I found a community of teeny weeny trailer lovers with “Sisters on the Fly.” (Photo: Kerry Kennedy)
If you have a teeny-weeny trailer, you get a little obsessed.
I tend to get obsessed with things I like, it’s true (the Red Sox, the Supreme Court, little dogs, Trader Joe’s dark chocolate pretzels), but it turns out that in my teeny-weeny-trailer obsession, I’m far from alone.
That’s why I drove to a campground in the New Jersey mountains last weekend. I needed to meet up with my people. Teeny-weeny-trailer people, that is.
About 15 years ago, two real-life sisters from the American West who enjoyed fly fishing started inviting like-minded fisherwomen along. After a while, they needed a name. “Sisters on the Fly” was a natural fit.
But when you go fly-fishing for the weekend, you need somewhere to sleep. Enter teeny-weeny trailers, mostly the vintage kind.
Even if you love your teeny weeny trailer, you might not be able to park it! (Photo: Lisa McElroy)
And then you join more than 5,000 women from across the country in your grown-up version of the Girl Scouts. You decide that you can all earn badges (more on that in a bit), you can build fires, and you can drink wine with your “sisters” under the stars.
I like badges, and I really like fires.
But my teeny-weeny trailer? I love.
So I hooked up (OK, my husband hooked up for me, but he made me watch and learn) and drove a couple of hours to where fall was happening. I was excited about learning from some superexperienced women how to maximize my teeny-weeny trailer experience.
So here’s the deal. It turns out that teeny-weeny trailers are about a lot more than pink bedspreads and aqua enamel tabletops.
First, you have to back your trailer up into a campsite. “No problem,” I thought before purchasing my pretty Scotty. I’ve been backing up for years. I can even — wait for it — parallel park!
But as they say, pride cometh before a fall.
Another Sister’s adorable teeny-weeny trailer (Photo: Lisa McElroy)
Turns out backing a trailer into a campsite is a family affair. You might need three or four Sisters to yell directions and wave their hands and then, finally, hop in your driver’s seat and do it for you. Because, to put it simply, you do not want to jackknife your teeny-weeny trailer. Because then, you might be teeny-weeny trailer-less.
Once I was safely parked in the campsite (no thanks to myself), it was time to plug in. Plugging in involved finding the keys I had gotten from the seller for a panel I couldn’t quite recall, and then wandering around my teeny-weeny trailer a few times (trying the keys in every possible slot, including window frames) before finally pulling out a cord that wasn’t long enough to reach the electrical box on the pole behind me.
I got in my car to back up my teeny-weeny trailer and prayed that it didn’t jackknife. I got out several times to test the cord length, only to find that I wasn’t close enough. I backed up a few more feet, crossed my fingers, and tried with all my might to stay straight.
I asked the Sister in the campsite next to mine why I had no power, even though I was — yes! — plugged in. She showed me a circuit breaker that must be flipped. Oh. I tried not to give myself too hard a time over the fact that the circuit breaker in question was less than half an inch from the plug. I simply chose to rejoice in the fact that I was parked, plugged, and powered.
And then the fun began.
Some sisterly bonding at the campground (Photo: April Tierney)
Over the next 24 hours, I ate under a big tent with about 25 other Sisters on the Fly, bonding over our teeny-weeny-trailer love, learning that having that — and sometimes only that — in common was enough to make and cement friendships. We laughed around a campfire and clapped for a Sister who performed in costume to earn her “All the World’s a Stage” badge. We toured everyone’s teeny-weeny trailers and tents, and we learned that “hooking up” is no longer something you recklessly do with some random guy at a party but rather something you do with your tow vehicle and your teeny-weeny trailer.
None of my Sisters laughed at me for not knowing how to back up. None of them ridiculed me for totally missing the circuit breaker. Instead, they all cheered for me for managing to get my teeny-weeny trailer to the campground at all! It’s like the mean girls were all somewhere else, and the campground was reserved for Miss Congeniality finalists.
I look forward to the day when I’ll be the one helping the new Sister figure out the backing-up thing, and the circuit-breaker thing, and the how-to-earn-a-badge thing.
The Sisters dressed up for a costume party (Photo: Stephanie Shenk-Little)
And when I left the next day, before the Halloween costume party, because my teenage daughter needed me to help her do her hair for the homecoming dance, I felt a little pang of FOMO (look it up if you don’t know what I mean).
But as long as I can figure out how to back that teeny-weeny trailer out of my driveway and drive it down the road to the next campsite, I know that I’ll be back with my people before long.
It’s teeny-weeny-trailer love.