tiny house move

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!

Tiny House Move: Part 2

Well, I think I've kept you in suspense long enough so I'll tell you about the rest of my move weekend...

Day 3: Sunday
After two days of moving and a night sleeping on the floor, my body and brain needed somewhat of a break. So instead of making an effort to continue to solve the jack problem, I decided to move my personal belongings to my house. Luckily, most of my things were either still in boxes or arranged in neat piles since I never really had time to unpack at my last place. Starting my build, work and moving had all coincided at the same time in May and unpacking had been the lowest priority. I managed to get the majority of my things in my car once again without much of a tetris game. It still amazes me that I always seem to fill the space with my things regardless of the continual process of letting things go.
Once I had my car packed, I drove to my new home and started unloading things. Space filled up quickly since I still had all of my tools and materials inside too. And I wasn't doing a great job a organizing since I knew I would be moving things around often to be able to work on different things. In addition to my bed, I put all of my outdoor gear in my loft until I could build some shelves on the opposite wall. I also had stashed most of my tools and some materials in the bathroom since I knew the next steps to living in the space would be creating storage spaces for my things so that I would have space to plan out electrical and continue working on plumbing.

I spent most of the day moving things, taking some breaks to imagine spatial layout. Finally, I called it good and went back to my other place for the night.

Day 4: Monday
I took the day off of work since I wasn't feeling all that well the day before. And I felt like tackling the jack situation. I slept in, packed the remainder of my things and headed to my house. Eric was ready to help dig into the project which was awesome because as much as I enjoy working solo, I really needed some moral and physical support for this project. Eric and I had come to similar conclusions as to what needed to be done so we got to work. 
Eric dug out a rectangular hole near the rear front corner of the trailer, then we put down a piece of 1" plywood, a layer of CMU blocks (left on site from a former gardener), another layer of plywood, CMU blocks and then plywood. We cut some shims to put on top of the plywood since it was a low spot. With the car jack in place, we slowly lowered it onto the foundation stack.
It felt solid once in place so we decided to use that method on the other three corners. The front corners needed a third layer of blocks and plywood since the ground slopes down there and we could tell from the level. Eric needed to leave so I finished the last stack solo. Once in place, the house felt so much more solid than it had on the scissor jacks. It was also very close to level all the way around so I didn't feel the need for any interior leveling yet. With everything on the floor, that would have been difficult anyway. I'm sure the house will settle some this winter with all of the rain and the soil gradually compacting so I'll likely have to add more shims. I also dug out the wheels so they wouldn't be in contact with the ground and deteriorate over time. I am still thinking of getting wheel covers to protect them more as well.
You can imagine my happiness at getting the house feeling stable. If I can help it, I will not be moving it in the raining season again though it probably would have been just fine with this last week of cold temps hardening the ground. I was so excited to spend the first night in my own home!

For more photos, check out my flickr move album.