Portland to Mosier: Tiny House Move #2

 A couple of weeks before the move, I purchased a new 5'x8' cargo trailer which would serve as a space to transport all of my outdoor items to the new space and then as an organized tool and gear garage once I settled in. I decided to purchase a trailer that I could stand up in with both a back door and side door for better functionality. I purchased it from Trailer City in Portland and worked with a guy named Larry who had a good sense of humor and was helpful in selecting the trailer. He even threw in a 2" ball hitch since I only had the 2 5/8" hitch for my house trailer. Back at the yard, I learned that backing up a shorter trailer is actually more difficult than a longer one because you have to constantly turn the steering wheel to get it to go where you want. I also learned that, when empty, I could physically move it myself.
Once I had it set in place, I started loading all of the things I had been storing under my trailer (tools, materials, tarps etc.) as well as my solar panels, ladder, tongue roof shelter and RV stove set-up. I also packed up many things in my house including fused glass and ceramic things I had made, everything on the open kitchen shelves, toilet, books and more. I didn't design with all the features included in more portable dwellings because I don't intend to move often. I used a couple of ratchet straps and cardboard to tie the fridge and cabinet together and to keep the cabinet drawers from opening. I crossed my fingers that my little point of use water heater would be ok to stay connected and full of water during the move (and it was thankfully) since I wasn't sure how to drain it without getting water everywhere.

During the week before I moved my house, I went to the Hood River DMV and asked for a trip permit. I was surprised at the ease of that process. All I did was tell them I needed a trip permit for the weekend I planned to move and give them the certificate of origin for my trailer, then they filled out the paperwork, collected my $30 and I had permit in hand!
I got up early that Saturday morning and with the help of a friend, lowered the house off of the block stands. We started at the tongue end first, lowering the tongue jack and then jacking up the house a little with a car jack to get the weight off of the block stand. Once free, we removed the wood shims and concrete blocks, released the car jack support, then moved on to the other side and repeated the process. The weight of the house was a little too much for the tongue jack so we propped it up on a large block of wood. Then we went to the back of the house, jacked it up to remove the shims and blocks until finally the weight of the house was on the wheels again.
We used a borrowed power mover to rotate the house a little bit away from the adjacent building but it was a challenge since the wheels were still in the huge ruts from the wet move in (we back-filled some before we lowered the house). Luckily we were able to move it enough to back my truck up to the tongue and get it hitched up. I was a little nervous about my truck's ability to pull my house out of the ruts and out of the yard but all went well, no problem at all. I took the house around the block for a test drive, then we checked the brakes and signals and filled the tires with air to 50 psi (they were at 40 psi). Finally, we were ready to hit the road!
After a few blocks we merged onto the freeway and drove out to Troutdale where we made a pit stop at the TA scales to weigh the house and truck together so that on the way back we could reweigh just the truck and calculate the weight of the house. They gave us free coffee for our first weigh and then we were really off!
I had moved the cargo trailer out to the new site during the previous weekend so I had a feel for what it would be like to tow something behind my truck on the same route. However, my house was much heavier and I kept my speed to 45-50mph to avoid fishtailing. The drive went smoothly even up the steeper sections of the road outside of Mosier. All paved except for a little bit of gravel at the end and a narrow windy driveway that the wheels neared the edge a little too close for my comfort at one point.
Once on the main part of the property, we had to back it into place so I got to work on my trailering skills which were very limited so that ended up being the most stressful and frustrating part of this move. Eventually I got it into the place I wanted. Then we jacked it up on blocks again but this time I bought the 8"x8"x16" blocks so we could set two side by side in one direction and then rotate the second layer 90 degrees so it creates a square block stand. We did some basic leveling with plywood and wood shims of various thicknesses but I forgot to bring my 4' level along so would probably need to do a better leveling job at a later time. We plugged in my power cord to ensure that I could have light and then called it a day with pizza, cider and a dip in the river as a reward!
Oh, and we learned that my house with most of my things in it surprisingly weighs around 9,000 lbs!

My New Abode

While on my road trip, I decided to move back to Portland, Oregon to live. My time living away and traveling reminded me of the people and quality of life I missed here. I contacted everyone I knew in town and sent out a couple of Facebook requests for temporary or longer term affordable living arrangements. Ideally, I was looking for a place where I could trade house work for rent so I wouldn't have to tap into my savings too much until I found work. I was also hoping to be close in so I could bike to where I needed and save on gas for commuting. I responded to some Craigslist roommate searches, but did not have much luck since it was November and few people want to have an unemployed individual move in unless they are a friend. I have a few friends who knew a family member or friend remodeling their homes with a potential capacity for a work/trade arrangement. Two of those fell through, but the third, which I connected with less than a week before arriving in town, worked out. A couple I had volunteered with previously had a house in inner SE Portland that they were remodeling while they lived in another house nearby where her parents would be retiring to at some point. They had purchased their house about 5 years ago and spent time painting, deconstructing the chimney, removing the old furnace and duct system, installing a radiant floor heat system heated by the water from a new energy efficient condensing water heater, installing solar on their roof, and building up garden beds among other projects. The current big project is the kitchen and powder room which the owners and friends had gutted down to the studs. One of the owners is an architect who is currently finalizing the design to submit to the city for permitting. The hope is to finish the kitchen by the spring but more likely, it will be summer. So I should have a place to stay until then. My situation is ideal in that I am able to live alone in a great location and trade my skills for rent while also learning more about remodeling a 100 year old house. The downside is that I don't have the conveniences of a full kitchen or washer and dryer. For laundry, I have brought snacks over to a friend's house to trade for use of the machines which I continue to plan to do if available since I can catch up with friends instead of having to deal with going to a laundromat. I did hear of a really great efficient laundry not too far away so that will be my backup. 

For a kitchen, I purchased a Kenmore two door Energy Star 3.1 cu.ft. stainless steel mini fridge from Sears on sale for $160 (originally $230). I love having the two doors so my freezer is physically separate from my fridge. The freezer door even has space to hold items. The fridge has a crisper drawer on the bottom with two removable shelves above. The door has space for a half gallon container of juice or milk. The only thing I don't like about it is that the door also has space dedicated for cans. I don't drink much soda so this feature has not been helpful for me. So far, I have been just sticking other things in there like condiments but may modify it in the future to suit my needs. The owners lent me a toaster oven and hot pot. I bought a Presto popcorn popper since I love it as a snack. The model I have is an ingenious design because it has a measuring cup that sits into the hole in the cover above the heat element. The cup also melts your butter while the popcorn pops! I have a folding table set up as my counter, prep surface and dry food storage. Underneath is the rest of my kitchen dishes for eating and baking, Magic Bullet, water bottles, cooler and camp kitchen supplies. There's a grill in the backyard found for free on the side of the road so I'm still figuring out the temperature regulation on it. The trickiest part is clean up. The bathroom sink is too tiny to wash dishes in so I have to do them in the tub. The tub drain is not the greatest at draining, a homeowner special, so I have to pre-wipe my dishes with a paper towel to remove the excess to avoid a plumbing backup. The plumbing is going to be replaced at some point during the remodel so hopefully that will be sooner rather than later. It's worked out fine so far as I have also been going out to eat with friends occasionally and had use of a full kitchen for a week while I was dog sitting. I miss the ability to make coffee since grounds are a mess to clean up but have been savoring the times I meet up with people for coffee. I'm also drinking more tea and may try instant coffee at home occasionally.

My kitchen is set up along a wall of my bedroom next to another table holding jewelry, jars of pens/pencils/markers, white board with my notes, a stack of movies and a few other misc. items by the door. Underneath the table lives my suitcases, tools and bike gear. I recently purchased a full size futon and frame which I love because I can multipurpose it to be both a bed and a couch. It was made by a local Portland shop and is comfortable. The sliding mechanism isn't the smoothest, but I'm guessing over time that I will get the hang of adjusting the positions or will come up with a better solution. I've been using an old sleeping bag and blankets for bedding but am thinking about getting sheets for the summer since I like to be covered when I sleep. The mattress did come with a removable cover that can be zipped off but that seems like it would be difficult for one person. There's a good size closet in my room which stores my clothes, jackets, shoes and gear. 

In total, my room and closet are about 150 sq.ft. and the bathroom is 50 sq.ft. so I'm essentially living in 200 sq.ft. total.