Sunday, November 16, 2014

Went to Quartzsite

I made a little day  trip the last week, headed over to Mecca. In the world of snowbirds, Mecca is Quartzsite AZ. A small town of about 3,500 year round, in the winter months well over 500,000 RVers make this dusty little town in the desert their primary destination.

Right now it's only the early birds arriving. Those who look to make the most of an inexpensive way of life for the winter months.

Not everyone has the financial backing to travel the country at will. For some, being able to save a few bucks by spending the harshest months of the winter here gives them the freedom to travel when the weather is a bit more accommodating. Not a bad trade-off when you think about it.

Vendors are starting to set up shop. Before long the tents will run from one end of town to the other. Hocking anything from RV parts, to haircuts or leather goods.

RV dealers will load their lots with the latest in bright shiny models. The RV parks in town will have rigs sandwiched in with hardly enough room between to open their slideouts.

The now almost deserted Long Term Visitor Areas will become a endless sea of humanity. Similar RV's grouping together, Social circles reuniting for another season together.

For now it's back to Phoenix for Max and I.
We've made some new friends there, Max in particular. His buddy the horse from Texas is a distant memory now, so it was time to branch  out. Gus the pig moved in just down the road, and Max has adopted him as his new best friend.

I don't know what goes through the little guys mind. He has no problem making friends with people and any off the wall animal that comes along.

His own kind, not so much. He is deathly afraid of other dogs, but can buddy up to a cat in a second. Yes, it is a wonder what goes through his mind.

Monday, November 10, 2014

This, That, and the Other Thing

One thing in abundance around here is motorcycles, predominantly Harley's. The RV Park is loaded with them. Good reason for it too, just a little ways down the hjighway is the Motorcycle Mechanics Institute. This is a serious school, the campus takes up most of a block. Many of the students are staying in any one of a dozen RV parks nearby.

The next most predominant vehicle around here are Jeeps. Must be almost a dozen of them right
here too. It's hardly 10 miles down the road to more off road opportunities that you can shake a stick at. Must be every 3-4th car on the freeway is a Jeep of some sort.

Red, black, and of course mine is orange. There's quite a turn over around here. The carnival workers with they're over-sized bunk house 5th wheels are gone now. Every day, more rigs from up north arrive.

By January they say there will be no empty spaces to be found. Still plenty of room right now so the fact that I'm hogging two spaces isn't an issue. They parked me here this way, but I assured them I'd be happy to straighten things out if they need the space.

Max continues to make new friends. Now he is buddy-buddy with a pet pig named Gus. They say hi to each other at least once a day.

I finally got a few things done around here today. Made a good breakfast, 3 egg omelet, bacon, hash browns, and an English Muffin. Cleaned up the kitchen, made the bed, then went grocery shopping.

When I got back it was time to finish the rack on the rear of the motorhome. I didn't want to lose the rack that can fit right into the receiver hitch on the Jeep, so I just modified the support frame work and lag bolted it in place.

Now I can carry my gas cans and lawn chairs, just like I did on the back of the Jeep. That pretty much takes care of my cores for this week, and it's only Monday morning. I like the way retirement works.

Even supper is slow cooking on the counter already. Pot roast with veggies and mashed potatoes.

When I woke up this morning Max gave me all
indications he was in no hurry to do much of anything today.

Not being one to let sleeping dogs lay, I lit a fire under his ass, and well the rest is history.

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Search For Materials Begins

Out of date stock
When your plan is to make use of as many recycled and close out components as possible, you jump when an opportunity presents itself. The luxury of not buying until the need is current just means you will lose out on some bargains.

Though There are no walls yet, a close out on end of stock windows made now the best time to be buy what was needed. When the building season closes, and manufacturers discontinue some styles, the store usually marks the remaining stock down drastically. It was a good day to score some real deals!

Kitchen Sink
The next greatest resource for building materials is the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. The inventory is ever changing so this will be a regular stop during coming days.

The first trip scored a nice deep farm house sink! Brand new, it must have been donated by some business changing over to new stock as well.
Habitat for Humanity
Installing floor joists
Back at the trailer, work is getting started. The frame has been stripped of old wood, cleaned and the paint touched up.
The first step is floor joists. Hoping to maximize interior space it was decided to set the joists low, inside the steel trailer frame. This will require some extra work to install the shorter outside the frame lengths of floor joists so that they are strong enough to carry the load.

This is a family project, everybody is involved. Kris and Wesley cut the pieces to fit, and Danni installs them.

In no time the floor is ready for sheeting. The next step is to locate some plywood for the sub-floor. Another trip to Habitat for Humanity scores a truck load of usable plywood sheets.

It won't be long now and things will start looking substantial. only thing slowing down progress is that as all young people must do, they have to work a job to afford their passion.
Wesley and Kris cut joists to length

Building a Tiny Home is a big project. It's the kind of effort that will have you working late into the night just to see the progress made at the end of the day.

It's hard to get in the car and go to work at a job, knowing you would rather spend the time working on your dream. Sometimes reality just gets in the way.

Progress is going remarkably fast, but not fast enough. Everyone wishes they had a little witch inside them.

Loading plywood for the sub-floor 
Twitching a nose, or blinking an eye would be so much easier. Of course anything worth having is worth working for. When this is done, there will be plenty of time to kick back and admire what was accomplished!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Home Is Where The Heart Is!

Kris & Danni
I've been very lucky in that recently I got invited to follow along as friends of a good friend of mine start their very own Tiny Home venture. Looking to simplify and downsize their lives, they have started construction on a Tiny Home of their own design.

Using a goose neck flatbed trailer as the substructure, they will build a home for three. The two of them and their young son. It's planned to be completely off grid, with hopes of eventually being set up somewhere in Tennessee.

The nice part of this opportunity for me is that I'm getting in on the absolute ground floor. Their thought process, how they made decisions, deciding which direction to go, all things that anyone contemplating a similar project will go through.

Hopefully I can do justice to their efforts, and I'm honored for the opportunity to share their experience so that others can visualize for them self all that is involved in creating a home designed to be mobile, self sufficient, and mortgage free.

The first plan
Danni and Kris have a dream, a plan, a direction they want to go. Their first thought was to convert a
retired school bus. After some months searching, they realized finding a suitable candidate was easier said than done. They did find an old U-Haul truck that might suffice, but a friend voiced concern that investing a serious amount of money into building their dream on an old truck might not be the best choice.

What happens if, upon completion of their remodel for living, mechanical issues make the truck portion unrepairable? Their investment could basically become a boat anchor. The plan changed, and a very solid and wise decision was made. With a trailer, the mechanics involved are limited to wheel bearings and brakes. Pretty simple stuff. Whatever they come up with for a tow vehicle, if it should give up the ghost, another can be substituted without affecting the value of their home.

The best part of their decision was the trailer that became available was a goose neck model. This is the absolute best choice for a number of reasons. Load capacity, and most of all towing characteristics. They can safely build what they want, and feel confident it will go down
The old U-Haul truck
the highway smoothly and worry free.

Because they intended to construct their Tiny Home completely from scratch, the condition of the decking was of little concern. Once they found a friend that was able to move the flatbed to their construction location, the first step was to strip it down to the bare metal frame.

Sanding and grinding prepared it for paint, then it was time to start the hunt for low cost construction materials.

When your dream is to live mortgage free, and totally off the grid, it just makes sense to be resourceful, and recycle second hand materials as much as you can.

That means every step of the way will be an adventure. With friends on the lookout for suitable materials, and special items to make it their own, it will take some time. This
The work begins!
won't be a project where everything is bought off the shelf at Home Depot.

It will be much more eclectic, individualistic, and very much showing the true nature of building your own nest to suit your own needs.

I wish them well on this venture. It's a grand adventure that will become a part of their life for the ages. Memories of what they experience will be passed on for generations, and give their son something to brag about as he grows.

My generation (the hippies of the 60's) can relate, and enjoy such a wonderful break from the usual and expected. I pass on my best wishes and excitement to both of you.

Life is to be lived on your own terms... This is one hell of a great way to start!