After a year of reprieve, The Solar Living Institute decided to host its 14th Annual Solfest Festival. It is the organization's fundraising event usually held at the site but we decided to move it to the Fairgrounds in the neighboring town of Ukiah about 12 miles north. It would be a bigger facility and less work on preparing the site for the show. Solfest compared to most events revolves around education. We host over 50 workshops on renewable energy, permaculture, and sustainability along with prominent speakers including Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Arriana Huffington, Ed Beagley and a slew of others. The day is rounded out with some great music. However, the star of the event was the Tiny House!
We had a full page ad in the Solfest Magazine describing how the house was built. The article was "stolen" right from my blog. The curious visitors were non-stop. For two days we had people waiting in line to sneek a peak. As Roby and I manned the area to answer any questions, we had at least 10 people ask us to build them one, and to include our famous "solar panel" desk. Maybe we have the start of a new company!
I must digress on the adventure of getting the Tiny House to the event. Although it is on a trailer and technically mobile, we did not have the proper license plate for it. After several days of contemplation, we found someone with a flatbed truck to haul it to the site. One problem however, the Tiny House was going to be over the height limit when on the trailer and we had to go under several highway overpasses. This required the tow company to obtain the proper permits to haul such a load. So with only a day to spare, we were ready to take it on the road. Roby and I cleared out all of our belongings and stored them onsite at the SLI and kissed our house goodbye.
"She" loaded pretty easily and was on her way. Roby followed in the work truck. As I left the site about 30 minutes later travelling north on the 101 I saw the "tiny house" pulled over on the side of the road. Thinking it broke down, I got nervous and figured I better pull over. As I approached I saw Highway Patrol with its lights on parked behind the trailer. The Tiny House was going to get a ticket! As many Californians know, Highway 101 is infamous for police mainly because they have nothing else to do. This cop put them through the ringer, measuring the height of the trailer and making sure it was rigged properly, etc. They were about 1 foot too high so the cop made them let air out of the Tiny House tires. Later we would find that this was not a good thing for the 20 year old tires! Getting bored with it all, the cop stopped them in the middle and told them that was enough and headed back to his car. NO ticket but just a jerk cop passing time.
Back on the road, they made it to the Fairgrounds with no further incidents until they unloaded the Tiny House. When the cop made them let the air out of the tires, which were in bad shape to begin with, the rubber delaminated from the wheelwell preventing Roby from reinflating them. We still needed to move the Tiny House to its exhibition spot but it now had two flat tires. Roby had to delicately attach it to the work truck and trailer it at the blazing speed of about 4 mph.
Once in its designated location, basically center state, Roby and I tried to fancy it up a bit to make it look like a home. As the gates for the event opened we were immediately flooded with people. Many attending the event would tell others, "you have to go see the tiny house". It was non-stop traffic. We are so glad we had such a positive impact and hope everyone took a little bit of the Tiny House home with them!
The story does not end there. Remember the two flat tires. Our dilemma now was how were we going to get the Tiny House off the field. The Fairgrounds needed to reopen the driving range. The tow trailer was not going to be able to pick it up until the next day. What about the work truck you ask-well it decided to break down the night before on the infamous Highway 101 at 11:30 pm. Our truck did not have towing capacity for over 5000 lbs. Scrambling we asked the maintenance man at the Fairgrounds if he had any means to move the Tiny House out to the parking lot for us. He came through and brought a forklift with a tow hitch attached and slowly and delicately pulled it avoiding the overhead electrical lines. At least it was out of the way of flying golf balls.
We were not out of the woods. We still needed to load it on the flatbed trailer and it was going to need good tires to hoist it up. We tried to have the tires pumped but no luck the tires were shot and would need to be replaced. Thankfully the tire company had a couple of matching ones and installed them on the Tiny House. After a few days of miscommunications with the Tow Company, the Tiny House made it back home.
I think she had a big enough ordeal that she is going to stay put for awhile!