20 x 20 w 8 x 10 bedroom

Started by Mike 870, March 20, 2014, 05:52:24 PM

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Mike 870

Hi Folks, not much new here.  I have been camping and playing around on my land without much motivation to continue building.  I've been busy with other things.  I rehabbed a house, and moved into it mortgage free.  I'm now part time at my day job and will have more time to dedicate to this project.  Also did some traveling. 

With a renewed sense of interest and a bit of money to work with I ordered a 300 gallon tank to bury under my foundation.  I plan to build a small skirted and insulated section to hopefully avoid some of the freezing issues that come along with pier foundations.  I bought a 35 gallon tank for my truck bed, and my plan is to just tote water each trip.  Our camper has a 15 gallon tank which lasts us a weekend if we conserve, so hopefully the 35 will allow us to get ahead of the game and eventually get it full.

Lastly the first excavator I hired did a good job building me a solid base for my road with river stone from my creek, but I could not get him back out to place culverts, do some gravel and final grading.  So I hired someone else with good results.  Had 3 30 inch culverts installed and some crushed stone from my hill up to my cabin site.  It really helped smooth out the hill.  The excavator did a lot more ditching and grading than I thought he would so between that and the culverts I hope my road is better constructed for the long run.


Mike might I make a suggestion.  On the exit end of your culverts you need to place some large stones at the edge and extend them a few feet.  Depending on the amount of water exiting the pipe it will undermine the edge of your road.  If the entrance end is exposed to a lot of water you might want to consider it as well.  This is what I did on the inlet side.  Similar on the exit but laid base stones for the water to cascade off of.

Mike 870

Yea, I think I will do that next weekend.  I had an interesting conversation about the culverts.  The guy I hired said 24 inches should be plenty big, but he also said this year has not been normal in that we have these crazy storms where we get 3 inches in a half hour.  So I said go with 30 inches.  These culverts are handleing purely watershed for my little holler.

  I'll be there Friday through Monday,  I'm hopeing to get a lot done.  I' renting a little kubota bx25D to bury my tank, but I also want to tweak a couple areas of the ditches where Im not 100 % confident the grade will keep water off the road. 


Quote from: Mike 870 on October 08, 2016, 10:32:44 AM
Yea, I think I will do that next weekend.  I had an interesting conversation about the culverts. The guy I hired said 24 inches should be plenty big, but he also said this year has not been normal in that we have these crazy storms where we get 3 inches in a half hour.  So I said go with 30 inches. These culverts are handleing purely watershed for my little holler.

  I'll be there Friday through Monday,  I'm hopeing to get a lot done.  I' renting a little kubota bx25D to bury my tank, but I also want to tweak a couple areas of the ditches where Im not 100 % confident the grade will keep water off the road.

A lot depends on the location and distance between them.  If they are frequent then 24" would be fine.  But if they are spread out then yes 30" would be better. Most people just opt for 12" and end up continuously cleaning them out.  But again if they are frequent enough they are fine.

This is sort of forgotten when installing pipe.  Water has a lot of force, more than imagined sometimes.  I have seen water undermine the soil adjacent to the pipe then without that supporting soil it allows the soil above to slide away and before long the edge of the road is taken as well. 

Here is a prime example.  This is a Forrest Service road leading to my cabin.  I have documented it and sent it to them in hopes of having it repaired.  If they allow it to persist I am sure it will eventually take the main traveled portion away. 

Mike 870

That looks like only a matter of time.  I have 5 culverts over about 800 feet of road.   Two 18 inch ones that see significantly less water and the 3 30 inch ones I just put in.  Of these 3 new ones, none of the existing 24 inch culverts that I replaced were functioning.  They were jammed up and water just flowed over the road so this should be a big improvement.  The two 18 inch ones seem fine.  One is after a swampy area so it just handles seepage and the other is a similar situatiin draining a flatter area of my neighbors lawn.


Yes it is.  The USFS has a right of way on both sides of the road.  It just so happens that the bank side is mine.  Knowing how they sometimes operate they will let it continue and at a later time decide it would be easier just to widen what they have which would be taking my land to do so.  At least I might have a little leg  ;D to stand on for not going that route now that I brought it to their attention before it gets to that point.

Mike 870

If you dont get any results, send them the documentation again with CCs to every single person on the chain of command up as high as you can figure out who to send it to.  Then just remember they will act at the speed of government.  My building on WPAFB had a shattered skylight for about 3 years before it was fixed.  It was safety glass so it wasn't leaking but still.  Then one time someone crashed into one of the gates, took 6 months to get fixed.  Our parking lot had a hole the size of two cars due to erosion.  The solution was to cone it off for about 4 months until they could get to it.

Mike 870

Had a nice trip this weekend.  Was able to get my camper and a big trailer with a tractor up my road easily.  Also able to get some 2wd non trucks up the hill.  However, new rule going in place, only 4wd allowed up the hill from here on out and even then only if you know how to drive.  Only project for the weekend was to bury the 300 gallon cistern and do some loader and grading work with the BX25D rental.  We got a nice 4.5 ft hole dug then hand backfilled it with only fine clay soil.  Its all clay, even the things that look like rocks are chunks of clay.  Also took a picture of our camping rig a 2012 Casita Spirit Delux.  That little thing is awesome, one of the best purchases we've ever made.

Colorado Eric

Can't wait to see where this is headed, love the land it looks gorgeous!


Those Casita's are a fantastic trailer. For that compact size I think they are the best out there. The molded fiberglass will last a lifetime and they really aren't very expensive. I'd like to trade our bigger trailer for one of those at some point.

Looking forward to your progress.

Mike 870

Thanks for your comments guys.  Can't say enough good things about the Casita.  It's dry weight is 2'480 lbs, so easy to tow.  Easy to manuever in campsites, heck I've swung U turns on 2 lane roads with it.  It's really well designed and finely finished on the inside.  I think you can buy my model new, loaded, for about $22,000 with tax and some delivery mileage.

Using the Casita electrical/propane (and water) system has also helped me realize I need a much smaller PV system than I originally thought.  I'm making the mechanical systems of the cabin like a stationary RV.

12 volt 220 amp hour battery will be more than double what I have now, with the added bonus of 450 watts of panels.  We can boondock around 2.5 day on our 95 amp hour battery in the casita.  Water pumping and .3 amp draw on the propane fridge when running are the big draws.  Other than that its led lights and fan-tastic fan.  Occasional use items are also furnace blower, which we wont have in the cabin, and the range hood exhaust.

I'm heading down Friday for the weekend to build the beams that will carry the floor and porch joists.


We traveled around the country for about 7 months in our trailer. Our solar system was 2 golf cart batteries (about 210 amp @ 12v .. so like 105 amp safely usable), similar to yours. On top the trailer we had 2x 100w panels. If it was sunny out, it would charge the batteries full by lunch time.. if it was cloudy they basically didn't work. Washington state gave us trouble. Even when it was sunny it seemed like solar didn't work as good there.

That 2500lb dry weight is such a huge deal that people don't realize. You can tow that thing with a regular sized car or SUV, whereas my 4000 dry weight really needs a half ton pickup. Full size trucks are expensive to buy, maintain and repair..

Anyway have fun this weekend.


Mike, your property is beautiful!
I can't wait to see what you do with it.....
I buried a above ground tank last year,  which is against the manufacturers suggestions,  but it has worked just fine so far. It's a 550 gallon. And much cheaper then the actual underground models. However in oklahoma, it don't get as cold as your neck of the woods.
Our cabin is also a post and beam,  but 20x30. We made the mistake of not putting in a center beam when it was open and accessible. I'm glad you have had plenty of planning time to build it right the first time.
I really look forward to seeing the build...
"Chop your own wood and it will warm you twice"
— Henry Ford

Mike 870


Got quite a bit done in a quick trip this weekend.  Had some unexpected issues pop up.  When we were setting posts we were using a laser level to mark and cut the sonotubes.  It was too light to really see the level so we marked all the tubes at dusk and poured the next day.  I think as we vibrated the concrete we settle some more than we wanted.  So some of the piers are about an inch low.  I had cedar shingles on hand for a temp solution.  Not sure what is the best long term fix. But anyway got it all level and square for the beams that will carry the floor joists.  I ended up using tripple PT 2x10s for each beam.  Was going to use two, but some of my seams didnt fall on a pier so I added a 3rd.

Took a side trip to the local Amish furnature, baked goods etc complex.  Business is quite good:

Mike 870

Had a productive vetrans day.  Got the rest of my beams set, the floor deck built and the deck partially done.  Picture is a bit distorted

Also tested out my campers new solar setup.  A Kyocera 150 watt panel, morningstar prostar 30 pwm controller, midnight baby box and breakers and some mc4 plus some 10-3 I had lying around.  I think I will install the permanant setup in a military style pelican case with quick connectors to attach to the battery and panel.  Was getting close to 6 amps at 8:30 am.

Mike 870

Did a day trip yesterday.  Out the door before 6:30 and working by 8:30.  Spent my time framing the floor joists for the little 8x10 bedroom, adding blocking and plumbing the water tank filling outlet.  Used a bulkhead fitting connected to a threaded cleanout fitting at he other end so I can back my truck up and easily empty my 35 gallon truck bed tank into my 300 gal buried tank.  I made some holes in the bottom of my 3/4 pex line that will pull water from the tank by means of an RV pump.  I forgot that bulkhead fitting so I didnt install it.  I ended up not bringing enough materials to keep me busy for thewhole trip, so I cleaned up the build site, took some picturesand left at 3:00 pm.

Mike 870

I had originally planned a day trip to build today, but I'm kinda sick, the credit card bill is a bit high this month, and the weather is crappy.  So I decided to make make my water pump connections and mount them to some wood so I don't have to do all these connections crawling in the dirt.   In the future, If I ever need to work on my pump or change it out, I will leave enough slack so I can pull this whole assembly out from under the crawl space.  I designed the whole thing to function as a drain back system.  In the bottom left of the picture u see a pex elbow connected to a 3 way valve with hose drain.  This end will go right into the tank off the elbow.  The 3 way drain will allow me to suck RV anti freeze into the pump via a hose/bucket.  Next is some 65 psi rated rubber hose.  Shurflow reccomends this to cut down on vibration noise.  Next in line is a sediment filter then the pump.  The pump is a 3 gpm 12 volt revolution model from shurflow.  It has a cutout setpoint at 55 psi. It has backflow prevention so It maintains pressure.  It can pull 6 feet of head, and is the same pump my offgrid neighbor uses.  After the pump there is more rubber hose, then 2 ball valves before and after a hose bib.  This will allow me to drainback the lines, blow out the lines, and also divert the anti freeze after the pump if I decide not to put anti freeze in the whole system.  That was long winded, let me know if you have any questions. 

Mike 870

Made my first trip to the property since last fall.  I always intend to visit more often but things just kind of happen.  Ended up building a deck, rehabbing one half of one of my rentals, painting my house and buying another property that we did some work on and turned into an Airbnb.  Things are finally starting to slow down. 

This next trip I'm renting a small mini excavator to work on some ditching.  The hilly section of my road held up pretty well over a year with a lot of rain.  With some minor tweaks I can make it even better.  I'm having #4 stone put down on the flat part of my road in a couple weeks.  The culverts are working perfectly.  Very happy I went with 30 inches, best decision I've made in a while.

My other goal is to box in and insulate a 8 by 12 section of the crawlspace and run all my water and gas lines before putting down the decking. 

Mike 870

Got the crawl space insulated, the floor decked and the walls framed.  My HH6s didn't arrive on time, so no headers are in.  Rented a mini excavator and did some drainage ditching as wel.

Mike 870


In lieu of losing all the photobucket images, here's a slideshow of most of our progress to date.


I would love to see a slideshow but I see nothin'


works for me ! love the waterfall !

Mike 870

I'm not sure what is going on dablack, I don't see the slideshow on my work computer, but I see it fine at home.  Is your browser up to date?

Thanks UK, it was definately a selling point for us. 

Mike 870

Had about 60 tons of stone spread on my road this fall.  Bit smoother than the creek stone base now.  Friends are easily able to get 2wd drive cars to the base of my hill.  Added a small parking area that can fit 2 cars and leave room for people to get by.

Hauled the 14 foot 4x10 Ash loft beams up the hill and got them set.  That was a chore.

Set the rest of the headers in with the HH6's then worked on plumbing a bit.  The whole thing is drain back so I can easily winterize it.  I also have valves so I can fill my pump with RV antifreeze and purge it in spring without it entering the rest of the house.

Had some good helpers

The state of things now


Looks good!  I found your Photobucket link and tried to view the other photos, but man, Photo Bucket has really ruined themselves!  I couldn't even scroll to see them all.  I didn't notice it in the posts, but where abouts in Ohio are you building? 
My 50x30 universal build project: