Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tiny Travels: the continuing story or yup, still here...

Well then, long time no see. It's almost Thanksgiving and I am sitting here in the latest incarnation of the Itty Bitty House listening to Scarlet Begonias (alas not the Grateful Dead version) wondering just what it is that I am doing. Anticipating a looming eviction and still wanting to preserve my independence, I hurriedly snatched up a 19 ft. travel trailer on the cheap. Perhaps not cheap enough after spending a few months repairing its various ailments. But what's done is done. Let me first say that I do believe this may be my last post to Tiny Travels. There really isn't anything else I can add to the topic of living small. At least not for  quite some time. My original tiny house in the extreme is parked next to my RV. It served me well for over a year and although not habitable at the moment it is not sitting in vain. I has become my own private storage locker for all the junk I have yet to purge from my life. I do hope to whittle down the lifetime of accumulation that fills its innards by Spring and then maybe sell or give away the tiny house. It still has a good solid frame if anybody has the gumption to want to brake it down. As far as the RV goes, I will most likely attempt to sell it as well. At least once I can find some place else I can afford to rent. And so what did I get out of this wild and wacky experiment other than cheap accommodations and perhaps exposure to toxic mold? I learned I can make do with less, much less. All those treasures and trinkets that we know without a shadow of a doubt that we must have to not only be happy but to survive are not the end all be all to living a happy productive life. I know I don't need to live in a mc-mansion to be happy nor would I want to. The question is, what will make me happy? Could I make do in say a brand new state of the art Airstream? Well duh! of course. But do I want or have that kind of cash? Hell No. But yes, I now know that I could do it. My present 19' trailer is maybe just a little too small. It's fine for a weekend get away but for full timing? No. But thats just my opinion, someone else might find it just dandy. I do however believe that something along the lines of a "Tumbleweed Tiny House" would work out just fine, with it's quality craftsmanship and a well thought out design. Utilizing every square inch to its utmost. I do believe the only thing in question would be where to park it. Do I continue to rent space or buy some land and then deal with all the subsequent zoning issues? Then there is always the option of simply buying or building a permanent structure that is still small but meets all building codes. I think as long as it is under 500 sq. ft. I would be satisfied. But as I said, that will take time. Quite a lot of it. For now, I do believe I am done being, as some have told me to my face, "Trailer Trash", (for now). At least I'm not "living in a van down by the river"  :)
     And so for now, Peace Out. Maybe I'll be back in a few years with news of a new Tiny House or perhaps a new blog altogether. Happy Thanksgiving y'all!

Friday, July 15, 2011


So, here we are in the dog days of summer. Although for July its not that bad. Not a lot going on here in the great north west, but I wanted to give a brief update as to what Ive been up to. I recently traded in my tiny truck in favor of a larger one that would be more capable of towing a somewhat larger trailer. Its not huge, just a 1500 series chevy. Not new either, I got a pretty good deal and should get it paid off in the forseable future. Now I am searching for a lightly used smallish travel trailer. I hope to make this my new home until I can pay off a few bills and save up for a piece of land on which to build a proper "tiny house". In the mean time, I will be selling the current tiny house as soon as I find its replacement. And considering its condition, I just might give it away ( the camper part, the trailer is in good shape, so I will want a bit of cash for that). That is about all I have to say for the moment. I'll post some pictures as soon as I have something to post. Until then, have a great Summer, and enjoy the sun while we have it!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day... and it's still raining!

Well here we are. Made it to Memorial Day. Let me first say a very big thank you to all the Troops, both past and present. And I'm still living in my tiny little house. I can honestly say now that spring is here and summer is just around the corner, I am more than ready to live just a little bit larger. This itty bitty house has  been my saving grace. It got me across the country, from the Green Mountains of Vermont, up and over the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, to the Cascade & Olympic Mountains of Washington and the mighty Pacific Ocean. I made it through one of the wettest and (at least for w.wa.) coldest winters on record. And nothing has changed as of yet, but I thought I should get at least one entry for the month of May. With the mostly wet weather I have not had a good opportunity to work on the trailer, and funding has been slow to say the least. I've been working (finally) over the winter and this is what I would like to do.
     I am actively looking for a good older full size pick up truck to replace my aging little Nissan. I have also decided I would like to up grade to a larger fully self contained travel trailer, such as a fixer upper Airstream. And then perhaps travel around both the state and the country in search of a cheap piece of land where I can build a tiny house. This would seem a formidable task what with my finances of the moment and the price tag, however tackled one piece at a time I see it as doable in the not so distant future.
     And in closing, I have thought if I am unable to accomplish the above and everything went to hell all at once, I would do this to the present tiny house. I will, once dry, clean up the mold inside. and build a bed across the back wall. In addition to adding some sort of siding, (on my friend Jeffs advice) replace the roof. My idea is to add a cupola like on a train caboose to add some hight to the ceiling. This is all just idol thought for the time being as I would much rather find a larger trailer and sell the tiny. Its a great little camper, can be towed by almost anything and anywhere, but is a bit small for living unless absolutely necessary. Well, I've rambled enough for one holiday, so until the next time, Peace Out! P.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Miscellaneous Ramblings...

     My previous posts have pretty much brought my story up to date. New posts will be at the mercy of current events as they unfold. Nothing much will happen until I make up my mind just what it is that I want to happen. And so in the mean time I will attempt to jot down whatever comes to mind so as to pass the time you might say. I do know not much will happen until the weather dries up a bit. And so for now this will have to do.
     So. What's been on my mind? After writing at some length regarding my trailer, said mind tends to wander. It wanders to far off places such as where do I want to live and how do I intend to make a living? On occasion it will stop off at such topics as do I really want to build a trailer or would I simply be better off buying an RV, or wouldn't I be better off scrapping the whole crazy notion and looking for an apartment? Hmmm... It would appear that I have a lot of work to do.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Living In The Present, and Where Do I Go From Here?!

     I have now been living in my little trailer for almost nine months. Eight of those months have been parked next to my friends house in Washington State. With an extension chord running from the garage it is essentially like a detached bedroom. I have power for my space heater which came in handy this winter when it got down to about 10 degrees. I also keep my laptop charged and am able to recieve a wifi signal from the house. Lighting is handled by battery powered lcd lights. They do a pretty good job but are not quite bright enough to read by. As I may have mentioned previously, I have a small fold down table, a decent sized closet/cabinet, and my bookcase full of books. All in all, quite cozy.
     As far as the not so stellar aspects of tiny trailer living. It can seem a bit cramped at times. Much of my possessions are stored in my friends garage. I did purge a lot of my stuff before this adventure began, however I still have a lot of work to do. It does fit into ( and on top of) my truck but isn't very accessible. My trailer is pretty easy to get into almost any camp site and I'd like to keep it that way, so I am leaning against a bigger rig. Which means I will need to get rid of even more of my treasures!
     During the summer while staying in Ohio it got down right nasty. It was hot & humid with almost daily torrential downpours and thunderstorms with high winds. I don't think there were very many days without at least one tornado warning. I wasn't able to keep the roof vent open very much or it might have ended up blown half way across Kansas. I had my dog Charlie to keep me company (yes Steinbeck fans, travels w/ charlie) and he didn't like the heat any more than I did. AC would have been nice, but we made due with my little fan. I had to find Charlie a good home once I hit the coast. Another victim of the recession, but he's better off.
     And now for perhaps the worst aspect of living small, at least in my case. Mold! My little trailer was not meant to be a permanent dwelling. It's primary goal was to get me across the country without having to rely on motels, with the odd bit of exploring thrown in. and to this end it did quite admirably. It has been a fairly warm, dry and snug little home. However, after one of the wettest winters and now spring, in the already moist pacific northwest, the lower un-painted portion of the interior has got a bad case of mold. With the poor ventilation, the mold has run rampant. I still don't know yet if it extends up the walls behind the panelling. If the weather ever drys out, I plan to gut the interior to asses the damage.
     One possible option would be to use a liberal dose of bleach to try to kill off the worst of the mold and then when dry, sand down to bare wood and properly seal and insulate. But I would still need to deal with the lack of ventilation in order to keep the condensation under control. There's not a lot of room for a dehumidifier.
     There is also the fact that the outer walls & roof are simply painted plywood. It has held up fairly well, but as stated before was not meant to last forever. I could add siding and a metal roof but that brings up another point. I only have about five feet of clearance inside and it would be nice to stand up straight, and so this got me to thinking I might want to replace the flat roof with a peaked one or bowed like a vardo/gypsey trailer in order to gain the additional head room.
     And so with all the added work & costs involved, I am debating whether or not I would be better off starting from scratch. I've seem some very nicely done trailers while searching the internet and I do believe I could now design a much more livable teeny tiny house on wheels. Aint hindsight great!
     My biggest concerns are much the same as when I started this whole journey back in Vermont. The costs need to stay low, as does the weight. I would probably want to keep my trailer as the base. I would like to make tiny house 2 as livable as possible within the small confines I have before me. Beyond that I will give it some more thought and post in future blog entries.

     My closing question is, what do I do with the 1st tiny house? The options I see if I don't keep it are burn it, take it to the dump, sell it, or incorporate the framework into the new design. Since it is painted, I'd rather not burn it, and I'd rather not add needlessly to the local landfill. Recycling it into the new design might be more trouble than it's worth. Which leaves selling it. I don't know if any one would want to take on the hassle of cleaning out all the mold, even if I gave it away. And so as usual, I have some tough decisions to make. Until next time, Peace Out.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

How did I get here continued...

     Once I finally hit the road, I headed from Vermont down through West Virginia, truly amazing views, and into Ohio. After visiting friends I continued on my way through Tornado Alley and I must say that the little shack held up great during high winds and torrential downpours. I think the only problem while driving would be when driving seventy mph or greater, one becomes susceptible to cross winds. I thought I was going to lose it outside of Columbus. Climbing through the Rockies in Colorado, was a truly  transcendental experience. The views really need to be experienced at least once in ones lifetime. And although it did get quite cold, I was snug as a bug. (yes sometimes cliques are required writing) Overall, I think my little Nissan did a pretty good job towing the Itty Bitty. It was a struggle going up the mountain passes, but the bed of my truck was fairly well loaded, other than that it pulled great. I would estimate the trailer is still under the 1000# mark. Other than a quick trip out to the coast, Hello Pacific Ocean! of which my little rolling cabin was a trooper-rough washed out dirt roads to nowhere-i've spent most of my time camped out next to my good friend Grady's  house. My house acts like a detached bedroom, I have full access to the main house which has been a godsend. I definitely don't want to spend another winter living in quite so confined a space. Thats all for now. I'll try to cover some of the not so magical aspects of living small next time and work my way to what do I do now.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Genesis of my Tiny Travels, or How the Heck did I end up here?

     So, how did I end up in this situation that I am in. Let me go back a year or two. I had already traveled cross country a couple of times, sleeping in the drivers seat of my truck, and had decided there had to be a better way. Since the back of my truck was full of all my worldly possesions of which I was reluctant to part  (having already purged my junk over several moves), I came to the conclusion that a travel trailer would best suit my needs. Being that my little truck is only capable of towing a fairly light amount and that my funds are somewhat limited, I decided building something from scratch would be the best possible option. Lucky for me I already owned a small utillity trailer. I had used this to transport my motorcycle which I sadly had to sell, and this seemed the perfect base to build my little home on.
     I then proceeded to spend most of last winter planning the build. I knew I wanted it to be small enough and light enough to fit into my 4x7 trailer and easily removable in case I want to use the trailer for other uses. I found some interesting ideas on the internet and was once again lucky in that I had a carpenter friend. I would have liked to do it on my own, but time was running short, the Vermont winter was coming to a close and I wanted to hit the road as soon as possible, not to mention my carpentry skills are somewhat lacking.
     And so in the month of May, I went with my friend Dave to the local big box building supply store (which I conveniently worked at at the time) and loaded up my truck with 2x4s and plywood, not to mention loading up my credit card ( atleast I did get my employee discount- woohoo.). In about a week, including rain delays, my little hippy shack was complete...or atleast ready for me to paint. Thats about all to tell for now. Since I didn't take part in the actual build, I don't have a lot to report. The finished project is about five feet high inside and aprox. seven feet long and almost six feet wide where it kicks out over the sides of the trailer. The one window and rv type roof vent provide plenty of light and ventilation. There is rigid foam insulation in the walls and roof and a small space heater works fine even when its down to single digit temps outside.
     I did build the little bookcase and when I take some more pictures they will show the cabinet my friend Jeff built as well as a little fold down table. I do plan to take a more active role in my next tiny house. But that is a story for a future post. I will try to write more of what it has been like the past eight or nine months living so small and what went write and wrong and how I hope to rectify any problems on any future build.

Monday, February 21, 2011


Why am I writing a blog? A good question. I am not entirely sure why I'm doing this whole blog thing. I suppose I would like to get down in print just why it is that I am living in a trailer smaller than most peoples closets for the past eight months. I'd like to convey just what it's like to live in such a confined space and how it came to be that I am here and hopefully be able to answer for myself where I will be in the future. And amidst all this, maybe I'll be able to show others the advantages and disadvantages of such a lifestyle along the way.