Tiny house retrieval - recap

So bringing the house back from CO was a bit rough and so was this last week in the office.  Bit on the stressful side since we had a lot of meetings and so on. Anyway, I wanted to sort of wrap up the trip with a bit of a recap to see what I learned and any information that might be useful to others considering this sort of option.  In essence this is really about transporting tiny homes long distances with rented equipment in a concise and limited timeframe.  It's not an ideal scenario.

UHaul - 
Although the truck was fine, they do come with very limited creature comforts. It does have AC but beyond that, it's pretty limited.  The seat is not super comfortable.  No CD player.  There is no cruise control and on many occasions my right leg really didn't want to push down on the accelerator any more...It got to the point where I was using my left foot crossed over, to push on the pedal.  Not ideal.  Also, hand crank windows and an extremely loud interior all make the UHaul 14' truck ok for local moves but not for traveling 2,000 miles across the US.  Towing at highway speeds was a real challenge for this thing.  Not that I would want to go 75MPH with a tiny house, 50MPH was just painful at time. The smallest hill would cause a downshift and I could sense that money was being sucked through the engine at a tremendous rate in the form of gasoline.  In the end the truck got 7MPG which was way below my expectations and resulted in a $1000 gas bill for the 4 day haul.  I was buying so much gasoline that at one point my card was declined at one of the gas stops due to suspected fraud...
Ultimately doing the rental thing is completely possible and viable.  Bottom line though is that what might be small annoyances (noise, seat, etc.) are ok for short local trips but become really big issues on longer trips.  Keep in mind also that you also need to find a location that will install a brake controller for you.  This and the hitch added about $200 to the rental price which was pretty steep as well.  I also opted for the full insurance package which I'm not sure would even have been very useful since I was towing my own equipment and not 'UHaul equipment'.  It was good for some (artificial) peace of mind either way.

Driving a 14' truck and with 20' trailer behind it is a bit scary.  It's not for everyone.  50 MPH crosswinds in Kansas for example posed a driving challenge resulting in a tension headache.  There was one time I pulled into a hotel parking lot without checking to make sure the drive went all the way around the hotel.  I ultimately wound up in a dead end and with great pain and 15 minutes of nerve racking back up maneuvers managed to get the truck and trailer back onto the road.  Was REALLY careful after that not to repeat the incident.  Point is that getting into any situation where "R" gear is needed is not good unless you have some real talent backing up with a trailer using only side view mirrors.  Oh and those awning things at gas stations look like they get scary close to the roof of the house.  An 18 wheeler going past you about 25MPH faster than you are going induces a very strange push/pull air pocket that you need to counter with some delicate nudging of the steering wheel as it passes you on the left.  It's ok when you see it coming...not so good when they just pass you and you weren't really ready for it.  Narrow lanes, construction sites, driving through heavy city traffic, etc. are also not great.  Seeing the following sign was like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow:

It is really hard to be a trucker and be healthy. There are only junk food options when you pull over somewhere to get gas.  Best you can do is the reduced sodium beef jerky and even that's not so good for you.  Problem is that in your 'rig' you are doomed to seek out the big truck parking lots and they don't have a "Whole Foods" market next to them, so it's the McDonald's Parfait instead.  Kind of depressing really.

It didn't happen to me but, if you were to break down, something as simple as a flat tire would be a nightmare when towing a tiny house.  Certainly much more so than if you are just driving a car.

It's not all doom and gloom though.  The attention that this thing draws is amazing.  That's not why I got it but it is nice to see people think that's it's a great concept when they see it in person.  Very hard to explain tiny houses to people but when they see it they can really appreciate it for what it is.  Some admired the construction.  Others admired the interior space which is great since currently it doesn't have any windows and still doesn't feel cramped.  I found myself sitting on the porch a lot and certainly gave a whole number of folks a tour during my trip.  

Bottom line is that I would NOT do this trip again with a tiny house.  I know that Tumbleweed charges $3,000 for delivery and that seemed steep to me initially.  At this point it seems like a really great deal.  I spent either close to or more than that doing it myself and if you factor in the need to take nearly a week of vacation, it just doesn't make sense to DIY.  It was a however an experience that as time passes, will seem ever more epic as I start to forget the difficult parts. It's something that I'll remember forever and that is ultimately worth something as well.  

Next chapter will be finishing this thing to a final livable state.  Current plan is to tow it to the property (with my own truck) since I dropped it off at a mini storage last week.  Fear was that ground was still too soggy at property from snow melt and didn't want the Uhaul (2 wheel drive) to get stuck.  
We had a beautiful 70 degree day here today though with more nice weather to come.  Spoke with my dad today as well and he is itching to come over and assist with the build so the next few months we'll see what can be accomplished.  As before, it will all be documented here!  


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