The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Best friends hit road in self-built teardrop trailer


June 6, 2018

P.J. Glisson/Daily Globe

ENJOYING MONDAY lunch on the fly in the parking lot of the Ironwood Walmart are, from left, Hoai Linh Chu and Petro Ianitskyi. The current travelers are originally from Ukraine.


Ironwood - It isn't unusual to see travel trailers and recreational vehicles in the parking lot of Ironwood's Walmart.

One of them, however, stood out from the crowd on Monday morning. It was a tiny teardrop trailer with the back flipped up to reveal an efficient cruising kitchen, complete with a pull-out stove and ice chest.

Eating an early lunch there, as though standing by a street vendor, were Petro Ianitskyi and Hoai Linh Chu.

Ianitskyi said it was their fourth day of travel after leaving Chicago, where they had lived and worked temporarily.

"We're from Ukraine," he said. "We came to Chicago three years ago and just wanted to hit the road - see all the beautiful places in the U.S.A."

"I am Vietnamese but also from Ukraine," said Chu. "I was born there."

The traveling friends said Ukraine's tension with Russia was an incentive to try America.

"It's really hard to live over there right now," said Ianitskyi, although they both said they still have family there.

Ianitskyi said they chose Chicago because his father has friends there who could employ him in construction.

"That is a hard job," he said of his work in masonry. "I quit after three weeks."

He and Chu said they worked in various positions before preparing to travel.

"We bought a trailer, just the base, and after that we just built it," said Ianitskyi.

"We just finished most of the work in one month," said Chu, although they said they started the process more than a year ago.

The trailer, which has the words "Grand Nomads" printed in large type on the back, also represents the friends' ultimate dream of starting a travel agency.

They believe learning more about various states not only will help them to decide where to settle, but also will provide valuable knowledge with which to guide other people's travels.

Ianitskyi said he and Chu are "just friends," but extremely well suited as travel companions.

"We have the same thoughts," he said and added with a laugh, "We are OK with not showering every day."


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