Have home, will travel

Mike Bolen lives in his truck, but he's far from homeless. His front yard: a flower box filled with herbs. His backyard: Emigrant Lake, Mount Ashland or whatever happens to be visible in his rear view mirror.

Bolen lives in a small, hand-built home perched on the back of his pickup.

"I like it because of the freedom," Bolen said. "I can read, watch TV, work on my books. This is home."

Resting in the bed of his old, grey truck, Bolen's home looks like a little fairytale cabin from a Walt Disney film. Green leaves and blossoming herbs add a flash of color from an enclosed herb garden perched above the cab of the truck. He grows basil, green sage, rosemary, fennel, velerian, verbena hyssop and mint, all of which he uses for cleansing and healing purposes, he said.

The rear of the cabin sports a small porch and a quote from the Bible is painted in delicate strokes in Hebrew above the back door.

The gentle green siding of the structure is offset by dark-brown stained trim, and on the driver's side of the cabin Bolen painted a night scene with the moon rising over Emigrant Lake.

Inside, the living space is clean and simple — a small sleeping area, propane stove, cupboards, green-curtained windows and an extended ceiling Bolen added when he got tired of stooping.

Bolen came to Southern Oregon in 2003 from New Orleans.

"We came up here and saw these mountains," he said. "I love it here."

Bolen and his son Mike started working on the living quarters when Bolen lost his job in December.

"It got the snow off my head," Bolen said.

A few weeks ago, the final touches were completed on the traveling home. But is any home ever really finished?

"The truck needs a new paint job and I'm going to get new shocks," Bolen said. "Then I may take a road trip."

But Bolen plans to take only back roads since he tends to drive slower than the normal freeway crowd.

Whether tooling around Ashland or on the road, it makes little difference to Dolan, who is home wherever he goes.

"I've slept better in this than I've slept in any house," he said.

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