In the wake of my separation, I temporarily began spare-bedroom hopping and relying on friends, public transportation or my own two feet to get where I wanted to go. And while incredibly grateful for it all, I craved the ability to have my new independence reflected in all parts of my life without having to commit to more permanence than I was interested in. I wanted a little space of my own and I wanted a way to get around to be free and see loved ones.  And then one day I had a crazy thought. It came in an instant, and felt like it took over my whole face. You know that part in the Grinch that stole Christmas when the Grinch gets the “wonderful awful idea” to pose as Santa Claus and steal Christmas from Whoville? That one right there < ? Well, kind of like that…except that this green gal uses her ideas for good rather than evil ;)

The seed for this idea was planted long ago, when I was an actress in Hollywood. I worked with a cute young guy on many sets, he became a friend, and I was fascinated with him. He had the simplest life. He lived in his car- a station wagon of some sort- with just a cooler on the floor at the passenger seat and a bar between the front and back seats to hang his clothes.  He worked, like many of us did, on different sets every day, and between the craft service table, free meals, and long hours, he didn’t have to worry about buying food or even having a place to hang out. And with a gym membership to shower and stay healthy, he was pretty well set up.  It was the freedom- the unencumbered nature of his lifestyle- and the adventure of it that appealed to me.

Over the years I’ve thought of him and wondered how long he ended up doing that. I’ve often mentioned to friends in those “would you ever?” conversations how while I wouldn’t want to have to live in a car, I think I’d want to, to see what it was like. As I got older, fewer and fewer friends would agree and more and more would say I was crazy.

I’ve also become a much more environmentally aware person in the last decade, and began following the tiny house movement and minimalist and green lifestyle proponents. I started reading Natural Home Magazine, and oodles of books and websites, eating up info and using what I’d learned to renovate our fixer-upper house and try to create a smaller footprint.

So it was, fresh off a split from a ten year marriage, of giving up a house and most of my possessions with a plan to give up more when the dust settled, when I was craving all that I’ve mentioned here, that this crazy thought would nearly topple me with excitement…my eureka! moment.

I want to live in a vehicle. Not just travel in a vehicle, but live in a vehicle. A space in which I can live, work and travel with all, or at least most, of what I own. I told my friend Leslie, who studies sustainable systems my plan. She loved it. “But it can’t be some big, ugly old, gas-guzzling thing that makes me feel like divorce is leaving me destitute!” I said. Or absolutely kills my budget for that matter. She cracked up, knowing that I am debt-free (aside from the house we’re likely selling that Francisco currently pays for) and have good savings. “It has to be CUTE and GREEN!” I went on. At some point, with a slip of a tongue (Leslie’s) cute and green became CREEN, and with that portmanteau as my umbrella criteria I began the hunt that led me here

Where we gleefully agreed that this 1976 Toyota Chinook was most definitely creen. How?

SHE PUTS THE GREEN IN CREEN:

She’s Used (but not used up!)- buying a vehicle produced 35 years ago means the large carbon debt to manufacture it has long since been paid. And speaking of debt, the real kicker is that I own my car (house!) outright, and it cost less than my MacBook Pro. Yes, really!

Her Emissions are Low- she passed California’s strict smog test with flying colors.

She’s Fuel Efficient- the Toyota Chinook is one of the tiniest RVs ever made, with a 4-cylinder engine that according to vintage ads got a whopping 29 miles per gallon, and still gets around 25. That’s fantastic for an RV, and rivals that of many new economy cars. Of course buying a used diesel RV and doing a veggie-oil conversion would be greener, but that was way too cost-prohibitive for me at this time.  But I really, really want to do that in the future!

Her Condition is Good- the interior living space, the coach, is in remarkably good shape for it’s age, so I’m able to lightly modify and not tear out and redo. That keeps material out of the landfill and means I have to purchase fewer replacement supplies.

She’s Off the Grid- she’s what is referred to in the RV world as “self-contained,” meaning that she doesn’t need to be plugged into a campsite’s utilities to be functional for living. She’s an independent lady. ;) She has a functional 2 burner stove, a small refrigerator and a heater that all run off a clean-burning efficient propane tank, a sink with potable water storage, a camping toilet, and an extra deep-cycle battery that powers the coach electricity and recharges while driving.

She’s Tiny- the coach is less than 50 square feet- smaller than the average bathroom in the U.S.- which means I’m forced to have less stuff and consume less energy.

SHE PUTS THE CUTE IN CREEN:

This, of course, is totally subjective, but think she’s really cute and I have a low-waste, eco-friendly vintage decorating plan that will make her even cuter.

OTHER THINGS I CONSIDERED:

Safety- buying this RV, where I can jump from my bed to the driver’s seat without going outside, rather than a truck hauling a vintage trailer (which I adore!) felt like the safer option for this solo gal and my intended use.

Ease of Driving- as I said, she’s tiny, is an automatic, only 16 feet bumper to bumper, and small and narrow enough to easily fit in a compact parking space or single car garage.

Stealth- being so small and looking similar to a truck with a cab makes her less conspicuous than a big RV or truck & trailer, and will hopefully enable me to park and sleep (dry camp) wherever I want and blend in.

So now that the Chinook and I have found each other, in the next couple of months I’ll be getting her ready to be my new home. We’ll then take off on a big adventure through the U.S. and parts of Canada until my free flight benefits start in 2012. Stay tuned for more details about the eco-renovation, how I’m prepared (or not) to live in 50 square feet, what environmentally-minded antics I’ll be getting us into on the road, and where we’ll, and then I’ll, be going in the next couple of years. :)

115 Responses to “Cute + Green = Creen! Buying a Creen House on Wheels”

Comments (114) Pingbacks (1)
  1. It’s cool to be creen, I say. Good for you! I love your Chinook — makes me feel like heading out on a road trip.

    • thanks cathy! yeah, me too! got some work to do first and then weeeeeeee! :) hope to start by heading to tbex!

  2. I love the Chinook!! After living on a 32 ft boat for 2 years, I can tell you that living in a tiny space is WONDERFUL. It’s like having your own little turtle shell: a cozy, safe retreat from the world. I now live in a big house and it just feels superfluous. All the stuff I own makes me feel heavily burdened, and I long for the impeccable organisation that comes with living in a tiny boat. I.e, If I bought a new novel, I’d have to give away one of my books to make space on the shelf. I love that minimalism.

    You’re going to have an amazing time together.

    • thanks torre! holy crap 2 years! and you’ve pinned exactly what i’m looking for! i tried to make sure i had enough room to feel inspired to write, windows for sunshine,
      a comfy place to sleep, a way to cook something healthy so i wouldn’t eat like crap, and other than that i’m good! i’m kind of an organizing freak, so
      the less stuff to organize/keep in it’s place, the more free time i’ll have. did the writing go smoothly for you on the boat? or was it tougher? got some
      do without/don’t forget tips? would love to hear them :)

      • I had no problem writing on the boat. I would lay in bed with the laptop and tap away on the keyboard. My only limitation was power: I could only charge the laptop once per day with our solar panels. I didn’t begin writing my book until we returned home, though – I needed to let some time pass before I had the perspective to turn it into a book.

        If your laptop allows you to switch your battery, I’d suggest bringing a second battery if power will be a limitation. If you plan to be disconnected from the internet, bring a good dictionary and thesaurus and see if you can find an encyclopedia to load onto your computer. Also, make sure you have a set-up that you’re body is comfortable with: this may be as simple as a pillow for your back, or a raised support for putting your laptop at eye level. Load up with lots of good books!

        I think you’ll have no problem writing in your cozy turtle shell. Sounds like a dream trip!

        • thanks torre! makes sense about needing time to get perspective. i think steinbeck said that about travels with charley too. GREAT suggestion on getting a 2nd battery for my laptop, but i just looked and my new macbook pro doesn’t have the removable battery like my powerbook did! boo :( i’ll stop by apple and see what they suggest as a workaround to that. i’ve got a wireless 4g usb internet modem, which is great so far, but still think downloadable writing/reference “books” are a fab idea so i won’t use MBs on that stuff. i’m hoping to replace my TV time with some crafty time too. thanks SO much for these great tips :)

          • No probs! Yeah, my MacBook has the same problem. Cheeky Apple changed the design so that we can’t use third party batteries and as a side-effect, we can’t switch out the batteries while traveling! Poo.

            A Mac ‘Genius’ told me the other day that if you disconnect your AirPort when it’s not in use, it’ll make the battery last much longer.

  3. Sweet digs… as you know, I’m in the process of securing similar accommodations.

    • yay! and then we’re going to meet on the road! :) if you get it soon are you driving to tbex? that’s what i’m trying to make it in time for! can’t wait to hear your plans!

      • I’m planning on taking it to Portland for WDS the week before TBEX. I might leave it in Portland and take the train to Vancouver. I don’t have any thing set in stone yet… plus I like to keep my options open.

        Where are you these days anyway?

        • cool nick! i’m still in the bay area, staying at my friend’s house til i can get the chinook swanked out :) i’m with you- nothing firmed up but just planning to get to tbex in time somehow! :)

  4. Your Chinook is a thing of beauty! I LOVE it!!! Seriously. I have always wanted to live in a self contained vehicle – I have a large fascination with being off the grid. The sailboat was a good fix but not being a great sailor it put a damper on my plans. Randy and I have fascinated about buying something just about the same size as your Chinook and traveling. I love it! So are you hooked up by solar power at all? I know it’s very popular with boats and I’ve seen a few RV’s like that too.

    Maybe it’s a CA thing. People on the east coast think we are also crazy but in CA (esp. San Diego) it feels like a totally normal way to live. Any plans to head to the east coast?

    • thanks beth!!! this is so awesome! i was a little afraid peeps would think i’m a complete fruit bat with this one! ha ha. i have to start realizing
      i’m among my peeps here :) i love that you guys lived on a sailboat and really want to hear all about it! saw the pic of randy working in it on your site and it looks beautiful! you guys should get a chinook too! i found mine on craiglist by searching for toyota under the RV section in a bunch of different cities. i’m not hooked up to solar yet, but have started looking into it. at minimum i’d like to be able to charge my laptop and cell phone with a solar charger and then change out the interior coach lights to LED lights so they’ll take next to nothing off the RV battery’s charge. but if i can afford to do more that would be great! and absolutely YES on the east coast. it’s been too long since i’ve been and i miss it like crazy! are you guys still in mass?

  5. Lorna, The Chinook is cool! I love that it’s small enough to get such great gas mileage! Wow an RV getting 25 mpg! I also agree that the interior to drivers seat without going outside is nice as a woman. I would like that! Smart thinking! Have a great adventure. I will be following along.

    • thanks so much lisa! you know, my heart wanted to go with an old 60 or so shasta trailer with the little wings on the side- i LOVE those! but i definitely wouldn’t be able to just park anywhere and that safety issue won in the end! that gas mileage is a perk of the compromise for sure, because the truck francisco and i had didn’t even get this great of gas mileage. so grateful you’re reading :)

  6. That Chinook is already awesome! I can’t wait to see how you deck it out. Looking forward to following along as you head out on the road too!

    • thanks david! it’s kind of shagtastic in it’s present state, no? lol. very brady bunch (although, good luck fitting them in it!) thanks for dropping by for following along! so happy to connect :)

      • Reminds me a bit of the Winnebago six friends and I drove through the Smokey Mountains in several years ago. Same era. Same orange shag. It was a blast!

        • sounds like a ton of fun david! think if i loaded up the chinook with that many friends, she’d only be able to go 20 miles per hour! ;) bet the smokey mountains we amazing and what a fun way to do it :)

  7. Lorna, I have a Solio solar charger. It has worked well.

    • AWESOME lisa! that’s just what i need! thank you :)

    • This little solar device is gorgeous, but would it really charge a laptop? On my boat, we had 3 x large solar panels (approx 2.5 feet x 3 feet each) and those three would give us just enough power to run our low-tec boat. On overcast days, we’d get no charge and we’d have to go without lights and laptop power.

      • torre- i wonder if that could have anything to do with age of panels? hmmm.

        lisa- do you use it for your laptop? also one thing that i heard with using an inverter in the cigarette lighter jack to “charge” is that it will often keep things juiced while plugged in, but won’t often have the power to charge them back up to full. i wonder if the solar charger lisa has will charge up or just keep powered?

        • We’ve had a lot of issues with power as well – no solar panels, but even charging our laptops from the house batteries (we have two 6-volt) has been a pain. They’re supposed to charge when you run the generator or as you drive, but neither charges them fully or very quickly. And our inverter definitely struggles to charge the laptops to full as we’re using them – we either have to charge while they’re not being used or just use the inverter to maintain the current level of charge.

          We boondock a lot in cafe parking lots. We do most of our intense working in cafes and then just use our batteries for nights or while in transit. Trying to run two laptops from our batteries for more than a day or two is nearly impossible (without running the generator pretty much non-stop, which we’re loathe to do).

          Sorry for the novel about this – it’s just that the reality of powering a laptop on the road has been quite different than we anticipated! :)

          • no worries about the details christy! your insight is really helpful! during my two test-runs it was pretty clear that even tho my macbook pro has a an 8 hr (or so) battery, that i’d need to charge it during some part of each day with how much i’ll likely use it. that’s exactly what i heard (inverters just maintaining) and that if you don’t use at least a 150 watt inverter, you’re not even likely maintaining, but anything more is too much of a drain from the battery. uggh. definitely one of the biggest things on my list to solve for! :)

  8. Bit jealous. Very groovy set of wheels. Keep the decor, would be what I suggest.

    • thanks robin! no need to be jealous- they’re cheap ;) wish i could keep it in tact, but that 35 year old carpet & upholstery fabric is stinnnnnnky! :)

  9. Oh my God!! It’s so cute! I want one. This would be the perfect way to travel around the country. What a great find. I have to ask though: Where do you dump your waste (from the camp toilet)?

    • thanks gray! and you can have one- just check out craigslist! great question and i’ll be answering a lot of those “but how will you/do you’s in upcoming posts, but sneak peek here- i’ll use a dumping station at an rv or public campground. i had no idea either until i bought this how that was done! not sure that’s a lesson that was great to learn though…ewww ;)

  10. Ah, Lorna – she’s gorgeous. I feel like we should by you a “congrats on your new addition present.” Really dig the interior and. I love that she’s off the grid and provides everything that you need. You may decide that you don’t want to leave the country :)

    PS – Can’t wait to meet her.

    • awww thanks guys! and i’ll take your presence over presents (more love/less stuff!) so you can meet her :) hope this is better than you imagined when i told you about it the first time we met! and you know, who knows what’ll happen. i love to let life inform my plans! :)

  11. I love the Chinook! It sounds like you’ve bought the perfect vehicle. We hosted a ton of couchsurfers road tripping the U.S., most of the planned to camp in Wal-Mart parking lots when there wasn’t a camp ground- cheap and 24 hour indoor bathrooms. Apparently Clarence Thomas even does it. http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2009/08/05/on-the-road-again-with-clarence-and-ginny/.

    Does she have a name yet?

    • thanks jillian! so true! i’ve slept in two walmarts & one carrows recently from two test-run short-ish road trips since i got the chinook! super easy and yes- free!
      i had no idea that clarence thomas does it- that’s awesome! ha ha! i’ve yet to see the camper culture i’ve read about there though. at the first one, i was the only camper, and the 2nd just had one other. hoping to hit on a spot that’s packed w/dry-camping peeps. she doesn’t have a name yet! just keep calling her the chinook! ideas??? :)

  12. That looks absolutely delicious! What a fun concept. I’d love to cross the country in an RV – but I have too much stuff to actually live in one.

    • thanks ben! i hear you- i have too much stuff too…but not for long! :) the challenge will be finding a way to have the stuff i need to work. do i really need that printer/scanner/copier??? hmmmm…..

  13. Wow, the Chinook is awesome. Definitely creen! I really wanted to try and live in a van when we arrived in Aus but it never happened in the end. I’m glad you have managed to make your dream a reality.

  14. Well, that is just DARLING and perfect for your adventures. I can’t imagine living that small (I have way too much very important and necessary STUFF) but I can’t wait to hear about all your travels. Yeah, the 70′s decor has to go, though!

    • thanks jan! truthfully, i can ONLY imagine living this small! ha ha. i really have NO IDEA what i’m in for, but that’s part of the fun for me :)
      and totally agree on the decor- i’m taking it back a notch to something even older! ha ha :)

  15. Sweet setup Lorna! I couldn’t help from thinking that it would make a wonderful street food cart as well! After your North America excursion, you should ship her out to Asia and start selling street food from the back of it!

    • thanks mark! i DO want to sell stuff from it! but you’ve obviously misconstrued my foodie taste buds for the ability to prepare something edible let alone sellable! ha ha.
      my line is “i don’t cook, i heat!” my brother got the cooking genes, i got the eating genes. but i am crafty, so i think i’ll see what else i can do! :)

  16. You are living my childhood dream. I have always wanted to do a road trip with one of these.

    • thanks ayngelina! really?! in a chinook specifically, or any RV? i used to LOVE to play in my friend’s dad’s small trailer when we were little. my imagination would just
      go so wild in that space somehow. sooo looking forward to the travel and also just where my mind goes sitting inside. :)

    • and you should do it too! they don’t have to be a budget-buster. do i see you taking a road trip back down to south america after canada?? :)

  17. Love the Chinook — I still think you should maintain that 70s interior — It reminds me of an apartment I had in the 70s (which had lovely avocado green appliances — at least you don’t have those!)

    • thanks glen! ha! francisco and i had the “harvest gold” stove in our house! if it all wasn’t so ripped and stinky, i’d probably just keep it, but
      it think it’s best for my health (and mental health ;) ha ha) to freshen it all up. going for a no-waste reno though! :)

  18. That is the awesomest idea ever. I often think about how it would be like to live in one then I take one look at my closet and I think a tour bus would be more likely to accommodate all my junk. I love how the Chinook’s roof expands! I can’t wait to see what you do to it.

    • thanks grace! yeah- i’m leaving a lot behind for sure to make this work! i’m excited to work on the “cute” in creen. stay tuned! :)

  19. such an incredible idea. the whole world becomes your backyard! i like mark’s street-food selling idea. looking forward to seeing how the renovations go!

    • thanks jamie! you’ve pinned exactly my sentiment! i’m actually going to post photos of “my backyard” as it changes. i like mark’s idea too! now,
      if i can just find someone to do the cooking ;)

  20. Wow – a fantastic vehicle for an amazing adventure – I love it! Your plan sounds so intriguing; glad it’s all coming together =)

  21. Looks like the perfect vehicle for road trips and exploring the US! Love the 70s decor!

  22. That is the coolest thing I’ve seen on wheels!! I didn’t know the Chinook existed, I had never seen one! It will be fun to read how you manage your new life there and how adventurous it will be to go (and live) from place to place. Brilliant idea! Wouldn’t mind living there too! :)

    • thanks norbert! i didn’t know it existed either until i saw one on craigslist a couple of months ago and did a google image search to see what it looked like!
      i’m glad you’re looking forward to reading! it should be pretty darn fun i think :)

  23. I love it and it is definitely very creen! Kudos to you for doing something outside the box and environmentally friendly. I can’t wait to hear your stories about living in it. .

    • thanks laurel! i’m really trying to dismantle all my notions about what “i need” etc. so that i can try to live in line with my values, etc. but i know
      i’m bound to have challenges! ha ha. i’m about to see what i’m made of that’s for sure ;)

  24. What an awesome vehicle! My post tomorrow is actually about sleeping in your vehicle while traveling… but I’ve never had such a luxurious home on wheels!

    • thanks scott! ooh i’ll look forward to reading your post! i love that refered to her as luxurious! it’s funny how that’s subjective, right? she is for the road, and yet as a regular home she wouldn’t be at all. it’s all perception! :)

  25. That is so awesome!! What an adorable little RV – any idea what you’re going to name her? Having such a short length will definitely help you fly under the radar and drycamp in a lot of areas less conspicuously. What a neat ride. :)

    • thanks christy! i don’t know what to name her! i’ve just been calling her the chinook, but with your “mayhem” you’ve set a pretty high standard for house on wheels names, so i should think of something clever! ;) so good to hear that you think i’ll get away with the dry camping. can learn lots from you two no doubt! :)

  26. I think you are a genius! I can’t wait to hear more about the renovations and the trip. And the solar panels!

  27. So cute! You are going to have so many grand adventures in that chinook! I am so sorry about your split, I didn’t realize and obviously missed that news. i knew you disappeared for awhile but I didn’t know why. All the best for your new path moving forward. I am sure it will be wonderful!

  28. LOVE it. Totally creen.

  29. OMG looooooooooooove!!! And I love the word creen. Fabulous! Please say you’ll be stopping in NC?

  30. Fabulous! “cost less than my macbook pro” – love it!

  31. Love your little Chinook! She’s adorable! Congratulations on your new-found motorized independence. Can’t wait to hear all about your US adventures :)

  32. What a cute accompaniment to Lorna’s new life! I’ve always been intriuged with this idea, too!

    I remember meeting this girl years ago in Waterton National Park camping out of Volkswagon RV van.

    Man, I’ve always wanted to try it. She falls into line with all your needs and beliefs.

    Can’t wait to read your adventures in it. :)

    BTW – do you plan on taking waste to dumps or put in garbage bins,then take recycling to recycling centres?

    • thanks jeannie! i’m super excited! and you’re right- she’s just what i need right now leading up to my international leg of the RTW :) re: your question- i’m hoping to first and foremost minimize waste and then recycle and compost anything i can. unless you’re talking about my um, well you know, potty waste, in which case i’ll go to a dumping station ;) going to write a specific post on how i plan to handle all that- some things are riddles to solve for sure and i’ll be figuring out some of it as i go!

  33. What a fantastic concept – living in a tiny RV! I’ve just traveled out of 40L backpack for about 6 months and life was so simple. But after getting back I had to move towns – I was overwhelmed by the amount of crap I’ve acquired over the years! I’ve sold most of what I owned and vowed to move every few years just to keep my property in check. But your way is way better! :) It’s a fool-proof anti-clutter approach and an exciting adventure tool all in one – CONGRATS!

    • thanks lena! that’s pretty darn impressive to make a 40L backpack work! cudos! love your knew plan to keep it light. i’ve moved at least every 3.5 years for my entire life
      and i think in general that’s worked to keep the load down. however- buying a house? oops! even though it was a small house (1065 sq.ft. for 2 of us) by U.S. standards, i still collected way more stuff than i even really wanted. i’d say the biggest factor is, if we have the size, we’ll likely fill it. i just think of the larger purse i’m using now…uggh ;) appreciate the cheer and looking forward to checking out your blog :)

  34. SOO. Many. Things. To. Say. About. This. – was going to put them all in the novel of an email I am writing you. But I have to state a few here. 1) LOOOOOOOOOVE the chinook! LOOOOVE your philosophy of how it chose you. 2) Do you have a name for it yet? You need one! How about “Skyler”? 3) Creen is also a FABULOUS word. 4) Cannot WAIT to see you in this at TBEX. Oy … soooooo much good about this for you. Soo much!

    • thanks kirsten!!! this is just so awesome! the thing i’m really surprised about, is how not a hard-sell this is proving to be. i thought people would look at me cross-eyed for
      wanting to drive something so old, live so “wildly” (as in shower-challenged and camping toilet), but i was prepared to do it anyway because it’s what i really want to do. didn’t expect all the other girly-girls to dig the chinook…but i’m so glad you all do! i don’t have a name for her yet! have been thinking about it a lot! usually i’m not nomenclature-challenged, but i’m having a tough time thinking of something personal enough that’s also clever. skyler’s cute! can’t wait to see you at TBEX too! and hoping to catch up with you again later in your home town :) i can feel your excitement in your comment and it’s getting ME even MORE excited!!! YAY!!!

  35. Congrats on the new digs – mega cute! We can attest that small space mobile living is awesome. We started off in a 16′ Tab trailer in 2006 and upgraded in 2008 to a 17′ fiberglass trailer (both self contained and solar powered). So many fun adventures road tripping the USA while working remotely.

    We’ve just started our search for a new home on wheels with a bit more space – perhaps a vintage bus?

    Anyway.. nice to find ya, looking forward to following your adventures!

    • thanks cherie! yes, you sure do understand- you guys are amazing!!! 5 years in tiny RVs- holy cow! i’m in awe and have already, and will continue to learn from your blog. :)
      a vintage bus sounds incredible! love the bluebirds- especially those actually painted blue. would LOVE to meet up on the road! looking forward to reading where to next for you & appreciate you following here :)

  36. Awesome little RV! I envy you the height of yours! I really wish there were more small RVs being made today and not the extravagantly priced variety that all the new ones seem to be – definitely way more than a Macbook Pro!

    Totally look forward to following adventures of you and your Chinook!

    • thanks mark! me too! think getting a hold of oldies like these or using salvaged items to create our own is so much more appealing than the big pricey numbers. thanks for reading- just checked out your blog & dig it too. happy to connect :)

  37. wow! im so happy for you and your new amazing adventures to come. i hope you stop by portland, or to see us. i love you and im proud of you for following your dreams!! i love your new home. remember home is where you lay your hat:) so you should do great where ever you go! i love you and i cant say enough of how happy i am for you and a bit jealous, but a healthy jealousy tho. wishing you the satest travels and amazing stories to be told.

    • thanks peg! really appreciate your love and support. i definitely want to come to portland and see you! and p.s. i’ll bring my own house :)

  38. Awesome! Can’t wait for tea time in the Chinook!

  39. I love it! I think you did a pretty good job with finding something ‘creen’ :-) Happy traveling and hope to see you on the road!

    • thanks casey! i certainly tried! i’ll be looking to you two for tips too and would absolutely LOVE to meet up on the road :)

  40. Lorna! This is so creen and lovely! Now I totally want one. What is her/his name?

    • thanks erica! you know, it’s such a common question, and while i really love me some fun with nomenclature, i’m kind of at at loss on this one! maybe it’s because i love the name chinook so much. i just love how it sounds! got ideas? :)

  41. Love it, would like to try traveling in an RV sooner than later.

    • thanks rob! i totally recommend it! the short little trips i’ve taken so far have been so much fun. i’m loving the fact that my house is with me wherever i go and can’t wait for that to be all the great places i’ll see :)

  42. Wow that thing actually fit in a compact parking spot thats amazing. Owning it outright is definitely the way to go funny that I was cheaper than your MAC.

    • thanks kirk! yeah, i have a photo of it in san francisco recently in a normal (for SF=tiny) street parking spot next to two monster cars that are almost the same size- hee hee. most of my cars have been cheaper than my macs (a filmmaker gal has to have her priorities straight ;) ) but i can’t say i ever expected my house to be! ;)

  43. I just found your blog through some random travel-blog-hopping, and OMG, a CHINOOK!! My family had one of these when I was little, and we drove it all around the country every summer. I have such insanely fond memories of our Chinook adventures. Maybe it’s those memories that keep me thinking about roaming the States in an RV someday. This one really is a great little machine, and it sounds like the perfect choice for you!! Congrats.

    • wow amy really??!!! that’s so incredible that you had a chinook!!! i’m so glad to hear your endorsement of it- i’m really excited about my trip! i’ve never traveled through the states really- only on short road trips. bet you have some really sweet memories. thanks so much for your cheer :) see that you’re in buenos aires! spent a few weeks there every couple of years for the past decade (ex is a porteno). love it there! and love your blog- lots i can relate to. so glad to connect :)

      • I certainly never knew much about its technical specs, but as an elementary-school-aged passenger, I’d recommend the Chinook 100%!!

        So random that we both have BA connections! I love it here too, but my Argentine fiancé and I are definitely eager to get back on the road ourselves. Thanks for checking out the blog, and keep in touch. :)

  44. It’s perfect! We had the same inspiration about 3 years ago when we put our youngest in college. How to visit family and friends and see the country without going broke? We found a 1982 RV on eBay for $3200 expecting it to last a few months, he’s still going strong. We call him BAMF. Unfortunately he’s not nearly as green as Creen but still, we try to leave as small a footprint as possible. Been to 43 states Canada and Mexico so far.
    We love it, hope you will too.
    -David & Veronica

    • thanks so much david & veronica! SO GLAD to know BAMF is still going strong when he’s older and you got such him for such a great deal. recently while skyping with my brother, i turned the webcam toward the chinook and my brother told a friend who was with him my plan. the friend’s (whom i’ve never met BTW) reply? “yeah, good luck with that!” i was shocked! it’s so common here to think that if something isn’t new it’s doomed to fail. i don’t agree at all and am so happy to know that you and so many of us pursuing unconventional lifestyles are not bound by those limits. :) as far as the green stuff goes, it’s my feeling that if we all just consider it, and chose our own ways we’re willing to reduce our footprints, we’re helping. none of us are ever going to be perfect- i’m certainly not! i love long hot showers! but i do what i can in other ways. WOW! 43 states is mighty impressive! so glad to have your site as a resource and hope we can meet up on the road! :)

  45. OMG. That thing looks like a mutant baby of an RV and my old Toyota pickup! I want one!

    Seriously. I lived out of my Toyota’s camper for a year, so that thing looks luxurious!

    • seriously kelsey??? i MUST meet you soon! that’s so awesome that you did that! it is pretty swank for a little 5×9 box! ;) and you’re right- it’s a mutant baby! toyota wanted to get in to the RV game and partnered with chinook for a few years for this one to create the smallest & most fuel-efficient RV made. i think they should bring ‘em back! :D

      • If you come through DC any time after August, we’d love to have you visit! You can even take a spin in our motorcycle’s sidecar!

        • thanks kelsey! that would be so awesome!!! even when i had my own bike i used to call sidecars moving targets, but i’m over that fear now and think it would be a blast! and if i go that route it would definitely be after august and i’d LOVE to meet!!! :D

          • They can be, but they’re also a bit more visible than your average bike since they take up a full lane.

            Well, we have a sofabed and two kitties who would love to meet you.

          • sweet! would likely be in fall by the time i get there if so :)

        • YES!!!! :)

  46. Wow! your creen rv is adorable! I think our creen trailer, Charlotte, would love to meet yours one day. Great post about the merits of the mobile lifestyle and how it can actually be green. Glad to find your blog and look forward to following you!

    • thanks so much allison! would love to have our “creenies” meet! really appreciate the support and truly hope our paths cross! :)

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