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Two: Pittsburgh

Updated: Jan 25, 2023

We’re standing on a patch of lawn in the Crafton neighborhood of Pittsburgh just off the Ohio River and Wes is trying to be helpful. Wes is Charlotte’s landlord, the woman whom Dave and I are going to purchase our tiny house on wheels from. He owns the real-size home and property, a hardscrabble affair situated just above Chartiers Avenue, a well-traveled road lined with residential and industrial buildings, where the tiny house currently sits.

Now, nearly two hours after arriving from our seven-hour trip from our homes in Croton-on-Hudson, NY, Dave and I have circled the tiny house and his truck two dozen times, mumbling, and considering. The dilemma: a dizzying rock ledge on Wes’s cramped property that looms approximately 15 feet from where the front-end of Dave’s truck is nosed, the only position allowable to line up the hitch of Dave’s truck with the trailer head of the tiny house to pull it out of there.

“I’d chain it to a tree just to be sure.” Wes offered, taking a bite of the sandwich he had been holding. By “it” he meant Dave’s truck. There was much consternation that once the tiny house was lowered onto the truck’s hitch, the weight of it combined with gravity and force could pitch the truck forward straining the brakes past its capacity, lurching it, with Dave in the cab, forward over the sharp ridge onto Chartiers Avenue below. I’m picturing having to call Dave’s wife Joanna letting her know that Dave’s dead, their truck is a total loss, and the tiny home we just bought for 30k was in splinters. Also, can you please come down here to pick me up… you know, Dave was my ride.

In truth, I could be of no help here. This portion of our business venture did not fall under my job purview. My general role for this road trip was to provide morale support, help navigate the highways, bridges and tunnels while towing a 6000-pound, 13-foot-high tiny house, and buy beef jerky at the rest stops.

Now we’re here contemplating Wes’s advice. Dave had chains in the truck, he said. Of course, he did. The chains were unveiled and eventually affixed to a nearby tree. I busied myself moving things to and from. Odds and ends that weren’t tied down in the tiny house, a step stool, loose hangers, a rooster bell thingy, and other small items with a combined weight of 12 pounds. I certainly wasn’t tying trucks to trees using chains. Thank goodness Wes was here and had finished his sandwich.

With a few jangled nerves, Dave inched the truck, now hitched up to the tiny house, forward and back, forward, and back. I gave lots of affirming nods and with a furrowed brow eagerly participated by shouting and gesturing. “Good!” “Cut it!” “Stop!” “A little bit further!” “A little bit further now!” (Sadly, no one laughed at this one.) Eventually, Dave finagled the tiny house out of its resting spot, he, and the truck physically unscathed.

Now, there was the small matter of getting this thing out of Pittsburgh, with its mashup of low hung bridges and narrow tunnels.

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