TCT Featured in Garden & Gun Magazine

Credit - Tim Bower

The Southern Agenda: February/March 2019

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Since the dawn of the automobile age, snowbirds have flocked to the Sunshine State. Few have done so with more bravado than the Tin Can Tourists, an auto-tourism group formed in 1919. The name predates the sleek metal midcentury campers associated with the group now; instead, it harks back to the Ford Model T, nicknamed “Tin Lizzie,” which carried tents and pulled early trailers. The first members attached tin cans to their cars’ radiator caps, showing everyone on the road they belonged to the club. Throughout the twentieth century, TCTs escaped the icy North and assembled in spots around Florida. “From World War II on, the numbers diminished, which happens to a lot of organizations if you don’t appeal to the next generation,” says Forrest Bone, an old-school campground fan who revived the Tin Can Tourists in 1998 and is now director of the club. The group numbers some 2,300 members who circle up their wagons—shiny silver 1950s Airstreams, canned-ham campers from the 1960s, and 1970s ruby-red caboose trailers—a few times a year, although ownership of such mobile memorabilia isn’t required. Aficionados will congregate at the Centennial Celebration (February 19–24) in Brooksville (fifty miles north of Tampa) for excursions by retro ride, lectures on the history of the club, a limited-edition Buffalo Trace bourbon tasting, and a Saturday open house when guests can walk among the plastic flamingos, string lights, striped awnings, and aluminum picnic tables to experience the vintage trailers in their historic habitat.


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