Bumps in the Road

Our tiny house project that we often refer to as the “Addison Mansion” is almost finished! But a journey worth taking is never without its bumps, right?

First Bump:
Before we started any building or signing of contractors, we used the Tiny House Network to find a suitable parking spot for our house. We met with the owner, became friends, hashed out a mutually agreeable deal and started to seal the deal. Having the spot was the first step in our plan, but as we sat down late in the building process, we discovered that we had mis-measured the driveway.

After a lot of re-measuring, consulting the architect and builder, we determined that there was just no way we would possibly fit our tiny house through the driveway of our host without severe damage to both houses.

We freaked out a bit and scrambled to find a new host spot.

Second Bump:
The builders have been trying to construct the house as close to house codes as possible so that we may increase our chances of finding insurance for the house. They had an inspection to check the constuction, electrical, and fire preparedness but there was another bump. Fire code dictated we would need a second exit out of the sleeping loft. Although there were already two accessible windows in the loft, neither were large enough to allow egress. So, it was decided that we would need to order a third larger window to install at the head of the loft that would be large enough to meet code, but this would add a couple of weeks to the build time, possibly longer. Inconvenient, but we thought this would be better in the long run.

We started to convince ourselves that our only certain option for parking in October and beyond would be in an RV park on Sauvie Island. This would put us out of Portland Proper and make Audrey’s daily commute to work at least 20 miles each way. A daunting commute for a couple that didn’t own a car. We have done plenty of long rides but this would test our mettle in the long rainy winters of the Pacific Northwest.

We did want to see it through and talk to the park manager about the spot, so we rented a ZipCar for a few hours to drive out. We drove out during “rush hour” to get a good feel for the commute. Not too bad, but it was a bit stressful.

The bridge to the island was 10 miles from downtown Portland, then the RV park was another 10 miles from the bridge. As we approached the park we started to talk more about what it would mean to own a car again just for the daily commute, how it would seperate us from our community, and how it would drive up our cost of living that we worked to downsize.

Although the talk with the RV Park manager was extremely pleasant and would otherwise invite us to live there, we started growing more anxious with each mile back to the bridge. By the time we reached the only convenience store on the island, we looked at each other and proclaimed “Fuck. This.”

Narrow roads, high speeds, low visibility, and apparent disregard for cyclists have scared us away from ever living on the island.

Tiny Smart House Progress
It’s looking great!

One bump smoothed out:
I posted a call-to-action va Twitter and Facebook in an attempt reach out to my network of friends, team-mates and community of DIY’ers. Within a few hours one of my fellow racers of Team Slow responded with an offer to park in her driveway for the month of October and possibly longer. This kind of saved our butts from having to live in an RV park.

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