Though it’s been over a year since I last posted, I haven’t been sitting pretty – and neither has Gyrtle! Get ready, because you’re about to get hit with a slew of updates.
Last month I set out from Phoenix to Colorado, where Gyrtle has been nestled since my mom’s passing in a little nook in her friend and fellow musician Pam’s yard. For several reasons, including the fact that it’s time to weigh and re-register Gyrtle as the amazing tiny home she is (an important step for getting tiny house insurance), it was the moment for my mom’s house to find a new, if temporary home. So with the help of an old friend, Deb, and a new one, Morgan, we hitched her up.
The story of how we found Morgan, who’s a former semi-truck driver turned firefighter and horse rancher in Colorado Springs, is remarkable in and of itself. Deb and I had been discussing Gyrtle’s future a few weeks prior, and we decided it was time to move her.
“Now all we need is a driver!” I told her, and Deb promised to send it up for the angels to deal with.
Would you believe it, the next day Deb was driving home and saw a truck in front of her with the exact hitch we needed to tow a fifth wheel gooseneck like Gyrtle is built on. Bold as she is, Deb decided to follow that truck a ways down the road.
When Deb noticed the license plate on the truck included her birthdate, it was a done deal. Deb trailed the truck all the way home, which happened to be around the corner from where Gyrtle currently stood. She explained our story and our needs, and Morgan agreed to help. Woohoo!
Gyrtle’s new home came in the form of another friend’s generosity. When my mom was looking for a place to land, one spot she considered was a beautiful lot close to Elbert in El Paso County, CO. The land is owned by an engineer who is an inventor in his own right and, clearly, also a very kind soul. Our rag-tag crew scoped it out, and the next day we were ready to move.
After hitching her up, we had to run by the weigh station off I-25 in Monument to get Gyrtle weighed. She came in at a whopping 24,000 lbs! The weigh station inspector said that weight was within normal limits for an RV…now we just have to hope the DMV thinks so, too! But Gyrtle sure drove pretty, according to Morgan, who manned the wheel of the truck that hauled her. From my perspective in the passenger’s seat, the ride seemed plenty smooth…though I was incredible nervous the whole time.
From there it was smooth sailing out to Elbert, where Gyrtle got settled on her new pad – but I can say for a fact that without Deb and Morgan’s help, the entire process would not have ended nearly as pretty and pain free as it did. All told, it took us four hours to move Gyrtle from one spot to the next and get her weighed without incident.
It was a truly productive trip, and to have Gyrtle weighed and re-situated where people are ready to help take care of her is a huge weight off my mind. But there was still more to do.
I needed a certified VIN inspection before Gyrtle could be reclassified by the DMV as a live-in mobile camper rather than a flatbed, and I spent my entire trip trying to find a certified state trooper to do it. On my last day, with just hours to go before I flew home, I found one! He even met us out near Elbert, so we didn’t have to move Gyrtle again, and by the time he finished up I still had time to get to the DMV. I thought, “For sure, I’m gonna walk out of here the proud owner of a registered, self-built tiny home on wheels.”
But, alas, I was getting ahead of myself. While everything I’ve done to this point has been a necessary step, I still need to head back out to Colorado again to have a bond appraisal for Gyrtle that declares her value as an off-grid THOW (“tiny house on wheels”) so the DMV can issue a new VIN that accurately reflects what she is.
Ultimately, getting the bond appraisal is an important step in the registration process, ensuring that I walk away with paperwork that reflects all the hard work and improvements that my mom made to that flatbed trailer she bought almost four years ago. I need these documents to be accurate so that when I reach out to one of the only providers of self-built tiny home insurance, I get a policy for the correct amount to protect against anything that might happen.
While it is somewhat disheartening to not get everything taken care of at once, I take solace in the fact that nothing in this process has moved too fast. In fact, sometimes moving slowly is a blessing so that things get done right. I’m also lucky, since I’m already planning to return to Colorado in August for the National Tiny House Jamboree! That will give me a good chance to get some more things checked of the registration and insurance list.
The best news is that outside of the paperwork, some amazing things have been happening in my life that directly support my mom’s vision for Gyrtle and her attempts to spread the seeds of sustainability overall. I’ll be sharing them in the next few weeks, so stay tuned! In the meantime, here’s where Gyrtle will be, safe and sound – for now.
Blessings and Happy Trails,