November 2, 2013 – Like fish that starts to stink after three days, so too, do friends building a tiny house in your driveway! Jeff and Cindy have graciously let us occupy their driveway the past two summers and into this fall so we were not at all surprised when Cindy asked if we would mind taking the winter off. Our plan though, is to be living in the tiny house full-time come spring, and since we haven’t even gotten started on the inside of the tiny house, we really need to keep plugging away throughout the winter. We started looking into our other options and at first thought we would move the tiny house to our newly acquired property. However, the property lacks power, we lack a snow plow, and it would have been pretty tough trying to work on the tiny house in the middle of winter.
Our only other option was to bring the tiny house to my mom’s house one and a half hours away. At first we were not too keen on this option as it will mean a lot of driving most weekends, but the more we thought about it the better it started to sound. While working at Jeff and Cindy’s, we tried to be very conscientious of their space and tried to stay out of the way as much as possible. That meant only running inside to use the bathroom when I couldn’t possibly hold it any longer. At my mom’s house, I’ll feel free to pee when the moment strikes! Another bonus is that we’ll be able to put in longer days. Since we’ll be spending nights there it will be easier to get started earlier in the day and work later into the evening, so we should be able to be more productive. Also, my mom said she’ll cook for us! This too will allow us to be more productive as we can keep working until dinner is served. Before you start thinking we’re taking advantage of my mom, this is also a win win for her too! My mom has gotten to the point where she dreads the Michigan winters. Last winter she went south for the first time and stayed with my uncle Bill and aunt Karen in Macon, Georgia. This winter she’ll have constant company and will be able to rely on us for shoveling and grocery shopping.
When we first decided to build a tiny house, we read about how other people who owned tiny houses would rent a 1 ton U-Haul truck to move their houses. This had always been our plan if we didn’t have a truck to use. While trying to line up a truck, we quickly found out that it’s not as easy as we thought it was going to be. Apparently finding a rental truck in a large city is not too difficult, but here in the U.P., they don’t exist. We called several companies and none had a large moving truck in the area. In fact, U-Haul places that I know exist right down the road, couldn’t even be found while searching the company’s website. I put in our zip code and was informed that no U-Haul’s were within a 100 mile radius. We checked with the couple of people we know with 3/4 ton trucks but for one reason or another that wasn’t an option. I started Googling how to move a tiny house and found a blog post with a few suggestions. One suggestion was to have a tow truck move it; I called a tow truck company and they said they could not move anything that long or that tall. I went so far as to email someone on Craigslist who was trying to sell a big truck and see if we could hire him or rent the truck for the day; we even put an ad in Craigslist. I finally started texting everyone I know asking them if they knew anyone with a large truck. We were starting to get a little worried and thinking that “this is the U.P., more people should own big trucks!”. But everyone we know, including ourselves, only had 1/2 ton pickups. Thankfully my co-worker Sharon came though. A good friend of hers owns a big Dodge dualie and was willing to move the tiny house for us for a reasonable fee. Her friend Terry owns Marquette Transmission and Auto Repair here in Marquette and I’ve seen his truck at the shop before. We’ve brought our personal vehicles over there for repair as well as work vehicles. When we heard Terry pulls a 14,000 pound fifth wheel trailer with his truck, we knew the tiny house would be a piece of cake. Of course even with a super big truck, I was still nervous on moving day; we’ve invested quite a bit in this little house. But, I am happy to report that the move went off without a hitch. We did have to stop one time to re-staple the house wrap that was starting to flap around, but other than that we didn’t have a single issue. We did get a lot of really strange looks though; that was probably the best part. Thanks for taking half of your Saturday to move our house Terry, we really appreciate it. And, we’ll be calling you in the spring to do it again!
We also have to thank our friends Paul and Tom for coming over on Sunday to adjust the tiny house location. Thanks guys! When Terry pulled into the driveway with the tiny house, we had him park it on the driveway, but just off to the side. After thinking about it, we realized it would work out better to have it right on the driveway, making it more stable and easier to level. At first we figured we could just drive our truck out the next weekend to move it, but we really hated to drive the truck all that way just to move the tiny house. So we called up a good family friend, Paul and he and his brother-in-law Tom were more than happy to come over and lend a hand.
I also had to tell Pete that he was right and I was wrong! When were having trouble finding a truck to tow the tiny house, I looked online to see how much a half ton Chevy could tow. All the websites I checked kept saying it could tow over 8,000 pounds. At this point we figure the tiny house doesn’t weigh more than 5,000 pounds so I was trying to talk Pete into moving the house with our truck. As I watched Pete lower the tiny house onto the ball of Paul’s truck I realized that our truck could not have moved the tiny house; I thought the back bumper on Paul’s half ton Chevy was going to bottom out. Moving it around the driveway was one thing, but we definitely needed a bigger truck to haul this thing down the highway.
The tiny house will stay at my mom’s until spring and we’ll keep working on it throughout the winter. Hopefully it will be move in ready by April, and if it’s not, we’ll be living in it anyway! A super huge thanks to Jeff and Cindy for letting us get this far on our project in their driveway! We couldn’t have done it without your generosity!