By mid-winter, 2017, it became obvious that Nancy would actually, finally, be retiring at the end of the school year. I had been retired for a decade at that point and was more than ready for her to join me. Because we run a bed and breakfast out of our home here in Jasper and it was fully booked for the summer months, we would have obligations to our guests until late September 2017. There would be no exotic trips for us until the fall.
That meant that we had time to make a plan as to how we could begin to enjoy the next stage of our lives. The discussion moved from whether to travel, to how to travel.
For holidaying, we both prefer simple to ostentatious. I’ve been camping from childhood while Nancy started in her early 20’s. The “fun” of sleeping on the ground wore off for me a decade or two ago. For the occasional backpacking trip, I could be tricked back into a sleeping bag but I reserved the right to whine about it. When I reminded her of that, she quickly countered with the option of a tent trailer or one of those “Boler” type, hard sided things. I said “Have you ever heard of a teardrop trailer?”
It only took a quick look at internet images for her to get it. A strong believer in the principle of a happy wife is a happy life, I now had my challenge of turning her wish into reality.
I’m just anal attentive enough to make the next step a months long research project.
I searched for “teardrop trailers” all over North America. I learned about: home-made, custom-built; kitchens that are galleries; boondocking; wheel sizes; bike racks; refrigerators/coolers; queen size and trailer queen size beds; sinks and water systems – or not; retro fenders, lights, paneling; led lighting; solar panels; utility boxes; deep cycle batteries; painted, coated or galvanized framing; winter camping; campgrounds in Alberta (there actually are campgrounds outside Jasper National Park); plastic cooking bowls and utensils; propane tanks; rip-off Artist’s; destinations; destinations; destinations.
We were prepared to spend what we thought of as big bucks for a small trailer – but the quality HAD to be there.
The building of teardrop trailers has been a hobbyist’s enterprise up until only recently. All too often the businesses actually entering the market have been strong on enthusiasm but thin on professional skills and solid business practices.
That’s why we became very excited when we came across GnomeHome Trailers. Not only were they “local,” they obviously were trying to develop a self-sustaining business. Their interest in a quality product lined up with what we wanted to support. By mid-June we had picked out our model preference, settled on our options and ordered our MetroGnome.
As you can imagine, however, early summer is not the time to order a custom-built trailer. It would be months before ours would be built. None the less, by mid-September we were taking possession of our Gnome.
As mentioned above, our bed and breakfast obligations kept us in Jasper until September 23, 2017. Our plan was to make our maiden voyage to Ottawa to visit our daughter. Three days before we left, four or five inches of beautiful Canadian Rockies snow blanketed our trailer, now set up in our back yard. Just part of camping in September in Canada…
We spent about a week crossing the prairies and Ontario, about a week in Ottawa and about another week homeward bound. We chose to return to Jasper via the northern American states. In late October finding an open campground became an issue. With winter approaching, every day without snow was a bonus. The ever diminishing daylight hours were starting to shorten each day’s progress.
On October 18 we pulled back into Jasper. On October 19 four inches of snow covered Jasper. Our nearly one month on the road in a Canadian autumn had come to an end.
We had seen lots (though not much warmth.) We’d learned much, developing efficiencies every day. And, we didn’t divorce.
Through it all, the trailer performed beautifully, exceeding our expectations. We can’t wait for the return of camping season(s).
Thanks |||| and Brian.