May 2011 Update: We got an unsolicited offer on our Oliver Travel Trailer that we couldn’t ignore – and decided it was time to sell. Orion was our full time home on wheels from July 2008 – May 2011. Here’s our Farewell to Orion post with pictures from our 3 years together.
2014 update: Oliver is back in production!! They are now taking orders and delivering their 23.5′ and 19′ model (like ours was). Learn more at www.OliverTravelTrailers.com.
Other resources for tracking down Olivers:
Below is the history of how an Oliver Trailer became our home from 2008 – 2011…. Enjoy!
It was love at first sight when we first encountered an Oliver Travel Trailer. After living on the road full time for 7 months in 2007 in Chris’ 2006 16’ T@b Clamshell (which gave us about 50 sq ft of living space, and had no A/C, refrigerator or bathroom), we were ready to take the plunge and buy a full time nomadic home and office more suitable for two.
Our most limiting factor of the Tab was constantly having to convert between the bed and the table—so we wanted something that allowed us to keep a bed and still have an office area all of the time.
And we wanted something that still had character to it – unique and cute looking!
The Search Began in June 2007
We had considered other smaller RVs, such as the classic looking Airstream Bambi line and the Casita Spirit Deluxe. The more we researched fiberglass RVs, the more we were ready to go this route. (Here’s our post chronicling the decision and alternatives we considered)
We were very impressed, but we had to take into consideration that we wanted a lot of customizations—such as solar panels, upgraded electrical system, more batteries, privacy windows and much more.
Casita wasn’t willing to do customizations like that, so we’d be on our own to do those aftermarket. Without a workshop in which to do the work (we were already full time RVers without a homebase), this would have been quite a challenge.
And then we found a new player in the fiberglass RV industry—Oliver Travel Trailers.
They had taken all that we loved about the Casita, and improved on everything. From a double hull with insulation and molded interior (instead of rivet on cabinets), double pane windows, privacy window coverings, aluminum frame, shocks, raised axle, extendable tongue, electric level jacks, gel coat finish (instead of carpeted walls), custom floors & fabrics and marine quality hardware —it was truly a step up in the fiberglass RV world.
And on top of that, they were not only willing—but excited—to do all of the customizations we wanted. (Word is that they no longer do nearly the level of customizations they used to be able to do, but doesn’t hurt to ask.)
Working with Oliver Travel Trailer to build our Technomadic Home
We worked with Oliver over a period of weeks to custom spec an Oliver Legacy Elite to be our ideal home, and we quickly felt like part of the family in the process. They kept us in the loop through every step of the way, sent us baby pictures and you can read the history of our build process and customization decisions we made.
We even visited the factory during the build, and got to be involved directly and hang out with the crew engineering our new home.
On July 30, 2008 we drove to Hohenwald, TN and met Orion—our fabulous new home built for two technomads. We then drove it directly to Burning Man (it did *awesome* in the dust!)
At just technically one foot longer than our Tab, the Oliver gives us so much more. We now have nearly 80 square feet of living space. A full bed (that can convert to a 4 person dinette), double dinette (that can convert to a single bed), a full bath, air conditioning, refrigerator and more. Orion is 17′ long, single axel and about 3500 lbs dry.
The major factory customizations we got on our Oliver include: 2-100w solar panels, 1500 w inverter, BlueSky solar charging system, cellular phone amplifier system, leaving off the satellite receiver and entertainment package (wanted to put in our own stuff – we currently have a Mac Mini as our media center with an Elgato EyeTV hybrid receiver), monitor swing arm with a 24″ LCD panel, LED lights and leaving off the microwave/toaster oven to gain extra storage.
Our four person dinette (that we actually keep as a full size bed most of the time with a foam topper) with our 24” Dell Ultrasharp monitor on a swing arm that allows us to position the monitor in a variety of places for movie watching and as a second monitor over the table for when we have more intensive work projects. Generally we use the side dinette as our office, friend’s homes or internet cafes.
The kitchen is compact, but well laid out with lots of storage. We added suction cup bins behind the sink to hold our plates and spices so that we can utilize all of the cabinet area for food storage. There are three spacious slide out cabinet drawers under the sink that hold utensils, pots/pans and our bar.
In the front of the Oliver is a small but completely functional full wet bath behind the mirror door (which really helps open up the space). Kiki’s litterbox also goes in there. We also have a closet in the front that provides lots of storage room for hanging clothes, some folded stuff and shoes. There’s storage bins along the entire top of the Oliver that we use for office supplies, media, a charging center for our mobile gadgets, our server room for electronics and personal items.
And there’s molded storage bins storage underneath each seat. Since we keep the bed down most of the time, we also have a small plastic drawer that Cherie uses as her closet, and store other less used stuff underneath the bed. We’ve really been surprised with just how much storage room there is, and keep most everything we use on a regular basis in the Oliver. A few other items are kept in the tow vehicle, such as Chris’ paramotor, bulky clothes/costumes, sporting goods, outside furniture, tools, etc.
We were able to choose our own flooring, and send Oliver the exact red microfiber fabric we wanted for our cushions. We even had a friend design us our own graphics for the exterior that Oliver printed for both the trailer and Cherie’s laptop.
Oliver also mades a twin bed configuration, and a couple larger 22′ models. Before they went on hiatus from making the trailers, only about 45 were made – Olivers from 2007-2009 are quite a rarity! Ours sold for more than we bought ours for.. after 3 years of full timing in it (how often does THAT happen???)
Here’s a video tour of an Oliver (not ours, but one similar owned by dear friends who did their own solar conversation):
For more information: http://www.olivertraveltrailers.com – Tell them that Technomadia sent you!