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  1. Default Florida to the West, and back again

    Hello!! my name is alejandro, i've just started planning a road trip today out of the blue to do with 5 of my friends during the winter (Dec30th-Februrary; whatever time it needs). We wanted to go to as many places as we could. The start up point would be Ft.Lauderdale, FL. I have no clue as to routes, but thats not what i need input on... I want to do this trip with a school bus (repainted, with no lights or anything like that) and i need info on regulations for drivning these things, upgrades one must do to them for personal use (if any), where on earth to park when i'm not on it..., if i can sleep on it. Stuff like that. If this is not the pace to post this let me know and i'll move the question. Thank you so much for your time.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Ontario Canada

    Default regulations

    Of course, you'll need working headlights and signal lights, tail lights, brake lights...As long as you have any vehicle that is roadworthy - passes any safety tests to be put on the road when you purchase it, all should be fine. You of course will need proper seats for all occupants. Either the original school bus seats or if specially installed, I'm sure you will need seatbelts. I'm sure someone will reply with all the proper rules & regulations. As far as sleeping in it along the way, that will not be a problem.
    Travelling through the WINTER months may be an issue with a school bus, depending on your route. If you stay southerly - better. You will not want to travel off roads or mountainous narrow twisty routes, especially in the winter, or if unexperienced with a full-length school bus.
    Last edited by Syv; 05-08-2007 at 03:11 AM. Reason: add more

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France

    Default No headlights??

    Hi Alejandro and welcome to the RTA forum.

    I want to do this trip with a school bus (repainted, with no lights or anything like that) and i need info on regulations for drivning these things
    In Canada, I know that commercial vehicles such as trucks and buses must have working headlights to get on the road. If the headlights are not working it is considered as a major defect and therefore it is forbidden to get on the road. You have to repair immediately. I'm pretty sure it must be the same thing in the US and for vehicles which are not necessarily used for commercial purposes.

    Wether it is considered as a major defect or not, I would never go on a long road trip with no headlights anyway. If you want to make sure you can contact the USDOT or FMCSA and I'm sure either one of these organizations will be able to give you all the answers you need. Don't forget to mention to them that you are not using your vehicle for commercial purposes because there might be a few exceptions in the regulation.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default State by State

    In the United States, vehicle registration and safety inspections are carried out by the individual states. In your case this is presumably Florida. You need to contact Florida's Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles to get the full requirements.


  5. Default

    Thanks for the answers !! Does anyone have experience with camping in parking lots?? Because that would be our choice. I´m not sure how this is done, i´ve read about talikng to the manager of the place you are parking in, or doing it at bus stations. Does anyone have any info/tips/useful tales on this issue??

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default That is called "asphalt boondocking"

    Quote Originally Posted by qaleq View Post
    Does anyone have experience with camping in parking lots??
    Here is an article about this practice.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Central California

    Default Walmart Yes and No


    We've stayed in several truckstops and Wal-Mart parking lots (couldn't see any reason to pay $30-$40 per night for a place to park. With a school bus that is especially true. As has been stated, not all Wal-Marts are accepting of overnighters. Some post signs, but most don't. In most popular tourist areas the towns have legislated against the practice to support the campgrounds. This is also true in many larger cities. But we found that staying is smaller, rural towns with Wal-Marts was no problem.

    There is an interactive map that tells you exactly which ones do allow the practice, and which ones don't. I find this to be a pretty amazing resource.

    We never asked the manager, and in 25 Wal-Mart stays last year we were only asked to leave once. And in that case the security guard said we could move to another part the the shopping center a hundred yards away and we'd be fine! In that case it was just that Wal-Mart that didn't like us being there (and we had a brand new, rather expensive motorhome). I don't know if you'll have more trouble driving a school bus. There may be some "class discrimination."

    We almost always end up buying something at the store where we're parked, especially if it is a super Wal-Mart with groceries. But my wife gets her perscriptions there, and we often need to pick up something before we leave so we make a point of spending some money there, or if we're staying at the truckstop we have breakfast or dinner.

    The problem you are going to have with a school bus is "facilities." State visitor centers and highway rest stops will be places you'll be stopping at frequently. In some cases you can stay overnight at a rest stop, or for just a few hours - I've seen signs that say you can sleep for up to 4 -6 hours.

    A very useful book is The RVers Friend. It tells you where all the truckstops are, and which ones allow RV to stay overnight. Here is a link to one place that sells it, and on the same page are 3 other books that might prove useful.

    Note that both Wal-Marts and truckstops can be noisey places. Wal-mart gets most of its deliveries at night so there will be diesels parked, sometimes for hours, waiting to get into the dock. Park away from that side of the store. And they run their parking lot sweepers at about 3 in the morning. They make a lot of noise for a couple of hours. At truckstops, the trucks roll in and out all night long and they don't mind roaring their engines right next to you if they feel like it.

    The cardinal rules are to be polite, unobtrusive and be gone by 9am.


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