Saturday, February 23, 2019

Tin Can Tourists 100th Anniversary Rally, Sertoma Youth Ranch, Brooksville, Florida

The Tin Can Tourists is one of the best clubs we belong to. The people that are involved are dedicated and work at setting up rallies and get togethers all around the country. There is a rally every February in Florida and 2019 marked the 100th Anniversary of the club. The rally at Sertoma Youth Ranch brought 200 trailers, some modern but mostly vintage. We enjoyed music, food, Model T rides, seminars, and friends. We do not make it to every rally but this one was special, so we made it a point to come. On Saturday, February 23 they had open house with 1500 visitors touring the trailers and enjoying music and food as well. At the end I have a You Tube of the vintage trailers in attendance.

History of the Tin Can Tourists:

The original club was eventually disbanded but in 1998 Forrest and Jeri Bone renewed the club as an all make and model vintage trailer and motor coach club. The first gathering in May of 1998 was held at Camp Dearborn in Milford, Michigan with 21 rigs attending. By the end of the year, 50 members were accepted as charter members of the renewed version of the Tin Can Tourists. The group has grown steadily to over 2,000 members and has a large following on social media sites. Currently, there are annual gatherings in Michigan, Florida, and regional rallies at various locations in the U.S. The new version of Tin Can Tourists is open to all. Its goal is to abide by the original group's objectives and guiding principles as well as the promotion and preservation of vintage trailers and motor coaches through the gatherings and information exchange.

It was  organized in Desoto Park, Tampa, Florida, in 1919. They received the official state charter a year later. The group's stated objective was, "to unite fraternally all auto campers." Their guiding principles were clean camps, friendliness among campers, decent behavior and to secure plenty of clean, wholesome entertainment for those in camp. The group known for the soldered tin can on their radiator caps grew rapidly during the twenties and thirties. Members could be inducted by fellow campers through an initiation process that taught he prospective member the secret handshake, sign, and password. After singing the official song, "The More We Get Together," the trailerite was an official member of the Tin Can Tourists of the World. 

In 1948 the Tin Can Tourists members numbered 80,000. Typically the Tin Canners were around age 50 to 65 and either had no children or had grown up children. Families of two owned 61% of the trailers; families of three or four 38%; and larger families 1%. The sentiment of the older trailerites was that a trailer camp was not the right atmosphere for children. Most parks had an area designated for families with children, but families with dogs were not zoned. A big percentage were retired farmers, policemen, firemen, and civil servants, living on pensions or the rent from houses they owned. 

With the arrival of the 20th Century, Americans continued in the pioneering spirit of their forbearers and took to their automobiles to explore the great unknown. Thousands of Americans packed their vehicles with their tents, an extra 5-gallon can of gasoline, lots of canned food, and a spare tire or two, and began exploring the country in a manner not unlike Lewis and Clark. They became the symbol of restless, adventuresome America, overflowing with curiosity. These were the Tin Can Tourists.

These pioneers weren't traveling because of economic hardship in search of a better source of income. These were quite often middle-aged folks who had their fling at earning a living and now wanted to live "the life of Riley." They were families of retired and working Americans and Canadians, many of whom were businessmen, lawyers, doctors, dentists, merchants, policemen, war veterans, jewelers, and people in show business who worked in the summer.

Forrest Bone
Today the Tin Can Tourists is an all year, make and model trailer and motor coach club. The Club is open to everyone and offers you a chance to meet and have fun with people who are dedicated to the enjoyment, preservation, and promotion of vintage trailers and motor coaches. The only age stipulation is at a few rallies where vintage trailers are being judged. Newer units are welcome at these rallies but will not be eligible for judging.

The following are pictures I took of the vintage trailers and automobiles at this year's rally. But don't worry, I did not show pictures of all 200 trailers - I put them in a You Tube Video that you will find at the end.

1947 Westcraft Coronado 25 foot
This coach has quite a history behind it. It belonged to our good friend John ("Jack") Culp. We knew the Culp family since the late 1970's. Jim used to work with his son, Denis, and we were very good friends with both Denis and his wife Sue. Our children were born around the same time frame and we spent the first five years together. Denis' father, John, inherited this trailer from his parents, who bought it new the night before Christmas 1947 at a price of $3,200.  John eventually lived in it full time through the 1990s until his death. When he passed, he donated the trailer to the RV Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Indiana. They had it for a few years but did not do any upkeep on it and it was put up for auction. Bill Mars won the auction and brought the trailer to house in Florida for restoration. The trailer made its debut this year.

Our friend Jim

1956 Lincoln Pioneer Station Wagon (Custom Built)

1959 Nash Metropolitan
This vehicle has quite a history behind it. It has been owned by the following people:
  • Evelyn Is, Miss America 1955
  • James Bromfield, Actor
  • Elvis Presley, Singer/Actor
  • Paul Newman, Actor
  • Jimmy Buffet, Singer
  • Prince Philip/Princess Margaret
  • George Romney, AMC Chairman/MI Governor
  • Jay Leno, Comedian
  • Steve Jobs, Apple
  • Hunt & Susan Jones, Tin Can Tourists (current owner)

Here is my You Tube Video:

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