If you own a GTAL, you’ve probably realized that there’s very little info on the web about these campers. Through a little research and kind-hearted former employees (even a former owner), I’ve been able to gather a little insight into the now defunct company.
From a former employee:
Go Tag-A-Long was the company name. They made several different models ranging from 14′ to 24′ and in several floorplans in each size. The year before I left, they had even started making truck campers in a couple different sizes. [in the mid-seventies?] they changed color schemes to a southwest tone – dark yellows and oranges for the accent colors outside – before that it was dark greens and browns – the turquoise hadn’t been used for several years.
From a former owner: (via a comment on this post)
Don’t know if I can help you much but I was the last owner of this company. I bought it from the founder, Joe Dousey (sp?) around 1986. It was located in Washingtonville, Ohio and I bought it to try and launch a new trailer called Sky Coach. Joe was very old and needed to get out. He did own an rv park south of Yougstown, Ohio that I did not buy with the company. Joe never changed his trailers much so the ones he built in the mid 80′s were pretty much the same as what he built in the 60′s and 70′s. I closed it when I decided to move back to the west in 88.
It’s been a long while since we’ve taken the old GTAL out for a trip. Nearly two years actually. The primary reason was a huge house addition that consumed nearly all of 2013. Not only did we not have time to go camping, we couldn’t even get our travel trailer out of the back yard as there were construction materials everywhere. Long story short, we weren’t sure we’d get the old girl out anyway (much less back in) since our driveway lost about 4′ of width. The math technically worked out with a few inches to spare on each side but it was something I was stressing for a year. The camper is about 98″ wide including fill neck, door knob etc. My opening was now about 108″ wide at its smallest point. That’s a tight squeeze.
We went on our first trip since the addition and in the end, pulling the camper out went smooth and we were done in a couple of minutes. Now the task was to get the camper back in to our backyard. Let me also mention that there is no way to pull straight in and turn around as the lot is very narrow. A trailer dolly would have been the last resort option and might not have worked anyway. Thankfully it never came to that. I post this as inspiration for people who have a tight spot to back into. My advice: go really slowly.
The paint on my GTAL was decent but it was starting to fade and chip a bit. Time for a fresh coat. After reviewing this excellent thread on painting travel trailers, I decided that over-coating the current paint would be fine. I sanded down a few of the areas that were chipping and touch up a few small dents with some bondo. A little spot priming with spray primer and lot of tape. Taping off is a pain but worth it when you get to peel off the tape.
For paint, I used one gallon of Sherwin Williams DTM gloss for the white and about a half gallon All Surface Enamel high gloss for the turquoise. I bought a $70 Wagner electric paint gun and it worked great. The previous paint job already had what they call an “orange peel” finish so I wasn’t worried about getting too fancy with it. It helps to hide some of the imperfections too. Add another $40 for paper, tape, primer, etc. and I had a pretty nice $200 paint job.
Last year we realized that water at campgrounds gets pretty darn cold around September/October. (Especially in the NC mountains). The Go Tag along had the original gas water heater and hot water lines though the lines had been cut and the water heater looked pretty rough. I briefly looked into repairing the original unit but quickly realized that it just wasn’t worth the time and effort. That being the case, I decided to “retro fit” an electric, point of use water heater in place of the gas one. As you can see from the image, the original gas water heater had a nice little split in the holding tank so any hopes of getting it working went down the drain with that discovery.
Once the old heater was out (after much struggling), I found that there were a few structural framing pieces that needed to be replaced so I ripped out the old ones and added new ones as best I could without ripping off the camper skin.
There wasn’t enough vertical height in the location that I needed to have the new water heater so I had to perform some slight “modifications” to the storage cabinet just above that space. Once I had the unit in, I ran water lines through the storage cabinet. I used the existing cold water lines since I knew they worked but ended up replacing the entire copper hot water lines as there were several splits in the existing lines. It was only about $30-$40 for the copper lines so it was well worth it. Most of the connections ended up being flared though I had to use compression fittings in several spots for compatibility with the existing connections.
The point of use water heater has a standard 3-prong cord so since it’s in the same spot as the old water heater and has a nice access door to the outside, I just open the door and plug it into the campground outlets. This also reduces the strain on my internal electrical as I generally have several larger items running (AC, microwave, refrigerator, etc.)
So nothing too complicated really. Just had to take the initiative and get started.
For those of you wondering where the VIN is located on Go Tag-A-Long Travel Trailers, It’s located on a sticker on the front of the breaker box. The date of manufacture is also found there as well. (at least it was in the late 60’s early 70’s. can’t speak to location in later years). There have also been reports of people finding the VIN (or some other number) somewhere on the tongue under years of paint. Again, this is an unconfirmed account so who knows. Perhaps not the best practice to put a VIN printed on a sticker placed on a removable cover but some of them have made it through anyway.
Welcome to gotagalong.com. First thing’s first. This site is in no way affiliated with the original Go Tag-A-Long manufacturer. This is a site that was created to document times and travels in Go Tag-A-Long travel trailers (and because I just love building websites) This site will also ideally be a repository for general info on GTAL campers since the Company has been out of business for some time and information on the web is scattered and lacking. While the GTAL trailers aren’t as sought after as Airstream trailers or well known as the Scotties of the world, They’re great looking and well-built vintage travel trailers. Feel free to drop questions, suggestions or thoughts to info (at) gotagalong.com.
Just hit the rims on the tag along camper with some fresh turquoise spray paint (and primer as well as clear coat). We’ll see how well it holds up. Some hubcaps would be nice but not sure about how well they’d work with these vintage rims. They’ve got a 4 lug pattern that I haven’t seen many of before. The slightly rugged look matches the rest of the camper nicely anyway.
I was lucky enough to stumble across a kind soul on the internet (thanks vintagetrailergal) who had a pdf copy of an owner’s manual for a 1971 Go Tag-A-Long camper. It looks like the year really doesn’t matter in the case of this manual. The document is actually titled the Owner’s Guide Book. (Same thing as an owner’s manual I guess). The book is much less visual than I expected. It basically consists of an over-used but albeit sweet cursive font and a hand-drawn map to the GTAL campground quaintly referred to as “Trailerville”. According to the manual, “Trailerville is an ideal 87 acre campsite available for camping and parking to all Go-Tag-A-Long owners.” This place sounds like some sort of angelic Utopia located somewhere in Ohio.
The rest of the Guide Book is mostly common sense stuff for RVers like, check this, don’t forget that, don’t EVER do that, etc. Hopefully other GTAL owners will get some use out of it as well. And last but not least… Download The Go Tag-A-Long Owner’s Manual (pdf)
It all began one sunny day in a K-Mart parking lot. My buddy met me with the camper because there was no way in hell my rookie towing skills would have gotten it out of his driveway. He gave me the run down and I began the 375 mile drive on vintage trailer tires, zero towing experience and a very long curvy mountain road ahead of me. Needless to say getting the vintage camper home went just fine. Gave it a wash, some paint and recovered the “vintage” cushions and took the trailer camping the next weekend. Loved it.