Ron and I started to get excited for this road trip long before we moved to Tennessee. I had been poking around the internet, trying to get to know the area where we’d eventually be living when I saw a post about the Tiny House Roadshow. I had no idea how far Birmingham, Alabama was from Memphis because I had never been to either place, but a quick search revealed that it was a 3.5 hour drive each way. No problem, said Ron, because he is the best. I swear I’m going to get my driver’s license while we’re here.
The plan was still a go when we bought Tangerine Tina and we couldn’t wait for a little weekend away. Unfortunately, Ron has a lot on his plate at work and he realized that he would have to work on the Sunday. Not the type of folk to turn away from an adventure, especially one that involves teeny tiny homes, we decided to go for it any way. Ron got behind the wheel, I took the navigator seat, and we prepared for a nearly eight hour day of driving.
It was so worth it. We first drove through Mississippi and then Alabama, it rained a bunch, a fog rolled in, and the trees were so green they looked like they were photoshopped. We remarked that it looked a bit like Ontario, except the forest that lined either side of the highway was so dense that if you ran at it, you’d probably bounce off the edge and fall back on your ass. The drive alone was incredibly beautiful and nourishing, we were feeling refreshed before we even rolled in to the Tiny Home Roadshow.
The first sign that this place was going to be full of adventurers was the volume of camper vans parked around the Birmingham Convention Centre. Ron and I paid our $12 and entered the world of tiny living. Check out Vlog #3 below for an inside look at the home show, plus we decide if a tiny house is in our future.
Aside from the Nature’s Head composting toilet (!!!), one of the coolest things that we saw was a company called Volstrukt that builds tiny home frames from steel instead of wood. Their designs were modern and sold in kits that you assemble yourself or with a team. Ron had an obvious favourite – a kit to build a food truck!
The biggest aspect of designing a tiny home on wheels is that you’re limited to the weight your trailer can take. Wood framing accounts for a significant chunk of that and often sacrifices have to be made in the interior design to balance out the final weight. We’re going to continue looking into building with steel because:
- It can be up to 60% lighter than wood
- Free from VOCs
- Don’t have to worry about termites and other pests
- Stronger against certain environmental threats
I hope this isn’t boring for you, I find it fascinating, choosing the foundation material for your home sets the ball in motion for the rest of your design decisions. Ron and I had never heard of steel framing like this before and the benefits seem hard to deny. It really inspired us to keep seeking out information and better alternatives for our future space.
Even though we spent more time in the car than in Birmingham, we had a delightful day. We listened to two of our fave podcasts, Beautiful Anonymous and The Black Tapes as we drove across hills covered in wilderness as far as the eye could see. Ron and I have thoroughly been enjoying exploring the South while we’re living here – we had no idea what Mississippi and Alabama would look like and we were blown away by their beauty. Next time we hope to keep driving until we hit the sandy beaches of Gulf Shores, maybe we’ll even swing by New Orleans!