My enthusiasm at finding what looks like an almost perfect bus for our conversion has substantially dampened since the initial euphoria hit a couple of days ago. I have no delusions about what we are embarking upon and most days, the excitement far outweighs the apprehension over how much there is to learn about owning and converting a bus. We're giving ourselves over 2 years to complete the project for several reasons, the extremely sharp learning curve being one of them. However, we've already hit the first of what I feel should be speed bumps but instead feel like road blocks.
Number One Question right now? How to legally and affordably move the bus back to Edmonton. Since it runs (and since towing starts at $150/hr plus per km fees) you would think driving it is the most obvious and logical option, but nothing ever comes easy...
How does one go about insuring a partially converted school bus, you wonder? Apparently, one doesn't. At least not without a whole lot of grief. So far, the insurance brokers I've spoken with have come up empty handed, save for one quote of $550 to insure it for 3 days with an "in transit" sticker. Bloody !%$#%@$ hell?????? I almost choked when she said that, and so far I haven't really gotten any clear answers from anyone else on exactly what is required to reclassify the vehicle from a bus to an RV. According to Registries, I just come in and register an RV- simple as that - and it's the insurance company we have to convince; so then the insurance lady said, well, no - it's a bus and we can't insure it as a motorhome until it's reclassified. RECLASSIFIED BY WHO, lady?!?!!?
And, because it is over 15 years old, we need to get a safety inspection report completed. It's a different safety inspection (supposedly?) than one for commercial/passenger use. We can't insure the bus without an inspection, but we can't move the bus to get it inspected without having it insured. WTF, people? So now we are in the process of trying to find someone who can do the inspection on-site. For a reasonable price.
Our finances took a pretty big hit when our windshield got swhacked out by some two-bit thug last week, which means that there is very little room to budge within the budget right now. The current bus owner also forgot to mention that he practically took off the entire rear bumper with a track hoe at some point, so we are hoping that it a) doesn't fail inspection because of it and b) will give us lots of room to negotiate the price of the bus. That rear windshield done cost us $670 freakin' bucks of, "Why no, that's not insured because it's not a side window and therefore isn't classified as a break in under the theft portion of your policy..." I swear we cannot make that shit up. Verbatim, from Bill's mouth to my ears, courtesy of the same agent who quoted us $550 for 3 days worth of insurance!!! (FWIW, that works out to $66,916/year. Bullshit!)
At this point, we have put a deposit down in good faith, to hold the bus while we get it safety inspected (by whom and how I have no clue) and find someone who will insure it as an RV without raping us on the price so we can get the bugger up to Edmonton. Providing there aren't any holes rusted through the bus frame, as a vehicle previously owned and maintained by the government I'm feeling fairly confident that it will pass inspection with relatively little difficulty despite its age, but the naysayers love to plant that seed of doubt. "Oh, no - it'll never pass..." they say. Thanks but no thanks for your negativity, jackasses.
Anyway. After an exhaustive search for someone in a forum somewhere with more wisdom than I on the matter, all I managed to do was find provincial policy. Here is all the fun stuff you could ever want to know about Alberta Transportation vehicle standards and here is all the fun stuff you could ever want to know about what (supposedly) has to be inspected on the bus if it's an RV for private use and not commercial.
I reiterate, I realize there will be stuff that needs fixing up on the bus, but we need the bus in Edmonton to do that, don't we? Without a safety inspection we cannot get insurance, without insurance we cannot register, without registration we cannot hit the road... Hence, while I'm finding it difficult to get straight answers, I'm finding it even more difficult to not feel frustrated and discouraged. Wish us luck in the insurance quote and on-site inspection dept tomorrow. I'm crestfallen. And this before we have even figured out how to move the fence in our backyard so we can work on her without having to drive to someone's acreage. ~le sigh~
So, if anyone knows a guy who knows a guy who knows how to get things done and can get us an insurance quote on a "Class A 43ft Bluebird RV with an approximate value of $5000" or will do an on-site safety inspection less than 10kms outside of Calgary proper, please get in touch with me ASAP. @%^%@$#!!!!
On a more cheerful note, we stopped in at Peter's for a quick bite and PAID WITH DEBIT. Yay for debit a Peter's and a pineapple chocolate milkshake!!!