solids need to be emptied about every 2-3 weeks. I use coco coir and diatomaceous earth as a media. The urine is collected in a separate container and dumped as needed.
The fridge is a Dometic and runs off AC/DC/ or Propane.
The Suburban 40K BTU Furnace runs on 12V and propane.
The Amana Gas range is full size, not an RV model. I love to cook and could not be satisfied with a small 3 burner RV range.
The 10 gallon Atwood water heater runs on 110 or propane.
The shower walls are built on a 2×4, plywood and cement board base. I used 2 coats of Red Guard to seal and prevent any cracking of tile or grout. The shower floor is also tile, laid atop a hand formed mortar bed about 3” thick, also Red Guarded.
Grace has two Maxxair 7000 Fans mounted in the ceiling. These do a great job, working in tandem, to pull or push fresh air in the bus. They can be operated via set point with the remotes, or just used manually. The can be operated even when it is raining outside. There is also a range hood that exhausts outside, which is really needed for cooking fumes and to prevent moisture build up.
The standard bus door was replaced with a residential steel door, and I added a window in it for visibility.
The rear window was removed carefully from the frame and a new double pane sliding window put it its place. This provides amazing ventilation when used with the fans, or even with just a few forward windows open. All the windows have screens to keep the bugs out.
There is a ton of storage in the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and the battery storage area. The batteries and furnace are both accessible from the side emergency exit. This area was boxed in to create a sort of utility room. Also, the spare tire storage area is a great place to store things, as I do not have a spare.
The bus is very comfortable and seems way bigger inside than possible. We have thoroughly enjoyed building it, living in it, and showing it off to friends and guests. But alas, the time has come for a change. We need to move back to Arizona, where we have a home we have not lived in for 8 years. If we had property in Az., We would drive it home and use it as a guesthouse, or a cool AirBnB, or?
Now comes the asking price. We are going to start the ask price at 62,500. We came up with his figure looking at comparable finished buses on other sites. Follow the links below for a few videos as well. One is a 1 minute brief tour, and the other is a 12 minute or so semi detailed build video.
It is possible that the bus can be left where it is after you purchase it. My landlords may be open to the right tenant moving in . The bus sits on some acreage and the property is very nice.
Brief Video Overview
Longer, more detailed build video.