Bruce’s Airstream Overlander

Bruce Czopek is a muralist, artist and avid backpacker who decided about two years ago to stop paying rent. While the costs of home ownership were out of his reach—he still wanted to own something that he wouldn’t have to worry about losing should he not be able to pay the rent. Enter a 26-foot 1966 Overland Airstream.

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Bruce found the trailer on the Denver, Colo. Craigslist and had it shipped via uShip to his friend’s home in Northern Nevada. He then spent over 80 hours stripping out old caulking and sealant from the exterior seams and resealing the skin of the trailer. Bruce spent even more time removing insulation full of mouse droppings, painting the frame with rust inhibitive paint and re-insulating the inside, refinishing the original cabinets, pulling out old plumbing and gas lines, installing a new heater, new propane regulator and new wood floors.

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Bruce lives in the trailer most of the time and rents space for it from his friend. He does utilize his friend’s house for the bathroom and kitchen.

“Having access to the house meant I wouldn’t have to worry about plumbing and kitchen till Phase Two,” Bruce said. “Doing it on a budget also demands saving money for the next phase.  That will be installing new plumbing, a new water heater and finishing the bathroom.”

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Bruce purchased the Overlander for only $4,500, but suggests if anyone else wants to attempt to restore an older trailer to be patient and accept that the amount of work will be more than originally considered.

“While repairing one thing you will find two or three other items to take care of,” he said. “The alternative is to pay a lot more for an Airstream that has been thoroughly inspected. There really are no deals out there any more. I had first thought to gut the trailer and do a modern interior but even though the cabinets were pretty tired everything was there and I decided to stick with the original look. The interior now feels like a first class cabin on an old ocean liner. Classy and comfortable.”

Bruce also plans to spend more time making the trailer more insulated for winter weather and appreciates the various Airstream forums and friends will skills who helped him along the way.

“I love the round quality of the Airsteam. Not being all angular, it has a calm feeling inside,” Bruce added. “I have found that using it as a bedroom while having the advantage of a separate bath and kitchen is actually very nice.”

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Photos by Bruce Czopek

 

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]

Bumfuzzle Bus

Followers of the Bumfuzzle adventures have seen the intrepid couple go from sailing around the world in a catamaran to driving around the world in a VW bus. Their latest adventures: sailing in a beautiful, but cranky, 43-foot Spindrift Pilothouse in Mexico has come to an end and Pat and Ali have moved their two small children aboard a 27-foot 1966 Dodge Travco camper to explore the interior, rather than the coast, of the Americas.

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Pat and Ali have always been up front with what they spend on their tiny homes on wheels and water. The Spindrift was eventually costing them too much money in repairs and docking fees. When traveling the interior of Mexico, they were essentially not living in their boat—but still paying for it. Pat writes in the Bumfuzzle blog:

“In my opinion keeping a boat that you aren’t using is one of the stupidest financial decisions a person can make. Two years, $500 a month dockage/hard storage is $12,000. Paying somebody to keep an eye on it $2,500. Coming back after two years to repair everything that has been neglected or just simply stopped working while you were away, another couple of thousand easily.”

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Still wanting to travel, homeschool their children and live in something with a little style, the couple purchased the vintage Travco online sight unseen for $9,000 and added another $12,000 of repairs and additions including solar power, custom mattresses and new upholstery. The bus has a living space with a dining table, a fold-out couch, plenty of seating, a back bedroom with two beds for the children, closets and a bathroom.

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The bus (just like their other modes of transportation) is clean and minimalist without a lot of toys or clothes. In fact, when the family of four left Mexico, they only had six boxes of belongings. Pat says in the Bumfuzzle blog:

“Six boxes. We have two kids. Are you wrapping your head around this? Because I’m not. I really don’t think about our minimalism as minimalism, if that makes sense. I never think about it at all. It just is. I guess we’ve lived this way for so long now that it has become second nature—it’s no longer a conscious decision. In fact, it’s not a decision at all. But I think it is a way of life that enables us to go on doing exactly whatever the heck it is that we want to do. Being able to load all our belongings on an airplane for $200 makes that big move from one country to another feel a whole lot more doable than wondering, “How could we move? How could we change course? How could we get all of our stuff from here to there?” For people like us these would be the worst questions we could ever find ourselves asking. We need our mobility. It’s a part of us.”

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Photos by Bumfuzzle.com

 

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]

Tiny Iceland Cottages

On my way back from Copenhagen, I stayed for a few days in cold and dark Iceland. This fascinating and stark island in the North Atlantic is fast becoming one of the top places to visit in Europe — with or without Eyjafjallajökull blowing it’s top. Reykjavik is stylish and easy to get around in and the rest of the country is a mix of mountains, seaside, towering cliffs and, of course, hot springs like the famous Blue Lagoon. It’s interesting how the Icelandic tourism industry has turned this essentially inhospitable land into a place that is comfortable to stay.

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While most Icelanders live in modern homes and apartments, even up until the 1940s, many lived in tiny houses called turf homes. Since wood was so hard to come by on this nearly treeless island, farmers scavenged driftwood from the black sand beaches, marked the wood with a brand to show that they belonged to his family, and planed them down to build small homes. These homes were then surrounded with turf as insulation. These homes were not heated as there was a real fear of fire burning down the precious driftwood homes, so a separate “fire house” was built to hold a fire and cook food.

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While there are some beautiful hotels in Reykjavik and the main touring areas in the south and east part of the island, I kept seeing tiny cottages nestled up against the volcanic mountains topped with creeping glaciers. Many of these cottages are available for rent all year long and feature small kitchens and amazing views.

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Hvoll Cottages

The Hvoll Cottages near the small town of Vik is about two hours from Reykjavik. “Vik” means “bay” in Icelandic and these cottages have access to several black sand beaches, rock outcroppings and many of the waterfalls and parks in the south. Vik has become more famous since becoming the setting for many scenes in the Games of Thrones TV series. Also near Vik are the Hotel Laki cottages. These little cottages are for two to three people and have simple beds, cooking facilities and showers. Most of these little cottages are heated with steam or power from local geothermal power plants. Continue reading