Caravan; life in the little green vardo

After a little over a week traveling across the country in the new and improved vardo I want to share a few unedited and unstaged photos of life in the caravan.

It took a couple tries to get a good area to set up in but eventually I risked parking in some low ground. I think it would have been an easy escape had we needed to pull out for rain.

The ante-room serves as a staging area for cooking, working on projects, bathing, and other activities.

The bed and bedroom are the essence of a vardo. The pared-down essentials of travel. This is the bed extended to full width.

The washing up station is my favorite addition. The tank is a recycled Russian samovar and holds a little over a gallon of water. The copper sink provides a place to shave, wash, and brush your teeth.

It is all the details and little fixes that happen over time that make the vardo so personal and cozy. I try to focus on the practical and little innovations that make our life easier on the road.

In a small space, everything has to have its place. Everything fragile or dangerous also has to have a place to travel to avoid damage.

It’s hard to escape an almost nautical feel to the vardo. Many of the same issues have to be overcome as those in a boat. Hence the railings on all the shelves.

I owe much to my good friends who have given many of the finer bits and pieces that I use every day we travel.

I also enjoy repurposing found objects for real use in the vardo. In this case, some hundred-year-old glass insulators serve as convenient rings to hold a clothesline.

The large work counter serves many purposes. My beautiful copper water tank was made by the multi-talented fellow-traveller Mick Robins. The large overhead shelf is very handy for often used items.

The slide out bed spends most of the day in this position, giving more floor space as needed. It’s still plenty wide for a single person to sleep on in this configuration.

Just as with the 19th century living wagons, I try to use every square inch in a sensible way. Having a wood burning stove in such a small space presents its own set of problems and limitations.

This awning arrangement is a new one for me and worked beautifully. The tarp is a fly that normally attaches to my wedge tent but this arrangement served well as a workshop and outdoor cook space for the week.

I am still pleased with almost every aspect of the Little Green Vardo, even after 29,000 miles.

More of my work can be found on my Instagram page.

Tiny House for Film Stars

Portablebuildingsclarkgable

I’m just going to stretch the imagination and say this is Clark Gable and Joan Crawford just prior to christening this little home (or maybe just after, he does look a little sweaty).

Here is a wonderful tiny home with Clark Gable and Joan Crawford eyeing each other up on the front porch.  It appears to be strapped to a regular flatbed trailer, presumably for delivery to its final destination. There is nothing new under the sun.

Found here but the site is sadly defunct now: http://wintechmodularbuildings.co.uk/

Real World Construction

I saw this on Tumblr and absolutely couldn’t pass it up.  All I can find about this image is that it comes from the famous Farm Security Administration photos documenting the depression.

October 1937. "Old school bus. Williams County, North Dakota." Medium-format negative by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration.

October 1937. “Old school bus. Williams County, North Dakota.” Medium-format negative by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration.

This appears to have started life as another wagon, maybe even a delivery van or bus but has been repaired beyond recognition.  I did a reverse image lookup and found a larger version (shown here).  Comments on THIS PAGE indicates it started as a Studebaker School Bus but was probably converted into a dwelling.

Click the photo for full-size image.

The Simplest Accommodation

Camp CartFrom the Oregon State University Archives:

Camp Cart, Showing Bed
Image Description from historic lecture booklet: “Carpenter in his geographical reader thus describes this kind of wagon:

‘What is that squealing outside the market? It sounds like a pig in the hands of a butcher. They surely cannot kill hogs here in the midst of the city. It is only the creaking of a farm cart which is bringing wheat to the market. There it comes through the door. it has wheels eight feet in height, with hubs as big around as your waist, and an axle as thick as a telegraph pole.

 The cart has an arched cover of reeds over its bed. The kinds which have been sewed to the top are put there to keep the rain off the wheat. Such farm carts take the place of wagons throughout Argentina. they look very rude, but each cart will hold several tons–so much , indeed, that teams of twelve oxen are often hitched to one car.'”

Original Collection: Visual Instruction Department Lantern Slides

Item Number: P217:set 012 039