Our travels, exploits, and adventures

How Portable is a Tiny Home? Our CO to NY Adventure

We are asked this question often. . . how portable is a tiny home? Or. how portable is YOUR tiny home? Well. . . it took us a while to write this post for many reasons. But mainly, we put the portability of our tiny home to the test by driving it across the country from Colorado to upstate New York at the end of May/beginning of June. Here is how it went:

Our intended route from CO to NY with stops at Wally Worlds across the US. Why Wally World? Free overnight parking.

After a late night of trying to get the tires back on and a rainy week in CO, we ended up with a muddy mess.

After a late night of trying to get the tires back on and a rainy week in CO, we ended up with a muddy mess.

The interior of our tiny house secured for the big move. Almost all of the cabinet handles were designed to fasten with a rubber band.

The interior of our tiny house secured for the big move. Almost all of the cabinet handles were designed to fasten with a rubber band.

After a tow out of the field, we were on our way.

After a tow out of the field, we were on our way.

About 100 miles east of Fort Collins, we had our first  setback. Somehow we had the unbelievable fortune of breaking down in the driveway of an older gentleman's ranch in rural Colorado who happened to have a "tire rack" and all of the equipment to change a tire. After a few hours, we were back on the road.

About 100 miles east of Fort Collins, we had our first setback. Somehow we had the unbelievable fortune of breaking down in the driveway of an older gentleman’s ranch in rural Colorado who happened to have a “tire rack” and all of the equipment to change a tire. After a few hours, we were back on the road.

Welcome to North Platte Nebraska!  We stayed for the night and planned to get on the road the next day. Sadly, we had more tire issues. Dondi searched around and found a used set but it was Sunday of Memorial Day weekend and all of the tire shops were closed 'til Tuesday.

Welcome to North Platte Nebraska! We stayed for the night and planned to get on the road the next day. Sadly, we had more tire issues. Dondi searched around and found a used set but it was Sunday of Memorial Day weekend and all of the tire shops were closed ’til Tuesday.

We decided to enjoy Memorial Day weekend since we were "stranded" in North Platte, NE. We found a beautiful lake a few miles away and spent some time relaxing in the sunshine.

We decided to enjoy Memorial Day weekend since we were “stranded” in North Platte, NE. We found a beautiful lake a few miles away and spent some time relaxing in the sunshine.

Good Year opened early Tuesday morning, put our tires on, and we were off on the road headed east.

Good Year opened early Tuesday morning, put our tires on, and we were off on the road headed east.

On the road in eastern Nebraska. After another pit stop in western Illinois for a set of new tires, we were back on the open road. We "cruised" at a speed of 40 to 55 miles per hour the whole way to New York.

On the road in eastern Nebraska. After another pit stop in western Illinois for a set of new tires, we were back on the open road. We “cruised” at a speed of 40 to 55 miles per hour the whole way to New York.

Just when we thought things were going well, we hit a 4 foot wide pot hole in Chicago and broke a shackle on the trailer frame. Bummer! We found a local auto body shop that welded the shackle back onto the frame and we were back on the road.

Just when we thought things were going well, we hit a 4 foot wide pot hole in Chicago and broke a shackle on the trailer frame. Bummer! We found a local auto body shop that welded the shackle back onto the frame and we were back on the road.

Six days later. . . we finally made it to NY but we were not home yet!

Six days later. . . we finally made it to NY but we were not home yet!

The final straw.  We made it 35 miles from Ithaca and broke down in the Lows parking lot. They were kind enough to let us stay for the night until the next day when we found a shop to fix another shackle and a bent axle. NY roads sure took a beating last winter and did a number on our trailer!

The final straw. We made it 35 miles from Ithaca and broke down in the Lows parking lot. They were kind enough to let us stay for the night until the next day when we found a shop to fix another shackle and a bent axle. NY roads sure took a beating last winter and did a number on our trailer!

We finally made it to our new house in Ithaca.  Because the ground was wet from all the rain, we didn't make it far.

We finally made it to our new house in Ithaca. Because the ground was wet from all the rain, we didn’t make it far.

One last attempt  to pull the tiny home to the back of the property with three pull vehicles.  Needless to say, it didn't work.  We made it as far as the front lawn and that is where the tiny home stayed for the night.

One last attempt to pull the tiny home to the back of the property with three pull vehicles. Needless to say, it didn’t work. We made it as far as the front lawn and that is where the tiny home stayed for the night.

Luckily Dondi's dad showed up with his tractor!

Luckily Dondi’s dad showed up with his tractor!

The tractor worked like a charm to pull the tiny house back to its spot on our new property.

The tractor worked like a charm to pull the tiny house back to its spot on our new property.

Seven days after our departure from Fort Collins, our tiny house was safe and sound at its new location in upstate New York.

Seven days after our departure from Fort Collins, our tiny house was safe and sound at its new location in upstate New York. To Erin (33 weeks pregnant) the trip was a bit of a nightmare. To Dondi, it was an adventure with a new challenge at every turn. Now that we’ve had a bit of time to reflect on our “adventure” we have very different memories but nevertheless, it was an adventure. What did we learn from the experience? Add a 3rd trailer axle for a long haul with a tiny home and definitely put NEW tires on the trailer before the trip! Until next time, Erin & Dondi

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20 responses

  1. Lee Scharf

    Hello, Erin and Dondi! Delighted to hear that you and your tiny house made it to Ithaca! I remember visiting you and your tiny house in Fort Collins when I was living with Rebecca and Chris.I will be in Ithaca in the fall–I lived in Ithaca for 22 years, and come back to visit occasionally I would love to see you and your little one, too. 🙂 All the Best,Lee Scharf

    Date: Wed, 27 Aug 2014 02:30:31 +0000 To: lee.scharf@colostate.edu

    August 27, 2014 at 9:12 am

  2. Debbie

    Thank you again for sharing. Its like I took the trip with you. It sure makes me feel a part of your lives even though we are far apart in miles but not spirit. Lots of love and joy being sent your way.

    August 27, 2014 at 10:15 am

    • So glad we could “take you with us” on this crazy cross-country adventure Debbie! -Erin

      August 28, 2014 at 1:27 pm

  3. Karen Menges

    You have good angels, I think!! What a journey! The important thing is you got here, you are all three safe and sound, and your tiny home is safe and gorgeous in it’s new location. I wonder at all the two of you accomplished . . .and you are now doing even more on this new phase of your journey with your handsome son. Kudos to you . .. truly. You are a wonder. Thanks so very much for including us in your adventure. It was wonderful to get to be a participant through your posts. Blessings .. ..

    August 27, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    • Thank you for the kind words Karen! =) -Erin

      August 28, 2014 at 1:28 pm

  4. Fred and Chris

    Wow! Great pictures as we only imagined. The adventure is well recorded and will become better as time wears on! What a story to tell Caden about!

    August 27, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    • I’m glad we could share our “adventure”. And yes, as time has passed the trip is transitioning from a nightmare to an adventure in my eyes. I’m not sure Caden will believe the store til he sees the pictures. It will be some story to tell! =) -Erin

      August 28, 2014 at 1:30 pm

  5. Lisa

    You two, well… now THREE! Are AMAZING! and never fail to inspire. Much love. Lisa B

    August 28, 2014 at 11:18 am

    • Thanks Lisa! Hope you’re doing great. -Erin

      August 28, 2014 at 1:30 pm

  6. Kathy

    Wow! Cool story to see in print, even though I heard it verbally through Dad as it unfolded. I have missed these adventure picture blogs. Look forward to reading and seeing some Caden blogs.

    August 28, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    • Glad you enjoyed our exploits Kathy! It is pretty funny looking back on it but it definitely wasn’t at the time. Caden blogs are coming soon. . . =)

      September 5, 2014 at 8:29 pm

  7. andy

    Hey Erin and Dondi,

    I live in Fort Collins and just recently stumbled upon your excellent blog, tiny house info, and TEDx talk. Great job! I’m really bummed I missed meeting you guys before you moved to NY! Thanks for sharing info about how the trip went.

    I’m totally intrigued by the idea of small house living. Can you tell me how you went about finding a plot of land to put your house around Fort Collins? Also, where did you guys live in town? Your pics look like maybe north Taft Hill or Overland…

    Thanks (& keep up the great blogging!)
    -Andy

    October 10, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    • Hi Andy, thanks for your comments, To answer your questions. . . we found a plot of land to live on at first through a Craigslist post advertising storage for RV’s, boats, etc. We contacted the poster and worked out a deal to live on his property. The second place we lived in Fort Collins, friends we met invited us to come live on their property on the west side of town. In both cases, we were outside the city, in Larimer county. -Erin

      October 12, 2014 at 2:12 pm

  8. Hey Erin and Dondi,
    I hope all is going well in New York! My husband and I have enjoyed reading your blog. We are starting Tiny House construction in May in Fort Collins and I was wondering if you ran into any hiccups with building/living codes there?

    March 18, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    • Hi, sorry for the delay! We did not run into any building/living code issues because we were just outside of the City of Fort Collins. Within the City is another story. . . -Erin

      April 6, 2015 at 2:44 pm

  9. Bryan Burrma

    Hi Erin and Dondi,

    I just wanted to say hello from south Denver, CO. We are thinking of building a tiny home in the future. The cost of rent here in the city is painful to say the least. I am an old country boy (read farm boy) and personally I would like to be out of the business that the city brings. Question did you find it difficult to find a place to locate your home on a semi permanent basis? Did the county give you any hassle about zoning and other regulations? I’m quite sure if you were in the Denver metro that would be a huge pain. I’m just curious how it is in the country before we seek to move forward.

    I hope you are enjoying your really cool home 🙂
    Peace, Bryan

    May 23, 2015 at 1:22 am

    • Hi Bryan- we didn’t have any issues in CO or NY with zoning etc. As long as you keep the wheels on and the tiny home is registered, it is in the realm of the DMV. It’s a little tricky to understand zoning regs. but as long as you’re low impact and the neighbors like your tiny home (and you), you shouldn’t have many issues. All the best, Erin

      February 23, 2017 at 2:12 pm

  10. Jim

    Saw your post featured on the THOW site. Living in the Ithaca area myself. Hope you’re enjoying the town. I am sure Ithaca has taken some getting used to after living out west

    February 21, 2017 at 10:23 am

    • Hi Jim, thanks for saying hello! Yes, Ithaca is definitely a change from CO but we’re loving it. Hope to run into you sometime. -Erin

      February 23, 2017 at 2:13 pm

  11. I am very interested in building a THOW like this. Is there any way I could get the prints to build just the shell? I want to customize the interior, much different. My e-mail is
    Wesopaul@verizon.net

    February 21, 2017 at 6:51 pm

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