Admittedly I still really do not know what a Vansteader is, only that it has something to do with extending your homesteading lifestyle to the road. This is an ideal we share so when I first read about it I knew we had to be one.
The white transit bus is our second bus that we purchased for camping. Our first was an actual yellow short bus and you can imagine the jokes we got. Really there is nothing like pulling into a camping slot next to a million dollar RV in your 1991, diesel school bus. There was even one time we pulled in that our new neighbors immediately moved out to a slot just across the way. That trip we had some temporary curtain rods duct-taped to the inside walls so maybe a little tacky, but hey we’re really nice people – no need to run.
I would have kept the yellow bus simply for the effect, but with irreparable body rot (out of my price range) it just wasn’t worth it. Last year when our German Shepherd Mikko died we donated the sale proceeds to a NorCal Shepherd Rescue. Mikko broke in the little yellow school bus with me when he was a puppy and guarded me at night when I slept there by myself.
So why would someone buy an old bus for camping instead of say, a camper? Personally I could not justify shelling out more that 3 or 4 grand total for something to camp in, and the RVs in that price range are pretty ragged. By ragged I mean mildewy carpet, broken appliances, and unreliable gas engines.
In contrast, the school bus and now the transit bus both have substantial diesel engines that are “barely broken in” after 150,000 miles. For long road trips through the desert or fleeing the Great Zombie Apocalypse, I really like having the extra assurance that I’m not running on borrowed time. The bus is a simple, reliable, semi-industrial piece of transportation equipment and has all kinds of Slick Mod Potential. We don’t have to worry about the large dogs tearing it up, and it has plenty of open room to build the rig that suits us. It also runs on bio-diesel.
The site that brought a respectful formality to our otherwise wacky and misunderstood project, was Heidi and Mike’s Vansteader’s page. The site has plenty of Mobile Living tips and links, and they have a second site called Vantramps. I think they each get one website or something, that’s a cute couple thing to do. 😉
We have several notebook pages of projects to do for the bus to complete its road worthiness for longer trips. It works great today, but we want to have a Vanstead and not just a Van. With additions like solar power, gas mileage tweaks, vegan raw kitchen capability and guitar storage, it will be our minimalist homestead-away-from-homestead.
Thanks Heidi and Mike for introducing us to the Official terminology and improving our status to Honorary Vansteaders. Now when people look at it funny and ask if it’s a bus-camper, we can say, “haven’t you ever heard of Vansteading?”
Honorary Vansteaders by Brad Rowland is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.