Sandi’s Aliner & Route 66

Sandi Wheaton of Windsor, Ontario recently lost her job in Detroit. Instead of looking for a new job, she decided to use the  time to fulfill one of her dreams: traveling and photographing Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles. Sandi is living this dream in an Aliner pop-up trailer. She decided to document the famous highway using a digital camera, a camera with infared film and another camera which follows her route with a shot every few seconds. She hopes to have her photos published in a book and a DVD or website.

Sandi Wheaton, her Aliner and her Campfire in a Can

Sandi Wheaton, her Aliner and her Campfire in a Can

Her trailer is a 1998 Aliner which she bought specifically for the trip. She initially wanted to travel in a T@B, but her Jeep could only tow a low-profile pop-up design. She is thrilled that she does not have to unhitch every time she sets it up. She also mentioned that she likes the Oliver trailer, like the one owned by Cherie and Chris of Technomadia.

“I love this trailer, especially for this purpose,” Sandi said. “Since I am traveling alone, unhitching is a pain. With the Aliner, I don’t need to unhitch in order to put it up. Plus it is up literally in a minute!”

“This unit has everything I need – except a bathroom. That’s what truck stops and campgrounds are for,” she said.

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In the trailer is a small refrigerator, sink, 3-burner stove, a furnace, a small Coleman camping fan, an eating area and a bed. Stored under the bed and the eating area are the battery, water tank, water pump, photo gear, clothes, shoes, microwave oven, glasses and dishes. Sandi sleeps on an air mattress on top of the bed.

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Sandi is planning on finishing her trip on October 29th. She will probably take the interstate back to Windsor, but plans on visiting Route 66 a few more times on the way back to catch a few things she missed because of bad weather.

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Sandi said this trip started out being just about the photography of Route 66, but it has become so much more:

“As far as lifestyle and small spaces go, this trip could also be seen as a dry run for a nomadic lifestyle,” she said. “I have to say that I love the freedom this sort of living brings. I truly do – especially when you realize how much beauty there is out here!”

“When I lost my job, my first thought was, ‘Oh no, I have to sell my house!’ Then I went through a period of trying to find a way to afford it: through renting parts of it, making more freelance income, etc. Now, after being on the road, I am finding myself more inclined to unload that responsibility and be more open to flexible lifestyles. All that said, I really miss my bathtub, my bed and my kitchen! So, I’m still processing all of this. It really does seem to make more sense to go smaller – less imprint, less financial responsibility, more flexibility. Maybe a tiny house with a hot tub outside?”

Sandi mentioned that the most rewarding part of her trip are the people she’s met. Random strangers have given her food, free beds for the night and handy items for her trip. She concluded that there seems to be some truth to the “just do what you love and good things will happen” mentality.

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By Christina Nellemann for the (Tiny House Blog)

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Randy - October 26, 2009 Reply

What an amazing adventure! I work for “the world’s networking company” and since the merger and with all the downsizing, I expect to receive my pink slip most any day. Frequently, my mind has drifted to … what next? At 52, where do I go from here? Sandi’s adventure took her along old Route 66, but I think I’d like to take I-20 from Georgia to California and then take I-40 along the way back. And, do similar to what Sandi’s done. Write about it but most, ENJOY IT! I’d love to see Sandi’s website or read her book.

Bill - October 26, 2009 Reply

A nice story with a happy ending (or beginning). Glad to hear she was able to make such a journey. I will begin my own journey soon, when my trailer is complete.

Denise - October 26, 2009 Reply

I am so jealous. This would be a dream come true for me. I can’t to see your website.

Sandi Wheaton - October 28, 2009 Reply

Hmm, my blog and site aren’t on here! You can follow me along the road at http://www.pictureRoute66.com and my photo site is http://www.sandiwheaton.com.

Thanks for the interest!

Christina Nellemann - October 29, 2009 Reply

Sorry Sandi! I have your journey blog up now. Just click on your name.

sean o'reilly - December 22, 2009 Reply

hi sandi , i love your work , and the blogs n the pics keep up the good work,i hope to see one of your shows some day,in windsor thanks again. sean o’reilly

chris - January 9, 2010 Reply

good for you. a fellow traveler.

David - February 16, 2010 Reply

Simply wonderful! I have been laid o off in the past, and it will probably happen again in the near future. Instead of grouching about the house depressed, I think that I will follow your lead, and just go with it! Thanks, David.

di - August 15, 2010 Reply

Try a camping porta-potti. We used one for the kids in a four-man tent. You fill a reservoir with water for flushing. With a liquid chemical, there’s no odor. It has a handle for carrying it to the restroom to be emptied.

Lani Crawford - February 3, 2012 Reply

This is so inspiring! My husband and I are enamored of the
A-liner. A neighbor has one, which is the first one we ever
saw, and then we went to the RV show in Dallas last year,
specifically to look at the A-liner. We were impressed!
Conveniently enough, the company I work for has decided to go
bankrupt- So the decision to do the nomadic thing could
be a necessity, but thats okay! The four of us, which includes
me, my husband, and 2 dogs are ready to bid the every day grind
adieu, for now at least, and get outta here and see the country and enjoy the solace that nature provides.

Thanks for your article Sandi,

Lorraine M - April 2, 2012 Reply

Bravo Sandi!!Your post is absolutely inspiring! 😀
Stay strong and continue to walk to the beat of a different drummer!! I’m a camping and fishing gal from way, way back. My goal, after graduating college next year (late bloomer), is to buy a little camper and live off the grid the best I can 😀

Bill Cole - May 25, 2014 Reply

Instead of a toilet or portapotty, I have an empty 5 gallon paint bucket lined with a thin waste paper basket liner, a Lug-A-Loo fits on top of the bucket & provides something to sit on while taking care of business. The Lug-A-Loo even has a lid that needs to be lifted or lowered.

I carry such the above in the back trunk of my car. When mother nature calls when I’m traveling, I simply find a place to pull off, pull it out of the trunk, drop my drawers & dump into the plastic liner.

Don’t make the same mistake as me & put the toilet paper inside the plastic liner. because you’ll forget the TP is at the bottom of the plastic liner until it’s too late.

Bill Cole - May 27, 2014 Reply

I’m giving serious consideration to buying an Aliner, however, I’ll also need to buy a tow vehicle as my Toyota Yaris is to small & too light, to pull an Aliner.

What model Jeep did you use & what is the size of the engine?

No where in your article did you mention anything about the ease, or lack thereof of pulling it behind your Jeep. Those look like pretty big tires for that vehicle.

Monica Tipton - September 6, 2014 Reply

Anyone out there towing with a Jetta Sportwagen TDI with AUTOMATIC transmission? Can I pull the Ranger 12? It’s well under my tow capacity and it has a lighter tongue weight, which is better for my Jetta.

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