vehicles (317)

Tricked-Out Mercedes 306d Bus

Hello, Lloyd.

I’ve just finished reading your lovely new book Rolling Homes and I thought I would send you some photos of our little bus from here in Richmond / El Cerrito.

I bought the carcass (see blue bus photo) of this 1972 Mercedes 306d bus from a young fellow who was riding his bicycle across the country. The bus was in a storage yard in Vallejo where it had been sitting for decades. The wheels were frozen in place as was the engine but the $500 price tag was an encouragement.

I was originally building a Moto Guzzi motorcycle to ride when I had the epiphany that building a rolling cabin and clubhouse would be more fun and would invite new friendships. Several years of effort but not too many dollars later this bus was the result. Its name is Hanuman after the monkey god … which is also a play on words because these little diesel busses are re-badged Hanomags.

It has a 4-cylinder OM615 diesel engine that purrs nicely and front-wheel drive. It gets 20 mpg. We have taken it to many festivals such as Earthdance, Raindance, Burning Man, and on kayaking/fishing trips to Mendocino, etc.

The bus turns 50 this year.… I plan to continue to drive it to all of the wonderful places that we enjoy here in California.… I am sixth-generation Californian with many wonderful photo albums full of Santa Cruz area historic photos passed along from my grandmother along with so many written stories and memories of our history here so far.
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Review of Rolling Homes in Point Reyes Light

by Sam Mondros – October 10, 2022

Original article at ptreyeslight.com/news/rolling-homes-unpacked-in-new-lloyd-kahn-book


Gregory Watson's traveling carpentry rig carries his tools and blueprints, acting as both shelter and office.

Gregory Watson’s traveling carpentry rig carries his tools and blueprints, acting as both shelter and office.

One rainy day last fall, two men traveling on electric unicycles from New York’s Hudson Valley found themselves on the streets of Bolinas being photographed by Lloyd Kahn, author of over a dozen books on tiny homes. The unicycles were outfitted with dirt bike tires, tiger-print protective pads and various bags holding the belongings of their riders, Dylan Weidman and Tristan Schipa.

The unicycles became the most minimalist examples of 75 wheeled homes featured in Mr. Kahn’s new book, Rolling Homes: Shelter on Wheels. Mr. Kahn’s latest release is a follow-up to Tiny Homes on the Move, his first book on mobile homes. Some of its subjects are solar-powered, some double as saunas, some have gardens or pizza ovens and bars. One hauls 12 baby bison and others barely work well enough to get a person and their surfboard to the beach, but all are homes of one sort and the book explores them through photographs and stories about their many adventures.

“I think it’s my best book in a long time,” Mr. Kahn said. “It’s timely and speaks to people who are a part of a movement that isn’t specific to any age group.”

Mr. Kahn has spent over five decades publishing a wide spectrum of books on do-it-yourself design and carpentry that have influenced builders across the world. He took to building at age 12, helping with projects at his family’s weekend home in the Central Valley. After graduating from Stanford in 1957, he joined the Air Force and spent two years as the editor for a military newspaper. When he returned to California, he built his first home, in Mill Valley, developing his practical philosophy of building while working as an insurance broker. He soon exchanged his suit and tie for a hammer and measuring tape.

In Big Sur in the ’60s, Mr. Kahn explored a variety of housing design concepts and quickly became an authority on geodesic domes. Ultimately, he would rescind his two books on domes out of a belief that the structures, once representative of a brand of Northern California counterculture, were intrinsically flawed. “I have many reasons for why they don’t work,” Mr. Kahn said. “The whole building is exposed to weather, it’s hard to subdivide inside and they leak. I learned there’s beauty in rectangles, as far as housing goes,” he said.

In 1973, Mr. Kahn released his most popular book to date, Shelter, co-authored by architect Bob Easton. The colossal photo book celebrates varying forms of shelter built by humankind and showcases Mr. Kahn’s D.I.Y. ethic, offering blueprints and instructions “Shelter” sold over 300,000 copies and was re-released in 2013.
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Seat Belts!

Hey Lloyd. First of all it was good to meet you at the show in Pleasanton. Also enjoyed your talk.

Of course you’re aware of the power of seatbelts. Yesterday I found out the hard way. I’m passing this on to friends to reiterate the importance of wearing seatbelts. I haven’t always been diligent about that.

Greetings,
Rolf Pot

(Yes, that was my beloved 2004 Toyota Tacoma, in perfect condition. But that’s just pressed metal in the form of a truck after you manage to crawl out of it in one piece.)

This makes me get my seatbelt on fer shure. (I have the same model Tacoma.)

Rolf’s red housebus is on pp. 204-205 of Rolling Homes.

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Paul Elkins’ Video of the TinyFest Festival Sept. 10-11, 2022

One of Paul’s bicycle-pulled campers is in our most recent book, Rolling Homes. Paul drove all the way down from Washington to exhibit one of his trailers next to our Shelter booth at the festival. People were fascinated with his trailer and he had inquisitive visitors for the entire two days. Here is his video of a bunch of the rigs on display.



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Simple Van Setup

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Brilliant simple van setup by Sam Ausden, who is pulling an equally brilliant trailer built with SIPs (structural insulated panels) with solar panels powering a big air conditioner and a 14kw 48-volt battery.

His units were on display at the TinyFest Festival last weekend.

There are 17 $8 milk crates holding everything. They are held snug with powerful magnets. Simple, cheap, practical, lightweight.

Quite a contrast with expensive, overbuilt, heavy Sprinter van conversions.

www.zerohouse.co

instagram.com/tallmaninavan

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Shelter Booth at Last Weekend’s TinyFest Festival in Pleasanton, Calif.

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Our booth at the TinyFest Festival at the Alameda Fairgrounds last weekend, where we sold books and had a great time meeting new friends.

At the booth, we introduced our just-published Rolling Homes book and we sold a lot of copies. Everyone seems to love it. For one thing, the timing — with all the new vans, trucks, trailers and other nomadic vehicles on the roads now.

Two of the contributors to the book showed up and parked their rigs next to our booth: Ben Bloom’s homemade redwood camper shell on his Toyota Tacoma truck and Paul Elkins’ bike-pulled solar- and wind-powered trailer. Both of these generated a lot of interest, with a steady stream of inquiring fair goers

On the first day, maybe 20 people came into the booth and thanked us for the books through the years. Really gratifying.

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Rolf Pot’s Ford Transit Connect Van

Having always been attracted to compact living spaces on wheels and having been stranded several times in VW Westfalias, I decided to start off with a basic solid vehicle with reliability, safety and small size in mind. The challenge of fitting as many desirable features in a limited space attracted me greatly. Found this 2017 Ford Transit Connect passenger van with 16K miles for 20K dollars here in the Bay Area.

Essential for me was being able to stand up and a sense of spaciousness. Hence the rear-hinged pop-top, purchased from England. Cutting it to size was a bit of a pain, a local welding shop made the strengthening frame, the rest was pretty straight forward. A single flex solar panel and a ceiling fan just fit on the 6″ top. The bed slides forwards and backwards to max 6′3″, while still allowing standing space to cook and stretch. A 200ah battery and 1K watt inverter is sufficient for blender, 150-watt space heater, movie screen etc. Slightly larger size tires and a yet to be installed 1″ lift kit gives it a bit more clearance. The van took 8 months to complete, gets 32 mpg at 65 mph on level road. Inadvertently the additional weight gives it a smooth ride while retaining enough power. The six speakers and good seats makes this a perfect rig for my travel needs and stealth camping. My pup Bella agrees!

Rolf Pot
Santa Cruz

Note: Rolf’s bus “Old Red” is featured in our new book Rolling Homes on pp. 204–205.

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