- Written by Patrick Schmidt
That's how long Coyote and her dad, Rodeo, have lived on the road in an old school bus, criss-crossing the nation.
It's also how long ago Coyote lost her mom and two sisters in a car crash.
Coyote hasn’t been home in all that time, but when she learns that the park in her old neighborhood is being demolished―the very same park where she, her mom, and her sisters buried a treasured memory box―she devises an elaborate plan to get her dad to drive 3,600 miles back to Washington state in four days...without him realizing it.
Along the way, they'll pick up a strange crew of misfit travelers. Lester has a lady love to meet. Salvador and his mom are looking to start over. Val needs a safe place to be herself. And then there's Gladys...
Over the course of thousands of miles, Coyote will learn that going home can sometimes be the hardest journey of all...but that with friends by her side, she just might be able to turn her “once upon a time” into a “happily ever after.”
Borrowed from Amazon : "The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise"
My wife was browsing Instagram Tuesday night and came across a bus account (True.North.Bus) which had a caption about a new book they just came across and fell in love with.
A book about road-tripping in a converted yellow school bus? In an International 3800? THAT'S WHAT WE LIVE IN!
Mary went straight to Amazon to check it out and saw the hardcover was on sale for $11.72. She bought it immediately.
Some books have changed my life tremendously and come around but rarely.
"Into the Wild" in 2007.
"The Alchemist" in 2009.
"Planetwalker" in 2013.
"Ishmael" in 2014.
"5 Love Languages" in 2016.
This is one of those life changing books.
“The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise” in 2019 (Buy Book**)
**While we are providing you with an affiliate Amazon link to buy this book, this is in no way a sponsored blog post, nor we are getting paid to promote this book. We genuinely love this novel and want to help the author sell as many copies as possible because he has written something amazing and heart warming. There are no other books like it. We smiled ear to ear as soon as we found it. It's a book about us!**
Two days after ordering the book, it arrived. Mary tore open the packaging, cancelled all her plans, and started reading it immediately.
She started smiling to herself, only two paragraphs into the book. We recently started a fun routine of her reading stories and books to me, because she is a much faster reader than I am. She started reading out loud, until the first chapter was done. We were hooked immediately.
I started working on this article on my laptop in the back bedroom, while Mary continued reading in the living room. Every so often I heard her burst into laughter and a few minutes later heard her sniffle, because she was crying. Then she would laugh again and cry some more. She finished reading it a few hours later.
It is hands down one of the best books we have come across in the last few years. Not too many books have the power to move your soul like the story of Coyote and her dad Rodeo.
“Every mile of the road trip inexorably brings Coyote closer to confronting her past, and its inevitable sadness, but Gemeinhart avoids any sense of mawkishness. He tempers Coyote’s grief with her triumphant growth from a girl whose sole purpose is keeping her father on an even keel to one who realizes that she alone must find, and even fight for, her own happiness.” ―Horn Book
This story hits extremely close to (bus) home. We have not come across ANY stories that relate so much to us, as far as adventuring in a converted school bus is concerned. This is truly a story about US, Bus People, and really solidifies our slogan of "Driving the Miles, Delivering the Smiles."
Little Free Library #82563 - The SkoolieLove Bus
As a Christmas present to my wife, I registered our little bookcase in the front of our Bus as a "Little Free Library"
The bottom two shelves are some of our personal favorites, and the top shelf is a "Take One – Leave One" for those folks we meet during our travels.
We have multiple copies of Into the Wild, The Alchemist, 5 Love Languages, The Shack, Nickel and Dimed, and The Last Lecture because we absolutely love those books, and recommend them to everyone. After reading about Coyote Sunrise, her dad Rodeo, and the friends they meet along their Bus Life Adventure, we cannot wait to fill up our shelves with as many copies as we can find once people catch onto how amazing this book is.
"Sometimes, when you're on the road for a long time, and the highway is humming along underneath you and the sun is shining sideways through the windows and the world is blurring by through the glass, something magical happens. No. "Magical" ain't the right word.
"Magical" feels glittery and fake and cute. This feeling, the one I'm talking about is this: It's a rising up, like you're taking flight and leaving the road behind, like you're in a moment that somehow lifts up free from the rest of your life. In that moment, wherever you just were and wherever you're about to be don't matter one little bit; just for a few breaths, you're everywhere and nowhere, and you can feel your soul touching something big, some kind of truth that's hidden most of the time.
It's like the first time you ride a bike: All at once, out of nowhere, the wobbling world settles down to a thrumming harmony, there's a balance that goes down to your bones, a kind of balance you never knew was there until it came alive all around and inside you; the falling stops and the flying starts and everything just hums, everything just rings true. Its like that, this feeling I'm talking about."
Quote from Chapter 17, Page 127
I have struggled, as a writer, to come up with the "right" and "perfect" words to explain that kind of feeling. And here it was, coming out of my wife’s mouth, as she read this passage out loud. I teared up, as that kind of moment was written exactly as I had felt it before, driving my own International Skoolie bus. The way the moment came together was perfect. Where had I been? Where was I going? Everywhere and nowhere, as I found a hidden truth.
For Parents and Kids
For all current and soon-to-be Skoolie owners, dreamers, and adventure readers - this book is a must-read. A MUST READ!
For those parents who are un-schooling/Bus Schooling/Home Schooling, is this a book for your kids?
It is advertised as being a kid's book, written for ages 9 and up. The mom in the story passes away early, and is a main focal point of the story. The idea of losing a parent is going to be a tough subject for your kids. I do think that the story does an amazing job of explaining it, and has an overall happy and wonderful feeling to it.
However, it's always a great idea to pre-read books like this, to make sure you agree with the message it might give your kids. I would definitely be prepared to have a talk with your child(ren) about questions that might arise about the subject.
Is there a chance you will cry throughout this book? Very likely. It's a book that will move you.
You will love and cherish this book forever. We promise you that!
We are all Coyote and Rodeo, navigating the road of life, looking to find our own happiness. Some of us believe that doing it in a School Bus will help get us there faster. Well, slower, because it's a Bus.
Thank you Dan Gemeinhart for writing this story. For learning and having the ability to move us through your writing. We will all be better off for having read your novel.
Make it a wonderful day everyone!
- Written by Brock Butterfield
A tiny fair showcasing school bus tiny homes.
With the increase in tiny house festivals popping up all over I noticed that many of us skoolie owners where getting asked to come show our school bus conversions. However, the tiny house festivals seem to only focused on tiny homes and the companies who make tiny homes. They also lack in a few of the fun things.
When I decided to create The Bus Fair, at it's core I wanted to see three main things:
- A way for skoolie owners to show their builds
- The option for skoolie owners to sell their art or hand made goods
- Create an after hours environment for those showing their skoolies that brought us all together as a tribe
I've invited 20-30 skoolies to showcase their builds at The Bus Fair. Everything from short, mid-size and full length school buses. The school bus conversions also range in their status of the conversion process. There will be some skoolies that have just been gutted, others that are halfway through and the majority that are completely done. I see this as a way for all of you who are curious about doing your own build to get a real idea of what goes into it and to be able to ask the builders questions. In addition we will also have a couple of professional skoolie builders for you to chat with and get an idea of how much it would cost if you decide to have them do the build for you.
In addition to those core items, The Bus Fair will also have art vendors selling only hand made items that were crafted with passion. Nothing soley produced in the masses overseas. Each art vendor and their product is reviewed prior to being invited to The Bus Fair to ensure attendees have a truly unique experience when browsing the art booths. Interested in being an art vendor? Learn more about it here.
What's a great event without great food? Our food vendors have also been hand selected and taste tested to make sure we're giving you the best chow around. We have a few spots that still need to be filled so if you're interested in having a food truck at The Bus Fair you can fill out an application here.
Guest speakers and workshops
In my travels while living in my skoolie I would get a lot of the same questions such as "How do you make money on the road?" or "How long does it take to convert a bus?" and "How did you figure out how much solar you would need?"
At The Bus Fair we'll be covering these questions and more. I have a handful of skoolie owners who have been on the road for some time now that will be speaking on these topics or leading small workshops.
The little town of Oakridge, OR where the event will be hosted has an abnormal amount of hidden musical talent including a few retired musicians who have been around the globe a few times performing with big name bands. I've rounded up some of my favorites to fill the airwaves with some string strumming ear candy. To see the music line up go here.
Bring your buses, vans, trucks, teepees or bedroll and join the afterhours hangout around the campfire and under some old growth douglas fir and cedars. The sound of the Willamette River tickling camps edge will be all you need to lull you to sleep at night. Camping passes include camping for up to four people and two entry tickets to The Bus Fair on Saturday. For more info check out this page.
Oakridge, OR is known for being the Mountain Bike Capital of the Northwest so don't forget to bring your bikes! But, that's not the only hidden gem in town. There are over 4k miles of dirt logging roads to be explored and if you happen to own a side by side (OHV) you can legally drive them on the streets in town to access restaurants, the Pub and many other businesses in addition to the old logging roads.
Town is only a square mile radius of 2.1 miles and is surrounded by the Willamatte National Forest. With hiking, fishing, fly fishing, waterfalls, Waldo Lake (third clearest lake in the world), mushroom hunting, SUP, kayaking and swimming holes, there's not shortage of recreation to be had.
So join us for year one of The Bus Fair.
Online ticket sales are available and 25% off the normal day of event gate fee. I've even created an ambassador program so that you can essentially go to The Bus Fair for free if you share your unique discount code with friends and family. Get your tickets here and I can't wait to see you at The Bus Fair!
Founder - Bus Life Adventure
- Written by Madi Bowman
What's the IDEAL vehicle for visiting all 59 U.S. National Parks?
Meet the Bowman Family and their converted Shuttle Bus "Buster"
~ By Contributing Writer: Madi Bowman of The American Field Trip ~
"We're hitting the road! With what vehicle?!"
When my husband and I decided that, along with our two kids, we were going to live on the road, we weren't sure which kind of vehicle we'd end up in.
Honestly, the choice to live full-time out of a vehicle seemed pretty easy compared to deciding, once we were settled on doing a stint of road life, which vehicle to choose.
"Now that we've been in [the shuttle bus] full-time for 15 months, we can honestly say that the choice has been perfect for us."
Skoolie? Standard RV? Some kind of Van?
We did tons of research and a lot of pondering before we settled on a shuttle bus, and while our choice wouldn't be right for everyone, we wanted to lay out our thinking in case anyone else is going through the same process.
Our criteria: We wanted something reliable and safe, something in which we could stand up, with enough space to feel livable for a family of four.
Initially, we were most attracted to vans. We liked the stealth, the gas mileage, and the safety, and there are so many resources for van conversions that we were confident the project was doable. We thought we'd go that route and spent most of our time considering whether a Sprinter or Ford Transit would be best. But in our configuring, we just kept running into problems.
The biggest Transit was too small. The Sprinters were a good size, but we weren't thrilled about getting into a Mercedes. We have family members who own FedEx routes and fleets of Sprinters and they unilaterally described Sprinters as problem vehicles.
It seems that once Sprinters get a good bit of mileage on them, they start having a lot of engine problems, and because they're Mercedes, the problems are super expensive to fix. While we know plenty of people who love their Sprinters, we didn't want to get into something that would be so potentially problematic.
We also looked into installing extended fiberglass tops to other types of vans in an attempt to get the Sprinter height with the reliability of another vehicle. But other vans had shorter wheel bases, which meant much less living space.
So we started looking at RVs. They seemed like an obvious choice and still, when we showed people what we were planning with the bus, we were invariably asked some variation of, "So why didn't you just buy an RV?"
So, why didn't you?
Well, for a few reasons. Safety was a big one, especially with the kids. While buses are basically constructed inside a metal cage, RVs are much lighter and less rugged. The kids' seats would probably have been hooked to dinette seats, which vary in their construction, but are frequently much less sturdy than typical car seats.
We're not planning on getting into any fiery crashes, but if we did, we want something that will hold up. I definitely don't think an RV is an irresponsible choice. But knowing how much time we'd be spending on the road, we wanted to be really comfortable with our level of safety.
We also had a hard time finding an RV layout that made sense for us. We wanted to sleep in the same area as the kids, but probably not the same bed, which we couldn't configure in an existing RV layout. We wanted to be able to work comfortably after the kids went to sleep. And we really didn't want a bathroom, so we were hesitant to sacrifice space to one. It might seem odd that a bathroom was on our list of undesirables, but we didn't want to deal with a black water tank or a frustratingly tiny sink, and we definitely didn't want an RV shower.
When you are 6 feet and taller, RV showers are just a special kind of cruel. (But all this about the bathroom would likely be totally different for someone else. I have strong, experience-borne aversions to RV bathrooms that a lot of others don't share. So take it all with a grain of salt.)
We also wanted solar power, good insulation, and a full-sized sink, along with a bunch of other features that weren't totally crucial, but would make it more livable for us.
Basically, we knew if we got an RV we'd have to gut it to get a layout we were really happy with, and if we settled on a layout we didn't love, we'd still want to add enough upgrades that it didn't seem to make sense to invest in an RV in the first place.
So we were down to buses.
We honestly never considered a school bus because as soon as we started looking at buses, we found a wholesale dealer in Arizona and immediately connected about a couple of shuttle bus gems, including the one we ended up with.
School bus conversions look awesome, but we think it would have been a poor choice for us, mostly for time reasons. We had to get our build done in a little over a month and the shuttle bus didn't require any metal work or window replacement.
All in all, we are super happy we ended up with what we did. The shuttle bus isn't perfect, of course, but we loved being able to design and build it to fit our little family. And now that we've been in it full-time for 15 months, we can honestly say that the choice has been perfect for us.
"So many things I love about this little home of ours, but maybe the best thing is that it runs like a dream. We had nightmares about breaking down in the emptiness of West Texas, but Buster chugged on like a champ. He really is a legend."
"Nothing better than being able to take your home along with you wherever you go, to step out your door straight into the most beautiful places on Earth. Also, you can’t beat getting back from a hike and laying down in your own bed, right by the trailhead, for a long afternoon nap"
- Written by Brock Butterfield
The steps required to insure your school bus conversion with links to insurance companies who offer coverage for school bus conversions.
~ Written By: Laura Scothern from Skoolie Nation ~
You converted a skoolie! All systems check out and you're ready to drive away towards unknown adventures, right? Not quite. Obtaining insurance for your liberation mobile can be nearly as daunting as the build. Hopefully our experience of the process outlined below will make legalizing your dream machine less disheartening.
After calling several insurance companies and receiving many rejections, we discovered AIS (Auto Insurance Specialist). With access to multiple insurance providers, AIS makes finding the best coverage and price possible. The following information is our experience with AIS regarding their policies and procedures.
Companies are ever tightening their requirements for Skoolie insurance so having a few things prepared for your potential insurer before calling will really help.
- Your bus must show living quarters similar to an RV. Stovetop, sleeping quarters, and possibly a bathroom space(but not required).
- You cannot live in it full time.
- Your bus must be in good condition. It cannot appear that it is a makeshift job and should meet professional standards. AIS, among other companies may require the bus to have its decals removed and yellow paint covered.
- The insured driver must be a good driver. Our Sales Representative informed me that a policy was denied because the driver had an accident and a ticket in the last 3 years. More than 1 accident will usually result in a decline.
- There is not a big difference from state to state in regards to insurance, other than each state has their own minimum coverage requirements. In Florida any personal injury claim within any 5 year period will usually result in a decline.
- You must have active personal auto insurance and will be asked for proof. This is because they do not want people driving their bus as a primary vehicle (used for work commute or for personal errands).
- The policies available are usually only liability and uninsured motorist protection. They do not offer comprehensive, collision or any contents coverage.
- Wood stoves or the "appearance" of a wood stove and chimney pipe are not allowed.
The following pictures will be required of the interior:
- cooking area
- sleeping area
- bathroom space
After sending those, they requested the following:
- photo from the back of the bus towards front
- photo from the front of the bus towards the rear
View from back of the bus to the front.
View from the front to the back of the bus.
For the exterior they requested the following pictures:
- Both sides
After an entire week of hope and anxiousness, National General became our new insurance provider, freeing us to take our home onward and upward.
There are other insurance companies who will insure bus conversions but will not consider coverage if your bus was previously used for school. If you're in a pinch and need to get insurance quick, Progressive offers insurance online however you will be dropped within two weeks.
AIS also has pre-conversion commercial insurance available. Even if your skoolie is not used commercially, one of these policies may still be possible; however, they are usually slightly more expensive than personal policies. For more information regarding bus conversion insurance, visit the AIS website at:
Below is the contact information of the Sale Representative that we worked with at AIS. Please let him know that Laura Scothern of @skoolienation sent you his way.
Auto Insurance Specialists
Phone: 866-570-7335 fax:866-732-6739