Saturday, March 21, 2015

How did we get to our Tara, our Casita travel trailer?

Our travel journey has been long. Our first trip together was back in 1975 to Telluride, Colorado, when it was a still a little sleepy mining town that hippies were rejuvenating. While it was just a trip back then, it has since been referred to as our 'honeymoon.' We took it in a VW converted bug known as a Baja. Charley made it so we could actually sleep in it. We took pride that the little trip only cost $100.

Then we have the 'antique' years. Years we traveled to Mexico to buy rustic, handmade, primitive furniture from the homes of the inhabitants, brought them back, stripped the paint from the tables, benches, trunks, wardrobes, kitchen cabinets, etc., then traveled Stateside to sell these jewels to antique stores. We have never been the travelers who travel
from point A to point B to get there as fast as possible. We have been meander-ers. It's like we personally knew Ralph Waldo Emerson because when we travel, “...[it's] the journey, not the destination” that counts. So all those trips were spent exploring the countryside on roads less taken.

In the late 90s, we discovered a tandem bicycle. This two-seated, two-wheeled vehicle beckoned us to spin our pedals longer and longer distances. Our first self-supported tour was to Albuquerque, NM and back home in El Paso. It's strange to say this but the pain, how good
it made us feel. The future only held more anticipatory plans of more trips. Charley was
already a teacher, I changed careers and became a teacher so we could travel during the summers—all two months, all summer long. The back roads were once again our friends as we meandered to our proposed destination. To see maps of those routes taken go to . Traveling on a bicycle, especially a tandem bicycle, weight is of the utmost importance.

As discussed in an earlier post, our trips have evolved and we are traveling from point A to point B in a vehicle pulling a travel trailer. We first toyed with the idea when we bought a 1972 Reco pop-up trailer for $300.
When we brought it home, we discovered that the canvas was rotten, so we bought clear vinyl and screen for the windows, Sunbrella material and I sewed a new canvas for it. Meanwhile, Charley uncovered mold in the ceiling from a long-time leak in the roof. Having just had rotator-cuff surgery, the repair became his physical therapy. We pulled our little gem to Washington DC and back with our four-cyclinder Chevy S10. People would stop and ask us where we got it because the size was so petite. We were hooked. The trip was great and got us dreaming of a harder shell for our new-found way of meandering.

We were captured by the idea of the Casita. We called and spoke with a sales rep. We thought and thought. It would put a dent in our retirement funds. While thinking about this, I explored the web and we ended up buying a empty, square shell for $3,500.
It was only 15 feet long. We set out on our next project of building the interior (bed, bench, folding table, and closet). We roamed in that little trailer for three years. It was extremely light, but had some problems. It would sometimes fishtail. It wasn't because we drove fast either. We tamed it's erratic swerves with a weight-distributing hitch and a sway bar, but still we drove with caution and on guard.

During these years we visited the Casita Travel Trailer factory three times. We tried to buy used. Really! We tried! But the trailers were always sold by the time the owner answered our call. We noticed that the trailers really hold their value over the years. For the most part, these little fiberglass eggs only depreciate about $1,000 or less a year and seem to bottom out at $6,000 no matter how old the trailers get. So, if the prices
were close to what the trailers were new, why not buy new? Plus, since it depreciated so slowly, it would be an investment. Not a difficult equation to solve. Did I say we visited the factory three times? Yes, that's right, three times. Like the adage goes, three times is a charm. On November 2012, we picked up our brand new 2013 17-foot Spirit Deluxe and haven't looked back.

While the Casita is a lot heavier and two feet longer than our last square trailer, the aerodynamics really pays off. We get about 4 miles per gallon more pulling it. Having a bathroom is sweet! It pulls like a straight and like a dream. We have to remind ourselves we're pulling. So there you have it: Our journey of modes of travel. 

By the way, want to help poor retirees stay on the road? It's free to you and it helps us too!   We've recently added a couple of Amazon
search links on our blog. If you shop Amazon, do so going through our site and they'll pay us a little something for your purchase. 


  1. When I grow up and retire I want to be like you! Love our Casita and we also have a 2012 Dodge Caravan as well! Pulls it like it's not even there. We try to get out as often as possible but would love to get away for the whole summer. Tell us how you do it!

    1. Just did a new post:

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