2019 marked the 100th birthday of the original Tin Can Tourists club and we were excited to be part of honoring its rich history. The best part of THIS particular rally was that there were 17 Avions!
More about the history of this international club can be found here at Tin Can Tourists can be read here on their very interesting history page.
We joined TCT in 2017 when we purchased our 1973 Avion travel trailer. Its super affordable at $20 per person per year. This grants you access to their forums, newsletters, TCT swag, and of course, to attend TCT rallies that are held all over the USA! This club promotes safe, fun camping and camaraderie among fellow campers. It does focus on antique, vintage and classic camp trailers but is open to all modes of wheeled campers, motorhomes, and car/tent campers and no longer has a mandatory vehicle age to join as long as members support the goals and mission of the club. It’s no wonder that the club theme song is “The More We Get Together”. We certainly can attest to them holding up these goals. So far we have attended TCT rallies 2 times in the Finger Lakes of NY and this trip put us square one in their large Centennial rally which was held at Camp Dearborn in Milford, MI and have had terrific times. We will look forward to hopping around the country once we are full timing and attending more and more TCT events.
We started our adventure out to TCT by first going to Watkins Glen NY to meet up with fellow “aluminum lovers” Steve & Courtney Adcock, full time Airstreamers who go by “AStreaminLife.com“. Then we spent two full days in Frankenmuth, Michigan one of our favorite unique get away spots since it is a Bavarian themed little city. You can read about this part 1 of our Spring 2019 trip here.
We arrived on Monday, May 13 at Camp Dearborn in Milford, MI. This massive city-owned park has a very unique history itself and is filled with a variety of camping options. TCT uses this camping site annually for their Fall rally which is well attended. But this spring Centennial Rally had over 170 rigs registered…for a total of over 350 attendees which was terrific. Even more terrific was the sheer variety of the rigs that converged! I took so many photos that I am going to put most of these into slideshows on this blog in an effort to save space. However some of the trailers were just SO notable that I have chosen a select few to post their photos individually as well as our photos to show what a great time we had and our campsite.
Our campsite at Camp Dearborn all set up….Site 98 (paved site, huge 8 person table, fire ring with full hook ups, 30 Amp service, special rally rate I think of $37 per night) which was right on what could be considered the 100% corner intersection which was awesome because we had such nice sweeping views of the campground and no one on one side of us since it was a corner lot. Also, the bath house is right across the lane if that is important to you.
We had been experiencing some very chilly and rainy weather along the trip, but as soon as we got to Camp Dearborn it seemed the Sun God decided it was time to give us a break and it reached into the mid to high 70’s nearly every one of the 5 days we were at the rally. Perfect camping weather!
The Centennial rally boasted a nice selection of group activities each day. Not too many to where you feel you are on a hamster wheel but each evening there was a different nationality themed dinner. (actually we would have liked to see a few more “how to” or other types of learning/sharing workshops during the day as options to attend). Italian, French, Canadian, Polish Buffet dinners all were good. It was actually fun standing in line with 100’s of fellow “Canners” and those lines moved fast but allowed all of us to get to know each other. The “big tent” was also the site of live band music 2 different nights, a few slide shows, safety workshops, new member welcome and the Centennial Rally Dance which touted a “Roaring 20’s” theme that we dove into (well, I dove….Kevin came along for the ride as a wonderful husband will do!)
Here is a slide show of some of the unique campers that I took photos of. These certainly are just a sampling of what was there. Kevin and I enjoyed taking full walks around the entire massive campground on their paved roads at least 1 x per day to see what had just pulled in since some folks started coming in on Monday like we did, but others continued to come in all the way up to Friday afternoon. So each walk held new surprises to see!
One of the special features of this particular Centennial Rally was that any vintage rigs “Made in Michigan” were specifically featured and showcased. TCT did that by issuing each of us a special commemorative sign that we had out and could keep. Also one evening a guest speaker did a great presentation on Michigan “wheeled” industry from car making in Detroit to RV trailer making history.
Even our dog Reddy got into the act by wearing her “Avion” sweater I had recently crocheted for her. She also loved her stroller since at age 11 her arthritis gets the best of her on long walks we did around the rally. Many thanks to Avioner Rhonda who has now given me a Travelcade patch to sew on Reddy’s coat to complete the look!
With this “Made in MI” focus, 17 Avion trailer owners descended on this rally and it was so completely awesome to see Avions of all ages, sizes, and levels of renovation!! We met several new Avioners who we had only known of by mutual facebook posts (so nice to put faces with names!) , but also got to get even better reacquainted with several Avion owners who we had met 2 years ago when we attended the Silver Avion Fellowship Rally in Elkhart, IN. (which we are attending again this summer!) Truly building these relationships with fellow Avion and other vintage camper lovers is such an important part of our zest for this hobby. We learn, laugh, share and support each other.
HERE IS THE AVION TRAILER SHOWCASE!!
We stayed at the rally until Sunday morning and then pulled out to take a fairly easy time home. We (well, Kevin did) drove 7 hours through MI, OH, PA and into NY along Interstate 90.
As part of our trip home we overnighted at a winery who is a member of Harvest Host which is a membership organization that allows wineries, museums, golf courses, historic sites, organic and regular farms an opportunity to showcase their facilities by allowing Harvest Host RV members to stay overnight on their property. These are typically boondocking overnights and only fully contained RV’s (motorhomes and trailers) are allowed. No tent camping is permitted. Some hosts we have seen do have some limited hook ups, some will allow a few nights if requested. The impetus of this is that the RVer will support the business by taking a tour, a tasting in their winery, purchasing of goods at their site store in lieu of being charged for a camping stay.
We stayed at Merritt Estate Winery, a Harvest Host member which is a nice place, but admittedly, their parking lot and accessibility could be really challenging if you are not coming in at a very “off” time, e.g. early in morning or definitely before 2-3 pm. After that time of day, if there are any trucks, vans or cars in their parking lot- where they want you to turn around in is going to be really tough unless you are a small camper van or small class A. When we got there, they had not moved a large white truck or van of theirs out of the parking area where they wanted us to turn around in . They say they are tour bus friendly but I suspect that the buses disembark their passengers at the top of the driveway, not below in their small parking lot.
We did enjoy having a nice quiet picturesque site and the wines were good and gift shop had some nice cheeses and I bought three bottles of their wine…so we more than paid for our site in the end. But a Harvest Host site is a nice alternative, and this site was only about 10 minutes off I-90 which made it also convenient. Below is a slideshow of some more pictures of our overnight at Merritt Estate Winery.
A word of warning to fellow Harvest Host members, PLEASE check out their Harvest Host site using Google Satellite before committing to go. Call the host on the phone and clearly discuss what kind of space and turn around area and access they have. These owners (normally non RVers) do not understand the turning and backing capabilities of RVs. Our combined rig and trailer is just under 50 feet long and cannot spin on a dime. One Harvest Host site in OH we had checked out enroute to MI would have been a disaster trying to use, although the owners were very willing to have us stay over.
If you are interested in joining Harvest Host, please use our exclusive 15% discount code! You save money and we get a small referral fee credit (that we put towards future purchases at Harvest Host site gift shops to support their businesses)
Hope you have enjoyed our Part 2 of our Spring 2019 trip in our 1973 Avion. Here is a link to Part 1 (Watkins Glen/Finger Lakes to Frankenmuth MI) if you want to check that out! If you want to be sure to get notifications of future posts and travels, please subscribe to our blog!
Thank you! Safe travels!