On Saturday, May 7 – we watched our beloved 17′ Oliver Travel Trailer and Toyota Tundra drive off after spending an evening giving its new owner a full orientation.
Photo by Karen Nace, 2010.
It was a truly bittersweet moment, as it was almost exactly 3 years ago that we commissioned its build.
Orion, as we called our trailer, was custom built for us by Oliver Travel Trailer – and was the 33rd they rolled off their assembly line. A serendipitous hull number, as we were both 33 when we met.
We were involved with every decision made on our trailer, and even got to work on the trailer in the factory. The good folks at Oliver were able to cram in an ample 200 watts of solar power and all of the geeky features we wanted for an ideal off-grid capable home office on wheels.
We knew all of the craftsman who built our trailer on a first name basis.
Excellent customer service was standard from Oliver. On our first night out, we experience a leak during a big rain storm. Robert came out in the middle of the night and helped up break camp and offered to put us up in a hotel. We convinced him to let us camp overnight in the 7 acre factory! We didn’t sleep a wink, as they gave us a golf cart to explore the entire facility with one rule – don’t break the molds!
The folks at Oliver Travel Trailer made us feel like family. So much so that they invited us to join them on the road for a bit, showing off the trailers at various events. We had a blast at the International Camel Races in Virginia City showing off our home on wheels with the crew, and even convinced a Burning Man art car to hitch up to one of them.
Unfortunately, OIiver was ramping up their trailer business as the economy was tanking. Just a few months after we took delivery (on July 31, 2008), they decided to indefinitely close down their trailer production. There’s just such a niche market for such a high quality build in a little package.
Only around 45 of these amazing trailers made it to the road before the line was shut down.
For nearly 3 years, Orion has been our full time home.
Our cat, Kiki, has grown up knowing Orion as her home.
It’s been our home at Burning Man three years in a row (we actually picked it up at the factory in 2008 with the playa as our first destination). Orion cleaned up so easily after each burn, you can hardly tell its ever been. Never mind three times.
We spec’d our oliver with 200 watts of solar power, which was ample for keeping these technomads online while frequently living off-grid.
Orion was a mobile campaign office in 2008 in rural Nevada when we volunteered full time for Nevada Campaign for Change.
Most of the time – Orion has been a perfect fit for us. 80 square feet of pure geeked out luxury for two technomads and a cat.
But more and more often, we’d wish we had built in the optional feature to double the size on demand. Between working more and needing dedicated office space, wanting to slow down our pace and finding more and more opportunities to entertain – we’ve decided that if want to stay rolling on American highways, we’ll want more space before the end of the year.
And just about as soon as we started researching our options, a follower made an offer on our Oliver & Tundra that we couldn’t ignore. In an economy where things are going down in price – our Oliver had increased by about 50% in value. We took it as serendipity’s signal it was time to jump into the unknown and sell now.
Many artists have surprised us with amazing art of Orion:
Light painting by Ben Willmore, 2009.
Panollage by Ben Willmore, 2009.
Type art by Karen Nace, 2010.
In our nearly 3 years on the road together, we shared about 35,000 miles traveling with Orion as our home. And honestly, Orion looked virtually brand new the day we handed it over to the new owner. This is a testament to the quality of build and our love of Orion.
It’s been an amazing journey together. We will forever fondly remember our Oliver-days as some of our best.