Tiny House, Big Trailer
Having never towed anything before I was both excited and a little nervous about the prospect of driving a 26.6 foot trailer 650km home from a different country. I managed to get a couple of practise sessions in from kind (and trusting!) individuals (thanks Dayna and JP) who also gave me a few tips. I was most worried about reversing, but had been assured that the longer the trailer, the easier it becomes.
I have to send out a huge thank you to Morgan, who kindly allowed us to use his truck to go and collect the trailer. This made life a whole lot easier, and ol’ red did us proud, so thank you buddy!
Carly and I used the trailer collection as an excuse to spend some time in Portland, Oregon. We spent a few very enjoyable days in the city before going to collect the trailer in nearby Fairview. We took our bikes with us so we could use them to get around, and cycling around the big city, even in the rain turned out to be a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Also they have great beer and food trucks here, if you didn’t already know.
Unfortunately the weather had been very wet the entire time we were south of the border, so we went to collect the trailer in the pouring rain. After a little mix up and nearly leaving with someone else’s trailer, we got to take in just how big the trailer is (big for a trailer, small for a house footprint that is). My feelings of excitement were still mixed with thoughts of how we were going to get this beast back home! Regardless, the trailer was clearly very well built and I was happy with my decision to take on the extra effort involved with importing the trailer to do it right.
Rob from Iron Eagle Trailers went over the trailer, helped get us hooked up and we were on our way. Not long after we left I gave us a little scare when I didn’t allow quite enough distance to stop for some lights on a wet downwards slope (we skidded a little, Carly held her breath) but I soon got the hang of it.
It was always going to be a long day, but the weather was so bad that I drove very cautiously the whole way. On the drive we also appreciated just how bad the weather had been in Oregon and Washington, as we heard tornado reports, houses crushed by trees, as well as witnessing flooding and a landslide which closed a lane of the I5. We also had a near miss with a tree in the road. So not the best of conditions, but we took it slow and steady.
At the border we declared the trailer and had to go into the border authority building to do the necessary paperwork and pay taxes. Carly is getting used to me complicating border crossings with my antics. This was the first step of the importation process, which I will write about in another post.
It was nice to be back in Canada, but we still had to get back on to the island so we had a fair way to go. Heading down to Oregon we had taken the (very) scenic Port Angeles ferry from Victoria into Washington, but on the way back the plan was to make haste and take the Vancouver/Nanaimo ferry, which cut out the need to drive the trailer through downtown Victoria. Having planned to pick the trailer up at 10am when Iron Eagle opened, I hadn’t been too concerned about the time of the last ferry. However with progress being slow and learning that the last two sailings had been cancelled due to extreme weather, we were starting to get a little concerned about being stuck on the mainland as we approached Vancouver.
Luckily the last ferry was delayed, meaning we we able to get in line and even had time to leave the ferry terminal to run and grab some food. Once on the ferry we were both relieved and pretty exhausted, but with more bad weather ahead we still had a couple of hours worth of driving to do.
At just after 1am we successfully backed the trailer into the driveway and high-fived in celebration – something it turns out we had both been holding back on even as we pulled in to our street. Despite the weather, everything had gone so smoothly we didn’t want to jinx it! Time for sleep, and over the next week to finish the importation process as my tiny house now has a trailer to live on. There is no going back now.