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  • Writer's pictureJim Martin

The Tiny House Gets a New Home

Updated: Dec 2, 2023

If you've been with me for the last several posts, then it may be hard to believe, but we are finally ready to move ourselves and all our stuff to Vermont--including the Tiny House which has now been sitting in Eric's driveway for more than a month. (If you haven't been with me, you may want to jump back a few posts to here. I think you'll enjoy the ride.)

Our new neighbor Eric has been plenty patient about the Tiny House being in his driveway for all this time, but we are eager to end this saga and finally have everything in one place.

I rented yet another 26' U-Haul, and called the exact same crew that had unloaded everything into our temporary house. They were available to load us up in Massachusetts, then I'd drive the truck up to Vermont, and they would meet us there and unload us that same day. Awesome.

Jenna and I worked our butts off repacking everything we'd unpacked to host the kids. As we did this, a concern began to take shape in my brain. Have you ever unboxed a new item and then decided you didn't want if for some reason? Invariably when you try to get the thing back into the box you just took it out of, it won't fit!

The first 26' U-Haul had been packed directly from the original moving truck by professional movers. Here's what this looked like:

Now that the truck had been unloaded and some 40% of the boxes had been unpacked, and re-packed, what were the chances all that was going back in a 26' U-Haul? Slim.

The answer was clear: two trips. I would load the truck with all the big pieces I could manage, and drive it all up the day before the big move.

Round one looked like this:

Not a ton of stuff, but enough to make the big move easier. That first trip was uneventful. Two and a half hours up to Vermont, unload into the garage, and another two and a half hours back to Massachusetts. With that part done, all we needed to do was finish packing. I will confess that packing up the kitchen for the second time in a month was not fun, but it was still worth it!

The crew showed up right on time and loaded everything back into the truck for the second trip. It all fit great! I drove the truck through some pretty thick snow flurries back over the now familiar 2.5 hour journey to Vermont. The crew met us there and unloaded. Everything, at long last, was in the new house.

And it was fun getting acquainted with all the new systems of the house, like the pellet stove:

And a few days later, we had our first snowstorm. Here's what that looked like out our kitchen window:

And finally, after almost six weeks in Erik's driveway, on January 14th it was time to move the Tiny House. Our oldest daughter was coming back to visit for a week or so, and I thought it would be fun to do together. So I called a local car dealership and arranged to rent a Toyota Tundra (the Tacoma being a 1500, and the Tundra, of course being a 2500).

On the day I went to pick up the truck, however, the nice man at the dealership informed me that the Tundra had not yet been returned from it's previous rental. They did, it turns out, have a Tacoma on the lot (that's the 1500).

Jim: I need to pull a 20' tiny house about a quarter of a mile up a pretty steep hill. Do you think the Tacoma will do it?

Nice man at the dealership: Sure, it's got a two inch ball arm receiver and all the hookups. That's all you need.

Jim: That's great, so you are comfortable with me pulling a 20' Tiny House with this truck?

Nice man at the dealership: Sure. It should be fine.

You know how it happens that when you acquire a more intimate knowledge of a particular vehicle model, you suddenly start seeing it everywhere? During my 25 minute drive from the New Hampshire dealership to our new house in Vermont, it seemed like every second vehicle on the road was a Tacoma! And then, when my daughter showed up, the first things she said was, "Wait, is that your truck? Did you buy a Tacoma?!? That's my dream truck! I had no idea.

I loaded my two inch trailer ball arm with the 2 5/16" ball on it. That's the attachment Romie and I had used on the 20' U-Haul when we towed the rig from VA to VT. You just slide that badboy into in the 2" receiver and lock it with the huge hitch pin.

But because the Tacoma was not a Tundra, it was a bit lower to the ground, and the suspension was a bit spongier. I caught myself wondering if I should flip the ball around so that it looked more like this photo. These reflections were cut short by the realization that my tools were still all packed up, and I had no access to a wrench big enough to turn the huge nut holding the ball to the arm. Like so many aspects of this whole project, we were just going to have to make do with what we had.

With the tow arm attached, we drove the Tacoma the 1/4 mile down the hill to Eric's house. With Clara's help, we got it all lined up and ready to lower the trailer onto the hitch. This was an exciting moment, as you can see from the sleepy look on my face:

Back in the truck, I dropped the transmission into four wheel drive low and eased the truck forward. The rig moved smoothly and quietly forward without any problems, challenges, or near catastrophes! Amazing. Clara had the presence of mind to film this auspicious moment:

A couple of things to notice in this video: First, the trailer rolls like butta. I love it. Second, my inkling about flipping the hitch arm around was, as inklings often are, remarkably accurate. You may have grimaced as you heard the trailer skid grinding against the pavement as it exited the driveway. Thankfully no damage was done to trailer or driveway! And third, you can see the passenger side Tyvek is a mess at this point--as is the plywood underneath. That's going to need to be tended to!

Up the hill we drove, and man was it exciting! Here's another clip from Clara's phone:

About two minutes later, it was time to back the tiny house into it's new home. This was also a team effort! I took the first stab at it with Clara watching and calling out directions. Backing up a trailer is tricky, and I'd never done it before. But I kept in mind Romie's Pro Tip:

Romie: It's not too hard. Just turn the bottom of the wheel in the direction you want the trailer to go. Here's how that went when we tried it:

I got it close to lined up. Then Clara finished it off. Isn't she adorable?!? She does seem to really like the Tacoma, you can tell by the borderline insane grin on her face!

And finally, finally, FINALLY, here sits the tiny house in its new home:

Thanks for reading!

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