Posts Tagged ‘Tini-Home Trailer’

IMG_7168For Kim and I, the TCT spring and fall rally’s in Milford MI at Camp Dearborn are the bookends of our summer season.  The spring rally, always on the third weekend of May, kicks off summer, and the fall rally, third weekend is September is the wrap.  We like to have at least one more fall outing after the TCT event, but this years busy schedule didn’t let us squeeze in another weekend outing.  The weather this spring was a bit cool, as was the entire summer here, but the summer weather waited until after the end of September to start to wane, and we were rewarded with absolutely perfect weather all weekend for the rally.  The clouds even parted Sunday night for the total eclipse of the “Super Moon”, so I don’t have to wait another 30 or 40 years for that!   We’re still enjoying an extended, mild autumn, the leaves have just begun to turn here, so the mild, beautiful weather continues.  Part of the reason I’m only now getting around to writing this…

This year Kim and I took a couple of extra days off for the event, and even though we missed Fridays activities coming home for our niece’s wedding, this years get together was the most fun yet.  We’d planned on leaving early Thursday, but instead hitched our little “Tini-Home” canned ham to the Pontiac wagon and headed out Wednesday after Kim got out of work.  We rolled into Camp Dearborn just at dusk, and got landed in record time up on “The Hill”.  For this trip we slimmed down our decor and accessories, partly because of limited room in the 13′ trailer, a lesson we learned on this summers “Super Yooper Looper Tour” and partly because we had to leave Friday.  At any rate, the downsizing was a welcome change, we took about 10 minutes to set up and “decorate”, and packing up was similarly streamlined.  We are going to let this be an inspiration when we complete the “new” ’47 Spartan Manor…

IMG_6948Thursday was a great day to relax to a beautiful sunrise, watch our friends, and the many “newbies” roll in from our vantage point up on the hill overlooking the rest of the park.  (Since the Starlight Lounge has been retired, we can enjoy much earlier mornings!)  Warm and sunny, the day was perfect for strolling around, checking out trailers we hadn’t seen before,  shopping in Milford, cruising around the park and meeting new folks in the “Welcome Wagon”.  The induction of new members after supper was HUGE, with almost as many new members learning the secret handshake, secret password, and club song as veterans at the tables!  They were in fine voice too, during the sing along.  After that, a great presentation on where the hobby is going from Vintage Trailer Supply gave us a little insight into the hobby (lifestyle?) and where we may be going.  Thanks for coming all the way to Michigan guys!FullSizeRender

Friday morning breakfast at the Big Top was great as usual, scrambled eggs, ham, biscuits and gravy left everyone in a calm post prandial stupor, which made shopping downtown in Milford easier for the guys.  The historic Graton trailer was on display for all to see, a treat to see this unrestored, original condition  pre-war home built trailer.  The day saw some new activities with the Welcome Wagon continuing to greet the new folks, a poker run for newbies, and another great TCT evening meal with everyone in the Big Top.  Later, Billy Mack and the Juke Joint Johnny’s rocked the roof of for the Mad Hatter Dance Party.

11902261_10207911367164698_1262336816742776819_nWe were sorry to have missed Fridays fun, as we left mid-day to go back to Grand Rapids for our niece’s wedding.  She was a beautiful bride, and we’ve gotten her started off with a wedding gift of a ’67 Dodge Travco motorhome!  She’s planning on converting it to a mobile hair salon/spa, so we’ll keep the tradition of vintage RV’s in family, this time with a new twist.  Which I understand is some sort of hair style…

Saturday we were happy to leave the Tini-Home door open for visitors, walk away, and actually have time to walk around during the open house.  We made the best of it.  We saw lots of great trailers we hadn’t seen before, and got some great ideas for our new Spartan.  We were lucky to score a remnant of really cool 40’s vintage linoleum during the flea market from TCT friends Julie and Steve which will become a table top, and hopefully enough to make some TV trays as well.  Thanks guys!  That evening was another game of “Playing Card Bingo”, with thrills, chills, and fabulous prizes!  Well, some fabulous, and some not so fabulous, but it’s all in fun, and hey, everybody needs something for next years game, right?

There was a new activity as well on Saturday night, Blue Poly Waste Tank Racing, which made up for it’s inherent danger by being totally unsafe, although the darkness did make it seem more dangerous than it probably was.  If we kept anyone awake, apologies all around.  Next year, we promise better organization, and a wider fleet of racers.  Anyone needing imminent hip replacement would be well advised to pass, trust me on this, and please, clean, unused tanks only…IMG_7146

Sunday the vantage point of being up on the hill let us watch the caravans get packed up and roll out below us.  Several of us who also had Monday off moved down to the lower loop after everyone moved out, and we had a very relaxing evening under the stars.  It clouded up after sunset, but we were rewarded for being patient as the clouds parted as the Lunar eclipse began and we were treated to a spectacular sight of the blood red Super Moon in full eclipse.  Again, the feeling that the friends made are much more important than the trailers was reinforced, as much as we love the trailers, it’s the people that make the TCT so special, and so important to us.

IMG_7167Monday we had breakfast in town with friends, and headed home.  We got with about 20 miles from home, when the Pontiac uncharacteristicly sputtered and died.  As we coasted off to the side of M-66, we each said, “Didn’t we fill up in Milford before we left?”  The answer was yes, we had, but we both had forgotten about driving to Grand Rapids and back on Friday, and while we filled up then, the wagon can’t be driven 300 miles pulling a trailer on 18 gallons of gas!  Fixing the gas gauge may be one of this winters priority projects.

We’re now busy getting our Spartan, a ’47 Manor, the “Last Trailer”, ready for next years camping and TCT trips, and many more years after that.  We’d never have gotten this involved, done so many things, or taken the trips we’ve done with the TCT without the Bone’s, Forrest and Jeri, Terry and Michelle, and ALL of the great TCT friends we’ve made belonging to the Tin Can Tourists.  Thanks for all the hard work, caravans, rallies and camping fun.   Truly, the more we get together, the happier we’ll be!  IMG_6062


I thought I’d be writing about having the new flooring installed in the Manor, but, the red tiles (which would be where the white ones are) we ordered turned out to be a weird shade of pinkish magenta, so, another carton of tiles was ordered and we’re waiting on those.  So, hurry up and wait.  Hopefully, the weather will cooperate and I can get it done this week on my days off.

Instead, I’ll talk a little about last weekends Tin Can Tourist Fall Rally in Milford, MI.  Kim and I left Wednesday about 6:30, a day earlier than we’d planned, and got there just about dark.  We had a great weekend of reuniting with old friends, hanging out, and surprisingly little looking at old trailers.  In fact, going through my photos, I took pictures of exactly two.  One, our friends Jake and Tami’s ’48 Spartan Manor, which makes me regret not having ours done, or maybe even regretting selling the ’46, hence, the work being done on ours, and the other a very rare “Holiday House”, the Holy Grail of sticks and staples late ’50’s canned hams.


Jake and Tami’s trailer was a 3 month thrash build from a gutted shell, which included the stripping of the original interior, complete new floors, running gear, custom interior, glass, insulation, wiring etc.  In other words, a total, frame up rebuild, which was completed the night before a cross-country family vacation with their two young daughters.  Jake is a high energy hot rodder, the quality of the build is incredible, and the trailer works flawlessly for them, right out of the box.  That little truck is another of Jake’s builds, his daily driver, built from swap meet parts, a thrashed S-10, and a rusty Sierra pickup that donated its heart to the project.  Nice work, Jake!

The Holiday House belongs to another friend, Dawn, who has several other vintage trailer builds under her belt, and she’s building this herself as well.  It’s an unfinished project as yet, but she’s already replaced the skin, much of the front framing and she’s now working on renovating the interior.  These trailers are unusually wide, in fact, they’re a shade over 8′, which makes them very roomy, and the panoramic windows really open up the trailer to the outdoors.  It’s a great trailer, I can’t wait to see how Dawn finishes up the interior.


We had a wedding on Friday, so missed that days fun, but we made up for it the rest of the weekend.  The highlight may have been impromptu downhill rides on Jake’s (new) blue poly waste tank, which was pressed into duty as Soapbox derby racer.  We quit sometime around midnight on Saturday, figuring that since nobody had been hurt (a miracle) and the cops hadn’t shown up, we should quit while we were ahead.

The weekend, and the camping season, came to a close when we pulled out on Monday, having spent an extra night at Camp Dearborn to watch the lunar eclipse with some of our friends.   We sadly packed up and pulled out, heading home for overdue laundry, lawn-care, bill paying, and the usual household chores we escaped for the weekend,


The trip home was smooth, until the wagon uncharacteristically sputtered and quit about 20 miles from home.  When we left Camp Dearborn, we both remembered filling the car with gas in Milford before Sunday, but we forgot about the trip across the state and back for our nieces wedding, and the car really did not have a full tank.  An embarassing call to Hagarty Insurance’s Road Service line had a tow truck with a can of gas, and we were back on the road.  Maybe figuring out why the gas gauge doesn’t work would be a good winter project?


So, all that’s left of this seasons camping and travel is winterizing the campers, tucking them in for the long winter, and getting the Spartan done for next summer so I don’t feel bad when Jake rolls up with theirs!  Stay tuned for progress on the ’47, the T’bird, the Rivi, and the ’34 (if I can squeeze it into the shop).  It’s gonna be a busy winter!


Last week when we out to the little Shelter-logic garage to get something for the Del-Ray, I noticed with horror that the fiberglass “Filon” skin on the Tini-Home trailer had split above the front window on each side, from the corners to the outer edges.  Evidently that stuff shrunk so much in the bitter cold last winter that it contracted as far as it could, then simply tore at a stress point.


What to do?  I don’t want to re-skin it, simply because it’ll be a lot of work and I have several projects that are a lot of work, and I’d rather work on them.  I didn’t want to do a funky patch, although simply taping them off with duct-tape or Gorilla tape would have worked, and I couldn’t just leave it because it would have leaked like a sieve.

The answer came in the form of some .030 polished diamond plate used for gravel shields on new little RV’s from Bontragers Surplus.  I made a gravel shield of a half sheet drop over the window, after sealing the tears with self leveling RV roof sealant and HVAC tape over that, and today I made lower gravel shields of some scraps to flank the diamond plate tool box already on the tongue.

I think the result is actually an improvement.  It looks like it was always there, it all matches, and, it was easy, the key to a good cobbled up “repair”.  A buddy offered to help me re-skin the trailer, which I may do when after the T’bird, the Riviera, the ’47 Spartan and the Chris Craft are done.

If we’re both still living, that is…

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In the Pink!

Posted: February 20, 2012 in Tin Can Tourists, Vintage trailers

Today when I arrived at work, the night charge nurse (Erin), said, “Brian, you’re not supposed to be here today!” 

Sure enough, I am supposed to work tomorrow and Wed., it seems SOMEBODY here (Kim?) copied my schedule wrong.  Not like I haven’t done that before on a Monday that I didn’t have to work…

So, I left before they found something for me to do, came home and went to work on the trailer.  I got the rear panl in, and temporarily mounted the rear window, so all the exterior panels are now on, and all the (new) windows are in.  It looks  like a camper now!

I turned my attention to the front end next.  The front window opening needed to be cut out,  I carefully marked the opening and cut it out with a sabre saw.  Much better results than at the rear, where I have a little “oops” to correct before the skin goes on!  The window fits the curve of the front of the trailer perfectly, a result of my slight “reshaping” of the front of the body, so that’s a relief. 

Next up, fitting the insulation into the ceiling battens.  No problems, I scored the backsides of the panels, leaving the plastic film on the pink foam board, and they all snapped into place perfectly.  I did glue the ceiling ones in place (the front and rear are simply forced in between the battens) to ensure they don’t come done before I get the ceiling on. 

I’m ordering some fender-welt to trim the wall/ceiling joint, in yellow, as original.  We’re using Excelon vinyl floor in a brick-red,  and yellow countertops, so that’ll look nice. 

It was a beautiful, warm sunny day here, so I was happy to NOT have had to be at work!