Friday, September 12, 2014

12x12 Portable Cabin

It's been a long while since I've posted anything.  This was because we thought we were going to need to sale our property due to relocating and taking a significant pay decrease.  We were able to keep our property after all.  However, in the process of selling we ended up getting rid of the camper on site.  Now we had nothing to go up to except a tent.  Wanting to do still have a place to sleep and stay out of the elements I decided to build a 12x12 portable cabin.

I bought the plans online and spent most of July and August building this in my back yard.  Everything is built in 6' sections that bolt together.  It all was able to fit in the back of my 6x10 trailer.
The plans included 4 bunks.  I added windows to let in light.  It is built out of 2x2s, 12" on center.  There's a mono truss system, but because I'm going to leave it set up were going to add temporary support for snow build up from winter.

The floor is built out of treated 2x4s, and 3/4" plywood.  The walls and roof are out thin plywood that's sealed with outdoor paint and a special coating on the roof.
Top view before walls and the roof were added.

Fully framed, ready to add plywood for sides and roof. 

Plywood tacked up.  It didn't get nailed down until we disassembled it.
Everything packed up and Equinox pulled it fine.

 This was where the camper used to set.  The deck is a 12x12.  The plan was to set the portable cabin up next to the deck.  It went well.

We were excited to drive up since it had been almost a year since we went up.  We set the cabin up in a day and then slept in it that night.
 We laid down railroad ties to get the floor off of the ground.  You can see the 4 6' flooring sections.  Bolted up makes the center of the floor 4x4s.
 Once the floor was level and bolted together we started to bolt up the walls.  I wish I had more pictures of this but we were running out of day light.  I wasn't able to get a picture of the inside without the roof installed.
Going up fairly nice.

 Here it is erected.  It took about 4 hours to bolt up, install windows and wire up the electricity.  There was a thunderstorm the 1st night so we were unable to seal the roof with coating.  We made a 2nd trip up for that and we will be going back up for another coat to be added.  Even with out the coating there were no leaks.  It kept us dry.

 For electricity I simply wired up an outdoor receptacle and back fed it into the cabin.  Inside the cabin it's simply one box to plug into.  It works for now.  After we insulate it I'll install a few receptacles around the cabin.  For now were able to plug in a light, fan or heater.  I have a recreational electrical box with the ability to run 220 if I want.  Right now we have a 30 amp camper plug and a standard 20 amp receptacle that we can plug into.
 The inside of the cabin is pretty roomy.  It seems like it's tight but it's not.  There's a 6 foot center between the bunks and and 12x6 for the table and kitchen area.  For water we using a 5 gallon back for washing.  It drains in a bucket underneath the sink and we bring our own drinking water in one or more 5 gallon water containers.  I have an old 3 burner Colman camp stove, it works great.  I'd like to get a pro-pain stove though because I don't like the smell of white gas.  A simple card table is what were using with camping chairs.  We have a nice, small wooden table we thought would work but determined the card table would be best.  I have added some shelves but didn't get a picture.

 All in all I'm pretty happy with the set up.  A camper is easier.  It has everything you need.  The portable cabin I think will always be a work in progress, not look as elegant, but it's more fun.  I built this with my 3 boys and wife.  You can't get that kind of time together in a camper.  I'm sure we'll keep adding to it each trip we go up.  Little projects here and there.  We'll need to think about how to shower for extended stays, warm water, but for now... we have lights, a bed, heat.  I can't wait to see what kind of memories we are going to make. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

It's been awhile

It's been way to long since my last update.  Over this past year my family and I began a new adventure.  We decided to relocate and plant a church in Jackson, Michigan.  This transition has been our focus for the last year.  This is why we have not been up north for a while.  In fact we thought we were going to need to sell our property that we loved.  We even gave away our camper thinking we wouldn't be able to keep the place due to the income adjustment.

The good news is it looks like we are going to be able to keep the property.  So we drove up this last Saturday to check on the property.  All is well.  However with the camper being gone it inspired us.  It look so beautiful without it.  It got us thinking we should really build a tiny cabin.  A cabin would fit the woods better.  The camper was fun.  It got the job done... but it never felt cozy.  It was out of place, not natural looking in the woods.  I thought we would be bummed out not having the camper on our visit but it inspired us.  I took a few pictures of the fall colors while visiting.

Colors of fall.  Trail to the river.

We found out this year the bridge to get to our property has been closed.  
The river we own.  It's high for this time of year.

Another trail on our property.

Joey climb up to me tree stand.  Still good.

Notice the camper missing?  Looks like there needs to be a cabin.

This lake is on the state land near us.  We stopped at it before we went home.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

We Built A Deck

This year has been quiet up north for us with only a few visits.  Our boys are getting older, which makes things a little busier for us.  We did get a few weeks up north this summer.  And in June, out of the blue, we decided to build a deck.  After breakfast we drove to the nearest big town, Gaylord, purchased the materials, came back and built a deck.  It's 12x12.

The "ghetto" part of me thought I could eventually put walls, a roof and make a three seasons room attached to my camper.  Just to create more gathering space on rainy days.  Our goal is to someday build a few small cabins, so I'm not sure that is the best idea in the long run.  But this is working for now. 

We spent about $300.00 in material.  It has helped cut down the amount of dirt we track into the camper.

We've only been able to make it up 2 or 3 times since we built this.  It was wonderful sitting out on the deck in the cool fall morning, staring off into the woods.  We are heading up this coming week for deer season and looking forward to hanging out by the fire pit.  Hopeful one of my sons or myself will get a deer.  Until next time.  

Monday, April 2, 2012

A Winter Visit

Jennifer and I went up for a winters visit back in February.   We took a short weekend, getaway trip.  Winter is a beautiful season in Northern Michigan.  We enjoy seeing the trees draped in snow just like Narnia.  The snow was really breath taking.  Pictures don't do justice.

The trip ended up being an adventure due to our rear wheel drive going out on our all wheel Equinox.  We were going through about 6 inches down our easement and I heard the axle snap.   I wasn't sure if we would be able to make it back to the property the rest of the way but we did.  However is was a bit of a challenge to get out.  Snow fell during the night and we ended up needing to dig our way out.

As you can see we spent more then an hour digging.  Once we made it to the road we kept the Equinox parked at the gate.  Our road is a seasonal two track about a mile into the wood before we get to the gate.  Thank God our neighbor had plowed.

We ended up hiking everything back to the car a 1/4 mile to in about 9 inches of snow.

We did get a chance to go out to hike our property.  We made it back to the river.  Quiet, peaceful.

Fire pit covered in snow.  It's like the land is asleep, resting, waiting for the spring sun to wake it up.  I loved spending the weekend up in the winter.

Jennifer all loaded up for the hike back to the car.  The walk was beautiful.

We made the weekend an adventure.  Enjoying the snow storm the 1st night, shoveling our way out, hiking to the river, playing cribbage and watching movies in the evening.  Love it and can't wait to go back up again.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Siding The Outhouse

We were up at our property the last weekend in September to take Joey on the Youth Deer Hunt.  (He did get a shot off, but we lost the blood trail.)  Since we were going to be up there I decided to haul up some reclaimed hickory lumber to side the outhouse.  The goal was to reside it with old lumber after it was built.  I didn't get around to it until now because I never had the free space in the trailer to haul the lumber.  It took me about 4 or 5 hours to do three sides.  The door took the longest.  I still need to do the back side.  That won't take long because there are no angle cuts.  It gave it a rustic look, which, we love!

Our gas furnace died on us while after the 1st night.  It won't ignite.  I'm not great at working on furnaces so, we made a fast trip to Walmart and picked up a nice electric heater.  I'm hoping it's something I can repair easily.  I'm gonna need to google it and see if what the issue is. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Last Visit For the Summer

The family and I spent 4 days at the property this last week.  We mostly rode trails but I did get a chance to work on driving my well.  It is froze up solid and won't drive another inch.  I tried jetting it with water and it still won't drive down.  I'm not sure if I hit clay or hit a rock.  My father-in-law, a retired well-man, thinks it's clay.  His suggestion is to pick a new spot and start over.  He gave me some ideas on how to have more success next time.  Right now I've given up on a well until next year.

My wife and I discovered a new trail to the  north, east side of Tomahawk flooding area while out riding dirt bikes.  I took this picture next to the boat launch.  There was an old abandon state campground there that is no longer in use.  That was kind of cool, a ghost camp ground.  We drove back to our camp and then me and the boys rode back to go swimming in the lake. 

My three sons with their riding gear back on after our swim.  The swim was short and sweet.  They are not used to swimming in a lake and didn't enjoy seaweed or the mushy dirt in the toes.  My oldest, Mikey, only went ankle deep.  Curt and Joe at least manage to dive in once.  This was our last ride of the week.  We rode everyday for three days and still were discovering new trails to ride on. 

Every morning I would get up before the family to read, pray and enjoy the beauty of northern Michigan.  On this particular morning I walked out to a potential cabin site on our property.  I'm trying to get a feel for each spot before we begin to build.  I like the openness of this location.  It was a rainy morning so it had a cloudy feeling but still I sensed a lot peace just sitting, watching and listening to nature.

I grabbed a picture of this sunset on our last ride of the week.  Curtis pointed it out on our way back to camp.

This was taken on our ride back too.  I think Michigan produce beautiful sky pictures as good as any other place in the world.
Our last night we roasted marsh mellows and talked into the evening.   I honestly could have stay a few more days but the boys were starting to get home sick.  We had a great vacation.  Can't wait to go back up.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Bears and Cabins

Took the last week off in June and spent it up at the property.  We didn't do anything except enjoy the woods and rode the trails all week.   It seemed we had the state land all to ourselves.  We only passed two others riders the whole time we were there.

Not sure what will be the next project for our property.  I'm putting things on pause until we come to a solid plan.  We are enjoying our camper but we are wanting to put up a cabin of some kind.  Jen and I found a couple of nice locations.  My favorite is tucked on the edge of some hard woods looking into a 5 acre field.  The other location is right on Thunder Bay River because we have about 130 feet of it.  Both maybe.  If we build in the field we are only about 600 feet away from our electricity, if we build on the river we are about 1200 feet away.

My neighbor whose property is kitty corner from ours just had an Amish built cabin put on his property.  They poured a cement slab on Memorial weekend and had two 12x30 cabins delivered last week.  They only paid around $12,000.00.  That's a really good deal.  I've priced these out online and they can run from 16-25,000 for this size of cabin.

Our last night there a small bear paid a visit.  I was coming out of the outhouse and when I shut the door I heard him run.  He was about 60 feet away.  It was just past dusk so I shined a flash light.  Seen it's eyes.  At first I thought it was a raccoon but when I seen the size of it's body I knew it was a bear.  The family was at the fire pit so I yelled for them to get inside.  I think he was making his way to our trash in the burn barrel.  He took off to the west.  Needless to say I burnt our trash right away.

My crazy wife was upset that she didn't get to see the bear.  She's been wanting to see one since we bought the property.  She keeps telling me she going to leave food out for them so she can take a picture.  Of course I won't allow it because of the danger that it could create.  The next morning she found it's foot print.