Back in December, we sought winter tiny house parking in central Oregon. Ultimately, we settled in Bend is one of our favorite cities. It’s small but happening and has amazing nature access, including a nearby ski resort. There are charming coffee shops and breweries for days. I set a fun goal to try each coffee shop in town, except for Starbucks—we drink plenty of that when traveling. As you might imagine, Bend is a highly desirable place to live. Because of this, we started our parking search far in advance of arriving.
We usually find parking through networking, which we tried. One solid option came from our connections, but it was further out of town than we would like. Instead of settling, we got creative with our search. I found a Facebook Marketplace listing for a room for rent, in the heart of Bend. The pictures showed a large backyard; looked like ample space for our 20’ tiny house on wheels. I figured that if someone was renting a room, he or she was likely looking for supplemental income. So I reached out to the landlord to see if he would be open to hosting a tiny house. At the same time, I put up a Craigslist post with a flyer about us, our house, our parking needs, and what we were willing to offer. Many times, a work/trade agreement can be made. For reduced lot rent, the tiny dweller offers their services. We offered snow shoveling, pet care, trash duties, and basic home security. Though, we realized that it might be easier for us just to pay rent. We set a budget of $300/month, excluding any on-site work. That’s what we could afford. Additionally, we did a little local RV park research and found that we could find a spot with full hook-ups for $500/month.
Good news! Our parking request was appealing to five landowners, including the Facebook lister I first reached out to. We were thrilled. Our backyard spot is very close to downtown and just a five-minute walk to a beautiful river trail. The “host” house is on a dead-end street in a quiet neighborhood. On the property, there is also an on-foundation accessory dwelling unit, a historic cabin, and an RV pad. Both are occupied. We feel entirely secure here. If there’s ever an issue, we have several fall-back parking options.
After settling into our new parking spot and completing our tiny house winterizing prep, we kicked into gear with our winter work/play lifestyle. Our schedule: work, hang with friends, snowboard. Repeat. Low living expenses from staying put for a few months with our tiny home, plus work-from-home flexibility allows us to enjoy a wonderful work/life balance. And thanks to the free WiFi at Mt. Bachelor, our office is sometimes the ski resort’s coffee shop. Two big reasons we chose Bend as our winter parking location: easy access to a ski resort and lots of nearby friends. Over the last few years, we’ve made a ton of new tiny dwellers friends, due to our tiny house connections across the country, largely thanks to local Meetup groups and social media. Like our pals Cody and Randi, aka the Best Little House in Texas.
Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort is only 30-minutes from our tiny house parking spot. They offer a low-cost RV parking season pass. The catch is you can only stay 7 consecutive days at a time, for no more than 34 nights per season. Still a great van-life and RV option for the dedicated skier or snowboarder. During your stay, one of your neighbors could be a stunning converted vintage firetruck, home to pro-boarder Austin Smith.
I have been taking snowboarding lessons, through this incredible lesson program called Ride in 5. For less than the cost one season pass, you can learn to ski or snowboard in five lessons, and when you graduate, you receive a pass for the rest of the season. When I started my goal was to become skilled enough to go down an easy hill with my main squeeze, Christian, who’s an experienced snowboarder. Great news! I already achieved my goal. My quick progress has been encouraging and exhilarating, especially after breaking my wrist a couple of years ago when I first tried to learn. Please don’t let that discourage you. I fell on a flat, icy spot. Now I wear wrist guards and try not to put my hands back when I fall.
I love what one of my snowboard instructors shared with the class: learning to ride is a personal growth exercise. You are expanding your patience and determination while conquering fear. I am thrilled to be embracing such a fun, fulfilling lifetime skill. If you take a stroll around a ski resort, and you’ll see people of all ages skiing and riding. Let’s go riding!
by Alexis Stephens, Tiny House Blog contributorM
My partner, Christian and I are traveling tiny house dwellers. Together we’ve been on the road three and a half years for our documentary and community education project, Tiny House Expedition. We live, breathe, dream the tiny home community every day. This is our life and our true passion project. We are very grateful to be able to experience this inspiring movement in such an intimate way and to be able to share our exploration with all of you.