Tiny Shiny Home Blog 2019-02-23T07:05:35+00:00 https://tinyshinyhome.com/feed Tiny Shiny Home hello@tinyshinyhome.com https://tinyshinyhome.com/travel-route-2019 The 2019 Tiny Shiny Home Travel Route 2019-02-18T05:00:00+00:00 2019-02-18T22:26:21+00:00 Jonathan Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/

Below you'll find a map showing our travel route in 2019. Click on a marker to get a link to any articles we've written about that area. We'll keep this post updated so you can follow along with us. Enjoy!

Locations in this post

1

Wickenburg, AZ

We started the new year boondocking outside of the lovely town of Wickenburg and exploring the area.
Learn More

2

Ajo, AZ

Met up with some longtime traveling friends, explored the desert and hiked at Organ Pipe National Monument.
Learn More

3

Indio, CA

Boondocked outside of Joshua Tree and explored the surrounding area.
Learn More

4

Hollywood, CA

Visited Hollywood to take the kids to Harry Potter World at Universal Studios.
Learn More

5

San Diego, CA

Explored the gorgeous coastline in an around San Diego!

]]>
https://tinyshinyhome.com/our-first-visit-to-universal-studios-hollywood Our first visit to Universal Studios Hollywood 2019-02-14T05:00:00+00:00 2019-02-15T02:20:58+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/
This post may contain affiliate links or compensated reviews. Please read our disclosure for more info.

I’ll admit it. I wasn’t super excited about visiting Universal Studios Hollywood. If you know us, you know we’d rather be hiking mountains alone than stuck in a city surrounded by thousands of people. I get anxiety when we have to be in large groups so putting me in the middle of a theme park just sounded like the worst idea.

However, this adventure is not about me! It’s about our family and more specifically, OUR KIDS! We just spent the last several months listening to the Harry Potter audio books with the kids after the older two had both read all the books. Then we watched all the movies so you may say we became Potter Heads. I’d heard great things about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood so after much research, we decided to surprise the kids with tickets!

We counted down the days, did lots of research, and we were so excited when the day finally came for us to explore Hogsmeade. We got there right as the gates were open and went straight to Olivander’s Wand Shop. We waited 20 minutes to go to the Wand Experience where you’re in a large group of 20 people but only one gets chosen to get fitted for a wand.

Let’s just say, ours were only our kids in our group, so our chances were pretty good. Ada was chosen and I cannot even tell you how special it was. I teared up as the Wand Master spoke to her so kindly and made the whole experience purely magical, but that was just the beginning. Every interaction we had with the workers there was amazing. Everyone stayed in character and was so friendly and helpful.

After all the kids picked out their wands…or rather, after the wands picked our kids…we went straight to our first ride. The Flight of the Hippogriff. It was the kids very first rollercoaster and a great starter for our day. They LOVED it and were excited to go on the next ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Woah. I wasn’t prepared for how cool that was going to be.

I thought you just sat in a chair that would move a bit in front of a big screen…NOPE! It was so much fun. We really felt like we were flying with Harry and all of his friends. So incredible.

We promised the kids after their first rides that we would grab some Butterbeer. We were told that the frozen kind was the way to go, but we had to see for ourselves. Yep, they were right…however, we got one frozen and one fizzy and drank them simultaneously and our minds were blown! THAT is the way to drink Butterbeer!

After wandering around the shops for a bit we grabbed some lunch at the Three Broomsticks and whoah! I had no idea that a theme park could have such amazing food. Like real, delicious food. We got fish and chips (which were probably the best I’ve ever had), herb roasted chicken, and chicken tenders. Everything was so fresh and good. Oh, and the fizzy pumpkin juice was awesome! Pricey? Heck yes, but you are at a theme park. It was worth it for the experience of the whole day.

We decided to let our food settle as we took the Universal Studio Tour. I didn’t realize that it was also a ‘ride’ of some sort. It was so fun to see a little bit of the behind-the-scenes and see how some of the movies are made. I didn’t expect to get wet on a bus tour, but my pants got soaked in an earthquake! The tour is a must. It’s an hour long but worth it.

After a few more rides we decided to go back to Hogsmeade so that the kids could cast some spells with their magic wands. They had so much fun with those wands.

We bought some postcards at the Owl Post to send to some family and friends. Of course another round of Butterbeer to close out our day.

It was the most incredible day. We couldn’t stop smiling and Ada hugged us every chance she got in between spells and swigs of Butterbeer. She proclaimed it to be the best day of her life, and I may agree.

Thank you Universal Studios Hollywood for making our first visit an experience we will never forget!

Watch the video about our trip to Universal Studios Hollywood! If you liked it, please leave a comment on YouTube after the video and give it a thumbs up! Thanks friends!

]]>
https://tinyshinyhome.com/quick-tips-for-staying-safe-while-boondocking Quick Tips for Staying Safe while Boondocking 2019-02-13T05:00:00+00:00 2019-02-13T21:57:36+00:00 Jonathan Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/
This post may contain affiliate links or compensated reviews. Please read our disclosure for more info.

We get asked all the time about how to stay safe when camping off-grid. While we’ve never had a problem - and while you’re much less likely to encounter one in the middle of nowhere - we know it’s something many of you are concerned about.

So here are a few quick tips for staying safe while boondocking!

Wickenburg Overhead Drone

Unpaved Roads are Tricky

First things first - always drop your trailer and scout a boondocking location before you try to tow anything down a rocky dirt or sand road you’re not familiar with. You’ll keep yourself from getting into sticky situations and you’ll probably find an even better spot than you would have towing.

We recommend having a vehicle with 4 Wheel Drive just in case there’s mud or deep sand. We should know - our first boondocking experience with our 2wd dually ended in disaster!

Consider adding a lift to your trailer. Roads to off-grid spots are often rocky and uneven. Raising up a few inches really helps to keep from bottoming out.

Antenna Relfection

Reliable Internet

If something dangerous does happen, it’s important that you can make an emergency call or get directions to the closest hospital. Having a reliable internet connection while camping off-grid is essential.

By combining a cell phone plan, booster and antenna you’ll be well on your way. Learn more here.

Friendsgiving at lake mead

Send a Message

Once you’ve found your perfect boondocking spot, you can take a few simple precautions to send a message if someone comes up to your RV.

Adding an alarm sticker is the oldest trick in the book - people even do it for their houses. But it feels a little more authentic for a trailer in the middle of nowhere. I’d just guess it came as an add-on when purchasing. Keep in mind that gun stickers might be counter-productive if law enforcement or border patrol pulls you over.

In the same vein, you can add a small LED light near the door or step to look like an alarm is set. And if you’re alone, put out multiple chairs or pairs of shoes to make it look like you’ve got backup.

Las Cruces, NM

Lock Your Junk Up

Besides locking your doors and windows, try adding a deadbolt for extra security. Those little standard latches are pretty easy to break.

Did you know that most RV storage compartments use the same keys? If a thief has a set of them they can easily get in. Take a few minutes, replace the locks and get your own keys.

Finally, consider locking your wheel chocks or adding a wheel boot so that someone can’t run off with your tiny home.

And that's it! Want to learn even more about staying safe? Check out the Boondocking Collective.

]]>
https://tinyshinyhome.com/exploring-indio-ca-joshua-tree-sheilds-date-garden Exploring Indio, CA, Joshua Tree National Park and Shield's Date Garden 2019-02-06T05:00:00+00:00 2019-02-06T19:16:34+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/
This post may contain affiliate links or compensated reviews. Please read our disclosure for more info.

In this episode we're exploring Indio, CA and Joshua Tree National Park. We also get a taste of our first 'date shake' from Shield's Date Garden and hike a crazy trail called Ladder Canyon!

Don't forget to like the video and leave a comment on YouTube if you enjoyed it.

Oh, and make sure to subscribe so you don't mess the next episode!

Links Mentioned:

Video Gear

]]>
https://tinyshinyhome.com/exploring-ajo-organ-pipe-cactus-national-monument-camping-with-friends. Exploring Ajo, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, & Camping with Friends. 2019-01-27T05:00:00+00:00 2019-01-28T05:06:34+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/
This post may contain affiliate links or compensated reviews. Please read our disclosure for more info.

This episode we're in Ajo, Arizona exploring "butt rock", hanging out with traveling friends Wandering Nation, and hiking at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.

Don't forget to like the video and leave a comment on YouTube if you enjoyed it.

Oh, and make sure to subscribe so you don't mess the next episode!

Links Mentioned:

Video Gear

]]>
https://tinyshinyhome.com/boondocking-in-wickenburg-az-recapping-2018-exploring-hassayampa-river-nature-preserve Boondocking in Wickenburg AZ, Recapping 2018 & Exploring Hassayampa River Nature Preserve 2019-01-22T05:00:00+00:00 2019-01-28T05:02:48+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/
This post may contain affiliate links or compensated reviews. Please read our disclosure for more info.

Hello friends! In this episode we’re visiting the little town of Wickenburg, AZ (just west of Phoenix) where we stayed out in the desert for 2 weeks enjoying those unforgettable Arizona sunsets and picking jumping cholla out of our appendages. We love this little town full of friendly, helpful people, and home to a little treasure called the Hassayampa River Preserve.

Enjoy our awkwardness as we I am still getting used to being in front of the camera.

Don't forget to like the video and leave a comment on YouTube if you enjoyed it.

Oh, and make sure to subscribe so you don't mess the next episode!

Links Mentioned:

Video Gear

]]>
https://tinyshinyhome.com/how-we-boondocked-for-6-months-in-2018 How we Boondocked for 6 Months in 2018 2019-01-21T05:00:00+00:00 2019-02-04T16:24:47+00:00 Jonathan Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/

Way back in 2015 we boondocked for the first time and totally fell in love. Out there on the edge of a ravine, surrounded by friends we just met for the first time, the attraction was instant.

Maybe it was the silence, the raw untamed beauty, or the feeling of freedom. Or maybe it was just that it was free! Either way, since that day we made it our goal to boondock more.

That involved selling the huge 5th wheel we had at the time and renovating a vintage Airstream for off-grid domination. Since then, we’ve been boondocking all over the country, and wanted to take a few minutes to share our favorite areas we visited in 2018.

Sierra Vista, AZ

This is such a gem of place - with lots of hidden off-grid camping up the many canyon roads that are in National Forest land. There are hiking trails all over - many of them don’t even show up online anywhere, and that’s ok with us.

We visited here right in the middle of winter, and the temperatures were great - 60’s during the day and just a little chilly at night.

Airstream Sierra Vista Sunset

Ajo, AZ

A tiny little town near the border, we found the boondocking out near the old mine to be perfect. Quiet, peaceful, and only 10 minutes down the road to get supplies. The temperatures were perfect and it’s only 40 minutes from Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument!

The only downside is that there seems to be a lot of immigrant activity - plenty of Border Patrol vehicles, some signs, and we even found black water bottles as we were hiking around in the desert. We never ran into anyone, but just know it’s a possibility.

Ajo Sunset Ajo Drone1

Willcox, AZ

Literally out in the middle of nowhere, Indian Breadrocks is a rock hopper’s paradise. We had a blast exploring, climbing and sliding down the unique rock formations, and were wowed by the nearby Chiricahua National Monument.

It was a little busy (and windy + chilly) when we were there in February, but we really enjoyed our time there.

Indian Breadrocks Rainbow

Las Cruces, NM

Las Cruces was the first place we boondocked with the newly renovated Airstream, so we were excited to come back in 2018. But dang it got busy! Our usual area was completely full, but we lucked out after a bit of scouting with a beautiful spot nestled right up agains the Organ Mountains.

Bonus points: Dripping Springs Natural Area and Aguirre Springs National Recreation Area are right down the road and have phenomenal hiking.

Las Cruces Mountains Airstream

Carlsbad, NM

If you love cows, then there’s some great off-grid camping near Carlsbad, New Mexico. Most of it is cow pasture so you’ll have to honk your horn to get them to move off the road occasionally. It was still a little cold and windy here in late March, but there were definitely warm days, too.

Obviously Carlsbad Caverns is great, but don’t forget to hop back across the state line to Guadalupe Mountains National Park and seek out Sitting Bulls Falls - an amazing little oasis in the desert.

Carlsbad Airstream

Padre Island, TX

Right after we got our Airstream polished in Austin, we headed to the beach for what we thought would be a perfect weekend of catching rays and riding waves. Bad idea!

The crazy winds, combined with salt, sand, and humidity literally sandblasted some of our beautiful polish away. Arghhh!

Sure it looks cool, but unfortunately our beachside boondocking experience wasn’t the greatest.

Padre Island Airstream

Elk Mound, WI

Sometimes you need a nice place to stay overnight that isn’t a Walmart parking lot. We love Boondockers Welcome for this very reason. Spending the night on a small farm, sharing a campfire with the owners, and meeting new friends is much better than a crazy parking lot.

Cornfield Airstream

Custer, SD

After enjoying our time directly inside Custer State Park, we found a nice little spot out in the woods to camp off-grid and continue to explore the area. It was wonderfully quiet, even with cattle that came to graze every so often.

Custer Reflection

Badlands National Park

We setup shop right outside Badlands National Park with a spectacular view down into the canyon below. It was super windy, but the weather was perfect, and we loved the close access to the park.

Badlands Drone Badlands Clouds Airstream

Yellow Stone National Park

This park is so big that we ended up boondocking in multiple states for quicker access to certain areas. Yeah, I said states!

On the north side, we found a beautiful spot in Montana on the Yellowstone River where we enjoyed the soothing sounds of the water and watched Bald Eagles fly and hunt for fish.

Yellowstone River Yellowstone Pink Sunset

Near the west entrance, we settled in on the shore of Henry’s Lake in Idaho. The kids loved skipping rocks every night, and we met up with several other traveling friends.

There were a lot of fisherman out on the lake, but other than that it was pretty quiet.

Yellowstone Lake Sunset Henrys Lake Airstream

Jackson, WY

Besides really loving the town of Jackson, we loved our boondocking spot about 20 minutes outside the city with amazing views of the Grand Tetons. We were here in late September and it was already getting cold. Like mid-20’s at night.

Thankfully the Airstream renovation held up and kept us nice and warm. We did go through a ton of propane, though! With close access to Grand Teton National Park, we really loved our time here.

Grand Tetons Mountains Grand Tetons Drone

Hunstville, UT

Up the mountain outside of Ogden, we camped out in a recreation area that wasn’t necessarily our favorite place, but the blazing internet upload speeds were necessary for that week as we were doing live Facebook calls each day.

The more we hung around and explored, though, we dug the little towns close by, and even found a beautiful fall hike to a waterfall.

Huntsville Airstream

Hurricane, UT

This was probably one of our favorite boondocking spots last year. Between the epic sunsets and Zion National Park in the distance, we were pretty sad when our 14 day limit was up. Thankfully we met a ton of new friends here, and found out that there are some even better adventures outside the park in the surrounding area!

Hurricane Airstream Sunset Hurricane Drone Sunset Hurricane Airstream Drone

Wickenburg, AZ

At the end of the year we had to bounce around from park to park in the Phoenix area due to a flight back home to see family. We spent a lot of time in some of our favorite State Parks, but had to mix it up with boondocking.

Finding somewhere free and off-grid with good signal is hard in the Phoenix area, but we lucked out with this beautiful spot outside Wickenburg, AZ. It was quiet, 10 minutes from town, and the sunsets were impressive.

It got a little cold right at the end of the year, but from what we understand, they only have 3-4 weeks before the temperatures jump back up to the 70’s for the winter.

Wickenburg Airstream Tele Wickenburg Drone Wickenburg Overhead Drone

And with that, 2018 was over! We boondocked nearly 6 months out of the year and loved every minute of it. Want to know how we find all these cool spots and plan the perfect off-grid camping trip?

You’re in luck! We’ve got a great little guide to finding the perfect boondocking trip, and are running a 5-day challenge in early February to teach you how to plan your first boondocking trip. We hope you’ll sign up and join us!

]]>
https://tinyshinyhome.com/solar-upgrade Solar Upgrade - Adding a 200w Ground Deploy Solar Panel & 2000w Inverter to our Airstream 2019-01-20T05:00:00+00:00 2019-01-21T04:01:43+00:00 Jonathan Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/
This post may contain affiliate links or compensated reviews. Please read our disclosure for more info.

In this video we upgrade to a 2000 watt inverter, add another Blue Sky solar charge controller, wire up our new 200 watt ground deploy Renogy Solar Panel - all because someone wanted a Vitamix!

Our Tiny Shiny Home is now equipped with more power!

Thanks for watching! Don't forget to like the video and leave a comment on YouTube if you enjoyed it.

Oh, and make sure to subscribe so you don't mess the next episode!

Tools & Supplies

Video Gear

]]>
https://tinyshinyhome.com/tiny-shiny-hike-2018 Tiny Shiny Hike Challenge - How We Hiked over 330 Miles in 2018 2019-01-14T05:00:00+00:00 2019-01-16T15:49:14+00:00 Jonathan Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/

If you’ve already caught our 2018 year end recap, then you may have noticed a little something called #tinyshinyhike.

Last year we set a goal for our family to walk a mile a day - or 365 miles in a year. And now we’re finally able to look back and see how we did.

First things first - we didn’t quite make it to 365. We had a few months with family in the Summer and some weather that just wasn’t great. I know, I know - excuses!

But the best thing about tracking our miles last year is that we (and our kids) got to see first hand just how much you can accomplish if you keep at it day by day with a goal in mind.

By our records we hiked 330 miles for 2018 which is still quite an accomplishment. I mean, if you would have asked me last year if we would have hiked 330 miles I would have laughed. A lot.

Since we’re fortunate enough to travel full-time, that meant that each hike was new experience. From the cactus covered desert in Arizona to barren sand dunes in New Mexico to hidden waterfalls, vast caverns, serene beaches, slot canyons, snow capped mountains, and red rock formations - we had so many amazing experiences this last year that looking back almost seems unreal.

Did we really hike to all these places? Turns out we did. And we have the pictures to prove it!

Sierra Vista, AZ

There couldn’t have been a better place to start our challenge. We were boondocking up one of the canyon roads outside of town and there were so many lovely little trails right outside our door - or right down the road.

I couldn’t tell you the name of many of them, and that’s why we loved it so much. Should we take the trail by the stream today or hike up the dry riverbed? How about the crazy 12 mile trek to the top of the mountain? I ended up doing that one by myself :)

Sierra Vista Sunset Field Mountain Sierra Vista Adali Mountain Hike Sierra Vista Family Road Ada Kartchner Cavern Kids Hike Sierra Vista Wash Jax Ashley Sierra Vista Mountain Jett Ada Kartchner Jon Top Bears Peak

Ajo, AZ

To think that we had never even heard of this town until a random encounter with a stranger makes us love this discovery even more. We spent weeks wintering in Ajo, soaking up the sun and freeform exploring the desert. No trails, just dodging cholla cactus and climbing random rocks. It was the best!

Down the road, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument provided some pretty strenuous hikes as well.

Ajo Ada Butt Rock Ajo Cactus Sunset Ajo Spines Shoe Ajo Family Cactus Ajo Cactus Pipe Mountain Ajo Moonlight Cactus Ajo Mine Cactus Ajo Sunset Stroll Ajo Hike Nightlight Picacho Ajo Cactus Pipe Ajo Family Mountain Ajo Jett Jax Sunset

Willcox, AZ

We came here to shoot some video at Indian Breadrocks, and of course got sucked in by the “there’s no trail but lots of rocks to climb” adventure of it all. Unique rock formations are our kryptonite. For real.

Speaking of rock formations that will blow you away, Chiricahua National Monument is right down the road and oh.my.goodness. We only had an afternoon here, but it left an impression. Can’t wait to go back!

Indian Breadrocks Explore Indian Breadrocks Sunset Indian Breadrocks1 Chiricahua Chricahua Kids

Alamogordo, NM

The Dog Canyon Trail at Oliver Lee Memorial State Park is truly epic. I haven’t officially finished it yet, but the kids were finally old enough to take them about halfway up and the views were spectacular.

Down the road is the popular White Sands National Monument. We opted to tent camp overnight and got our hike in for the day lugging loads of gear through the deep gypsum sand. I think we prefer solid ground to sand!

Dog Canyon Kids Sunset Dog Canyon Sunset Dog Canyon1 Dog Canyon Jax Ada White Sands Family

Las Cruces, NM

Moving along, we hopped on over to Las Cruces where we enjoyed beautiful hikes on both sides of the Organ Mountains at Dripping Springs Natural Area and Aguirre Springs National Recreation Area.

Las Cruces Rock Hop Las Cruces Mountains Las Cruces Ada Hill Las Cruces Aguirre Kids Las Cruces Cave Hike

Carlsbad, NM

Besides the amazing caverns here, we loved finding Sitting Bull Falls - a beautiful little waterfall oasis in the middle of the desert.

While we were there, we jumped across the state line to Guadalupe National Park and loved the rock scrambling and unique canyons.

Carlsbad Caverns Sitting Bull Falls Pool Guadalupe Temple Guadalupe Jax Guadalupe Family

Texas

I know, Texas is big, but we moved through the whole state quickly on the way to see family back East. Jumping from one State Park to the next, our hikes started moving away from the mountains and to grassy plains, lakes, and beaches.

A few of our favorites: McKinney Falls State Park, Mother Neff State Park, Big Lagoon State Park, and Galveston Island State Park.

Mother Neff Pond Mckinney Falls Galveston Lookout Big Lagoon Reflection Santa Rosa Beach

Tennessee

Turns out when you come to town to visit family in the middle of the hottest, muggiest summer they've had in years - you don't get much hiking done.

We managed to walk a bit at Ijams Nature Center, and Ashley took the older kids on a rad underwater cave hike up near Norris Dam. But that was about it!

Ijams Nature Center Jax Cave Hike

Indiana

Not only were we visiting Ashley's family here, we were in full Airstream project mode the whole time. So it wasn't really until we left and started back out on our travels that we got to do some hiking. These photos are from McKinney Creek State Park and Prophetstown State Park.

Mccormicks Creek Prohetstown

Wisconsin Dells, WI

Even though Wisconsin Dells can be a little touristy, we managed to find plenty of fun and interesting hikes. During our stay at Rocky Arbor State Park we found a huge boulder with trees growing out of it.

Rocky Arbor Tree Boulder

Then we took a boat ride to the Witches Gulch trail - a surreal short walk through a lush canyon with moss covered rocks on each side.

Wisconsin Dells Boat Rocks Sunset Witches Gulch

Also in the area - Devil's Lake (definitely our favorite) and Mirror Lake.

Devils Lake Jon Rock Mirror Lake Tree

Minneapolis, MN

We were only here a short time and didn't get to hike much. But we found this adorable little pier with an adorable little girl on it!

Ada Pier Lake Elmo

Jasper and Pipestone, MN

Just a few hours from Minneapolis, we found some really great hiking at Split Rock Creek State Park (absolutely beautiful), Devil's Gulch, and Pipestone National Monument.

Split Rock Creek Split Rock Adali Split Rock Sunset Split Rock Kids Sunset Devils Gulch Ada Pipestone Jax

Pierre, SD

I'll be honest - we ended up here when it was way too hot to do much of anything. We mostly spent our time in the Airstream with the air conditioner on, but did manage a few walks in the evening at Ohae Downstream Recreation Area.

Ohae Downstream River Walk

Custer, SD

Talk about magical! Custer State Park absolutely blew our minds with it's unexpected lake + rock formations, a hike down a waterfall, stunning mountain views, and incredible diversity.

Custer Waterfall Hike Custer Sunrise Custer Jett Peaks Custer Adali Tower Peak

Besides Custer State Park, we were within driving distance to Wind Cave National Monument and Jewel Cave National Monument, Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse. Whew! Needless to say we had a blast exploring South Dakota and can't wait to go back.

Jewel Cave Rushmore Explore

Badlands National Park, SD

Just when we thought South Dakota couldn't get any cooler, we visited Badlands National Park. Besides our amazing boondocking location, the park was jam packed with unique hiking opportunities that looked like something out of an alien landscape.

Airstream Badlands Badlands Kids Boondocking Badlands Ada Sunset Badlands Kids Edge

Yellowstone National Park

We bounced around different sides of Yellowstone National Park for nearly a month, and finally get what all the hype is about. From geothermal hot pockets to majestic canyons and waterfalls, we couldn't get over the sheer variety of things to see there. Definitely could have spent longer exploring.

Yellowstone Jett Yellowstone Grand Canyon Yellowstone Geothermal Yellowstone Jax Ada

Grand Teton National Park

Over the mountain we were fortunate enough to hit Grand Teton National Park right before the weather turned snowy. We only had a few days to explore here due to some sickness, but man was it gorgeous!

Grand Tetons Family Hike Grand Teton Susnet Grand Teton Kids Lake

Huntsville, UT

From there we headed up into the mountains outside Ogden, Utah. This was one of those places where it didn't seem like there was a lot to do, but the longer we were in the area we found cool little hikes off the beaten path.

Huntsville Lake Ogden Fall

Hurricane, UT

We finally reached our breaking point with cold weather and booked it down south right outside of Zion National Park. It's funny how you hear so much about certain National Parks and you're always a little bit skeptical. Like, "Could it really be that cool?"

Yes. Yes it can.

Zion was super busy, but there was just something about the multi-colored rocks and high desert plants - the combination of barren and lush that made an impression on us.

Zion Kids Zion Weeping Rock Jax Zion Ada Zion Sunset Overlook

As cool as Zion was, I think we actually enjoyed the surrounding area more. Even our boondocking spot 30 minutes outside the park was gorgeous.

The Red Cliffs National Conservation area took us on some of our favorite hikes to date. And a quick trip up to Cedar Breaks National Monument showed us just how quickly the temperatures can change in a 1 hour drive (80's down to 40's!).

There was so much we didn't get to do in this area, and we can't wait to go back!

Hurricane Sunset Redrocks Jett Jax Redrocks Arch Cedar Breaks

Kanab, UT

Please tell me you've been to Kanab! Besides being one of those adorable small desert towns, it was close to so many adventures! Coral Pink Sand Dunes, hidden caves, and windswept canyons just to name a few.

Coral Pink Sand Dunes Kanab Mt Carmel2 Kanab Caverns Kanab City Overlook Kanab Mt Carmel Wash Kanab Mt Carmel

Page, AZ

Right down the road from Kanab, Page is right outside of the other end of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. I'm telling you, there are so many crazy hikes you can go on in this area, and it would take hours to drive to all them.

Most are down crazy 4WD dirt roads, and totally worth it.

From the Toadstools, to the Wawheap Hoodoos to the legendary Antelope Canyon, we were pretty much in shock and awe the whole time here.

Wirepass Ada Toadstools Dance Toadstools Wahweap Hoodoos Antelope Canyon Sunset Antelope Canyon

Phoenix, AZ

This city has managed to become our "second home" on the road. We have great friends here, and there is an abundance of beautiful parks and hiking opportunities. We bounced around this area until the end of the year, and enjoyed adventuring at Lost Dutchman State Park, White Tank Regional Mountain Park, Usury Mountain Regional Park, and Vulture Peak outside Wickenburg, AZ.

Lake Pleasant Burros Lake Pleasant White Tank Usury Sunset Lost Dutchman Hike Wickenburg Vulture Peak

And that was our amazing year hiking over 330 miles all across the United States!

Would we do it again? Absolutely. We're shooting for the full 365 miles in 2019 and can't wait to get started.

Oh, and you don't have to travel full-time to get out and adventure - make time every day to get some fresh air and spend time with your friends and family.

Maybe we'll see you out on the trail!

]]>
https://tinyshinyhome.com/looking-back-at-2018 Looking Back at 2018 2019-01-09T05:00:00+00:00 2019-01-10T16:44:31+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/

What. A. Year.

We have some epic plans for 2019, but wanted to take a quick look at all we accomplished during 2018 before we talk about our goals for this new year.

At times I felt as we weren’t doing enough, but looking back we actually did a ton of fun things this last year! Let’s talk a look, shall we?

In 2018 we visited 17 National Park Systems!

Coronado National Monument

Coronado National Monument

Organ Pipe National Park

Organ Pipe National Park

Casa Grande Ruins National Monument

Casa Grande Ruins National Monument

Chiricahua National Monument

Chiricahua National Monument

White Sands National Monument (for the 3rd time)

White Sands National Monument

Carlsbad Caverns National Park (second time)

Carlsbad National Park

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Padre Island National Seashore

Padre Island National Seashore

Crazy Horse National Monument

Crazy Horse National Monument

Mount Rushmore National Monument

Mount Rushmore National Monument

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Devil’s Tower National Monument

Devil's Tower National Monument

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park

Zion National Park

Zion National Park

Cedar Breaks National Monument

Cedar Breaks National Monument

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

We traveled to 14 states, 6 of which we had never been to!

Wisconsin

Visit Wisconsin Visit Wisconsin 2

Minnesota

Visit Minnesota Visit Minnesota

Iowa

Okay, this one probably doesn't really count. We were close to the boarder of Iowa so we drove in for one night...no photos. We'll be back Iowa...

South Dakota

Visit South Dakota Visit South Dakota 2

Montana

Visit Montana Visit Montana 2

Wyoming

Visit Wyoming Visit Wyoming - Yellowstone National Park

New experiences in 2018 included...

Sticking our toes in to Lake Michigan for the first time!

Lake Michigan

Seeing our first wild black bear near the Grand Tetons.

Black Bear in Grand Teton

The kids got to experience their first flight when we flew from Phoenix to Knoxville.

Kids first flight

We rented a pontoon boat for the first time in Panama City Beach, FL.

Pontoon boat in Panama City Beach, FL

We took the kids to their first show in Indiana! Weezer.

Weezer in Concert

And some other fun things...

We took several dam tours! If you ask the kids...too many dam tours.

dam tours Dam Tour 2

Adali learned how to weave a basket with dried grasses.

weaving baskets

Went to our first (and likely last) wiener dog race. So funny.

Wiener Dog Race

Toured the Jelly Belly Factory.

Jelly Belly Tour

We got to work with some cool companies like Beddy's Bedding and eBags Online.

Beddy's Bedding eBags Online

And we finally got our Airstream polished to a mirror finish!

Shiny Airstream Shiny Airstream on Beach

Boondocking

We were also able to spend a lot of time camping off grid (boondocking), and I'm not ashamed to say it: we're pretty good at finding awesome spots! A few of our favorites were...

Wall, SD

Wall, SD Boondocking in Wall, SD

Emigrant, MT

Boondocking in MT

Las Cruses, NM

Las Cruces, NM

Moose, WY

Airstream Mountains

Virgin, UT

Arial Virgin Ut Virgin, Ut Boondocking

Wickenburg, AZ

Boondocking in Wickenburg, AZ Boondocking in Wickenburg, AZ 2

Visiting Family

In between all of these amazing adventures, we were able to spend 2 months with family this summer. We moochdocked at Jonathan's parents home in Knoxville, TN where we cleaned out our truck and Airstream and downsized...again.

Moochdocking Sea Eagle Kayak

Then we headed up to visit my parents in Martinsville, IN. We fixed a few little things, added a lift to the Airstream, and enjoyed getting to spend some much needed time with our families.

It looks as though dad really missed the Airstream...

Moochdocking in IN Airstream Lift Kit

365 Mile Challenge

Last year, we signed up for the 365 Mile Challenge last year! I wish we could say we completed our miles...but we didn't. I will say we did come very close for having missed over 2 months of hiking due to visiting with family this summer.

The kids completed 322 miles, Jonathan hiked 349 miles and I came in last with 318 miles (thanks a lot foot injury). While I was frustrated with not completing the challenge, I have to remind myself that we got to see some pretty amazing places that not everyone gets to see!

365 Mile Challenge - Tiny Shiny Hike 365 Mile Challenge - Tiny Shiny Hike 365 Mile Challenge - Tiny Shiny Hike 365 Mile Challenge - Tiny Shiny Hike Zion Trails 365 Mile Challenge - Tiny Shiny Hike 365 Mile Challenge - Tiny Shiny Hike 365 Mile Challenge - Tiny Shiny Hike 365 Mile Challenge - Tiny Shiny Hike 365 Mile Challenge - Tiny Shiny Hike

Sometimes when you're in the day-to-day it feels like you're not getting much accomplished, but that's why it's so important to take time and look back.

We're so thankful that we get to live this adventurous life, and that you are following along with us.

We hope it inspires you to live like you mean it!

]]>
https://tinyshinyhome.com/how-to-insure-your-renovated-vintage-airstream-for-what-its-actually-worth How to Insure Your Renovated Vintage Airstream 2018-11-29T05:00:00+00:00 2018-11-30T23:03:30+00:00 Jonathan Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/

After putting together an exhaustive cost breakdown of our 1972 Vintage Airstream renovation, a few people made some claims like, “I would sure like to see where you got it appraised. Bet it wouldn't hold up for insurance purposes,” and “no insurance company will ever take into account all of this work.” Spoiler - they're wrong :)

We managed to fully cover what our Airstream is worth, not just what we put into it. In fact, it appraises at nearly double our investment.

What I didn’t anticipate is that it would be one of the most difficult parts of the renovation. Turns out renovating a 45+ year old trailer into a real deal, gorgeously decorated home isn’t that common. So most insurance companies have no idea what to do with it.

There are two basic policies available, and it’s important that you choose the right one.

  1. Actual Cash Value - this means that the insurance company determines the value of the trailer based on blue book type statistics. I think ours was worth like $1,500 according to them. Obviously this is not the way you want to go.
  2. Agreed Upon Value - this means that you prove to the insurance company what the trailer is worth via a certified appraisal from a 3rd party. This is the plan you want, and make sure to be clear about your wording - “Agreed Upon Value” is not the same as “Stated Value” so double check that in the contract.

Something else to keep in mind is coverage while you’re renovating. When we first brought it home to start the work, we just had it covered for what we paid for it ($13,500). Then later in the process as we added things like new axels, air conditioner, solar panels, etc… we upped it as high they would go ($40,000). We had to show them receipts to get that coverage.

To get past that threshold we would need an appraisal and a company to actually do an Agreed Upon Value plan at the numbers we needed.

And this is totally where we got stalled. We were on the road for 3 months with that minimal $40k coverage before we found the right people to help us.

Thankfully nothing happened during those 3 months, but obviously it wasn’t an ideal situation! So hopefully I can save you some time here and tell you how to get your renovated trailer fully covered.

Airstream Bedroom

Step 1: Get your Airstream appraised

The comments above were true about one thing. Without an appraisal by someone who is well-versed in the vintage trailer market, no insurance company will cover what it’s worth.

But once you have that document in hand and a number from a licensed 3rd party, it becomes easier.

We worked with Polk & Associates - they are accredited by the American Society of Appraisers and they made the process easy to understand.

You’ll have to provide a one-time fee (ours was about $300), detailed write-up of all the work done, receipts of major items purchased, and pictures of everything! Once they have that info they’ll look at the market and come back with an appraisal price.

The document they give you will be in compliance with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practices so your insurance company should accept it.

Step 2: Find an insurer familiar with vintage trailers

Honestly, this was the part that took us forever. Our local insurance agent basically told us he couldn’t help. I even called the Progressive corporate office and didn’t get anywhere. It wasn’t until we talked to FCIS Insurance that they not only said they could cover it, but explained all the confusing conversations I was having with other agents.

Agreed Upon Value policies have a clause that talks about anything 10 years old converting to a Actual Cash value policy automatically. Most agents took this to mean that since our trailer was older than 10 years old, we could only get the cash policy. But the agent at FCIS Insurance explained that it actually means after 10 years of coverage it converts to a cash plan. So once you’ve had the plan for 10 years you’ll have to get it appraised again and “renew” it.

Either way, FCIS should be able to get you a Progressive policy that covers your vintage trailer for what it's actually worth.

You’re probably wondering how much something like this costs. Well, it’s not cheap! We pay around $165/mo to keep our Tiny Shiny Home covered in case of an emergency. Obviously your mileage will vary based on how much your renovated trailer is worth - and what kind of deductible you want to pay.

Kitchen and Kids Bed

See? Two easy steps to getting your vintage trailer covered for what it’s actually worth. The last thing we want is for you to be stressing about getting proper coverage after you’ve spent all that time lovingly restoring it.

So get covered and sleep easy tonight!

]]>
https://tinyshinyhome.com/airstream-renovation-cost-breakdown Airstream Renovation Cost Breakdown 2018-11-23T05:00:00+00:00 2018-12-24T22:22:16+00:00 Jonathan Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/
This post may contain affiliate links or compensated reviews. Please read our disclosure for more info.

Back in 2016 & 2017 we spent 6 months renovating the heck out of a vintage Airstream, documenting the whole process and creating a tiny, shiny off-grid boondocking home that looks great and works even better.

We should know, we've spent the last 2 years traveling the country and living in it!

As you might imagine, we get asked often exactly how much the project cost so I cracked my knuckles, made a massive spreadsheet, and added it all up for you. It was no small feat :)

Types of Renovations

Before we jump into the numbers, you should know that there are several types of Airstream renovations.

1. Slap Some Paint On It

This is the quickest way to get a nice looking trailer and get on the road. Use what's already inside - dated as it is - and paint and re-style to feel more modern.

Be warned, though - if you're buying an older trailer there are probably deep issues that are being glossed over like wiring, water leaks, floor rot, frame damage, and old axels.

It may look nice, but a month or two on the road and you'll find yourself trying to fix all the things.

2. Skin Deep Interior Design

There are a ton of shops out there doing what we call "cosmetic" renovations. This involves removing most of the original interior and rebuilding it in a more modern style. These are often gorgeous and look fabulous on Instagram.

However, they usually don't change much functionally like updating batteries, axels, tanks, or anything structural like the frame. Forget about updating insulation or wiring the walls. Or even worse, they focus so much on the interior design that basic functions may not even work.

Trust us, we've heard some horror stories.

While these can make great AirBnb rentals, actually moving one of these beauties around full-time will prove problematic and again, you'll find yourself trying to track down things like why the furnace stopped working or why the whole backend of the trailer is separating.

3. Functional & Gorgeous

Since we planned on living in our Airstream full-time, we knew that we couldn't ignore deep structural issues - and that taking the time to design things like the power and water systems from the ground up would pay huge benefits in the long run.

So we gutted the trailer down to the ribs and rebuilt basically everything except the shell. Let me be clear - if you plan to live in your renovated Airstream and actually drive it around places you need to do a full renovation. Ignoring potential leaks, original wiring and insulation will come back to bite you.

Of course, we wanted it to have great interior design, too. It's wide open, full of minimal modern cabinets, warm natural wood, and the original aluminum walls. So the space is as beautiful as it is functional. We think it's the perfect balance (ok, maybe we're biased!).

4. Shell-Off Renovation

This is the big one - it's what you do on top of everything else if your floor has rotted from water damage and your frame is deteriorating. You actually have to lift the shell off and build a new frame, then put it all back together.

Thankfully our frame and floor were in good shape so we didn't have to go this far, but shell-off's are pretty common with old Airstreams if they leaked. Just be warned - you could be getting into quite the project!

Now, I wrote all that because it's important to know what kind of renovation you're looking at and how to approach a realistic budget.

Picking Up Airstream

Buying a Vintage Airstream to Renovate

Paying a fair price for a used vintage Airstream could be debated endlessly (and probably more thoroughly in a separate post), but I'll just leave a few quick thoughts here:

  1. It's ok to pay more if the exterior and windows are in great shape. Replacing a single window could set you back $600.
  2. Leaks, floor rot, and frame separation can all spell shell-off renovation. Pay less for those and expect a big project.
  3. Go with your gut. Get a feel for the people selling it. Do they seem trustworthy?
  4. Airstream owners have blind spots, though. The previous owner of ours honestly thought there were no leaks, but we found quite a few once we started removing everything. They weren't being dishonest, but they couldn't have known because it was all hidden and stored in a garage, free from water.
  5. Speaking of leaks - expect them. Don't ever assume a 40 year old Airstream isn't leaking somewhere. It's a matter of how bad and how much damage it's caused.
  6. Don't get so focused on lowballing and saving a couple grand now that you lose the sale or end up with a trailer that's got more problems than you wanted.

Ok! So now that we have that out of the way let's look at what we spent.

Saying goodbye

Labor

Before we go any further, though - we have to give a shoutout to Ashley's family. Her Dad spent 6 months, 6 days a week helping us finish this labor of love. His vast knowledge, expert craftsmanship, and wicked workshop were integral to the project. Her Mom helped watch the kids and provided countless meals for us while we were all working non-stop to get it all done. And they both gave us a place to live during the whole process. If we tallied up their contributions to our renovation, the cost would triple. No joke.

The costs below are just material costs - you'll have to figure out how much time, love and labor is worth to you :)

Overview

  1. Hardware
  2. Building Materials
  3. Plumbing & Tanks
  4. Electrical & Solar
  5. Internet & Tech
  6. Propane
  7. Exterior
  8. Appliances
  9. Axels & Wheels
  10. Insulation
  11. Tools
  12. Design & Decoration
  13. Solvents
  14. Random
  15. Polishing
  16. Total
Airstream Dinette

Hardware

I never in a million years thought we'd spend so much on hardware. Bolts, screws, nails, and rivets really add up! But what really threw us was the cost for hinges, latches and drawer slides. Holy moly!

Item

Cost

Push Button Latches $638.17
Hinges, Soft Close, Drawer Slides $500.00
Springfield Marine 3 Stage Pedestal$540.00
Screws $348.46
Bathroom Door Hinge $54.00
Bolts $168.04
Bed Hardware $104.00
Self Drilling Sheet Metal Screws $119.48
Curtain Rods (Aluminum bars) $94.52
Heating Duct $19.75
1/8" Cobalt Drill Bit Set with Double Ends $9.00
Vents And Clamps $32.23
1/8 Aluminum Rivets $114.45
Large Flange Rivets - 3/16" Diameter $69.90
Modified Brazier Head Rivets AN456A - 5/32"D 1/4"L $14.00
Modified Brazier Head Rivets AN456A - 5/32"D 3/8"L $14.00
Modified Brazier Head Rivets AN456A - 5/32"D 1/2"L $14.00

Total

$2,854.00


Lower Pantry Built In Garage

Building Materials

There is so much wood in our Airstream! We built every cabinet, bed, table, and wall from scratch. Add good flooring and solid surface countertops and it's amazing how quickly this number can go up.

Would we change anything? We would probably try to use a little less wood for weight reasons, and Ashley would have liked butcher block counter tops instead of solid surface. But overall we really love how the Airstream looks and feels.

Item

Cost

Wood & Lumber$1,748.74
Flooring $482.04
Countertops $2,000.00
Wood Glue $12.83
Barrister Door $64.13
Aluminum Bars $83.25
Frame Supports $49.71

Total

$4,440.70


Tanks In

Plumbing & Tanks

RV's are self-contained systems - so in addition to basic plumbing you'd have in a house like sinks, water lines, and pipes - you also have holding tanks and sewer connections.

Our fresh tank was still in good shape, but we cracked the gray/black tank pulling the toilet out and had to replace it. While we were at it, we added a second gray tank and connected the two together so we could carry more waste water.

Item

Cost

Shower Hardware $231.33
Kitchen Sink $199.95
Kitchen Faucet $199.00
Black Tank Customized$269.00
Additional Gray Tank$229.00
Tank Valve And Sensor $89.98
Tank Fittings $93.59
Lippert Bathtub $130.00
Bathroom Sink Stopper $16.00
Bathroom Sink Faucet $60.00
Bathroom Sink Faucet $60.00
Lippert Shower Shroud $225.00
Spigot Flange $7.00
Tank Sensors x 4 $37.32
Copper Connection $45.41
SHURFLO (255-213) 1/2" Twist-On Pipe Strainer $8.00
Plumbing $366.00
Cauking $37.52
Camco 39764 RhinoFLEX 10' Sewer Hose Extension Kit with Swivel Fitting $18.58
Valterra T1020-1 Black 3" Bulk Waste Valve Cap (3/4" GHT with Cap) $8.07
Valterra T1029-1 Termination Adapter with 3" Bayonet x 3" Spigot $7.12

Total

$2,337.87


Solar On Roof

Electrical & Solar

Before you freak out at this number, keep in mind that we added 500 watts of solar panels and 400 amp hours of lithium batteries on top of re-wiring everything. But still. Copper's expensive, yo!

So if you skip that part of it, you can definitely spend less. After living off solar for the last couple of years, we can officially say it's been worth it, though!

Item

Cost

Converter $310.76
Romex $11.00
Fusebox $34.00
Wiring$478.58
Terminals $86.45
Solar Panels $1,139.94
Blue Sky Controller $187.15
Solar Panel Knobs $42.00
Electrical Supplies $19.48
Electrical $100.00
Solar Panel Cables $51.36
Heat Shrink $22.52
Solar Mounts $412.00
Electical Plates And Wires $114.39
30 Amp Plug $202.66
30 Amp Cable $99.00
Termimal Blocks $27.50
Fuse Block $47.82
Batteries $3,125.00
Wire Connectors $60.00
Solar Display $45.43
Distribution Block $37.72
Battery Switch $40.00
50 Amp Circuit Breaker x2 $80.00
Switches x 15 $49.30
5-pack MC4 Connectors $9.99
30ft 10awg solar wires w/connectors x2 $103.98
Electrical Supplies $19.48
Momentary Push Button $8.00
ANL Fuse x2 $40.00
Battery Switch $30.00
40amp Relay 5 pack $10.00
Inline Fuse Box Wire $3.00
RCA Male Cable $11.00
Positive Insulated Battery Power Junction Post Block 3/8 Lug (Red) x 2 $18.00
ANL Fuse Block w/ Insulating Cover 300amp $20.00
Bluesky Charge Controller $415.00
Samlex 1000w inverter $380.00
High Amperage Solenoid $163.00
LED Lights $271.63
Usb Plugs $105.69
MinnKota MKR-18 12V Plug & Receptacle $13.71
MinnKota MKR 18A 6 ga. Wire Adapter $24.90
Screws + Barrel Connectors $10.48
Din Rail Terminals $73.28

Total

$8,544.20


Roof Of Airstream With Solar And Antennas

Internet & Tech

We work from the road full-time so super solid internet was a must. You can read about our whole nerdy setup here. Other than that we kept the Airstream pretty low tech on purpose.

The more manual things are, the less chance they'll break, amiright?

Item

Cost

Omni Antenna x2 $125.70
Directional Antenna $52.00
weBoost 4Gx $479.99
Antenna Mounts $40.61
Antenna Cables $102.85
Antenna Mount $54.13
Antenna Cable $6.71
Winegard TV Antenna $102.00
Newer Technology NuMount Pivot Wall Mount $81.00
Seagate Expansion 4TB Portable External Hard Drive USB 3.0 (STEA4000400) $100.00
Pepwave SOHO $199.00

Total

$1,343.99


Propane Lines Underneath

Propane

Since propane was an integral part of our power design, we had to re-run all our lines to make sure the tankless water heater would work. Also, it's just a good idea to replace this stuff when it gets old :)

Item

Cost

Copper Pipe $64.65
Propane Cert $69.29
Cavagna (52-A-890-0006C) Auto Changeover Regulator Kit 54.13
Cavagna (50-A-190-0032 12" Acme LP Pigtail with Hangtag$ 40.00
Propane Fittings $293.00
Copper Connection $7.47

Total

527.54


Sexy Rear End Put Together

Exterior

Oh, the exterior! We were amazed how much time, work, and materials went into re-sealing each rivet, window, door, and compartment. Not to mention replacing vents, attaching solar panels and antennas, and replacing the 7-way plug.

Don't skimp on this part - you'll want to make sure you've got any leaks taken care of before starting on that beautiful interior!

Item

Cost

Vent Covers $140.91
Fantastic Fans $499.50
Fuzzy Seals for Windows $97.78
LED Hitch Light $14.99
Waterproof Illuminated Rocker Switch $4.39
Trempro$187.71
Window and Door Seal110.20
Sewer Carrier $80.25
3M VHB 4950 Heavy Duty Mounting Tape - 1 in. x 15 ft $26.43
3M Tape Primer 94 $19.96
Adseal $33.40
4 1/8” Round Lens Clear $20.00
4 1/8” Round Lens Red $12.00
Sealant $15.16
7-Pin Socket $19.99
7-Pin Trailer Connector $10.49
7-way Molded Trailer Cable $27.99
Weatherproof Boot for 7-way Plug $1.99
Airstream Window Positioner Guides $126.00
Super Weatherstrip Adhesive, 5 fl. oz tube $15.99
Airstream Screen Door Seal $7.99
Airstream Main Door Seal $44.70

Total

$1,517.82


Kitchen Appliances

Appliances

Besides solar, appliances were our biggest cost. Like we mentioned, some people try to leave all the originals, but since we knew we'd be living in our Airstream full-time it was important to have fresh appliances. Upgrading to a new AC, tankless water heater, and 12v marine fridge have proven to be a gamble that paid off (meaning they all still work perfectly!)

Item

Cost

Barker 3500 lb. Power Jack $304.73
Atwood 3 Burner Range/Oven $788.20
Propane & Carbon Doxide Sensor $109.65
Dometic Penguin II Low Profile Air Conditioner $750.00
Dometic Thermostat $125.00
Dometic Air Distribution Box $111.00
Dometic Drain Kit $60.00
Nature’s Head Composting Toilet $960.00
Suburban NT30SP Furnace $672.31
Shureflo 3.5 GMP Water Pump $162.98
PrecisionTemp RV-550 Wall Vented Tankless Water Heater $1,097.00
Novakool Refigerator Freezer $1,630.00
Rockford Fosgate R1525X2 Prime 5.25-Inch Full Range Coaxial Speaker $80.00
Pioneer Audio Deck $95.00

Total

$6,945.87


Dad Questioning The Wheel Size

Axels & Wheels

A sagging axel or a tire blowout on an Airstream can cause some serious damage. We made sure to get brand new everything and upgraded to 16" truck tires to reduce the chance of a flat.

In addition, the new 45 degree axels and the bigger tires meant we gave ourself a 3" lift!

After a year of boondocking we decided to add an additional lift to get us up 3" higher, and we feel like we've finally found the perfect balance in terms of clearance and stability.

Item

Cost

16 x 6 SAWTOOTH 870 Aluminum Trailer Wheel 6 Lug with Center Cap $441.00
Michelin LTX M/S2 LT225/75R16/10 115R $750.00
Lugnuts $45.99
Dexter Axels - 3.5K 60N5.5 E/B TORSION AXLE 80” HF, 61.5”OSB, INBOARD, 45° DOWN $1500.00
Lug Nuts $6.41
DEXTER AXLE K7170702 Lift Kit$170

Total

$2,913.40


Working On End Cap

Insulation

Since we dropped the underbelly and took the interior skins off, we took the opportunity to re-insulate everything. New pink insulation underneath and Reflectix against the outer wall with Rockwool Sound and Fire Batten has kept us toasty warm in the winter.

Item

Cost

Reflectix $215.09
Rockwool Insulation $300.00
Floor Insulation $112.00
Reflectix Tape $25.43
Insulation $68.87
Foam Blocks $39.89

Total

$761.28


Bucking Bar

Tools

We actually lucked out here. Ashley's Dad provided more than his lifetime of experience and know-how. He brought with him a lifetime of tools and an amazing workshop. Still, he hadn't done much with riveting so that's where most of our tool costs came into play.

Item

Cost

Wire And. Drill Bits $42.75
Lug Crimping Tool $17.00
Suction Cup $4.00
Rivet Removal Tool $59.95
Pneumatic Rivet Gun $150.00
Bucking Bar $20.00
Digital Zangenmultimeter Clamp Multimeter Tester $46.00
2 Sided Drill Bits $7.98
Hole Saw $25.67
Cleco 1/8” $14.99
Cleco 5/32” $14.99
Cleco 3/16” $14.99
Cleco Pliers $7.99
Olympic Rivet Shaver $249.00
Rivet Set for 1/8" Brazier Head Rivets $11.00

Total

$686.31


Airstream Bed

Interior Design & Decoration

Once you separate out the wood and hardware, there wasn't a ton left in terms of decorating on the inside. Cushions, fabric, paint, and curtains were the main expense for us.

Item

Cost

Ikea $113.00
Sheets, Bathroom Items $245.95
Fabric $330.42
Meori Boxes x3 $30.00
Curtains $291.04
RV Designer H820 White 4" Rotaire Register $10.00
World Market $45.58
Pillows $40.89
Foam for dinette and kids beds$300.00
Benjamin Moore Paint$150.00
Stain$50.00

Total

$1,606.88


Vinyl Done

Solvents

Probably a category you wouldn't expect to add to much, but dang. I'm amazed how much cleaning, stripping and solvent-ing we had to do! Honestly most of this probably came from removing the vinyl from the interior walls. So much work!

Item

Cost

Goofoff $21.38
Rustoleum $3.93
Aircraft Paint Remover $15.95
Various Strippers $79.49
Cleaner Tools $31.99
Lowes Tape And Stripper $75.72
Stripper $67.32
Jasco $76.86
Stripping $67.43
Cleaning + Tub Caulk $12.39

Total

$452.46


Jon And Jax Getting It Done

Random

As you can imagine, not everything fit into a perfect category. There were countless trips to Walmart, Ace Hardware, and Rural King for the most random things that I didn't put half of them on the spreadsheet. The few that I did go here. Mostly just cleaning stuff related to the vinyl stripping, but who would have thought we'd spend 200 bucks on trash bags and gloves?

Item

Cost

Cleaning Stuff $20.50
Trashbags $20.00
Gloves $20.30
Gloves $14.96
Walmart $101.22
Walmart $32.38

Total

$209.36


Polishing wheel in front of Airstream with a portion polished

Mirror Polishing the Airstream

About a year into our travels with the newly renovated Airstream, we decided to get her polished. Had to live up to that Tiny Shiny name, right? Polishing is a ton of work, and doesn't come cheap. We had planned on doing it ourselves, but a tax return and perfect timing made more sense to have someone else do it so we could keep working.

Item

Cost

Polish 31' Airstream $3,800

Total

$3,800


Totaling it Up

Unless you're amazing at math, you're probably thinking, "Awesome, just tell me the total already!"

Fair enough :)

Item

Cost

1972 31' Airstream Sovereign Land Yacht$13,500.00
Hardware$2,854.00
Building Materials$4,440.70
Plumbing & Tanks$2,337.87
Electrical & Solar$8,544.20
Internet & Tech$1,343.99
Propane$527.54
Exterior$1,517.82
Appliances$6,945.87
Axels & Wheels$2,913.40
Insulation$761.28
Tools$686.31
Design & Decoration$1,606.88
Solvents$452.46
Random$209.36
Polishing$3,800.00

Total

$52,441.68

Whew! Yeah that was a lot to get through. So all in all, we spent about $52,000 on our renovation. The cool part is that it appraises for way more than that. So in the long run, we have actually made money. I don't think you can say that about many other types of trailers. Airstreams just seem to endure and hold their value.

Now, if you made it all this way, here's a few more images of our Tiny Shiny Home - inside and out. Enjoy!

Airstream Bedroom Virgin, Ut Boondocking Kitchen and Kids Bed Airstream Mountains Airstream Bathroom Vanity Airstream Badlands Airstream Devils Tower ]]>
https://tinyshinyhome.com/whats-in-our-bathroom What's In Our Bathroom? 2018-11-20T05:00:00+00:00 2018-11-24T16:35:14+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/
This post may contain affiliate links or compensated reviews. Please read our disclosure for more info.

It's been awhile since I showed you our closet and how our family of six fits all their clothes in packing cubes. Now that we have that mess organized, I’d love to show you the rest of our bathroom!

This is not a Pinterest bathroom! I repeat...THIS IS NOT A PINTEREST BATHROOM! While we think tiled bathrooms are really cool and crazy beautiful, they just aren’t practical for our lifestyle. If this Airstream was set on land and never moved, heck yes we’d tile it! But that’s not our plan, not yet anyway.

We are constantly going down crazy bumpy roads and putting our Airstream through quite a bit of stress. I don’t know how well tile would hold up to that kind of pressure, but I’m guessing not so well. I could be wrong though.

So, let’s show you what we have in here! Keep in mind, the standing space in here is just 4 feet by 3 feet so getting pictures is a bit tricky, but I’ll do my best!

As soon as you walk into our bathroom, our closet is on the right side.

Airstream Closet

It has all of our clothes inside (hallelujah!), as well towels and toiletries.

Airstream Closet Family of 6

The very bottom of this cabinet is where our water heater is. We also store extra rolls of paper towels or toilet paper next to it.

Natures Head Airstream

On the side of the closet we hung two towel hooks and a bit further down is the toilet paper holder.

On the aluminum wall we added two Command broom holders. One for the mop, one for our broom.

Side note: this mop is great for cleaning off the solar panels! Jonathan can put the ladder in the middle of the Airstream and reach each solar panel with the mop extended. Clean panels equals...MORE POWER! (said in the Tim Taylor voice)

Moving right along…

I'm sure you noticed our Nature's Head Composting Toilet!

We LOVE not having a black tank. We were able to convert our black tank (yes we bought a new one) to a gray tank, and we added a second gray tank! This allows us to stay out boondocking for longer periods of time! Have we mentioned how much was love boondocking? The only thing I would do different with the toilet is to plumb the urine diverter to go directly to our gray tank. It would be nice for Jonathan not to have to do the 'walk of shame': carrying his family's urine to dump each day... So if you're installing a composting toilet...PLUMB THE PEE!

Next to the composting toilet is our sink/vanity.

Airstream Bathroom Vanity

If we could do this again, we would search for a much smaller sink.

It’s overkill, but no plans to change it anytime soon. Under the sink is mainly just the plumbing. We do have a few things stored here such as our hair clippers (I cut everyone’s hair), hair dryer, extra toilet paper and some cleaning supplies. Nothing too exciting.

To the left is our shower!

Airstream Shower

Yes, we use it (unless we’re at a campground with nice showers). Now, this is not a fancy shower but you know what? It works! We wanted to keep it simple and light weight and we were able to do both! The best thing we did in here was this extendable shower bar!

Airstream Shower

You simply pull it out to create more room when taking a shower, then push it back in when you're done so it's out of the way! It's the best!

We also love saving water with our EcoCamel Shower head. This thing is awesome! It takes air in through a small intake hole and adds water pressure so you're using less water!

Oh, and do you see the little magnet at the base of the shower wall? That's to hold our door in place! When the windows are open, it's nice to have the bathroom door open for airflow. We bought this magnetic door stop and it's so great for keeping any door propped open!

Now, let’s talk dirty. Dirty clothes…

Hamper In Airstream

On the far side of the shower and near the vanity, we left this space open so that we could hang a clothes hamper here. We just added enough hooks so that the bag stays open and once a week, when it’s full, we head to the laundromat!

Also along this wall where the dirty clothes are stored, we installed toothbrush holders!

They each hold 3 toothbrushes which makes them perfect for our family! We also added two hooks to the top of this wall for our bath towels.

Next to the left of the shower we have this tiny little storage area. We call it the guitar closet.

Guitar Closet

This space was left open incase we ever need to (not so easily) access the plumbing for the shower here. Just in case! This is where we keep Jonathan’s guitar and 2 ukulele’s and our other set of curtains! And you probably noticed, we have two more towel hooks on this side of the shower, and a long dark blue curtain.

This was added as a privacy curtain. Because we do have a door that allows light through, it also allows shadows, so we pull this over the door for added privacy if we need it! It also kind of closes off the guitar closet.

Privacy Curtain

Oh! Did you notice our measuring ruler? We’ve had this since Jax was a baby.

I used to make them for friends and family. I think it’s such a treasure that we were able to fit it in here. This is literally the only place it would fit. We had to cut off 4 inches from the top, but it works! So fun for the kids to record their height throughout the years.

Well, I think that about covers our tiny bathroom! It’s small, but we are very happy with how it turned out!

I hope this helps you get a better feel for our space in here! It may be tiny, but we love this little place we get to call home!

Thanks to Moment Lens! These shots were made possible by Moment Wide! We LOVE their lenses for our iPhones! You should totally check them out!

]]>
https://tinyshinyhome.com/5-ways-to-reduce-stress-while-traveling-full-time 5 Ways to Reduce Stress While Traveling Full-Time 2018-10-16T05:00:00+00:00 2018-11-24T16:35:16+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/

For some reason, people just assume that because we travel full-time that we must live a stress free life. Umm, no. I’m pretty sure that everyone, at one point in time, will experience stressful situations. It’s human, it’s normal, and we’ve got to find a healthy way to deal with it. Here are a few of our favorite ways to relieve stress while traveling full-time.

Get Moving.

Hiking in Ajo

I know, I know. When you’re stressed out or feeling down, the last thing you want to do is get out of bed, get dressed, and go outside. But it really helps! Even if you can’t go on a long walk, just get out side, breath that fresh air, stretch and move! Your body needs it, your mind needs it!

Get Some Alone Time.

Alone time while Traveling

For me, this one is kind of hard. I have serious mom guilt when I get alone time…it’s hard for me to even ask! And then when I am alone I just feel guilty for leaving (or for making them leave). But, we all need some time alone. We try to have one day a week where we get to go out by ourselves. We’ll go work at a coffee shop or library for a few hours and sometimes we’ll even splurge and, gasp...go to a movie. We always feel much better when we have some time alone. Heck, even just to go grab a quick meal alone is a treat. Sometimes it’s so nice to eat your sushi in peace and sneak a MexiCoke! Yum…is it my day for alone time?

Get Close.

Get close - Ways to Reduce Stress

Okay, you know what I mean (wink). Seriously, I’m convinced that a lot of stress can be reduced with some proper time in the bedroom…or in the truckor outside. You get my drift! ;) Grab your significant other and make time for each other. Turn off Netflix and just chill…

Clear the Clutter.

Airstream Kitchen Decor

If you walk into your home and automatically feel stressed about how it looks, it's time to declutter and get organized! Do you really need all those kitchen gadgets? What about those pants that haven’t fit in over 2 years? Cleaning out the clutter in your life will immediately help you relieve some stress. You'll feel so much better when you drop off those bags of unnecessary things at your local thrift store. It’s freeing. You’ll have less to worry about, less to clean, and less clutter taking up space in your home and your life.

Go Float.

Float Tank

Wait, what? Seriously! Have you been to a float tank yet? Yeah, it’s not a free solution, but holy freaking cow. What an amazing experience! We recently just went to our first float tank experience in Kamas, UT at SYNC Float Center and we were blown away. It clears your mind, relaxes your body and you’ll leave feeling more relaxed and focused than ever. You can read more about the benefits here. It’s unreal. This place is top notch and if you find yourself near Salt Lake City/Park City/Heber City you NEED to go check them out!

So what about you? What are your favorite ways to relieve stress? I'd love to know in the comments below!

]]>
https://tinyshinyhome.com/lets-talk-about-beds-baby Let's Talk About Beds, Baby! 2018-10-15T05:00:00+00:00 2018-11-24T16:35:15+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/

Let’s talk a bit about beds shall we? If you’ve seen any of our photos of the Airstream, you’ve probably noticed the kid’s amazing bunk beds.

Beddy's Bedding on Bunkbeds in Airstream

When we were building them, we knew they had to be super sturdy, have enough room to sleep comfortably, and give the kids a space that is their own.

We’ve actually received comments and messages how cruel we are for ‘making the kids live like that’ and someone even said, ‘that’s not enough room for kids’. Well, let’s talk about that a bit shall we?

First off, we aren’t ‘making our kids’ live this way. It’s been a family decision from the very beginning. We wouldn’t be traveling or living in an RV if the kids weren’t okay with it. We know this is not something we will continue forever, but for now everyone is happy and loves it! And as far as there ‘not being enough room for the kids’…their bunks are plenty adequate for them sleeping in or even hanging out during the day to read or relax.

kids on bunk beds with beddy's bedding

We made sure that even adults could lay down, turn over, and sleep comfortably so we know the little humans in here fit just fine. Plus we have the ability to fold down the top bunks and turn the beds into two couches.

Img 5941

This lets us host friends and creates another living space for us to hang out together.

Where do you and Jonathan sleep? Well, we sleep on the kitchen table! No, really! Our dinette table drops down and our cushions rearrange to create a nearly king size bed!

Img 4721

But is it comfortable? It really is! We have plenty of room that if one of our kids are sick, we’re able to have them sleep with us if they want. And we can all lounge on here for movie nights. Jonathan’s computer monitor swivels out, we all bring our pillows to the bed, and it’s a really fun way to hang out and chill.

Img 2495

But what about privacy? Well, we do have a dark curtain that can hang between the kids’ room and our bed. Where there’s a will, there’s a way - and our kids are really sound sleepers! Add some fan noise and so far so good. Plus, there are more places to connect with your significant other than just the bed (wink).

I don’t mind the questions people ask about why and how we live the way we do, but I do mind when people assume that we’re ruining our kids lives because they share a ‘room’ or because their beds aren’t huge. I mean, this whole idea that a kid needs a huge room to themselves is a pretty new concept - millions of other children around the world are growing up sharing a room and it’s just fine.

If you were to walk into our home when the kids go to bed, you’d likely hear them giggling and talking until they fall asleep each night. This is our normal. And this is what works for us at this time in our lives.

So yeah, we do have a tiny house and we don’t have ANY extra space, but in exchange…we have time, we have love, and we have amazing experiences every week exploring this great big world with our kids. I don’t know about you, but I say that’s a pretty great trade off.


This post was written for inclusion in the October 2018 collection of the Small Family Homes Blog Community. Read below for more writings on living small from our community of writers. Check back next month for a new topic and posts in the series. And if there is a topic you'd like to see us write about, let us know!

Small Family Home -- "Tiny Living with Kids: Sleeping Arrangements" : Finding room for everyone when there aren't enough rooms for everyone.

Tiny Found Us -- "Sleeping Tiny in a Big House" : Letting go of our ideals and getting the rest we need... why we share a bed with our kids.

A Life Shift -- "How We Host a Dinner Party in 590 sq ft" : Why we kick Campbell out of his room - and where he sleeps instead - while we entertain guests in our 590 sq ft apartment.

Deeper Meaning Travels -- "How We Sleep in a Small Space (with kids)" : Living in a small space can be a challenge, but add children into the mix. See how we sleep in a small space in our RV home, with our two children in tow.

Little Bungalow -- "Formerly Known As Den?" : Mulling over all the sleeping arrangement options for our two girls in our two bedroom house.

Tiny Ass Camper -- "Sleep Training Failure" : How sleeping in a small space with our kiddo has impacted our bedtime routines, for better or worse.


]]>