Mobile home with a mobile lawn

Back in 1930, Modern Mechanix reported on Charles Miller, of Portland, OR, who was rambling around the nation in a homemade mobile-home that included a plot of grass from his beloved hometown.
WHEN Charles Miller, of Portland, Oregon, found the wanderlust too much for him in spite of his love for the old home, he decided to see the world and carry his home right with him, too. So he built a complete bungalow on the chassis of his car--not even forgetting to put in a nice bit of lawn. Then he started out and since starting he has traveled over 200,000 miles and isn't through yet. Mr. Miller claims to have the only motorized house and lot in the country. The "lot" consists of a narrow strip of earth and turf.
Carries Own Grass 200,000 Miles (Feb, 1930)


  1. I’m looking at the guy and the ‘house’ and wondering if he sleeps across the diagonal or maybe his feet go on the passenger seat?

  2. Yeah, it’s all fine and dandy, but I bet that Mr. Miller only had a small flat-screen TV in there.

  3. I carried my own grass for 200,000 miles, but that was back when I was following the Phish tour.

  4. One of my favorite 1960s folk singers and characters in the San Francisco Bay area was Ale Ekstrom. He dressed as an old time tar (sailor) and played the concertina. No one had seen him for awhile. I was in the Golden Gate Park Panhandle a few blocks from what would become known as the Haight. Built on the bed of an antique flat bed truck was a gypsy wagon with every detail you could imagine. Behind the wheel was Ale. He’d spent months building it. It was a real traffic stopper. He did say the cops and Highway Patrol would pull him over just to get a good look at it.

    1. Sometime in the 90s, I saw a heavily-decorated vardo being hauled down 19th Avenue by a pick-up truck, going about 60mph.

  5. Between early 20th century roads and early 20th century tires, I wonder how many flats he had in 200k miles of driving.

    1. First of all, I think back then they were called tyres. I’m thinking he carried some three or a dozen spares. Probably never drove much over 30 mph. Wasn’t in a hurry. By my calculation, he crossed the continental US about 65 times. Talk about “On the Road”! I just hope he had fun and wish he had written a book about it.

  6. If we search the archives we will surely find he had equipped this vehicle with an early prototype of the Keep Portland Weird bumper stickers.

  7. Now this is the kind of town-pride we need in todays society. I saw a couple of teen-agers vandalizing property yesterday. I showed ’em what was what, but it saddened me deeply to see them not care about the livelihood and well-being of their town. I would like to introduce them to this Charles fellow, perhaps that would fix them up proper.

  8. What Lincoln said.

    Now… how long do we have to wait for someone to say, “hey you kids, g** o** m* l**n”? :D

  9. Its my dream to have a Vardo. But I will have to get rich to get a nice one seeing as I an NOT a handy-lady.

  10. This goes along with the Micro or Mini Home Movement that is really coming to fruition these days! There are some great books and blogs about mini homes. Most people build them on a trailer these days, cool stuff something I am seriously thinking about for retirement.

  11. Mark Crummett, when you write, “Thankfully, people like this still live in Portland.”, do you mean you are glad they live there and not in the rest of the country or where you live?

    Just kidding! ;-)

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