It's finally happening!! (Day 1, Part 1)
I woke up this morning with two thoughts. One, that today was finally the day that I've been working toward for the past year, the day that the Wicked Tiny House finally hits the road. Two, that I still had quite a bit to do before we left!
As soon as I was up, I was running around knocking off odds and ends. Cleaning up the backyard, cleaning up the driveway, consolidating and packing the rest of my clothes into the house, and consolidating everything else that I wanted to bring. In my head, I set a leaving time of 11:00, and as that time approached, my "packing" turned into throwing things randomly into any void space I could find in the storage boxes or anywhere else in the house. 11:00 came and went, and people kept stopping by slowing the process. Around 12:00, we were finally ready to go. One final check of the house revealed a Snickers ice cream bar in the freezer, so we scarfed that down, and were ready to go!
I got in the truck, Shenee got in my car, and we were off. And made it about 10 feet before the house hit the phone line for Dan and Rychel's house. I knew it was going to be close, so I was going slow, and when Shenee told me to stop, I quickly hit the brakes, got out, and lifted the wire onto the roof of the house where it could easily slide along the roof cap. With that, we were on our way!
It was only a short 1/2 mile drive to the interstate, and as we were going around the on-ramp, a State Trooper was going around the off-ramp. I saw him do a double take, and I thought, "uh oh, here we go!". As we got on the highway and got up to speed, I saw the trooper get back onto the highway, and come up behind the house. He sat behind the house for about 30 seconds, then pulled up beside it and stayed there for about a minute before dropping back behind the house. As we approached the next (first) exit, he turned on his lights, I signaled for the exit, and moved over to the breakdown lane of the exit.
I sat in the truck for a couple of minutes before he came to the window. He asked what was going on, and I told him that I was moving to Montana with my tiny house. He chuckled, and said that a car in the back of a truck towing a house "looked funny" and he didn't think it was legal and that he was going to call the commercial vehicle unit. I asked him if we would pull into the Dysart's parking lot right off the exit as we waited, and he agreed that was a good idea.
We sat in the parking lot for about 15 minutes as we waited for the commercial trooper to show. In the meantime we gave the trooper a tour of the house. He was impressed, and a bit jealous. When the commercial trooper finally showed up, the first trooper left. Our new trooper explained that he first wanted to inspect the trailer and truck for safety, and then he would weigh all the axles. As we walked around the rig, I explained that all four trailer wheels had electric brakes and that the hitch was rated for 14,000lbs. When we got to the back of the truck, all he saw was the bungee cords that were holding in the spare tires, and the first thing he said was "I hope there is more than just bungee cords holding that car in the back of the truck!" I laughed, and told him that, yes, there were four 5,000lb d-rings welded to the frame of the dump body, and that there were four 2,500lb ratchet straps attached to the frame of the car holding it in.
Next was weighing the rig. He brought four portable scales out of his car, and set them in front of the trailer wheels. I moved the rig about two feet forward onto the scales, he took readings off each one, and then moved the scales to the truck axles. Again, I moved the truck two feet forward onto the scales, and he took the readings. I pulled forward one more time, and he removed the scales and put them back in his car. He then told me he would be a few minutes, and went back to his car to do whatever the police do when they go back to their cars.
About 10 minutes later, he emerged and came over to Shenee and I. He started by telling me that the trailer weighed exactly 10,000 lbs, and that if it weighed even a pound more, I would need a commercial drivers license. Phew! Next, he told me that the truck weighs 16,400 pounds, which was within the 17,500lb rating of the truck. However, combined, the 26,400lb total was 400lbs over the 26,000lb trigger for a Commercial Drivers License (CDL). The trooper told me that being overweight was a $400+ ticket, but that he wasn't worried about that. He however was worried about the truck registration. Apparently, every vehicle in Maine that weighs over 6,000 lbs is required to be registered as a commercial vehicle. My truck was not only registered as a personal vehicle, but was registered as gasoline (it's diesel!) and having four wheels (it has six!). He said that he understood that the registration issue was partly the fault of the town that did the registration, but was also partly my fault for not double checking that the registration was correct. He wrote me a $139 ticket for an improperly registered vehicle, and suggested that I go and re-register the vehicle as commercial. With that, his job was done, and Shenee and I had some work to do.
We disconnected the trailer from the Subaru, and took of for the town hall to re-register the truck. While we were there, I also updated the registration on the trailer, so that is good for another two years. Back at the truck, we attached the new plates, and were on our way!