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Tiny House Living on the Road: Chronicling Life Aboard

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Guest Post by Jane Dwinell

Tiny House Living on the Road: Chronicling Life Aboard 

December 12, 2012

Well, our first week of travels is over, and it’s been quite an adventure. We are learning a lot, making mistakes, fixing mistakes, and trying to look on the bright side. The sun is finally out after a week of rain, clouds and cold.

Buttoning up the tiny house every morning before we move on involves several steps:

Inside, everything on the counters goes in the sink tucked in nicely with a towel. The water filter goes on the shower floor (and anything else too big for the sink). The dish drainer is emptied. The shelf-guards go across the shelves to hold in the dishes and food. The water pail (that catches sink water) is emptied, along with the pee jar. The drawers are latched shut. The mirror and the artwork, along with the thermometers and the crystal, are taken down. The water pump is turned off. The windows are latched (we discovered that they will work themselves open as we travel…. double hungs and gliders).

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Tiny House Living on the Road with Jane Dwinell

Outside, the propane is turned off, and the solar panels are secured in the back of the pickup truck (along with the outside folding table and chairs, the hose, the shopping cart, and the gas for the generator). The top of the stovepipe and the vent pipe for the propane hot water heater are removed, and the openings are duct-taped. Then the ladder comes into the house, along with the wood box and the kindling box.

And, we’re off!  At the end of the day, the process is reversed. It may sound like a lot of things to do, but in reality it takes no more than 5 or 10 minutes.

Tiny House Living on the Road: Chronicling Life Aboard

As for places to stay, we’ve stayed at an interstate rest area (very nice, actually, but only some states allow this), several Wal-Marts (as long as you ask the manager for permission), a wildlife management area, and a couple of friends. Tomorrow we plan to stay at an actual campground where you have to pay — the other places were all free. There’s a great website that tells you free places to stay (for a $25/year fee) — www.overnightrvparking.com. It seems to be mostly Wal-Marts and Cracker Barrel restaurants, but hey, why not? Parking lots are not that much fun, especially during the holiday shopping season, but you get to watch how America lives.

Another challenge with traveling with the tiny house is manipulating it in various places — gas stations, parking lots, friends’ houses — we don’t turn on a dime, so you have to plan ahead! We’ve managed to get in and out of several tight squeezes, but not without some tense moments. Practice makes perfect.

Tiny House Living on the Road: Chronicling Life Aboard

The biggest challenge, however, is the amount of fuel it’s taking to pull the tiny house down the highway.  We’ve managed to get to between 8 and 9 MPG. (In Vermont, with all the hills, it was 6 MPG!) It’s still way too much gas, but we’re working on balancing it all out. We go 50 MPH on the highway — it helps with gas mileage and the tiny house likes it better (less swaying….). I did some research about “traditional” RV gas mileage values, and we’re not far off — they run between 6 and 10 MPG.

So, here we are…. playing disc golf, talking to people who are curious about the tiny house, and soon to be volunteering! Will keep you posted…. especially about how two people can get along so well in such a tiny space.

Tiny House Living on the Road: Chronicling Life Aboard

For more posts from and featuring Jane on Tiny House Talk see below:

Jane Dwinell and her partner Sky Yardley, are retired, and live and travel in their tiny house. She is the author of Freedom Through Frugality: Spend Less, Have More, available exclusively on her website, spiritoflifepublishing.com. “Like” Freedom Through Frugality on Facebook for photos, tips, and adventures.

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Ann
    December 15, 2012, 7:16 am

    It is much like the process for unhooking the RV before getting on the road.

  • Jeff McDowell
    December 15, 2012, 3:06 pm

    One way to help get better gas mileage and help ease the sway would be to add a wind break to the front of the house, you could also hide a TV sat dish inside it. They are made from a high end plastic or fiberglass. They are a round half bubble like deal. I see them all around here, next time I see one at the truck stop I’ll be sure to ask what they are and where they can be bought.

  • Sel
    December 15, 2012, 3:44 pm

    For free places to park check out the Federal Bureau of Land Management website. No fees but no amenities either. And these places exist even in areas you wouldn’t think they did. I hopscotched across the country one time using these areas.

  • Sel
    December 15, 2012, 3:54 pm

    Things have changed at BLM. They have more campsites and some are full-fledged sites.
    Check out http://www.recreation.gov

  • jerryd
    December 15, 2012, 10:06 pm

    8 or 9mpg is what you get when you travel in an overweight, non aero trailer pulled by an overweight, non aero truck.

    You could help by putting some 12-18” quarter rounds on the trailer front sides and roof would likely get you 20% better mileage.

    Check this out especially the box truck and it’s mods. If you do the trailer it’ll clean up the truck aero while towing it. They cut the drag by 75% with simple mods.

    PDF] A Reassessment of Heavy-Duty Truck Aerodynamic Design …
    Adobe PDF
    The resulting configurations were box-like and represented great opportunity for aero-dynamic refinement. At NASA … 18-wheel heavy-duty truck testing of several …

    BTW Fla has many places in recreational areas to live for free though some have 2 week limits

  • Sel
    December 16, 2012, 10:04 am

    Jerry, what sites are you referring to in FL?

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