Design For Life: The Green And Winding Road

Carol takes a road trip through the Southwest, living out of her Casita fiberglass trailer.

| November/December 2007

Ever since my first book was published in 1988, I’ve dreamed of a cross-country book tour. Now I’m driving the highways of the Southwest promoting Natural Remodeling for the Not-So-Green House (Lark Books, 2006), which I coauthored with Kelly Lerner.

Instead of dealing with strange hotel beds and lousy road food, I’m carrying my home with me—complete with eco-friendly bed and kitchen. I’m pulling a tiny Casita fiberglass trailer (about 60 square feet of efficient living space) with a Tacoma pickup—a combo that gets better gas mileage than any recreational vehicle (RV) I’ve heard of.

Before the trip, I outfitted my trailer bed with a Shepherd’s Dream “wool surround”—mattress topper, comforter, pillows and neck roll—made of sustainably grown wool and organic cotton.

Prescott , Arizona

I spend the night in my rig just outside town at Point of Rocks RV Park, which is nestled amid rock formations and pine trees. The next day, I head to the Ecosa Institute—which offers educational programs in ecological architecture and design—and to Prescott College’s environmentally responsible Crossroads Center for an afternoon talk with students, faculty and community members. Afterward, I tour the Center, taking in rammed earth walls, interior walls finished with salvaged marble chunks and antique bottles, a living roof and solar-panel shade structures.

Nearby, students and faculty are restoring a stream using salvaged rubble to stabilize the embankment. More projects flank the stream: rainwater catchment, handrails made of salvaged metals, natural building experiments and water-efficient gardens.

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