For anyone wandering across this on the Internet, we are a family who lives on the road in a converted utility trailer on public lands, moving every couple weeks or so to be able to pay off debts instead of losing all that money to rent and utilities.
As many of you know we have been saving for years to buy a small school bus to expand our living space. We are able to live in a 6’ by 12’ cargo trailer, but we only chose so small a space because it was all we could afford and manage when we began living on the road to pay off old debts and save our money. It was never meant to be permanent. We were finally able to save enough to both purchase a bus that still had some life in it and make it into a home. This is important to get us enough space for our daughter to grow (we plan for the cargo trailer to become her bedroom all to herself), and for us all to live happily together for the foreseeable future.
Well, we bought a great bus that is in wonderful condition for its age, but a very expensive leak developed in the engine within two weeks of the purchase. Such is the risk of old vehicles, but we had really hoped for a far less expensive first repair. After getting multiple prices and opinions from mechanics, we have found someone who can repair her for a low enough price that we can pay. It is over $9000 dollars for an in-frame rebuild after a thousand dollars spent on towing; that will take our entire remaining savings and then some. Buying another bus is impossibly expensive, and will require new repairs anyway. Returning it to the dealer is also impossible because used service vehicles are purchased on an “as-is” arrangement, and we have checked local laws about that. All this means that we cannot afford to do any construction on the interior even after she's fully repaired, and may not even be able to afford getting it to Nevada for registration (a hard requirement for Nevada residents with severe penalties if not done). If we cannot convert it to some extent soon, we will have to register it as a commercial vehicle, likely even including getting a CDL license, which will be very expensive. Most folks might get a small loan for this, but the debts we have been paying down (largely successfully!) have destroyed our ability to get loans.
Watching all our carefully hoarded funds, hopes and dreams roll away on the tow truck was a greater emotional blow that we can accurately describe. While we had budgeted for some amount of repairs, tires, etc a repair of this scale simply couldn't have been anticipated and was carefully screened for when we test-drove and examined it at the dealers.
We have scaled back our expectations drastically, and it won’t take much to get us to where we can get this registered and insured legally (which also will require more conversion since the registration and insurance must match—it is now insured as a commercial vehicle for personal use). We could use your help, and we will provide little rewards for those who do in the form of post cards, souvenirs or homemade confections.
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