Saturday, April 15, 2017

Adjusting to Smaller Living

Our San Diego apartment, April 7, 2017, the day we moved out.
Nearly a week-and-a-half burned here at a cheapo hotel in Tucson, AZ, and I'm already itching to hit the road. Just 10 more days and Sash, myself, and our beagle will be moving into an RV.

The RV is being built at a factory in Nappanee, Indiana. Interestingly, RV manufacturing is a huge industry there in the "Crossroads of America". Quite a few brand names are built in tiny farm towns of Hoosierland, and it's no surprise that much of their labor comes from the Amish. But while all of these RV brands can claim to be "Amish built", these factories all use power tools and robotics.

For me, it's like Harley-Davidson saying "Assembled in the USA" instead of "Made in the USA".

But putting all else aside, this is a big change in our lives.

Just yesterday, Sash was binge-watching, "Tiny House Hunters" on HGTV, and it just started to hit me that we're moving into a tiny house too, albeit a toy hauler that feels more like a man-cave than a Winnebago. A few years ago, as we kicked off our Road Pickle tour, she mentioned that we would one day buy a tiny house. I guess it's coming true.

Yesterday, I ordered a 3/4 inch 300 ft lb torque wrench on Amazon because the company that makes the weight distribution hitch for my pickup wants a couple of bolts torqued to 260 pounds. So, I had originally looked all over Tucson for a hardware store that sells such a tool, but the biggest one anyone stocks goes up to 150 pounds. Moreover, it's difficult to find a hardware store that sells sockets with a 3/4 inch drive.

But isn't that how people accumulate tools? Because the industry designs each thing to be unique?

I've had people say, "Hmmm", when I mention that we're having a toy hauler built. That is, most folks seem to drive their pickup truck to an RV dealer and buy whatever is in stock. I kinda expected to do that too. But this particular brand we wanted, "Aluminum Trailer Company", limits the amount of toy haulers they make. They mostly do trailers for utilitarian purposes (cars, horses, trade shows, et al). So, when you visit one of their dealerships, there are not a lot of stock available. Hence, Sash and I picked out all the options and specifications we wanted and had a dealer fire it off to Amish country.

Originally, the dealer was going to charge me $3,500.00 to have the toy hauler delivered to San Diego, where Sash and I had been living. But it seemed like paying that much for delivery was insane, and all they were going to do was have a driver tow it to us. So, it seemed like I could drive out there and tow it back myself for less.

So that's why we're here in Tucson right now; it's our first stop along the way to Indiana.

Another thing we're adjusting to is "smaller everything".

That is, the refrigerator in the toy hauler is about 3/4 of the size we're used to. The television we plan to put in will be about half the size we're used to. The kitchen oven and stove top is much smaller. The sink is much smaller. The shower is much smaller. Even the washing machine that Sash plans to get can only handle about 3-4 pieces of clothing at a time.

I had actually suggested instead we get a 5-gallon bucket, fill it with water, soap, and clothes, and mash it with a toilet plunger. It'd probably handle a larger load, with less water.

For me anyway, the lure of living smaller is not so much about getting smaller-everything, but doing things differently. I mean, it isn't about having a smaller refrigerator as it is about switching over to foods that don't require refrigeration.

Years ago when I went motorcycle-camping with my friend Brian, he always brought along foods that could travel for days in his top-box. A can of soup, a fresh apple, a package of peanuts. I like the idea of sustaining myself on foods that I plan to eat sooner than later.

Somewhere over the decades I got this crazy idea that a loaf of bread had to be kept refrigerated. My first wife always did that. But I distinctly remember when I was a kid, my mom kept bread in a breadbox. I guess in those days, we could finish off a loaf of bread before it grew mold. For whatever the reasons are now, people require more days and weeks to get through the standard 22 slices.

I wonder how much food eventually goes spoiled because we tend to leave them in the refrigerator and forget about them?

So our last day in Tucson is Monday morning (April 17, 2017). From there, we keep going east. We pick up the toy hauler on April 25. At that point, tow it back to San Diego to pick up our motorcycles and our stuff.


  1. Cool! The toy hauler is a great option not only for being able to bring the bikes but the garage can also be used as office space. We are picking up a used fifth wheel as I prefer the towing behavior to a bumper pull and I wasn't ready to commit to new. But, unfortunately it's not a toy hauler. Looking forward to your travels...

  2. I love Tiny House Hunters. One days we'd love to move out of our 912 sq ft which seems too big for just the two of us. It will be a big adjustment for you two but so worth it to take the bikes and pooch along.

    I am looking forward to following along.

  3. Safe travels! I'm looking forward to reading about your guys' adventures.

  4. Airstream make the best campers on the planet.


About Steve

A vagabond who hauls a motorcycle around the country in a toy hauler, earning a living as a website developer. Can often be found where there's free Wi-Fi, craft beer, and/or public nudity. (Read more...)