Can you tell us about how you got into the vintage trailer hobby?
A little bit about us:
My name is Jennifer Colling and my partner of 27 years is Byron Leach. I am a college instructor at Mott Community College in Flint and Byron is a car salesman at Cook’s GM in Vassar. We are from Millington, Michigan, which is located about 15 minutes from the tourist town of Frankenmuth, Michigan. We both grew up in Millington, Michigan and have lived there our entire lives. In fact, we were childhood neighbors. I have one son, Jimmy 34, from my first marriage, and Byron has 4 children from his first marriage, Holly, Brad, Alicia, and Chelsea. These kids have given us 12 grandchildren. We have no children together, but we have a beloved Coton de Tulear pup, Blanche, who travels with us everywhere now that our nest is empty.
My partner and I got interested in vintage trailers several years ago when my father invited me to the rally in Port Austin, Michigan in 2016. My dad and mom (Scout and Barb Colling–1976 Wolverine) are members as well as my sister and her husband (Stephanie and Herman Barnum–1964 Franklin). You could say it is becoming a family tradition.
What type of trailers have you owned and what do you have now? What is your dream vintage trailer?
My partner Byron never did a lot of camping in his past, but as a child, I traveled and camped all over the US and Canada, first in my mom and dad’s homemade camper and then in their 1976 Wolverine pickup camper. The latter is the one my dad and mom still camp in and bring to the annual rallies.
Our trailer is not vintage YET, but it is kind of unique. We camp in a 2018 Forest River Rockwood HW A-frame camper. What we love about our camper is that it only takes a few minutes to pop up and take down. It is light with a lot of windows to give us the feel of being outdoors even when we are inside it. Typically when we camp, we are the only A-frame in a campground at any given time. We enjoy people stopping by our campsite to ask us about our camper. It is like a small chalet on wheels. Our goal is to keep it in good enough condition for many years to come until it reaches “vintage” status.
What do you tow with?
We tow our A-frame with a white Chevy Silverado (2008)
Do you attend rallies and what do you like the most about attending a rally?
We have visited the rallies for the past 7 or 8 years. I love touring each camper up close and seeing all the ways the owners display their campsites with vintage camping equipment.
Why did you decide to join the Tin Can Tourists?
As I mentioned above, my family are all Tin Can members, so now that we are getting close to retiring and able to camp and travel more, we wanted to join in on the fun and nostalgia. When I have attended some of the rallies it harkens back to my childhood years when our family of 5 made our annual two week vacation in a single cab pickup with my dad’s first camper, a homemade one and then later the 1976 Wolverine. My dad was a barber by trade and my mom a janitor, but they managed to put together some memorable camping trips to several of the national parks. We always camped rather primitively, cutting and gathering our own firewood, fishing, hiking, looking for wildlife, and cooking on the campfire. These trips with family remain some of the most cherished moments of my life.
What are your camping plans for this year?
We are planning to attend the Lumberjack themed camp in Cadillac, Michigan in June. We also plan on going to the annual rally that has been at Wagoner Park the last couple years. Other than this, we are hoping to do more Michigan camping and perhaps take a trip to Washington, PA to visit my niece.
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