Revised Feb 6th/05
The Conestoga Wagon
We make several visits each year to The Great Escape. We always have a lot of things to carry in with us, as well as our daughter, who never wants to walk the whole day. We usually wind up renting a wagon (sometimes two) to carry everything in. The wagons cost $7.00 for the day ($14.00 if you use two). That isn't a lot, but if you visit a couple of times a year it adds up. I think we spent about $70.00 in 2000 for wagon rentals alone! The wagons are good for carrying the kid, and the gear, but when it rains a bit we wind up leaving because everything gets wet, and our daughter cries about it and is just generally miserable.
This spring, while I was shopping in Sam's Club, I came across a "Garden Cart" they had for sale. It is BIG. It is all steel, with air filled tires. The sides fold up and down, and it has a nice handle to pull it with. It was a bit expensive (about $80.00), but it will probably pay for it's self in less than a year. The wagon solves the space problem that forced me to rent two wagons last year. There is plenty of room for a 40 quart cooler, camera bags, video camera bag, extra clothes and shoes, bathing suits, towels, umbrellas, and the first aid kit, AND there is still plenty of room for our daughter to ride! It fits nicely in the back of our van (full size Chevy, might be a tight fit in smaller vehicles), and can be used in lots of places to carry around the kid, and our stuff.
That solved one problem, but the kid was still miserable if it started raining, or if the sun is too bright, or it is too hot, etc. Then I had an idea. The wagon needed a top! The top needed to be pretty high to leave room for the kid to sit up, and to pile in gear, and it needed to be made of fabric so it could be rolled up for easy storage. It also had to be water proof to keep the kid dry. I though about it for some time, and finally settled on a "Conestoga Wagon" design. Not only would it be functional, but my daughter would like the way it looked.
I searched around local stores to find materials for the top which would be inexpensive, and easy to get replacements for if something should break, or wear out. The top is supported with four fiberglass poles which are bent into arches, and secured to the sides of the wagon. The top is made in one piece, from vinyl, and is held tightly in place on the cart. Everything I used to make the top came from either Wal Mart, a Dollar Tree store, or The Home Depot. A pair of small cargo nets from the dollar store can be used to secure big items (like stuffed animals), and a chain and lock will keep the cart from dissappearing while you are on line for a ride.
After the initial setup (which takes about a half hour) the top can be installed, or removed in about ten minutes (a little less if two people are working on it). It helps keep the sun off the kids, keeps them dry, and it looks very cool. EVERYONE comments on it!
When we used our wagon top the first time we couldn't believe how many people commented on it. That was when I realized that there might be a market for my top. Now I am offering this top to you. You buy your own wagon, and pick what color top you want. I supply all the pieces for the top, sew the top together, and test fit it on my wagon. When I am happy with it I send it to you. It comes with detailed instructions for the initial setup, and for using it. It also comes with a complete parts list, detailing what parts were used, and where to get replacements for them. I'm not going to sell replacement parts for double what they are worth, you can buy any replacement parts you need at your local stores. The fabric I use comes from Wal Mart. It is reasonable quality, and very inexpensive. If you would like heavier material used for your top I will get you a price, or you can supply your own material. The tops take between one and two weeks to make, and are made to order, so it will take some time to get your top.
If you are interested in buying a top, or would just like some more information, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get back to you as soon as possible.