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Our Maiden Voyage

Our Maiden Voyage

We had a baby! Well… it feels that way. What I mean is, our tiny house emerged from the driveway and received her birth certificate. She is officially DMV registered as a coach trailer. License plate and all! We are so proud. But let’s back up…

Do you remember how hard it was for us to fit the trailer into Uncle Matt’s driveway?

Back in September. (Sigh) We were so young and naive.

Well, now that we have an actual thirteen foot HOUSE on top of that trailer, multiply the level of difficulty thirteen-fold! A few tree branches had to be sacrificed, a steel rod that was encased in cement and part of the gate had to be physically sawed off, and three people had to guide Guillaume as the trailer wheels rubbed the walls on both sides of the driveway.

The amount of Austin Powers maneuvering required was astronomical. Stress levels were high. I’m telling you, it felt like labor… or what I imagine labor to feel like from the standpoint of an expecting father, helplessly watching his first born squeeze its way into this world. I wanted to faint… but instead I held my breath and watched our “baby” come out into the world.

To recap, I’m the father. I guess that makes Guillaume the midwife, and the truck… forceps? The driveway is obviously the birth canal and the dog is the annoying hormonal Aunt who cries and screams at the first sight of the baby (Salies…. Shhhhhhhh. No bark)! Whew, glad we cleared that up.

Our child’s first steps were a treacherous 1.5 mile trip to the DMV. It was a bumpy, frightening ride. I followed Guillaume and the tiny house down congested Los Angeles streets, while passers-by rubbernecked to see this strange house on wheels.

I was petrified by every creak, bump, and sharp turn. Will she fit under that branch or that telephone pole? Somehow she waddled down the road unscathed, that is, until Guillaume went over a rather large pothole (thanks Los Angeles!). That’s when the trailer broke free from the truck.

The tiny house shuddered violently.

Hit the pavement.

And then proceeded to skid for about fifteen feet.

I knew something bad had just happened, but I wasn’t sure if I should be scared or devastated. After what felt like an eternity, Guillaume got out of the truck.

“She detached herself from the trailer.” He said calmly.

“What???” I was so confused. How could that be possible?

Luckily there was no real physical damage aside from a slight bend in the trailer tongue jack and a long scratch in the pavement. We certainly left our mark! But the embarrassment of holding up traffic, WITH A HOUSE, in Los Angeles rush hour? I don’t think my cheeks could have been pinker.

The problem had been that we left in such a hurry we forgot the trailer lock pin!

What kind of parents are we???? The new kind, that’s what.

Aside from that hiccup, our maiden voyage went off without a hitch (see what I did there? Hold the applause please). We confirmed that Tumbleweed has made a mighty fine trailer (read our review about it), and our tiny house received her papers. Does that make her more of an American Citizen than Guillaume?? I wonder. . .

After the excitement of an almost crash and burn on our first flight , we thought: why not take a spin up the coast?

We took her down the Pacific Coast Highway, but before the road started winding we turned off at Sunset Blvd. and headed north for an unexpected dirt road adventure. Yes, we like to press our luck.

After a fun day in the sun, it was time to head back home to finish the interior (stay tuned folks). On the way we stopped at a weigh station. At 13′ 6″ and 7,900 lbs… she’s a big baby!

Our first adventure was full of surprises, and it’s only a taste of the crusade to come.

Hopefully you’ll check back in soon because our Giant Journey is about to begin!

-Jenna (new mom)


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  1. May 21, 2014 / 12:02 pm

    It is an amazingly interesting project….more so because here I am living in the interior of
    British Columbia and I see and hear from someone I have known for a number of years from when I lived in Ontario….That person is Grady Kelneck ….small world….can’t wait to see the interior when it is complete! Cheers Bruce

  2. Ally
    May 13, 2014 / 10:23 am

    Fun – saw you guys on the 405 yesterday morning, in Brentwood/Santa Monica! Way to go!

      • ally3223
        May 13, 2014 / 10:41 am

        Not at all! I’m just bummed I couldn’t get a better look. The one time the 405 was moving…

      • May 13, 2014 / 11:22 am

        Well, we will be in San Diego this weekend for a Tumbleweed Workshop appearance if you want to visit the house.

  3. Mario
    April 28, 2014 / 9:24 pm

    How did the registration at the dmv go? Live in Orange County and start my build in one month when I get my tumbleweed trailer. What did you need to register ? Love you blog, has given me ideas for my build.

    • April 28, 2014 / 10:33 pm

      Hi Mario, that’s awesome, congratulations! Are you going to the San Diego workshop?
      We registered ours as a coach trailer (didn’t get a choice after inspection), which is more expensive than a PTI. We understand that if take your trailer to the DMV before building, and register it as a PTI, it will be much cheaper. I’m not sure if there are any issues with having a PTI registered trailer that you then build onto, so you might want to research a little.
      Which model are you building?

      • Mario
        April 29, 2014 / 4:42 am

        Thanks for the info. I am actually planning in going to the San Diego workshop. Believe it or not I am building a Cyprus 20 with dormers, same design as yours. I will be using SIPS for my walls and roof, excited to get started . If your going to the San Diego workshop we definitely would be running into each other .

      • April 29, 2014 / 12:03 pm

        How exciting. We will be at the San Diego workshop for sure. Let’s touch base down there!
        Our model was a Fencl when we started it, but Tumbleweed changed the names. They didn’t sell anything longer than 18ft so we had to modify the plans to fit our 20ft trailer. Our layout is different inside.
        You will not regret your trailer purchase by the way!

  4. April 23, 2014 / 12:41 am

    One of the nicest exteriors I have seen so far!!! Inspiring 🙂

  5. April 20, 2014 / 4:25 pm

    Like the first scratch on a brand new vehicle, dropping baby takes the edge off making it easier to relax 🙂

    • April 20, 2014 / 6:09 pm

      Haha, we definitely have a few scratches on our roof from the branches

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