My Mobile Tiny Home Adventure begins when a word from God was received loud and clear in 2018 (you can read about it here) and I was blessed to receive more than I expected from my insurance claim on my greenhouse that was destroyed during Hurricane Michael.
While I was waiting for my awesome renter’s insurance company, State Farm, to process my claim for my greenhouse, I began the search for my new home-to-be.
MY ORIGINAL PLAN – A SKOOLIE
The plan was to convert a retired school bus into a traveling home, aka a Skoolie. This would allow me a comfortable place to live while I made my way around the US.
It wasn’t until I actually started to think about what I wanted to do when I hit the road; where I planned to go; then where to park it once I got there, that the idea of a Skoolie started to look like NOT such a good idea.
After reading many blogs, watching countless YouTube videos and a few documentaries, I began to see that people/places could be very prejudice against an old school bus that has been given new life.
I don’t have a problem with them, and would love all the extra room in one, but there were a few things I had to think long and hard about before jumping onboard the Big Yellow School Bus… like:
A CHALLENGE TO STAY IN RV PARKS / CAMPGROUNDS
So my plan is to take it easy out in the wilderness in the beginning, boondocking in the mountains and desert, just living a nomads life for a while and rent free in order to pay off some debt.
But there will be times when I want to go into a city so I can do an occasional freelance job or go to various dance events or festivals.
What I found in my research was that there are a number of places that frown upon converted buses like they are the black sheep of the family.
They don’t allow them to stay in their parks for various, not directly said discriminating reasons.
This could definitely put a damper on which cities I would be able visit during my travels, resulting in possibly a missed job or a dance never had.
So, I’m not sure about this one…
A yellow flag has been raised in the park…
DRIVING IN THE CITY
I’m also not real sure I’m up for driving a school bus in New York City when I decide to visit the Big Apple, or any other large metro area.
I will need to go into cities and town from time to time to stock up on supplies regardless. This would require me taking my Skoolie into various towns each time to do so.
Caution: There’s an orange cone in the road!
PARKING & STAYING IN THE CITY
There are lots of people who say to go “stealth” and just park on the street. Problem is, each city is going to have it’s own laws of when and where you can park a bus.
This could result in debates, with those who are against the Skoolie or law enforcement, about the legitimacy of my new home on wheels. I could also be looking at knocks on the door at 3am telling me to move for whatever reason.
You have to also take into account the part about trying to FIND a place to FIT a friggin’ school bus. Then hope it’s still parked there when you get back or it doesn’t have a ticket or boot on it!
BONK BONK! Big RED FLAG and flashing lights!
Frankly, I’m not up for all that headache and prefer to avoid those types of situations, if at all possible.
So the decision for a tow behind camper was officially confirmed.
TO FIND THE PERFECT CAMPER
Now that I know what I don’t want to have to deal with along my travels, I turned my sights to find something I could simply hook up to the back of my SUV and go.
This would allow me to transport my new rollin’ home on down the road, as well as park it where it would be “accepted” and not judged. (HA! Maybe hehehe… we’ll see)
And I would still have the freedom to go into the city like any other day.
I started by checking out Pinterest to get my visualization juices flowing of what I liked to help me narrow things down to something that would fit me.
What I ended up choosing, was a Shasta. Keep reading for key points on why.
Here’s some of the items I added to my Glamper Camper board on Pinterest you can check out if you like, there’s some interesting ones out there for sure 🙂 But these are pretty cool…
Just click on my name to see the board
WHY I WANT A SHASTA
There are tons of personalized Shastas out there, and I know that if I had my own to add my personal funky style to it, like I’ve done with numerous other projects, I’d definitely fit in with the groups of Shasta enthusiasts.
THE VINTAGE CAMPER JUST FITS
So this meant that my camper couldn’t be remodeled and it should probably “need a little work”.
This way I wouldn’t feel guilty for gutting something in decent condition in order to put my own personal touches on it and upgrades.
A new camper just wouldn’t do.
I also wanted something that would allow me to actually design it to FIT MY NEEDS.
I don’t want to have to make my life fit into someone else’s design ideas. I’d much rather design around my needs to make my life easier when out on the road.
It might me take a little longer and some elbow grease, but it’s less stress that way in the long run 🙂
So, the goal is as close to a blank canvas as possible.
MY TOW VEHICLE LIMITATIONS
My Mitzubishi Endeavor has a max tow weight of 3,500 lbs.
So with modifications and upgrades of things I want to do, like solar battery banks and water storage for example, I need my starting weight to be next to nothing.
The Shasta camper is very light weight and comes in at 1,200 lbs factory dry weight if it were brand new.
Since I’m looking to gut one and only putting in what I need, it will give me the wiggle room I’m looking for.
SHASTA CAMPER GROUPS
And then… there’s the bonuses…
There are even several groups out there, like Sisters On The Fly, who meet up in their Vintage Campers around the US and hang out together in the great outdoors.
I’m totally all about that, so of course I need a vintage camper right?!! LOL
Now… to find one!
IT WON’T BE THERE TOMORROW
It didn’t take me long to learn, that if you’re looking for a vintage camper these days and find one near you that interests you, DO NOT HESITATE and drop everything to go see it, with cash in hand.
During the time that my claim for the greenhouse was processing WAY before any money even hit my bank account, I was already looking for the perfect Shasta.
I even considered some other small vintage trailers to have on my “list of possible buys” when the money was deposited.
Little did I know, this was far from what would happen.
It was not going to be very easy to find a blank canvas… especially on a budget and living in the middle of BFE Georgia.
It’s not like shopping for a house or a new car.
TONS OF OTHER PEOPLE’S MAKEOVERS
I was able to find quite a few Shastas and similar campers that others had already “remodeled“, that to me, looked like eyesores.
I’d even go so far to say that they probably were not insulated for full-time living either. Just the weekend get away by the lake.
Problem was, they were asking for 2 – 3 times more $$$ than I was willing to pay, since I planned to pull it apart in order to insulate it properly for my use.
Nor do you really know what the framing looks like and if it’s rotted from water damage… UNLESS they had pictures of the remodel showing their work. And this was very rare.
So without that proof, it just wasn’t going to work for me. Finding a near blank canvas was my best option all the way around, but also a huge challenge.
OH! IT “NEEDS WORK”? POOF!
What I saw happen when a “blank canvas” / “needs work” vintage trailer in half-way decent shape hit the online market, absolutely amazed me.
Those little suckers would be gone in a matter of hours max two days and you would be lucky to even hear back from the seller before it was disappeared.
But thank God I found one that actually was in the shop when it was listed!
This meant I knew it had a legitimate mechanic working to it and no one had snagged it yet.
Now, to get there before someone else and inspect it!
Stay tuned! The story continues…