Camp Dearborn proved to be an attractive destination last weekend, when the annual spring rally for the Tin Can Tourists enjoyed perfect weather. The vintage trailers that turned out ranged from one of the smallest trailers ever made (by U-Haul for a couple years), to the Prevost Motorhome, the Palace (which was manufactured in Flint) and MCI (mostly sold buses, but converted some into big campers)–“just a real mix of different types and kinds, shapes and sizes,” according to Tin Can Tourists Director Forrest Bone.
“Amazing, we have gotten such a nice window on the weather,” Bone said. “Thursday wasn’t great, but it’s turned out Saturday and Friday both just perfect, and we’ve got capacity, 161 units.
“And it’s just been perfect, we’ve got such a nice array, a real eclectic mix of units, always great people. And on Friday night we had a dance out at the Canteen, which went over real well too, with Steve King and the Dittillies, it’s just a lot of fun,” Bone said.
This year, he said, people participating in the Tin Can Tourist event got to see the Model A Restorers Club of Livingston County As caravan in from their Midwest gathering in Howell, and a third annual classic car show take place down the hill. At the same time, the drivers of the classic cars got to see the trailers.
Russell Rinckey, who has lived 50 years in Highland Township, was one who drove his restored 1941 Plymouth Special Deluxe Convertible to Camp Dearborn last weekend, after driving it in a parade in Highland that Saturday morning. After the parade, he found thrown into his car a flyer advertising the Tin Can Tourist event.
“I just drove up here just to see what it was about,” Rinckey said. “I found it very interesting, these antique trailers, they’re something else, especially when they’re hauling them with an antique car.
“I go to a lot of car cruises, but this is the first one (involving the Tin Can Tourists),” Rinckey said.
The annual Friends of Camp Dearborn flea market, timed the past three years to coincide with the Tin Can Tourists spring rally to increase foot traffic, was “going real good” because of the good weather, said Cathie Coulter, whose family stays in trailer in TV 2 all summer.
Coulter, a member of Friends who chairs the flea market, said she had enough vendors to fill 10 shelters, and steady flow of shoppers throughout the day. The shoppers walked home with items and collectibles; she said; such as bird houses, lawn ornaments made from recycled teapots and plates and wind chimes made from recyled gold silverware, new purses and jewelry, garage sale items–“all kinds of different items.”
The flea market is purposely timed for the off-season, Coulter said, so that people coming from outside the camp do not have to pay the summer rate to enter the camp.
“There’s different activities that the Friends do to raise money to help support the park,” Coulter said. “With their membership fees, they’re able to help me advertise and do signs.
“And I’m trying to build it up. I’d love for it to be as big as the Livonia flea market someday,” Coulter said. “It helps that we do it with the Tin Can Tourists and car show, because there was a lot more people coming in to those events that trickled over to the flea market.”
The Tin Can Tourists is an organization committed to the preservation and celebration of classic trailers and motor coaches. It holds the annual gathering to provide vintage recreational vehicle owners an opportunity to network and share preservation ideas.