Home for Lorraine Edwards is wherever her orange-trimmed, silver trailer happens to be parked.
Nine months ago, the 75-year-old found herself alone and unaccepted within her close-knit community in North Carolina. Restless and separated from her family by hundreds of miles, Edwards swore against spending her twilight years in front of a television screen.
“There’s so much more to do,” said Edwards, who has chronicled her travels to Niagara Falls and other destinations on her “T@B Teardrop Trailer Travels” blog. “There was no way in the world that I would want to be one of those couch potatoes.”
So she made a change.
Since October, she has sold her home and rented a storage unit for most of her belongings. With her teardrop-shaped T@B (pronounced tab) trailer in tow, she has found many of life’s wonders on the open road. And she has found a family in the offbeat subculture of T@B trailer owners along the way.
On Friday night, members of that family rolled into Sweetwater Forest in Brewster for a reunion.
Donning red, blue, yellow and orange shirts matching their trailers’ vibrant colors, about 25 “T@Bbers” — as they refer to themselves — shared their trailers with one another at the T@B Cape Cod Rally.
Over potluck dinners and campfires, the T@B enthusiasts will gather through today to celebrate a camaraderie built from cooking, sleeping and traveling the country beneath a 5-foot-9-inch ceiling.
Yesterday, they toured each other’s trailers, marveling at the improvisations and modifications people have installed to make the most out of their confined quarters.
“People are very obsessive about the modifications,” such as televisions and microwaves, said John Lubowitz of Albany, N.Y. “There’s a culture of people like us who are just into our T@Bs. There’s a certain charisma to them.”
Last night, before many of the close friends she has made since purchasing her first T@B in 2007, Sue Luke of Guilderland, N.Y, renewed her wedding vows with her husband, Rich.
“We’re doing it here with friends,” said Sue Luke, who earned the nickname “Toolbelt Sue” for her status as an authority among the T@B culture on the trailer’s design and mechanics.
“Why not share it with people you like,” she said.
Blessed with an intangible charm, which many equated to that of a Volkswagen Beetle, the T@B has developed a devoted following since it was released to the American public in 2003.
Though its production by Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc. was discontinued last year, the T@B has continued as a liberating resource for travelers who prefer the small, easily maneuverable trailer to a gas-guzzling RV.
“One guy said that he didn’t realize when he bought it that he was joining a cult,” said Luke.
It’s also appealing for travelers who appreciate simplicity en route to historic and natural sites such as Gettysburg, Pa., or the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.
“It’s my little doll house,” said Luke, who reached 26 states in four consecutive months during her travels last year. “My family keeps asking why we even own a home.”