Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Big plans for the Little Guy

Teardrop trailer promises miles of smiles

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Hidden among the shoulder high weeds in my rural backyard is an absolutely awesome little vintage aluminium teardrop trailer. Before the recreational vehicle world went crazy with massive units bigger than many homes, these tiny trailers were popular with folks looking for a step up from a tent that could be easily pulled around with the family car.

This trailer has been sitting in my yard for about five years now, maybe longer. I've dreamed of restoring it to pristine condition but there has been a major hurdle standing in my way. It doesn't belong to me. Nope. It belongs to my friend and long-time Manitoba Street Road Association member Doug Bedford. The big guy and my dad were buddies so Bedford can park whatever he likes in my yard, no questions asked. I've tried to buy this trailer from him but he swears he will one day restore it to tow behind his latest old car (he buys a different one practically every summer). So it has sat in my backyard tempting me.

Earlier this summer while riding my motorcycle down Henderson Highway, I spotted a lineup of miniature teardrop trailers on display in front of DJ Cruz's Auto Sales. I stopped and took a closer look and learned that they were called Little Guy trailers. It was a classic case of love at first sight.

After dreaming of owning one for the past two months, I finally called my friend Derrick Andries from DJ Cruz's and set the wheels in motion to buy one.

According to the company website, Little Guy trailers are manufactured in Sugarcreek, Ohio, by skilled Amish craftsmen. Each trailer is constructed with the highest quality of materials. Little Guy has the largest distribution network of any manufacturer of teardrop camper trailers in the world, with dealers located in more than 30 U.S. states and international dealers spread throughout Canada, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Europe.

As if all that isn't enough, these trailers are also as cute as the kitten photos that seem to rule Facebook.

Now I know what you're thinking, "Willy, you're not exactly a little guy", but that's the beauty of the Little Guy. It is essentially a king-size bed surrounded by swoopy fibreglass. I purchased the Six Wide model, meaning it is six-feet wide. In addition to the sleeping quarters, it features a small exterior rack on the front for camping essentials like a cooler and a barbecue, as well as a cavernous opening in the back that serves as a food preparation area; or if the campsite allows, a dandy standup bar. There are also a number of clever storage compartments both inside and out. Although my model doesn't have a water tank, it does have an inverter connected to an RV battery that powers a fan in the ceiling and several lights. Provided there is an electrical hook-up available, it can also be directly connected to either a 30-amp or standard household plug.

Because it weighs less that 1,000 pounds, it can be towed by basically any car. The company website depicts a Little Guy being towed by a Mazda Miata, and even a Smart car. In my case, it will likely be towed by either my 1949 Pontiac or my Chevrolet Silverado.

For the next couple of weeks I'm on holidays and will be making my first trip with the Little Guy to Sturgis, S.D., for the world's largest motorcycle rally. There has been much good natured ribbing about the fact that I intend to load my Harley-Davidson in the back of my truck and haul it to Sturgis, but the truth is I'm tired of tenting and the thought of paying hundreds of dollars a night to sleep in a noisy hotel isn't my idea of fun. I plan to stop in a couple of campgrounds along the way and may even spend the night in a Wal-Mart parking lot -- they actually encourage this.

Now before you go accusing me of winning the lottery, the Little Guy model I purchased retails for just $8,299. Because it is classified as an RV, you can finance it for practically the rest of your life. Math has never been my strong point but when Johan Arnason from DJ Cruz's crunched a few numbers and reported the monthly payment rang the register at $101 a month, I was sold.

I intend to customize my Little Guy a bit. First up is the installation of a stereo and a small TV just in case it rains. My friends Steve and Mary Redman from Action Sign Services will also surely be called upon to apply some cool graphics. But for the time being I'm just going to toss my sleeping bag and pillow inside, load up my motorcycle in the back of the truck and hit the road.

If the initial reaction is any indication, it's a sure bet the Little Guy will be a serious conversation piece. While towing it home, a stop at the Selkirk Canadian Tire resulted in a crowd of curious onlookers. The word cute seemed to dominate the conversation. The biggest chuckle for me comes from the company's slogan on a decal affixed to the back of my Little Guy. It reads: "I go where I'm towed to." Let the fun begin!

Paul.Williamson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 3, 2012 F2

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