Hello blog readers! We are so excited about all the recent publicity we've gotten and we're thankful for all our new blog subscribers. If you weren't aware, we were featured in a Today.com article, a Tumbleweed Tiny House blog post, and the cover article of Tiny House Magazine. (Just FYI, some of the proceeds from sales of the Tiny House Magazine go toward supporting our journey, so why not help us out and buy an issue!) These articles do a pretty good job of outlining our journey. If you're a new reader be sure to check out our past blog posts and especially our page of FAQs. Also, don't hesitate to use the search bar on our site. We get a lot of questions that may or may not have been answered elsewhere on our site and the search bar does a pretty good job of finding things buried in old posts. If you can't find the information you're looking for go ahead and contact us. We try to get back to as many people as possible but while on the road our access to internet is kind of limited so be patient with us!
Anyway, it’s been a couple of weeks since our last blog update, and in that time we’ve been exploring most of California and now Oregon! Here’s what we’ve been up to...
After leaving Utah, we headed south to Phoenix, AZ. You might ask yourself why we decided to head to Phoenix in early June when the weather forecast was 117 degrees, but it was a good stopping place on our way to San Diego and we have friends that live there that offered their driveway to us. So we set off through Utah and into Arizona as the temperature rose well into the hundreds. Once we reached Flagstaff and starting to head down through the hills into the valley, our truck started beeping. The dash read “Check Engine Temperature” and sure enough, the gauge was in the red. We pulled onto the shoulder, turned off the A/C, opened the windows and let it cool. After the dial dropped, we started off again, but had to take it slow and leave the windows open for a short while. We made it to Phoenix, but we nervous about setting out again to San Diego in the same heat.
We climbed in our truck a couple days later to head to San Diego to find our rear view mirror had detached itself from the windshield because it had gotten too hot and melted the glue. We had another adventurous drive in store for us. It doesn’t really start to cool down until you’re only about an hour outside of San Diego. We made our way slowly through southern Arizona, but as we got to the hills just past Ocotillo, CA, we started to see big signs telling truckers to turn off their A/C and check their brakes. There were radiator water stations every ½ mile or so and we saw multiple overheated vehicles on the shoulder. We killed the A/C, opened our windows and went about 30 mph the whole way through the hills until the temperature started to drop.
Anyway, a lot of people ask us about our truck and how it performs. Our truck is rated to tow 12,500 lbs (only with an after-market weight distribution hitch) and our house weighs about 10,000 lbs. We have had some trouble getting up big hills and the clutch fan kicks on frequently to keep the engine/transmission cool. A tiny house is not the easiest thing to pull, and if we could go back, we might have even considered a larger truck. However, now that we've gotten past the heat of Arizona and southern California we should be done with hot weather for at least another month which helps.
As we made our way up the California coast, we had stops planned in San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Eureka, but a couple of the drives were longer than we wanted to do in one day, so we needed to break it up a bit. We had looked into this program called “Harvest Hosts” before and decided to sign up and use them for the few nights in between. Harvest Hosts is a program that hooks up RVers with either a farm, brewery, or winery for a free place to stay for one night. They don’t offer any hookups and they only guarantee one night’s stay, but it is free once you pay the Harvest Host membership fee. This sounded great to us! There are so many wineries, breweries, and farms in California and Oregon and this would give us an interesting place to stop for just a night here or there. So, we filled out the application, but ended up getting denied membership because our gray water tank is not self-contained (we have a portable gray water tank that sits under our house when we’re stopped).
This brings me to the next thing we might have reconsidered during the build phase, if we had known. Our portable gray water tank works well enough. It’s 25 gallons, so it can hold two showers worth of water plus the normal sink usage. We usually empty it every day or two in a dump station. It’s a good solution, but it’s not the best solution. Had we thought about it more, we would have invested in a tank that has a very slim profile (6” deep or less) that could be mounted up under the trailer frame permanently. Our plumbing would drain directly into this tank, and our gray water could still be dumped at the dump station by pulling the whole house through on our way out of the campsite. This is more similar to an RV, so for us it makes perfect sense. It’s actually still something we may add. It would not be hard to reroute our drain pipe into a tank, but it is just a project for some other time while we're not constantly traveling. Besides these couple of considerations, we are two months in and still really happy with our tiny house!
But we've learned to manage with what we have and have been having a blast exploring the redwood coast.
We spent five days in San Diego, checking out breweries and beautiful beaches. We then headed to LA for just two nights for a wedding where it felt like we spent most of that time in traffic. After that, we spent four nights in Saratoga, CA outside of San Francisco which was beautiful. Finally we spent a few nights in northern California near Eureka, CA. If you’ve never been there, it is just gorgeous and totally different from southern California. Now we are in Oregon, where the craft beer scene is nearly overwhelming. Check out the photos below! We can’t wait to see what’s next.