Elaine and I live in a caboose at 8,690 feet above sea level. We're not really the typical married couple – (obviously this is not the only reason) – in this regard. It's a unique place to live and always gets a few raised eyebrows and a series of questions when people find out. For example….
1. Does it have a bathroom?
Why yes it does. Exactly wide enough to sit on a toilet. You can't actually close the door to the bathroom, as your legs would be squashed into your chin, but who really needs privacy.
2. How big is it really (or isn't that small)?
Yes it is. But not as small as one might think. Plenty of room to live just fine.
3. Can you move the caboose?
Alas, no. There are no railtracks that run through the property. That and they took the wheels off of it. Bummer. Then again, I don't ever have to worry about somebody playing a prank on us and moving the caboose at night while we're asleep!
4. How did you find a caboose?
It's amazing what you can find on Criagslist. The caboose was brought here by Jimmy Keith, a local realtor who has a passion for trains. There are train cars all over the place – the coffee shop in Ned, off Green Gate, etc. This particular one was filmed in a John Wayne movie, though I know not which one.
5. Does it have running water?
Yes! Ice cold or boiling hot. Nothing in between. Actually, one of the nicest things about the caboose is our instant hot water spigget. Let's put it this way…we drink a lot of tea and eat a lot of instant raman.
6. How do you shower in the caboose?
Well, you don't. I will often wash my hair in the sink using tuperware to mix the boiling hot and ice cold and then rinse ice cold (wake-up call!). We also have a solar shower. And our neighbors allow us to use their shower when needed. Which is a whole other story.
7. How do you heat the caboose?
Wood burning stove baby! It's small, so it's easy (relatively) to warm the thing from 40° to 90° in the matter of an hour or so. On a winter day you can expect to lose 30 of those degrees by morning. No thermostat = no problem
8. What does one do at the caboose?
None of your damned business fool! But I will say that not having a T.V. and a ton of space to hide out in one giant corner of the house while the other person hangs out in the other corner makes you plan good, social nights – games, reading to each other, etc. And we cheat a little – we have an LCD projector which makes watching movies absolutely delectable. A cup of cocoa, a good movie and a fire after a hard days skiing or hiking…not much is better in my book.
9. Don't you drive each other crazy in such a small space?
10. Does it have electricity?
As Elaine says, "we don't live in the dark ages."
The best part of living in the caboose is, of course, where it is. We can walk out our door and go on five mile hike through aspens, past a large lake and totally escape. We're right next to a major Wilderness area, and lots of other non-designated wild places. There is great biking all around. Backcountry skiing – some of the best in the local area – is five minutes away. If you want to go to the resort and make some turns or bust out some km's, that's only ten minutes away. And in two minutes, I can choose between amazing alfredo pasta at Neo's, steamed chicken momo at Kathmandu, or a hearty pizza at backcountry. It works, better than well.
We won't always live in a caboose. Heck, on our list we've got a teepee, a yurt and someday, when we're really going nuts, a handbuilt log cabin. Yet the caboose will be where it all started, and I suspect in 20 years when we look back at the right here and now, a smile remembering the great times will always be there! Choo choo!
I love living in a caboose!