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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
Week 2 of our 16 day road trip throughout the American Southwest. . .
Day 8- After 1 night and 1 day in Vegas, we were ready to get back into nature at Zion National Park in southern Utah
Dondi playing on our hike up to Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park
The hike to Angel’s Landing (5.5 miles round trip and pretty much straight up)
Erin hiking the final 500+ vertical foot rock scramble up to Angel’s Landing
The shuttle buses looked a LOT smaller from the top of Angel’s Landing considering we hiked up from the shuttle stop/road
Zion Canyon from the top of Angel’s Landing
Dondi cooling off in the North Fork of the Virgin River in Zion just downriver from the Narrows after a strenuous hike
Day 10- On the beach at Lake Powell near Page, AZ
Lake Powell and dam
Short hike to Horseshoe Bend in Colorado River near Page, AZ
Day 11- 5.5 mile hike through Wirepass Gulch, slot canyon in southern Utah
One huge perk of an April/early May trip were all of the wildflowers. . . they were everywhere!
Dondi at Wirepass Gulch intersection
Dondi playing in the crevices in the slot canyone at Wirepass Gulch
Day 12- Sunrise from the truck on the beach at Lone Rock, Lake Powell
Nothing beats camping on the beach by the water. . .except maybe if the water was warm enough to swim in 😉
Monument Valley, UT in a wind/sand storm (can you see the mittens?)
Tiny houses (well rental cabins) being built in the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. . . they weren’t on wheels but looked like a great place to stay
Cowboy and his dog herding a flock of sheep in the windstorm near Monument Valley, UT
Driving to our campsite on BLM land near Mexican Hat, Utah (yes, the town was named after the rock formation)
Beautiful campsite at a bend in the San Juan River (thankfully, out of the wind!)
A yummy dinner. . . super simple shrimp fajitas with grilled veggies and salsa
Chillin by the San Juan River. . . considering we camped about 4 miles down a 4WD road, it was bizarre and fun to see a raft of 3 people float by
Day 13- A stop at Newspaper Rock on our way to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park gave us our fill of petroglyphs. . .
View from a hike in the Needles District at Canyonlands National Park, UT
Far off view of the “needles” in Canyonlands National Park, UT
The “wooden shoe” in Canyonlands National Park, UT
Camping between the Needles District and the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park
Day 14- Mesa Arch in the Island in the Sky District at Canyonlands National Park
Another yummy camp dinner =)
Sun setting over Canyonlands
Evening glow in the Island in the Sky District at Canyonlands
Sunset in the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park
Day 15- 3 mile morning hike to Delicate Arch in Arches National Park, UT
Beautiful landscape views on our hike to Delicate Arch
Hike to the Windows in Arches National Park
Day 16- We hightailed it back to Fort Collins after camping near Glenwood Springs, CO a day early due to the May 10th winter storm warning calling for 10 to 20 inches of snow. . . it was a very good decision since they got about 20 inches and closed I-70! =)
Overall, it was an incredible trip and we loved every minute of it! We drove about 2800 miles which really wasn’t bad since it was broken up with no more than 4 hours of driving each day and several days with under an hour of driving. Like the trip photos, leave us a comment! -Erin & Dondi
Hiya. It’s been forever since our last update- so sorry. The good news is we have plenty of updating to do today! So, here it goes. . .
Harmon (bro-in-law) and Dondi antelope hunting in Wyoming in late October.
Hunter (nephew) and Dondi with Dondi’s first elk!
Dondi (and some friends) processed the entire elk in a weekend. . . sausage, ground elk, cube steaks and all.
Dondi and Erin backcountry snowboarding up at Cameron Pass (about an hour west of Fort Collins).
Dondi, Erin, Meg, and Matt at our long-time friend Ashley C’s wedding.
Christmas in Cincinnati– creek hiking and other fun times with Erin’s family.
LauraLee and Dondi making homemade ice cream at the cabin in NY on New Year’s Eve.
Our curtain project. . . it was a budget project relatively speaking since custom blinds for all of our windows would have been well over a thousand dollars. These will do!
In February, we did our final (crossing my fingers at least) tiny home improvement project. . . curtains! We chose a nice lightweight material to allow the light to shine through all of the windows while providing some additional insulation in the winter, shade in the summer, and privacy too.
February ski weekend in Steamboat Springs with some friends. The powder was awesome!!
Skiing at Steamboat. The trees looked like snow sculptures!
Skiing in the trees at Steamboat. The famous “champagne powder” was amazing!
While snowshoeing in Steamboat Springs, we tried to figure out a fun way to make an announcement. . . did it work? Yup! Erin is due in mid-July. Pics of the baby bump to come in our next post!
CSU vs. Harvard Polo Game- it was awesome to see CSU kick their butts!
CSU vs. Harvard- CSU won by a landslide. Sweet!
Dondi studying for the PE (Professional Engineering Exam) on a super sunny March day- he’s studied all the other days too since Jan 1st, just on our tiny home table. =)
Ryan and Sarah (Erin’s bro and sis-in-law) came to visit FoCo after a ski trip in the CO mountains– good times!
The mare in the field next to us had a foal. . . it’s been fun to watch him grow up quickly over the past week or so!
Beautiful March day in the tiny home!
We were selected to speak at TEDx FrontRange on May 22nd, 2014 in Loveland, Colorado. Can’t wait!!
In our TEDx talk, we’ll be discussing our “experiment in simple living”. The event will be live-streamed online and we’ll be sure to post the details on the blog so you can check it out. Check it out here: http://www.tedxfrontrange.com/
That’s all for now! Until next time. . . leave us a comment. We love to hear from you. -Erin & Dondi
Hiya! It sure has been busy on our end with loads of adventures, Erin starting her dietetic internship, Dondi doing his thing at work, and moving our tiny house. Here’s the last month or so in pics. . . enjoy!
Our friend Rebecca, Erin, and Dondi celebrating Erin’s MS thesis defense at Scrumpy’s. . . the new cidery in Fort Collins
Erin and Dondi mountain biking near Estes Park, CO before the big flood
The start of the boulder path to Castle Peak near Aspen, Colorado
Erin and Dondi at the top of Castle Peak- peak by noon, ate lunch, then got ready for our next adventure (beyond getting back to the truck). . .
The view from the top of Castle Peak- we made it up our first 14-er!
The view of Pearl Pass Road from the top of Castle Peak (aka, our next adventure)
One of the “dicey” spots on Pearl Pass Road. . . we should have thought twice before taking Dondi’s stock 4WD truck up an old US Forest Service Road
We made it to the peak of Pearl Pass (nevermind the lightning and everything literally buzzing. . .)– the map said the road was 6 miles long, not 19 MORE miles to Crested Butte!
The other end of the “road that never ends” through the aspen trees. . . Erin even made up a song: “this is the road that never ends, it goes on and on my friend, some crazy people started driving it not knowing what it was, and then they kept on driving it forever just because. . .” (they really really didn’t want to turn around and go back the same way they came) LOL!
If Pearl Pass Road wasn’t enough for that weekend in September, Erin and Dondi decided to go check out the Crystal Mill while near Marble, CO
We made it to Crystal Mill about 5 miles down the 4WD road right before a major downpour, it sure was beautiful
Driving North from Crystal Mill, we stopped in and checked out the field of planes, campers, and food trucks. Maybe our next adventure will be flying??
Tiny home moving day! Pulling our house down the dirt road we lived on. . .
Our house was on display at the NCRES (Northern Colorado Renewable Energy Society) event at Swing Station en route to our new location in Fort Collins, CO- who would’ve thought 150+ people would be able to walk through/fit in our little house in a couple hours!?
With all the rain we’ve had, we got a little stuck at the gate
Our tiny house Soleil in its new spot in Fort Collins- near the bee hives and horses
Good morning snow on October 18th. . . it was a bit too early to be excited about snow but it sure was pretty!
That’s all of our adventures and tiny home moving for now. Leave us a comment if you’d like! We love to hear from you. =) -Erin & Dondi
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. . . =)
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 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).
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!
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.
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 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 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.
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. . .
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!
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 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
Hi there, its summer and blistering hot here in CO. We’ve been busy (as always) working on finishing the details of our tiny house, camping, hiking, cycling, and having fun. Here are some pics from our latest adventures. Enjoy!
Setting up the tent to camp with Chloe (Erin’s little sister)
Eating dinner by the campfire
8 Mile hike near Red Feather Lakes, CO
Rafting on the Poudre Canyon
A calm spot in the river after Erin fell out of the boat on a Class IV rapid
Tyler and Dondi rockin out on their scoot-scoots after a nice dinner at Restaurant 415 in Fort Collins (LOL)
Hiking in WY with Hunter (nephew), Harmon (brother-in-law) and Dondi
Hunter and Dondi after a fun hike in WY
Driving to Yellowstone, Dondi had to stop to check out the mountain sleds– who’s in?
We made it to Yellowstone, picnic by the lake
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone big waterfall
Hot springs at Yellowstone
Old Faithful erupting at Yellowstone National Park
This was Erin’s favorite sight in Yellowstone. . . other than the wildlife!
Bison. . .
This was awesome. . . I guess bison need to scratch their heads too
And then we ran into a traffic jam. . . had to wait at least half an hour for the herd of bison to cross the road!
And more bison. . .
Beautiful elk near the road
Bison and elk and BEARS. . . oh my! These two black bears were amazing to watch
Yummy dinner back at camp. . . we were sure to eat all the salmon so there bears didn’t come to find it (I mean us)
Back at our house, Erin’s trying to keep some order to the garden and the weeds
And Dondi worked on making some cabinet doors (using every conceivable drying space he could find)!
Our tiny house starting to look a lot more finished with some doors hung
And more doors in the kitchen! Dondi made 34 (!?!) cabinet doors in all and somehow they all fit in our 181 square foot house!
Its been a while! We’ve been really busy since January– Erin in grad school and running her biz (www.erinharner.com), Dondi at work, skiing and snowboarding, cycling, mountain biking, hiking, camping, and of course working on putting the finishing touches on our tiny home. Hope you enjoy these pics. Leave a comment if you’d like. . . we love hearing from you!
Skiing and boarding at Vail with Tyler, Sarah, Erin, Dondi, Steve, and Nick
Skiing at Breckenridge with Ryan, Sarah, Erin, and Dondi
Dondi’s backcountry hut trip with work– splitboarding and lots of other shananigans
Dondi and Shawn (in from Seattle, WA) playing old school ice hockey on a frozen pond near Salida, CO
Dondi installing a light fixture on our tiny house
Cedar siding finally complete and boxed in the propane tanks
Front entry complete with an aspen post, Douglas fir decking, and a mint plant
Exterior of our tiny home is DONE!!!
Dondi building Douglas fir garden boxes
Garneropolis garden work day
Gardens planted and irrigation installed. . . now waiting on the veggies (and the weeds)
Erin hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park with college friends and teammates Meg and Brynja
Rocky Mountain National Park’s Alberta Falls in May
“The Loch” at Rocky Mountain National Park– end of May and about 3 feet of snow the whole 5 miles to get there!
15 mile hike near Pingree Park Memorial Day weekend
Stopping to smell the flowers!
A glimpse of the High Park Fire burn area almost 1 year after the fire started
Mountain biking near Pingree Park
Erin mountain biking through the stream and past the eerie burnt trees
Chillin back at camp and having some lunch
Erin and Dondi laughing about how we eat more veggies than anyone we know when camping. . . where are the hot dogs?!?