ThinHaus tells of their adventure, how they made the trek there and back again with a 10 foot wide tiny home, along with the incredible turn out from the event and the incredible unique aspects of the tiny home industry.
Here’s Jay with a great adventure!
Greetings from San Diego!
Tiny Fest in San Diego, California is the first big show of the year and the weather, as expected is perfect. The crowds are huge and the energy for all things “tiny” is off the charts. The team at ThinHaus brought our Model A2410 tiny house and the reception is wonderful ... but let’s start at the beginning.
As you know, our Model A2410 is 24’ long and 10’ wide. It was, perhaps, the biggest decision in our company’s history to make our tiny houses 120” wide instead of the standard 102” wide all the other builders make. It meant that we would need a permit each and every time and for each and every state that we would travel through. Our thinking here was that travel in a tiny house only happens two or three times in the life of the home and living in it happens every day. It would be worth the hassle.
Well, it certainly was, but it was not the easiest thing to do and it was certainly not something that you can do without a lot of time and preparation. In no particular order, let’s go over some of the things one needs to do to move a 10’ wide tiny home from Phoenix to San Diego and back again.
First of all, you need a truck ... and not just any truck. You see, there are mountains surrounding San Diego and one needs a diesel engine to get up and over them. We went with a Ram2500, but Ford, Chevy, and GMC all make suitable trucks that would also do the job. You can rent these for about $750 for a week or buy a good used one for $35,000 or so. New ... somewhere between $45,000 and $65,000.
Now that you have a truck, you’ll need “Oversize Load” banners, safety flags, yellow warning lights, magnetic USDOT signage and a 15,000 lb capacity tow hitch ... cost: $1,000.
That was the easy part. You will need permits to cross state lines with your wide load. If you don’t have them, you cannot enter each new state or get through any highway weigh station. The highway patrol is no joke. The fines are steep and they will impound your tiny house (and charge you) until you get them. To get the proper permits, you will need a USDOT number. To get a USDOT number, you will need commercial trucking insurance. Once you have these things, you will need to hire a permit processing company to get a permit for each trip, each day and each state. You might be able to do this part by yourself, but it will take weeks and weeks and you will almost never get it right. Hire pros to do it. Cost: $9,500.
Once you get it all ready and your tiny house and truck are permitted and all decked out, you are ready to go. The trip to San Diego is normally 6 hours by car. Towing a tiny house, it takes almost ten. Why, you ask? The answer is two-fold; first, the speed limit for towing is 55mph and the second is that the speed limit is not your problem. Towing a 10’ wide house on the highway is tricky and going fast is both a bad idea and impossible anyway. We left Phoenix at 5:30am when the roads were mostly empty and headed west.
Two things to report: One ... our ThinHaus is built super solid with its steel frame and massive trailer and Two ... the Ram truck had a killer diesel engine. Put this together and it made for a really solid towing experience. Once you figure out how to stay in your lane and give traffic around you a chance to clear out, rolling down the road is very do-able. You get passed by everyone including the really big Amazon trucks that blow you around a bit so you have to hold on.
Some jerk with a dirt bike falling off his little, homemade trailer was ahead of us and parts were all over the road. We couldn’t just swerve to get out of the way, so we took a hit and lost a tire. We bought a spare with us and changed it out in a half-hour or so. Cost: $200.
Arriving in San Diego during rush hour with a house on the highway was a real thrill that we’ll tell you about another time. Suffice it to say, we made it to the fairgrounds and set up was smooth as can be.
The show opened Saturday morning and the crowds flowed in. It was a party with a half dozen full, tiny houses, a dozen skoolies, three or four conversion vans, two or three kit houses and another dozen vendors of all sorts along with fair food sellers. Attendance for the day was just short of 20,000 and it seemed like all of them waited patiently to walk through our ThinHaus.
San Diego Tiny Fest was a love affair with ThinHaus. The people couldn’t get over how big our house is when you are inside. Having a full 11’ of inside height because of our drop axles and 10’ width on our special trailer makes the 399 square feet of a ThinHaus look really big and functional. The master loft stairs are next to the full bath and not in the middle of the living room and loft #2 can be a full 7’ up and still give you 4’ of space. It makes a difference and the comments we heard all said how much they loved it.
The show had two discussion stages with new topics every hour. We joined the conversation on Builder vs DIY and while we’re all for trying to do it yourself, make no mistake ... you are not going to build a ThinHaus on your own even if we give you the plans. The parts, pieces, and tools are just not available to the DIY’er. But, the tiny house community has all sorts of folks, so there were a lot of different and interesting things to see.
Sunday was classic San Diego marine layer overcast and a bit chilly. It didn’t stop the folks from coming and we counted close to 10,000 more. Our team loved the people and the fairgrounds food and many new friends were made. The city folks from San Diego came by and started a conversation about 1,000 tiny houses for homeless folks and reminded us, again about one of the big needs of our industry. ThinHaus really has a tiger by the tail and there are as many reasons to go tiny as there are people.
Once the show was over, we headed back to Phoenix and traveled all day Monday. No problems getting home to start work on three more ThinHaus A2410’s and to begin making plans for the shows up in Denver in early June. If you are in the neighborhood, come see us.
For more data and building details concerning ThinHaus, email to: firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll share the specifications and techniques that we use to build our industry-leading homes.
Sounds like ThinHaus had quite the adventure on their way to San Diego! It’s great to see how many thousands of people are passionate about the tiny home movement! Love to see the growth and how the community is coming together.
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We’re in this together,