Our travels, exploits, and adventures

Sand Dunes, Durango, Mesa Verde, and Tiny Home Update

Hi All! Since our not so little debut on the Tiny House Blog (check it out here: http://tinyhouseblog.com/stick-built/erin-and-dondis-off-grid-tiny-house/), we’ve had a flurry of comments and new followers. We’ve been super busy and we promise to answer all of the comments really soon.

Here’s a quick update on our tiny house Soleil (almost completely finished. . . YAY!) and our adventures at the end of July and August. Enjoy!

You may or may not have noticed but we've been using screws to open the drawers since we moved in. Dondi finally made the drawer fronts and put on the handles. They slide out like butter now. . . =)

You may or may not have noticed but we’ve been using screws to open the drawers since we moved in. Dondi finally made the drawer fronts and put on the handles. They slide out like butter now. . . =)

Dondi helped upholster the couch cushions. The two bottom cushions are attached and they fold out to form the bed mattress along with the back cushion.

Dondi helped upholster the couch cushions. The two bottom cushions are attached and they fold out to form the bed mattress along with the back cushion. The drawers under the couch are used as storage for hats, gloves, games, blankets, etc.

The drawer fronts are on! Yes. . . the filing cabinets are now a lot easier to pull out. The aspen was only 5 1/2 inches wide so Dondi decided to get a bit creative by joining different boards with opposite graining.

The drawer fronts are on! Yes. . . the filing cabinets are now a lot easier to pull out. The aspen was only 5 1/2 inches wide so Dondi decided to get a bit creative by joining different boards with opposite graining.

The dresser drawers are fairly heavy so using a drawer pull is much appreciated!

The dresser drawers are fairly heavy so using a drawer pull is much appreciated! This is the last of the 29 drawer fronts. . . who would have thought there could be so many doors and drawers in a tiny home!?!

Dondi also finished the headboard this month. It is 12 inches deep and the doors are hinged to fold down from the top. They are filled with extra sheets, pillows, and towels. And yes, you can sit up in the center of the bed (we can at least).

Dondi also finished the headboard this month. It is 12 inches deep and the doors are hinged to fold down from the top. They are filled with extra sheets, pillows, and towels. And yes, you can sit up in the center of the bed (we can at least).

The garden is doing great. It is exploding right now with basil, tomatoes, zucchini, squash, beans, lettuce, onions, etc.

The garden is doing great. It is exploding right now with basil, tomatoes, zucchini, squash, beans, lettuce, carrots, onions, etc.

At the end of July, we did a whirlwind trip to the Southwest corner of Colorado. Great Sand Dunes was the first stop. . . and it was AWESOME!

At the end of July, we did a whirlwind trip to the Southwest corner of Colorado. Great Sand Dunes was the first stop. . . and it was AWESOME!

Can't beat the view our camp spot aka the back of the pickup truck!

Can’t beat the view from our camp spot aka the back of the pickup truck!

In the morning, we "hiked" one of the 450 foot tall dunes on all fours. By about 9am, the sand was really hot which explains why Erin climbed up with her hands in her shoes.

In the morning, we “hiked” one of the 450 foot tall dunes on all fours. By about 9am, the sand was really hot which explains why Erin climbed up with her hands in her shoes.

At the top of the dunes, we felt like we were in the middle of the desert. Kinda crazy for Colorado. This National Park is pretty awesome.

At the top of the dunes, we felt like we were in the middle of the desert. Kinda crazy for Colorado. This National Park is pretty awesome.

The best part? Sliding down!! The sand is at "the angle of repose" so it starts sliding when you touch it. The foam mat kind of worked as a sled but an actually sled or one of the super cool "dune boards" the National Park Service rents would have been even more fun.

The best part? Sliding down!! The sand is at “the angle of repose” so it starts sliding when you touch it. The foam mat kind of worked as a sled but an actual sled or one of the super cool “dune boards” the National Park Service rents would have been even more fun.

The hot springs in Pagosa Springs was another highlight of the trip. They had over 20 pools all at different temperatures.

The hot springs in Pagosa Springs was another highlight of the trip. They had over 20 pools all at different temperatures.

The next day we went to Mesa Verde National Park in the Southwest corner of Colorado (aka the four corners where Colorado meets Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico). The views were gorgeous!

The next day we went to Mesa Verde National Park in the Southwest corner of Colorado (aka the four corners where Colorado meets Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico). The views were gorgeous!

The view from atop Cliff Palace before our tour.

The view from atop Cliff Palace before our tour.

Inside cliff palace at Mesa Verde National Park.

A kiva inside cliff palace at Mesa Verde National Park.

We went on the 3 1/2 mile hike to see the petroglyphs in Mesa Verde National Park. They were pretty cool but maybe it wasn't such a good idea considering what the next day would bring. . .

We went on the 3 1/2 mile hike to see the petroglyphs in Mesa Verde National Park. They were pretty cool but maybe it wasn’t such a good idea considering what the next day would bring. . .

Dondi saw the ancient reservoir system in Mesa Verde National Park was desi

Dondi saw the ancient reservoir system in Mesa Verde National Park was designated as a Civil Engineering Landmark and had to get a pic. 😉

On our way to camp in the National Forest above Durango, we saw a full double rainbow. It was majestic!

On our way to camp in the National Forest above Durango, we saw a full double rainbow. It was majestic!

The view from near our campsite above Durango at about 9,000 feet.

The view from near our campsite above Durango at about 9,000 feet.

The next morning, we woke up bright and early (like 4:45am. . . ugh) to get to the start of the Durango 100- a 100 mile road ride from Durango, Colorado to Farmington, NM and back through the San Juan mountains.

The next morning, we woke up bright and early (like 4:45am. . . ugh) to get to the start of the Durango 100- a 100 mile road ride from Durango, Colorado to Farmington, NM and back through the San Juan mountains.

The start of the Durango 100. . . there's us. Naive and tired and ready to start the ride. Little did we know that the first 50 miles were mostly down gently sloping hills into NM. . . and the last 50 miles were almost all up really big hills (aka mountains)! It was grueling, fun, and we both made it to the finish. =)

The start of the Durango 100. . . there’s us. Naive and tired and ready to start the ride. Little did we know that the first 50 miles were mostly down gently sloping hills into NM. . . and the last 50 miles were almost all up really big hills (aka mountains)! It was grueling, fun, and we both made it to the finish. =)

That’s it for this update. Hope you enjoyed all the pics. Leave us a comment if you’d like. . . we love to hear from you! – Erin & Dondi

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37 responses

  1. Lisa

    Love the cabinet drawer fronts! They’re gorgeous. I’m so impressed with all the storage. The Sand Dunes looked awesome and congrats on your 100 mile ride 🙂

    August 26, 2013 at 7:11 am

    • Thanks Lisa! Great to hear from you =)

      August 28, 2013 at 3:15 pm

  2. Lisa Lanni

    Awesome update on all you’ve been doing! 🙂

    August 26, 2013 at 7:48 am

    • Thanks Lisa! Glad we can share our adventures with you. -Erin

      August 28, 2013 at 3:16 pm

  3. Denise Hanley

    Your tiny home is so fantastic!. Dondi, you are an exceptional carpenter!! i so admire your effort to ‘live off the grid’. Thanks for posting and letting us share in your adventures!

    August 26, 2013 at 8:35 am

    • Hi Denise! Thanks for your feedback. I’m sure Dondi will appreciate your kind words– he’s been swinging a hammer since he was a kid and loves carpentry. Glad our home can show off his handywork. =) -Erin

      August 28, 2013 at 3:13 pm

  4. Karen Menges

    You two!! I just love it so when you send us these wonderful updates. Thanks for taking the time to do this! I just love all that you are experiencing together.. . Awesome. k

    August 26, 2013 at 8:43 am

    • Glad we could share our adventures with you Karen! -E

      August 28, 2013 at 3:11 pm

  5. Kim Lutz

    Hi Dondi and Erin,

    Thanks so much for the update! I forwarded it Maureen and Kate. We all went to Mesa Verde on a cross country trip we took in 1996 from Co to Ca when Maureen decided to move back to San Diego. That only lasted a month because her former employer asked her back. She moved back to Co and 3 months later she was laid off again. The rest is history…

    Love and miss you both very much! Kim

    August 26, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    • That road trip from CO to CA sounds like fun Kim. Great to hear from you! -Erin

      August 28, 2013 at 3:10 pm

  6. Harmon Jones

    Glad you guys are having fun going both down and up those hills….. ☺ thanks for sharing.

    Hunter and Emily tried water skiing this past weekend. They each got about 30 yards (max) before their ride ended. Both did well for their first time. Of course their Mom was highlight of the show…but Dad held his own too….easy crowd to impress.

    We did not try the Twinkies (photo)……but just wanted to show you the diversity that still exists in the good ole USA.

    Harmon

    August 26, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    • Nice! Water skiing sounds like a ton of fun. =) -E

      August 28, 2013 at 3:08 pm

  7. Debbie

    As always, Thank you so much for sharing, we love keeping up with your adventures.
    Much Love
    Debbie

    August 26, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Debbie! Miss you guys. =) -Erin

      August 28, 2013 at 2:51 pm

  8. I have some questions about your staircase! I really want to put one in my own TH, and am struggling with the dimensions. Would you mind giving the measurements of yours? It looks very nice and usable. 🙂
    Thanks,
    Parker

    August 28, 2013 at 4:23 am

    • Hi Parker, the stairs are 12″ rise x 12″ run. They are pretty steep but allowed us to have stairs, a dresser, and go up over the toilet in the bathroom without us hitting our heads on the ceiling anywhere. Big improvement over a ladder (in my opinion of course)! – Erin

      August 28, 2013 at 2:47 pm

      • Hello!
        Thank you for your help. It did look to me like 12 in risers and runs, which is what I’d been considering for the same purposes as yours. The missing component is the width of the stairs- I was considering 18 inches, or perhaps 24 inches.

        By the way, your home to is lovely!

        Parker

        August 28, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    • Oh yes. . . the stairs are 24 inches wide which makes the drawers 24 inches deep. There are 5 stairs total (6 steps up) to rise a total of 6 feet. Hope that helps! -E

      August 28, 2013 at 3:01 pm

      • Thank you again! It is terrific having info from someone who has practical experience!

        Parker

        August 28, 2013 at 3:11 pm

      • Glad we can help! -E

        August 28, 2013 at 5:29 pm

  9. Bobby Kimball

    Bobby here-I just joined you!! Your Tiny House on Wheels is just the best I have ever seen so far!! Really!! It is just awesome in every way!! May I ask how much the total cost was about!!? It must give you great pleasure to have built this from the ground up on your own!! Do you live in this full time and move it from time to time!? Will be following you guys on your adventures now for sure!! Your the best!!=Bobby

    August 29, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    • Hi Bobby. . . thanks! Glad you enjoyed our tiny home posts and adventures! We live in it full time and plan on moving it from time to time. Cost was about 26k including rebates for solar. It was a fun project and we’re enjoying living it for sure. -Erin

      August 30, 2013 at 6:53 pm

  10. Chris Klueber

    Wow. I think I’ve read your entire build three times now. My wife and I have been looking at doing something like this for three years now, but hadn’t seen one this big before. I’ve already scoute out a 29′ goose neck trailer that will be perfect. I would love to chat some time on how you did some of the details that aren’t in your build. Kudos to you both on a job WELL done.

    August 30, 2013 at 11:51 am

    • Chris Klueber

      On the details, how did you do the drain for your shower and sink? Pex or PVC for the water lines? Is the floor insulated? And would you mind if I built one with your set of plans?

      August 30, 2013 at 11:56 am

  11. Bobbi K.

    Are you at all willing to sell plans for your house??

    September 2, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    • Hi Bobbi, after a ton of requests for plans to our house, Dondi is working on it! We’ll release details very soon! -Erin

      September 2, 2013 at 11:09 pm

      • I’m not surprised at your receiving a lot of house plan requests. This is A beautiful home!

        Parker

        September 3, 2013 at 12:00 am

      • Bobbi K.

        That would be great!!! I`m so excited! My husband and I love your house so much and would love to have plans for it.Thank you for sharing your house with all of us and sharing the process of building it. 🙂

        September 10, 2013 at 11:42 am

  12. All these places look amazing!!! I didn’t know about the sand dunes in Colorado. I live in Wyoming, so I will be checking that place out for sure. Your house is coming along great. The kitchen is so adorable. My husband and I are in the early stages of planning our tiny house.

    September 6, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    • Hey Jessie, we had no idea there were sand dunes in Colorado either. Good luck in the planning of your tiny house. It certainly is a fun adventure! -Erin

      September 8, 2013 at 10:54 pm

  13. Bobbi K.

    Any idea what price you would want to charge for your plans?

    September 16, 2013 at 11:26 am

    • Not sure yet Bobbi. Will let you know soon. -E

      September 16, 2013 at 10:40 pm

      • Bobbi K.

        Hi there!!! I don’t want to bother you but I was wondering if you have plans yet and if you know what the price will be. Thank you,Bobbi

        December 9, 2013 at 11:20 am

  14. JessicaM

    Hi there, I’m so glad to find this blog! I’m a photographer in Loveland interested in tiny living, and I’ve been looking for any tiny homes and/or builders in the area; looks like we’re a little behind the times 🙂 I hope to see many more homes like yours around here! Looking forward to seeing plans when you have them. Best, Jessica

    March 25, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    • Glad you found us Jessica! Great to hear from other tiny home/simple living enthusiasts in the Fort Collins/Loveland area. Thanks for leaving a comment. Hope to connect with you soon. -Erin

      March 25, 2014 at 10:13 pm

  15. JessicaM

    Thanks Erin! I was wondering, did you have any problems with codes/zoning in Fort Collins, either in building the house or in finding a place to put it?

    March 28, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    • Hi Jessica- We didn’t have any problems with codes/zoning because we are outside of the city. If you wanted to live within the city limits, it would probably be a different story but the codes/zoning varies from city to city so it would be smart to look into city codes where you want to park the house. -Erin

      March 29, 2014 at 7:40 pm

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