Towing the Tiny House

Moving Day!

May 31, 2014 – The day has finally arrived! We moved the tiny house out to our property! The tiny house is far from finished but our lease is up and we are done paying rent!

We hired Terry and his very nice truck to move the tiny house from Pelkie out to Chatham. It took just over two hours and everything went very smooth. It was rather windy though and Terry mentioned that it would have been better if we had sway bars on the trailer. Since we didn’t, he just took it a little slower.

I was a jumbled ball of nerves when we moved the house last fall to my moms so this time I avoided coffee in the morning and also drove in front of the tiny house while Pete followed behind. I discovered being in front was way less stressful than watching the tiny house from behind. I only had to think about my home rolling down the road at 55 mph whenever I looked in the rear view mirror; which lets face it was every 45 seconds. But still I was much less nauseous this time around. I’m glad we don’t plan on moving the tiny house any time soon, but I think I would eventually get used to it if we traveled with it.

It will be interesting trying to live in the tiny house while we finish building but we’re so happy to finally be out at the property that I think the new excitement will outlast the construction phase…I hope.

Thanks again Terry for safely moving my baby!

Categories: Tiny House Living, Towing the Tiny House, Trailer | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

On the Road Again…Again

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!

Categories: Tiny House Living, Towing the Tiny House, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 8 Comments

Tiny House on the Move

March 29, 2013 – For the past 8 months we have been renting/caretaking a house from friends of ours who were trying to sell it. We always knew it would sell eventually, but we hoped it wouldn’t be until the end of the summer. Fortunately for our friends and unfortunately for us, the house got an offer in the winter and the buyers wanted to move fast. We ended up having to be out within a month and not only find a new place to live, but also find a place for the tiny house. Weather was also not on our side. We had a crazy winter this year; it was very late and not much snow to start, but mother nature made up for that and we got hit with snowstorm after snowstorm far later than many of us would like.

Jeff and Cindy were gracious enough to let us bring the tiny house back to their place. Now the only problem was finding a good time to move the house. We made a couple of failed attempts earlier in the month. Pete borrowed Eric’s truck, since his is a 3/4 ton and Pete thought it would pull the house easier, and we made attempt number one. However, the concrete blocks that the jack stands sit on were frozen into the ground. Pete had to rip them out of the ground using the truck and a heavy-duty chain. By the time the blocks were free it was too dark to move the house. The second attempt failed due to several inches of ice in the driveway preventing the truck from getting any traction. All of these complications kept delaying the move because we were trying to move the house in the evening when there would be the least amount of traffic and hopefully the least amount of cops (not that we were breaking the law, or were we…it’s a bit of a gray area).

We finally got a beautiful day and decided to move the house in the middle of the afternoon on a Friday while everyone else was heading out of town for the holiday weekend. We only had about four miles to go so we figured traffic could just deal with us. We also scouted the whole route ahead of time to make sure overhead lines wouldn’t be an issue. We had one very low cable line running across the road in our neighborhood, but we were able to avoid it by going around the block. I followed behind Pete in our truck and everything went off without a hitch.

Now, if only spring would come, we might be able to start building again.

Categories: Tiny House Living, Towing the Tiny House, Trailer | 2 Comments

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