And it starts with a trailer…


This is the biggest, most terrifying thing I have ever bought. In all likelihood, it is also the least likely thing I could ever have imagined myself buying prior to my grand plans of entirely inexperienced house building, and yet there it sits; parked in my driveway. I’m pretty sure it’s glowing, and it’s easily the most beautiful 18’ long, 83” wide flatbed trailer I have ever seen.

 After two and half very intensive days of prolonged trailer research I found my gold ticket in the form of a brand new, PJ C5 5” Channel Car Hauler with a straight deck. It has a spare tire mount on it right now and a rail at the hitch which will need to be welded off but all in all is the best thing I could find on my fly-by, ‘let’s get it now!’ track.

It is also worth mentioning that 18’ trailers suitable for my purposes were decidedly difficult to locate and after what seemed like an obnoxious number of listings for perfect 16’ and 20’ers, I felt the need to leap upon finding this one.

 I opted to go to the Tumbleweed Tiny House Workshop in Los Angeles (super great, by the way) before purchasing any of my materials. A wise decision, though it has brought me right down to the wire as I’m hoping to get started next week. Lucky for me, a trailer dealer called American Loan Masters in Ridgecrest California were not only helpful with my scattered questions, but extremely quick and I had my little beauty picked out, invoiced and delivered to me free of charge (over 100 miles away) in a matter of hours.

Had I felt more confident in my knowledge of trailers I would have ordered a custom one several weeks ago but having missed that costly boat, I am darn happy with my shiny purchase.

 + One trailer -$2947.52  Holy impending house building, batman!


30 responses »

  1. I am very excited for you and I wish to do the same as you. I will follow your progress and happy that I was able to start reading your blog on the first day of it’s birth. Happy trails to you, until we meet again…

  2. Dang girl, this is darn excitin’! Good on ya for getting that trailer bought and delivered. I too look forward to reading about all your adventures. Keep your head high and your hammer close by.

  3. This is going to be a fun ride, and a fun read! Thanks for letting all of us be part of the magic. Can’t wait for that housewarming party ~ I’ll bring the pasta!

    • Well the Tumbleweed site eludes that it costs around $23,000 to build with everything new, but I plan to cut some corners along the way if I can with used/ alternative materials. I guess there wasn’t much corner cutting on the trailer though!

  4. btw, I’ve got tools and experience as my father was a carpenter and I learned the trade from him, so hit me up if you’d like help! I’m in the L.A. area. 🙂

  5. I just took a quick look at your blog and love it! Will read more carefully later. I sure wish I had started building my own house when I was in my 20s rather than at almost 60 (62 now). Keep at it and you will have a charming little place before you know it.

  6. Hey so just curious Ella. If you hadn’t had the “have to have it now” attitude regarding the trailer would you have purchased a different one? Thanks for sharing the model info btw.

    I am thinking that I would probably want one with electric brakes on both axles and possibly axles rated at 5,000 lbs each instead of 3,500 lbs. That way if I decided to add a few luxury items like my flatscreen tv, surround system, musical instruments and recording equipment,a larger propane/electric fridge, and/or a washer/dryer combo there is extra leeway for the weight.

    My attitude is that there is no point building your own home unless you have most of the comforts of home.

    BTW do you have to have car insurance for the trailer? I guess on that I should call your dealer in Yucaipa and ask em those kind of questions.

    • In terms of the trailer I’m not really sure what I would have done the second time around. The people I dealt with were far nicer than anyone else I’d spoken to (and boy were there a lot) and it was actually cheaper overall than anything else I’d found. If I had a month or so extra I may have done more research on a custom one but from what I found find they were extortionately priced, most around $4000 and that’s before taxes and license fees and the like. Probably the biggest debate I had with myself was whether or not to go for the higher weight rating, but I bombarded the folk at Tumbleweed with this and they didn’t think it was necessary. I looked around anyway but had a hard time finding a 10,000 GVWR that wasn’t covered in rails and decided to trust their judgement. I’m also pretty simple in my needs so aside from my harp I don’t feel I’d find important the luxury items you listed, but the 5,200 axles would probably be better in such a case. Of course now with all the nifty extra 2×4’s that seem to be cropping up everywhere I wonder if it would have been worth it…ach well.

      Because I had the help of a contractor and went to a wholesale place for my windows, the price was significantly lowered so mine turned out at $230 each including delivery. Still a lot but I recall Jay saying they could cost $450 each at the workshop so I feel pretty good. I thought (very briefly) about trying to make my own as Jonathan did but then I remembered that I have no idea what I’m doing… that thought didn’t last long.

  7. Pingback: A Little Yellow Fencl in the California Sun

  8. have been following tiny house builds when possible….. looking forward to your updates….. am considering building one….. sounds as though you are doing great…. keep it up….. your progress reporting is one of the better I have read. Great Job.

  9. Pingback: Checking in with Ella

  10. Ill be 28 soon, same boat as you. I’ll be starting to build this spring. My old man and I are dishing out a couple of these, one for me and one for him. Mine will be out-rigged for fishing and travel. Once it’s done, away I go, from one lake to the next, and plucking guitar strings in between ha-ha. -E

  11. Go girl go! I’m building my own and I can’t believe how many two x fours it takes. Luckily I found a 20′ trailer with a 12,000 gvw rating. I am all framed and dried in but my project has stalled. The lot I wanted to put it on fell thru. Are you using L.E. D. lights? What kind of toilet?

    I’m impressed.

    • Yeah, the 2x4s really the hell add up! I’m not sure about lighting, I think it’s just standard though. I’ll have to do more research. It will be a bucket and sawdust type toilet I do believe. Hope you find another lot!

  12. Hi guys in the uk you can buy great flatbed trailers from Ifor Williams trailers and sure they export to the rest of the world, great prices and fully galvanised, but you could do with a lighter build than this great work ? You need it to be under 3500 kg to be road legal in the uk ?
    Anyway check out there range of trailers and they do custom builds to, they really are the best !

  13. Pingback: Checking in with Ella. | Tumbleweed Tiny House Blog

  14. Pingback: A Little Yellow Fencl in the California Sun | Tumbleweed Tiny House Blog

  15. Shot in the dark here asking a question on a post that’s a bit old… I’ve ordered a 10k lb PJ C5 carhauler. I’m just wondering if you have dimensions from the deck regarding the wheel placement? My trailer won’t arrive for a few weeks and I need to know how many feet from each end to the wheel cover in order to move forward with my framing plans. Thanks!

  16. Pingback: Checking in with Ella. - Tumbleweed Houses

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