tiny homes on wheels (8)

21-Day Trip Through Southwest in Sprinter Van

We recently got this email from Paul Jensen, who builds beautiful hollow wooden surfboards on Kauai:

We got back a few days ago from a 21-day road trip in our Sprinter…

Eastern Washington, Eastern and Central Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming … Amazing…!!!…

Mostly drove scenic byways with virtually no traffic…

More time on dirt roads than interstates…

3,800 miles with an average speed 37 MPH…

Just right…


I asked Paul if OK to post, and he replied:

Hi Lloyd…

“First, awesome article in the Surfers’ Journal…!!!… I’m a Bay Area kid who learned to surf in Santa Cruz in the early ’70s, then moved there to surf and work as little as possible … Still as stoked about the good days as when I was a teen…

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Yogan Carpenter’s Ladybug Truck

Yogan, a highly creative French carpenter, has been in our last three books. Here is his latest creation, about which he wrote:

This is a 2002 Mercedes 311cdi Sprinter double-cabin (7 seats) truck with a hydraulic bed lift. I call it Le Benne-Benz. I wanted the 7-seater because we live in collective and it’s cool to go to festivals in only one vehicle! All the stuff (tent, mattress, etc.) is in the truck and there’s only one driver! It’s also good for a hot tub and a good stage for a concert!

I travel a lot, so I had to make a place to sleep and live during my travels. The idea to make a removable cell came to me because I like to sleep under the stars, and sunbathe nude, so the open roof was mandatory!

For the shell, I made 10 arches in laminated poplar wood (9mm × 8 layers) and I glued 2 layers (2 × 6mm) of poplar plywood for the shell.

I have a big lifting frame in the forest where I suspend it, and it’s possible to sleep inside while it’s suspended (off the truck) like a big swing seat!

I travel with “Sucette,” my cat, and under my bed I have space to put my paraglider, my longboard, my accordions, and a lot of Cabanophiles books to sell during my travels.

This structure cost me less than 300 Euros!

I can level the bed with the hydraulic lift, which means I can find a lot more good camping spots! 50° max!

To use a van with a camper shell is a good way to be “unruly” because now in France its illegal to make your own rolling home. With this technique you can be so creative! I like to be unruly in this world; we need to be creative and have fun!

I will put Le Benne-Benz in my next book Cabanophiles II, in 2 years!

Note: Yogan published a book about his travels called Cabinophiles (for which I wrote the intro). It’s in French, but he’s translating it into English. www.cabanophiles.com

Here is more info on his Mercedes: yogan.over-blog.com/2018/08/dans-mon-benne-benne-benz.html

Finally, here is Yogan and his pal Menthe visiting Shelter two years ago:


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Deek Diedrickson Rolls On

From our pal Deek:

A little backstory on this one: It’s a full-time dwelling that I led the build on for a friend (Alex Eaves: re-use advocate / filmmaker / co‑builder) in 2017. The goal was to create a mobile tiny home (decor and all) with a large percentage of discarded, salvaged, and dumpster-dived materials (over 80% easily). The final decor and construction budget was under $800 as a result. This doesn’t factor in the cost of the secondhand truck (around $8k).

The 17′ “box” of this former U-Haul moving truck now contains two sleeping levels, a small kitchen, a work-desk area, and even a nautical-style wet bath (toilet and shower stall). It will be featured in a documentary film we have been working on that will show the design process and educate “how,” from start to finish. People can head to BoxTruckFilm.com for more information.

(This is a great website; also, see Deek’s work at relaxshacks.blogspot.com.

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