Traveling Cook, Traveling music artist!!

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#1
Hey all!!

In about six months I will be traveling from Grand Rapids, MI to.......well........anywhere. My goal is to explore nature, cook while on the road at various restaurants and promote my music!

I'm debating on what kind of vehicle I should get between $2500 to $4000! Maby a van? Jeep? Bus?
Or say screw it and just use my bicycle and take off. I am familiar with backpacking, minimalism and biking!

Does anyone know of anyone or have any ideas of how I as a cook can create a business where I can pop into a kitchen for a day maby a few days or a few weeks then move on to the next city?? Maby as an independent contractor???

I'm a little nervous and could use some wisdom and encouragement!!!

Thanks everyone!!
 

highwayman

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#2
https://lansing.craigslist.org/cto/d/lansing-1979-toyota-sunrader/6775982231.html

This thing seems sort of beat but it may have just the Mad Max vibe & lots done already. If you had a budget of $4k total, theres a chance that this think could be sweet. I bet you could get it for $1k too. Get the body work done to salvage the doors then pimp out the interior. I bet you could also recruit some of your friends & or STPers to help get it all pimped out.
What ya think @zim


https://flint.craigslist.org/cto/d/north-branch-van/6782374258.html
https://windsor.craigslist.org/rvs/d/windsor-1981-chevy-mini-motorhome/6757144968.html
https://flint.craigslist.org/cto/d/bay-city-1992-ford-e350-ambulance/6782021446.html (diesel+++)
 
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#4
That 1981 Chevy is soooo dope! Thanks for the post. Im just curious though, how many miles is too many miles for a van?? When do you think it will be ran into the ground?
 

highwayman

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#5
It depends on if diesel or gas. I think in this situation and guessing that you may not have a mechanical aptitude, tools etc. I think anything sub 100k is great. My ratio for acquiring vehicles used to be Under 10 years old, under 100k miles & under $1,000 now that recipe is over 20 years old & needs an update for inflation but the other two parts still makes sense. Th edollar amount really doesnt matter & nothing is exact but I am a cheap bastard & have spend decades searching out the best deals of r the buck. The issue with all vehicles if time, neglect & just normal wear & tear. We are both located in northern climates with salt use so prevalent rust so there is always more rot to consider. I see some rust on the door so must assume the undercarriage looks rusty. If the frame is solid then its usually only brake lines, fuel lines & brake pads/rotors. the pads & rotors are easy enough if need be when need be. Any backyard mechanic can do them The lines can also be Jerry rigged without a flaring tool tubing bender by getting sections with couplers & tubing.

Of course there are major mechanical systems that could be unsuitable for cross country traveling in any 1981 vehicle and even a 2011 vehicle. I gave those as exqamples & they all have their pros & cons. The unassuming white bubble van is a good stealth camping conversion as its without windows & looks like a work van but can easilly sleep in any city street parking spot. The 2 camper sare a bit rough and with some mechanical/carpentry skills someone could convert a party bus, school bus or more modern e450 for about the same cost that will actually have more living space but be more home made. $3,500 is about $1,500-$2k too much for that 1981 camper so whatever your true budget is; you wouldnt want to blow most of it on acquisition. Remodeling, registering, upgrading mechanical systems plus fuel gets pricey. Its all stuff to consider. the time to buy converted skoolies, motorhomes & vans for traveling is always in the winter/off season.

I got nothing against bikes & bike touring but here is something to consider. You can always bring a touring bike along with a vehicle. If the vehicle dies & is too expensive to resurect then you can easilly acquire panniers & start pedaling. Regardless, I wouldnt put all your eggs in 1 basket by spending $3,500 on that RV. If you can grab a solid mechanical vehicle for sub $2k then spend some money to pimp it out, you may have a more dependable ride. even less you might be better off. but I would rather see you in something newer for that price. Any frame damage would be a definite eliminator for any vehicle, IMO.. A SBC 350 motor is really common motor but it could be really tired. The motor could also be strong but one must consider all of the suspension, drivetrain & other mechanical stuff before any of the camper type stuff is determined if in working order. I do like the vintage Class c and regardless of Van, Short bus or RV; you have the ability to recruit others that can help you repair it and or take on riders or travel partners to help with fuel & company.
 
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highwayman

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#7
If you want, lets talk more. If you want my help finding you the perfect ride on CL I will hook you up. Its one of the few online skills I actually have where I can help others remotely while putting my vast collection of useless past experience to good use.
 

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#8
https://www.govdeals.com/index.cfm?...e&locationType=state&timeType=&timingWithin=1

School busses & ambulances get taken out of public use after so many years so there is always a steady supply of these fleet maintained diesel vehicles. Diesel is ideal for touring & long distance travel as their engines require less maintenance but also more expensive when its time to repair & a bit more at the pump but also have better mileage at times.
 

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#9
https://grandrapids.craigslist.org/cto/d/grand-rapids-1993-cobra-rv-obo/6779556205.html

Heres a clean 1993 22' Rv with the same 350 gas engine wityh a few more miles but is also 13 years newer & larger. I would always try to haggle. Try for $2,500 and be prepared to pay maybe $3,200ish cash. You will be doing people a favor to get some cash in the winter for an RV while giving them 22 linear feet of their driveway/yard/garage back.
 

highwayman

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#10
https://grandrapids.craigslist.org/ctd/d/jamestown-2006-ford-bus-tailgater-rv/6789822628.html
Heres a good example of a bus that needs a full conversion from wheelchair van to motorhome. It aint ahrd to remove the lift, pull out most of the seats and start making it a home but for this price it should already be at least partially converted. For vehicles in this range the value doesnt really go up after it is converted but the expense of lumber, furniture, plumbing, carpeting etc all will eat your budget. Depending on how far away you are willing to travel for a vehcile, you could find an awesome vehicle that was converted for road trips, stealth camping & living in.
 

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#11
https://saginaw.craigslist.org/cto/d/pinconning-school-bus/6788391631.html


https://detroit.craigslist.org/okl/cto/d/walled-lake-vintage-converted-party-bus/6789198622.html Lots of heavy lifting done already & ready to make your own, clean & easy to title as motorhome if not already. (I bet he would sell it for $3,800). I like this full size school bus especially if you can buy if for sub $4k Its still a gasser & not diesel & is gonna be pricey on fuel but large enough for others to travel with you, regular drivers license & cheap motorhome insurance. Its not a true Rv/motorhome yet but lots of the heavy lifting is already done.

One could easily swap the kegerator out for a simple gravity fed plumbing system, Add some sort of electric shore power/generator/solar, rooftop ac unit/heater? Maybe get a propane fridge & small propane cooktop. These additions can be done as your funds allow but once you start looking at the full creature comfort costs they get pricey. Which is why you wouldnt want to add all that money if the mechanical foundation of the vehicle was not solid enough for x-country travel. Full school bus conversions cost anywhere from $6-$7,500 & up to the stratosphere where the investment can never be recovered when selling. With much this infrastructure in place & operational enough to turn the key & start living & traveling; you hit the ground running

As far as the work situation. If you acquire a vehcile that you travel in & live in; I would suggest relocating every 2-3 months or so. You can live in the bus & find cooking work to capitalize on tourism seasons at seasonal restaurants. Ski areas in winter, beaches in summer, mountain foliage areas in fall, spring break, Sturgis/Daytona or other biker type destinations who need temporary employees for busy seasons.
I always goes bigger by nature but I can definitely see how having a van, short bus or small RV would work fine & keep fuel down if you find the right vehicle.

But its all about value & capability in my opinion while considering resale if necessary.
 
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BirdDaddy

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#12
As a three time bus owner with one compleat successful conversion I recommend not getting a bus on a $4000 budget. On a big rig like that there is alot more little things that add up to big expenses. Wheel barings alone... One tire is going to run $400 plus $60 install $10 to balance... you have 6 tires. My small bus was alot less. $200 tires and like $15 installed and balanced. The fule is a huge thing, and you have to get one geared for the highway otherwise unless you Change your differencial your stuck doing 55 mph or less. A bus with a fiberglass body is good for gas harder to convert.
Seriously I love busses but they are costly. Once mechanicaly sound... MMMM baby, they are the best vehicles I have ever owned! Tough as nails, ez as hell to drive bad ass community here in the US and a gathering in quartzsite AZ called skoolie palooza going on right now along with skoolie swarm. Don't spend more than $3000 on a bus unless, like highwayman said the conversion has been started or even done. The biggest things are engine, tranny, differential wheel barings and tires. Don't jump the gun there are lots of them out there. Check FB sites too. Skoolie buy sell trade ect ect. Www.skoolie.net is a good place there are many options my friend. Do lots of research and feel free to message me any time man. Iv been doing buses for 5 years now and have a good stack of resources to give away. Good luck
Oh and I would also like to say I like the traveling cook idea. Go with that, but I think the food truck industry took most of that. But I have no Fing clue about food industries... good luck with that too.
God speed
 

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