Road Life and Tiny House Living
The vehicle is a kind of hybrid between tiny houses and RVs. Most Tiny House dwellers spend way less time on the road than I do, and most RVers don't live in a customized, house-like vehicle. So this page is where I will write about what I'm learning - about being on the road and about living in a tiny house.
On the Road
Where to sleep. This is the biggest challenge of my new life. RVers don't say "park." They say "camp." But I'm not camping. This is my full time life. I reside. I anchor.
Most cities have 72 hour limits on parking in unmetered public space. In practice, it's often only enforced when there are complaints. Moving to a new space can be as minimal as rolling halfway down the block. But it does mean constantly payng attention to how the people around me react to my presence.
Campgrounds and RV parks have the significant benefit of water, electricity for when the sun isn't available to charge my batteries, and dumping stations for my grey water. But they're expensive. City drifting allows me to stay for free as long as I keep moving, but there's no access to water and power unless I find a friendly neighbor who will oblige. Having to move every few days also limits my ability to befriend people on any particular street, or get agood sense of safety and resources. Public lands like Bureau of land management properties, give me free camping, but again, no resources. So I need to balance those factors all the time.
As public awareness of my project grows, I hope to get more sponsorships in cities, where I have official apprval to stay in one place for a few weeks at a time.
The single most common piece of advice to new RVers is to go slow, and not try to cover too much ground too fast. I learnd the hard way that my definitions of too fast were woefully off target. Even including multi-day stops in Chicago, Minneapolis, Standing Rock, Glendive, MT and Salt Lake City, traveling from Wesrern Massachusetts to Berkeley California in 34 days was way too much.
The driving itself is exhausting. I have to pay way more attention when I'm hauling a 32' fifth wheel traler than when I'm driving a car. I need to pay attention to uphilland downhill grades, allow way more time for slowing down and stopping when traffic slows down ahead of me, and allow a lot more room for lane changes. That's on the freeway. Off the big roads, I need to keep an eye out for low branches, and use my special RV GPS to warn me about low bridges and weight restrictions, while keeping in mind that it doesn't know everything. For instance, there's the time it sent me down a road that had been closed off a few feet from the main thoroughfare I was trying to reach. It was 10 pm and I had no room to turn around, so I slept there, but had to get a couple of guys to help me maneuver myself out of thattight spot.
The fact that my Vhicle is 13' 4" high means most gas stations don't have a high enough clearance for me to fuel up. The easiest thing is to get diesel at truck stops, where I can also get fresh Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF)
which goes bad on the shelf. In many places, truck stops are right off the main road and easy to pull into, but in some places, I've had to wander around the industrial neighborhoods of small cities, seeking fuel. And because Iget very poor mileage, Ihave to do it often. On top of which, I do my best to find biodiesel--at least B20, and higher when I can find it. All of this means that what Gogle Maps will tell me is a three hour drive usually ends up being five or six.
If the driving itself is tiring, so is making and breaking camp most nights. Although I'm not pitching a tent, getting things safely stowed for travel and unstowed for use, hooking and unhooking water and power connections, and emptying trash and greywater are all time consuming. And it's frustrating when Ive set myself a schedule, with commitments to meet, and can't stop to enjoy the beautiful places and interesting communities I'm passing through.
In the Vehicle
At 32' my house is not really tiny. It's small. while the interior is just over 7 feet wide, I have 9 foot ceilings, which makes the space feel a lot roomier, and provides a lot more storage space.
Storage of stuff. Sigh. It's not like I wasn't warned. I knew I would have to shed a lot of belongings. But having to empty my family home in a hurry after my father's death meant moving into my little house without enough time to really sort my own belongngs. As a result, I have three storage units scattered around the country, and additional boxes at the homes of three friends. Weight is my real limit. That and the emotional heavy lifting of sorting through a lifetime of papers, books, artwork, and ritual objects. I am slowly sifting, trying to be patient with myself, and using storage to hold the clutter so my home doesn't drive me mad.
Because of my EI/MCS, I can't use propane for cooking. Instead, I piece together a mixed fuel kitchen. At night, when I want the heat anyway, I fire up my wood stove and cook on that. When I have plenty of sun charging my system, I can use a toaster oven or crock pot, and my electric kettle doesn't draw a lot of power, so I have tea all the time. I have a hot plate, butthe EMF field it emits gets amplifiedinside my metal box of a home, so I have a folding cooking cart I set outside, and plug into an outside outlet. That way I can cook with relatively little EMF exposure, and cook the way I like best--sautéing, stir-frying and scrambling. I have yet to use my sun oven, mostly because I haven't been stopped long enough, or in secure places where I could leave it out in the sun all day.
Another limit has been running out of power for my fridge. I am learning not to wait as long to go find a charge when power is low. I had to throw out a whole fridge full of food that spoiled when I had no power for four days.
I'm working on stashing more things I can enjoy cold, or prepare by pouring hot water on it. Meat bars and jerky have been life savers. My favorites are Epic brand turkey, venison or lamb bars and Tanka buffalo meat and craberry bars.