The Bucket List Tour 2010

December 15, 2010

 

I was pouring my coffee and looking out the window when I saw them pulling in. You’d have to be running pretty low on life not to get excited when 1940s Fords pulling teardrops show up.
Ted and Roberta Stouder’s ’46 Ford 2 door sedan pulling a repro ’54 Benroy Teardrop hit the road from Hagerman,ID on September 18, covering 20 states and 6,800 miles.

 They’ve slept on the road in the teardrop and NO HOTELS! The built their teardrop from patterns of Ron Busche’s 1954 Benroy original.
Ron’s 1947 Ford coupe pulls the original Benroy.
Chuck Nippress and Barbara Dunsmore (and poodle Sweet Pea) left Adelando, CA on November 7th and drove their 1946 Ford pulling their restored ’47 Kit brand teardrop to Daytona to meet the group.
These guys are cooler than grits rolling down the road and peg the “hardcore” meter for sleeping in the little slices of Americana. Thanks guys for making our day and spending some time with us!

Original Article

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Five of the best micro caravans as featured by Caravan Times

November 19, 2010

Thursday, 18, Nov 2010 01:28

by Holly Tribe

We’ve received a few comments in recent months from readers nostalgic for the simple things in life, namely, lightweight low tech caravans.

For some, the increasingly sophisticated technology and heavyweight designs of modern tourers aren’t cause for celebration.

As Beryl who currently lives in France, recently asked: “Why oh why are caravans so heavy? Surely in these days of climate change, the lighter the greener. I am pig sick trying to find a decent caravan that we can tow!”

Well Beryl, in response to your cries of lament here are our top five tourers that can be towed by a reasonably sized VW Golf.

The Little Guy

These teardrop shaped trailers are based on the travel trailer design which originated in the US. Their diminutive form is light enough to be hauled behind a quad bike. But caravanners beware, you will have to travel light as nominal storage comes in the form of a small roof mounted cupboard above the bed.

     

  • Price: £3995
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  • Weight: 300kg
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Tuareg

A winner in this years’ European Caravanning and Design Awards, the Tuareg is lightweight and garage friendly with an elevating roof for extra headroom. The cunning island kitchen design can be used in the cabin or taken outside for the chef to prepare dinner al fresco.

     

  • Price: Euro 13,995
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  • MTPLM: on request
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T@b

Manufactured at the Tabbart factory near Frankfurt in Germany, these pint-sized caravans come in a range of three layouts – the smallest of which is the T@b 320. In its naked form weighs approximately 550kg and is small enough to be towed by a mini.

  • Price: on request
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  • MTPLM: 800kg
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    Sprite Finesse 2

    If you’re looking for something a bit more mainstream, have a look at the Finesse 2. This compact lightweight tourer from Swift Caravans is the littlest in the Sprite range. Standing at 3.66m in length with an MTPLM of 1,084kg – it is small enough to be matched with a small family car such as VW Golf or Vauxhall Corsa.

       

    • Price: £10,599
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    • MTPLM: 1,084kg
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    Adria Action 361

    And finally, we come to our final European offering, the Action 361 from Adria Caravans. Slightly undercutting the Sprite in cost and weight it comes equipped with a large toilet and boasts class leading storage facilities.

       

    • Price: £10,114
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    • MTPLM: 1,000kg
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    Vintage Trailers Invade Old Town this Weekend

    September 24, 2010

    If you have ever been seduced by the siren call of the road, this weekend you’ll get a chance to see how the early nomads of the highways found comfort as they traveled. Some 35 old-school trailers will be setting up an overnight camp in the Juror’s parking lot at Auburn Folsom Rd. and Lincoln Way for Old Town Auburn’s Vintage Trailer Classic.

     

    This free event will be open on Saturday from 3 to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and all trailers will be open for viewing. The show is sponsored by the Old Town Business Association and Carpe Vino, and will include more than a dozen Airstream trailers, the iconic “silver bullet” rigs that first appeared on American highways in the 1930s. Other fully restored trailers include brands such as Shasta, Boles Aero, Silver Streak, Argosy, Streamline, Airfloat and many more.

    “So many people love these old rigs,” said Gary Moffat, organizer of the event, “and this is an unusual opportunity to get an up-close look at a wide spectrum of restored trailers, many of which are more than 50 years old.”

    The oldest trailer on display is a 1937 Gypsy Caravan Teardrop, a compact little unit with just enough room to sleep two adults, with a pop-up kitchen unit. In contrast, a 2010 American Teardrop from American River Sales in Auburn will set up.

    For more information, go to www.vintagehighway.com.

    Original Article

    Local company is smiling through Teardrop campers

    September 23, 2010

    By Gloria Young, Auburn Journal.

    The economy has influenced all facets of daily life and occasionally in a good way.

    Teardrop trailers, around since the 1930s, are seeing a boom in popularity.

    In Auburn, American River Sales has sold American Teardrops for 10 years and recently began manufacturing them in response to increased demand, according to general manager Bud Hausman.

    “We can’t build them fast enough,” he said.

    The teardrop is designed for convenience.

    “It can be towed behind any car, including electric cars,” Hausman said. “They’re super lightweight. They’re the RV for the next generation.”

    The trailers have been increasing in popularity for the last 15 years, “with the last two years seeing the biggest growth we’ve ever seen,” he said.

    The demographic is just about everyone who enjoys the outdoors.

    “Because of high gas prices, people don’t want a second high-mileage vehicle,” Hausman said. “They want to have their car and go on vacation.”

    Teardrops offer a no-to-low frills experience.

    “People love camping, but no one wants to sleep on the ground,” he said. “When they walk away, they want to be able to lock up all the gear inside.”

    The original teardrop design appeared in the 1930s. Then in 1944, Popular Mechanics ran an article on how to build one at home, according to Hausman.

    “The unit we build is a pretty close replica of those 1940s units, using modern-day materials,” he said.

    The average size of the trailer is 5 feet by 8 feet. There are windows on both sides and a door on one side. American River’s basic models range from $3,995 to $5,995.

    You get the base model and then you outfit it the way you want. Among the options are air conditioning, pullout kitchen and mattresses.

    “If you added every option, the unit would still be about $8,000,” Hausman said.

    The Auburn store geared up its manufacturing site earlier this summer. Prior to that, the teardrops were all made at American Teardrop headquarters in Elkhart, Ind.

    “This past year, we decided to open a factory here to cut down shipping costs,” Hausman said.

    On Nov. 1, the factory is moving to a new, larger location at the corner of Borland Avenue and Lincoln Way. Hausman said he expects to add another six to 10 jobs to the already six jobs created when the plant is fully up and running.

     

    American Teardrop is only one of numerous brands that make the teardrop trailer. But most are custom-design manufacturers that turn out a few units a year and charge much more for their product, Hausman explained.

    “It’s becoming so popular that big companies are coming out with mini-models to compete with teardrops because they know that’s where the market is growing,” he said.

    American River Sales will have one of its teardrop trailers at this weekend’s Vintage Trailer Classic show in Old Town Auburn.

    Gary Moffat, owner of Carpe Vino and organizer of the show, will have a 1937 model on display along with American River’s new model.

    “(I thought) wouldn’t it be fun to see one of the new ones side by side (with the 1937 edition) to see how it evolved over the years,” Moffat said. “But, in fact, there hasn’t been much change.”

    Moffat has become a vintage trailer enthusiast after purchasing a 1972 Airstream Globe Trotter a year ago. He took his idea for the show to the Old Town Business Association, which signed on as a sponsor.

    “An interesting fact after we started this show is that this year is the 100th anniversary of the RV industry,” he said. “The first RV was built in 1910. When it started out, people built these things themselves.”

    Moffat got acquainted with American River Sales as he was coordinating the show.

    “I love what those guys are doing,” he said. “They’re creating jobs in Auburn and they’re doing something innovative in a tough market.”

    American River Sales

    Sales and rentals of the American Teardrop trailer

    13230 Lincoln Way, Auburn

    Phone: (530) 889-2762

    Old Town Vintage Trailer Classic

    When: 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25 and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 26

    Where: Jurors parking lot, Auburn Folsom Road and Lincoln Way, Old Town Auburn

    Original Article

    Tear Jerkers bond with tiny trailers

    September 21, 2010

    By Bob Scott  jconline.com

    Nearly 50 members of the Indiana Tear Jerkers will camp out this weekend at Prophetstown State Park near Battle Ground.

    The Tear Jerkers all have teardrop travel trailers. The compact trailers sleep two and have a basic kitchen in the rear.

    The state chapter of the international Tear Jerkers group will camp from Friday through Sunday.

    Bob and Vickie Henry of Linden are active participants in the Tear Jerkers. They have five of the teardrop trailers, including two that he has built.

    “They become family,” said Vicki Henry, 56, of fellow Tear Jerkers. “We get together four times a year and look forward to seeing each other.

    “I love to cook for the Saturday get-together. We swap recipes and show off our trailers. We are there to kick back around a campfire with friends.”

    Bob Henry, 60, makes his living as a construction estimator with Midwest Construction in Frankfort. He said he’s been part of the Tear Jerkers since early 2007.

    “The state chapter representing Hoosiers has 80 to 90 members,” he said. “I’m the only Lafayette area member that I know of.”

    The teardrop style trailer first became popular during the 1930s. They faded away in the 1960s but made a comeback in the late 1990s. The trailers are usually 4 to 6 feet wide, 8 to 10 feet long and 4 to 5 feet high. They weigh less than 1,000 pounds.

    Some of the trailers use batteries for electrical power, while others have power hookups.

    Bob Henry said some of the teardrop trailers can cost up to $20,000.

    “I have less than $1,000 each for my two home-built trailers,” he said.

    The Henrys said they look forward to curiosity seekers stopping at the “gathering” this weekend.

    “People go by and break their necks looking. They don’t want to bother you until you invite them over. Then they ask a lot of questions.”

    The Henrys take trips to area campgrounds, including primitive sites.

    “We won’t ever give this up,” Vickie Henry said. “We’ve worked so hard over the years.

    “Now it is time for us to play.”

    Original Article

    Teardrop trailer to be raffled as car buffs celebrate 25 years of Safe Rides

    September 16, 2010

    By By Tim Parsons, Lake Tahoe Action | Tahoe.com

    A cool idea in 1985 is still cool today.
    To prevent motorists from driving drunk, a group of South Shore car enthusiasts started the International Good Samaritans Safe Ride program.
    “We were all kind of a mess 25 years ago because that seemed to be the thing in Tahoe, just partying and drinking and driving ourselves home,” said Tom Argo. “Our buddy got a DUI and it cost him $2,000, and 25 years ago we thought that was a small fortune. I got stopped and sent home in a cab, and that’s what got us thinking that there must be a better way to get home than to just go out there and take our chances.”
    The group received a donated 1956 Buick, which it raffled at the vintage car and 1950s rock ‘n’ roll-themed Cool September Days. The IGS has given way 45 vehicles, 15 old cars, 19 old trucks, five used Harleys and 10 new Harleys, one scooter, one motorized beach bike, and one new teardrop camping trailer. It raises more than $20,000 a year from the raffle and six car shows a year around Lake Tahoe, including the Sept. 16-19 Cool September Days at the Tahoe Biltmore in Crystal Bay.

     

    A ’52 Chevy Sedan Delivery and custom new Teardrop trailer will be raffled Oct. 10 at the final event, South Shore Cruisin.’
    Volunteers in Safe Ride’s first 10 years delivered 80,000 carloads of drinkers to their homes. But altruism has its limitations and volunteers grew tired of providing the service in the 24-hour casino town. Now bartenders are provided vouchers to give to Yellow Cab. Argo said three to five rides are provided every night of the week.
    Cool September Days will be an anniversary celebration.
    “This show will be a fun time to reminisce and just thank everybody for making our program successful over the years,” Argo said. “We will be looking fondly back at all the guys and gals who are not here anymore, and we will remember the people who are still coming.”
    There will be prizes awarded—vintage T-shirts, trophies and paraphernalia.
    Argo said he might bring a memento: a piece of the dismantled stage upon which Elvis Presley performed at the Horizon Casino Resort. But that’s not why the souvenir is so special to Argo. He proposed to his wife 20 years ago on that stage at midnight during a car show sock hop.

    Original article

    Wane’s Wheels: Replica teardrop replaces the tent

    September 10, 2010
    Greg Wane 

    10th September 2010 03:04:00 PM

    FED UP with having to sleep in a tent during trips up country, Wayne Isbister was considering a caravan but was reluctant about having to tow around a full-size van.

    “On the Queen’s Birthday weekend when we were driving back from up country I saw a little Morris Minor towing a replica teardrop caravan,” he remembered.

    “That’s what I wanted.”

    Wayne had always used tents overnight when travelling for his gigs as a singer at venues around Victorian and interstate.

    “It was always a hassle setting the tent up and packing up next day,” he said.

    Since then Wayne has built a scaled-down teardrop-shape camper reminiscent of the caravans of the 1940s and’ 50s.

    “The frame is made from 25mm square tube and the hardest part was bending the tube to the shape I wanted,” he said.

    “I actually hand-bent the tube. I tried to do it in a jig and pipe bender but it actually creased it.”

     

    Wayne said he spent three days searching the internet for plans and ideas before starting building the little van.

    “I sketched out the design I wanted after researching on the internet.

    “I used the Auto Cad program on the computer to work out how strong it was going to be. The van’s 2.4 metres long by 1.5 metres wide and it weighs 275 kilograms.”

    Wayne used Colorbond steel as the outer-cladding and checker plate.

    “I built it from the outside in. I started with the interior plywood lining on first then the polystyrene insulation goes in and finally the outer skin of Colorbond sheet,” he said.

    “The polystyrene insulates the van and it doesn’t sound like a hollow piece of tin. It acts like a solid core door in a house.

    “The foam also stops the tin flapping in the wind and also avoids having any ripples in the metal on the outside.”

    The teardrop caravan was introduced to Australia in the mid-1940s amid growing demand for lightweight caravans. In America they called them a cabin car.

    The earlier, teardrop-shaped caravans were built using a timber frame and a plywood outer skin.

    The teardrop became larger during the 1950s with inside kitchens and could sleep as many as five people. The 1950s version was heavier, still with a timber frame but the outer-cladding was polished aluminium used for aircraft production.

    When Wayne planned his caravan he wanted a better weight ratio on the drawbar.

    “Usually a normal trailer has a 60:40 ratio but I changed that so it has better balance. I can actually unhook it from a car and I can stand on the whole back end and jump up and down without it tipping up.

    “I have also reinforced the drawbar and I’ve put in an extra bar down the centre to the axle and directly above it I have a diagonal support roll bar, so it is effectively a roll cage.”

    Wayne said the idea was that the van could be towed at speed without twisting.

    “I can also put more weight on it, too.”

    Wayne has designed the van to fit a double bed or, when a side cupboard is removed, a queen-size mattress.

    “I looked at a couple of other designs where people have put the mattress in below the door but I made the doors bigger so people can get in.

    “I also did away with the bulkhead at the end of the bed. It felt like I was in a coffin when I slept in it.

    “The way the shape is I can actually lie in there and you can’t touch the roof.”

    Wayne said he was planning to customise and hand-build a few vans each year.

    He has used Camec wind-out windows with screens and the back of the van has a lift-up section that reveals a camp kitchen.

    Wayne said older people became nostalgic when they saw the van, remembering camping holidays in the ‘40s and ‘50s.

    Wayne towed his van behind his Commodore Crewman ute on a recent trip up the Hume Highway, estimating he used just two per cent more fuel.

    “On the same trip it rained all weekend and I thought ‘At least we won’t get wet’. It’s much better than trying to pitch a tent in the rain and we weren’t sleeping on the ground.

    “It took me 162 hours to build the caravan and I was making jigs to make the next one easier.

    “I originally thought I could build this in two weeks but I was way off.”

    Original Article

    Teardrop trailer influences veggie powered hybrid car

    September 1, 2010
    By Michael Bottari
    GateHouse News Service
    Acton, Mass. —

    A decade from now, the children recently exploring the “TriHy” at the Discovery Museums may be asking their parents for vegetable oil-fueled cars.

    And that’s the mission of the triple hybrid vehicle built by Boston-local engineer Max Hall, which sat in front of the Discovery Museums’ Science Center on July 23 as part of the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE National Education Program.

    “You can practically put bacon fat in it and it will be happy,” said Hall, builder, owner and proud user of the “TriHy.” Its skeleton consists of a 1967 Italian three-wheeler with a trailer attachment that holds the battery charging engine and exhaust mechanisms all designed to model the teardrop trailers of the 1920s.

    “It’s a test platform, really — I’ve done a lot of experiments with it,” said Hall as he explained that the engine, which was taken from a light-up highway sign with a big red arrow, can take conventional diesel, biodiesel, straight vegetable oil, or used vegetable oil as fuel to charge the batteries which run the car to an optimal fuel efficiency of 40 mpg. “It’s like a Prius only in two sections instead of one.”    

    The vehicle’s visit was part of the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE National Education Program which shadows the ongoing X PRIZE competition in Detroit where $10 million in prizes will be awarded to teams that create “clean, production-capable vehicles that exceed 100 Miles per gallon or energy equivalent,” according to the X PRIZE website.

    However, “It doesn’t just happen in Detroit,” said Najma Roberts, co-coordinator of the X PRIZE National Education Program event in Acton. “When you see things like the devastation in the Gulf, it makes the energy crisis real, and kids need to make that connection.”

    Acton’s Discovery Museums were one of several national locations, though the only in New England, which were used as a platform to educate both children and adults on the local and universal needs of alternative energy and fuel efficiency.

    “[The education program] is all about teaching youth about fuel efficiency through hands-on programs across the country,” said Julie Feldman, co-coordinator of the event in Acton.

    “We mainly have exhibits that deal with the fundamental concepts that then apply to the bigger idea,” said Denise LeBlanc, director of Learning Experiences at the Acton Discovery Museums. “The purpose is to get young kids excited about energy and use their imagination … nothing’s impossible.”

    LeBlanc pointed out different sections of the museum where children could experience the different mechanisms used on vehicles, and each of the play stations raises the question, “what’s that got to do with energy?” and it does connect in some way But the best method is for the children to discover the answer on their own and the staff of the museum are there to help them in the right direction.

    In one space in the museum, kids could participate in the “Making the Wheels Turn” competition where they must use only Lego’s to build the best model fuel-efficient car.

    “Ten or 20 years from now we want our kids thinking about this, and we want them to start thinking about it now,” said LeBlanc.   

    The Discovery Museum also hosts traveling science workshops where they go into the local elementary schools and coordinate lessons with the school’s curriculum to teach about some of these issues — like fuel efficiency, clean energy, and ways to conserve energy.

    Original Article

    Drew’s funky little trailer the real star

    August 20, 2010

    Jennifer Chambers and Tom Greenwood / The Detroit News

    Royal Oak — Where there is road, there is a classic car. Where there is grass, there is a Dream Cruise fan. Where there is an open space, there is a vendor ready for business: Woodward Avenue has been transformed into Dream Cruise paradise.

    Visitors will find cars, fans and gathering spots on nearly every edge and corner of Woodward from Ferndale to Pontiac, all in preparation for the world’s biggest one-day car show Saturday.

    But as everybody in Metro Detroit knows, the party starts early for the 16th annual Woodward Dream Cruise, with plenty of events Friday leading up Saturday’s cruise from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

    Today was a busy day of preparation for the people, businesses and communities along Woodward, where parties are hosted and events are held for more than 1.5 million people who come to the Cruise every year.

    Tents popped up at Memorial park at Woodward and 13 Mile in Royal Oak, where Dream cruise events are held Friday and Saturday. Police in Ferndale worked to close East Nine Mile in preparation for Friday’s 10th annual Ferndale Emergency Vehicle Show, which starts at 1 p.m., and an official Cruise ribbon-cutting at 5:30 p.m.

    Officials in Berkley are gearing up for the Berkley Dream Parade, which starts at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Woodward and 12 Mile and goes west through downtown.

    Cruiser Paul Imerman spent today at the corner of Woodward and 13 Mile, where he parked his 1971 Buick Centurion, a shiny red convertible.

    “I love the cruise. I’m out here every night and have been since May, as long as it isn’t raining,” Imerman of Huntington Woods said. “This is the only reason we come back here from Arizona, where we summer.”

    On Tuesday, Fred Drew drove in all the way from St. Thomas, Ontario, to both cruise and snooze on Woodward prior to Saturday’s main event.

    Drew crossed the border in his “mostly” 1929 Ford coupe, towing his wood, retro-inspired, hand crafted, teardrop design one-person trailer.

    “I call it a mostly 1929 Ford because it had parts from a lot of different years,” said Drew, a retired security supervisor.

    Heck, it also has parts from trucks, plus the drivetrain from a 1964 Buick.”

    While the Ford is an eye-catcher, the real crowd pleaser is Drew’s funky little trailer.

    At 11 feet long, four feet wide and four feet high, this crusin’ cabin meets all of Drew’s needs.

    “I built it myself in 1997-1998 and good or bad, the entire idea came out of my head,” said Drew with a laugh.

    “I based my work on photos of classic 1937 teardrop trailers and then fitted it to my own needs, which included adding an extra foot to its length in order to put in a kitchen.”

    The tiny trailer is equipped with nearly all the comforts of home, including a propane powered heater, refrigerator/freezer and two-burner stove. It also has a sink and running water.

    Drew opens a small door on the side of the wooden mini RV to reveal surprisingly spacious sleeping quarters. While the trail definitely isn’t a “double wide,” it is just big enough for one person or two good-sized Labrador retrievers.

    “There’s no problem sleeping in it, because it’s very comfortable,” Drew said.

    “I don’t have central air, but I do have a portable fan in there for warm evenings. The only minor drawback is finding a safe, legal place to park it for the night.”

    From The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100819/AUTO02/8190486/Dream-Cruise-fans-rev-up-for-big-day#ixzz0x7vox9M4

     

    Dream Cruise: 1929 Ford hauls homemade trailer and everything else including a kitchen sink

    Christie Macdonald WXYZ

     

    BERKLEY, Mich (WXYZ) – When Fred Drew left Ontario in his rebuilt 1929 Ford for the Dream Cruise, he had everything he needed in his trailer plus the kitchen sink.

    Really, a kitchen sink.

    Fred’s life on wheels includes his Ford, which pulls his bedroom and kitchen wrapped into one tiny trailer he built himself. He got the idea after a bad stay at a bad hotel.

    “My non-smoking room had cigarette butts on the floor and I thought I don’t want that again,” said Drew.

    So he built his own trailer. It’s four feet tall, four feet wide and eleven feet long. His bed is a three-quarter sized matress, and he climbs in through a side door.

    After a cozy night’s sleep, he walks around back and lifts the door to his kitchen.

    “Underneath the canned goods is a seven gallon tank so I have water to make my coffee or tea with,” said Drew.

    The tiny kitchen is complete with a two burner stove and a fully stocked dorm fridge.

    Fred has traveled around the United States to car shows and he loves the freedom the tiny trailer home gives him.

    “It’s a great life, you should live it,” he said.

    Original Article with video

    If you ride to the left you will lose your horse, if you ride to the right you will lose your head.

    August 18, 2010

      Have you ever wondered what inspired people to start building their trailers?

     After all mention the words teardrop trailer to most people and 9 outof 10  won’t have a clue what you’re talking about.  So how is it that thousands of people accross the world, became so enthusiastically engulfed in an obsession that means  that many will devote the majority of their spare time building, sleeping, cooking and crawling in and out of a 4ft high can on wheels? 

     Bob Henry is a member of the Hoosier chapter of Tearjerkers and a regular contributor to T&TTT forum. Here he tells us how he was seduced and a love affair began.

    The Fork In The Road

    January of  2007 was just like any frozen cold month in the construction business, slow , slow , slow.

    I was at my desk “Just in case “ but there just wasn’t much happening. Our company pre builds residential and commercial buildings.  It simply becomes a follow the numbers build.  Stand wall number one then  attach to wall number two etc. you just follow the instructional layout that is provided. 

    I am in charge of estimating , inventory control and shipping and with nothing happening thanks in large part to a  –8 wind chill most of the week I was doing a whole lot of nothing.

    The cads designer was surfing the internet and hollered at me to “come look at this” !

    This moment was to change my life it was a tiny little tear shaped trailer. I had just seen my very first “Teardrop trailer”

    In the cold, slow, weeks to follow I searched and searched everything on every search engine I could find about the little trailers. I found several links to a site www.mikenchell.com  a rather unlikely sounding site but I dropped in.

     It is referred to, by the members, as t&ttt . (short for Teardrops and tiny travel trailers)

    I had hit the main vein in the gold mine. This was a site dedicated to the building of the teardrop and other style small campers. The main criteria seemed to be that the minuscule units measured  somewhere between  8  and 12 feet in length. It was not a hard fast rule but that was more the general feel of the members.  I  looked in and learned a great deal and on Feb 7th 2007 I  became an active member of the site.

    In late March I came out of the closet and informed my wife I was going to build a tiny trailer. My very first effort was a super simple little 3×5 cargo trailer to be pulled by my motorcycle. It was a quick build and only server to whet my appetite for a larger more lavish camping size model.

    So with this first little trailer build under my belt I now felt that I could construct a very serviceable full sized teardrop. At 56, and being a two job workaholic most of my adult life, I was done burning my candle at both ends. I asked for the wife’s blessing to start on my new project of building a full size teardrop trailer so we could play on weekends instead of working them away.  I felt it was the time in our lives to slow down and start enjoying the peace , quiet and tranquility of  camping.

    So, appropriately , on April fools day of 2007 I drove 45 miles to pay for and pick up a used Harbor Freight brand kit trailer I had purchased on E-Bay for $75.00.

    The build was officially underway.

    During the month of April I assembled the frame and constructed the floor.

    The walls went up in the month of  May.

    The month of June was spent designing and building the galley

                         ( the little kitchen in the rear ).

    Storage cabinets were installed in the front sleeping area as well.

    July was roughing in all the electrical and installing insulation and then the  interior paneling. At mid month I was still scratching my head about what to install for the roof , 

    Then one day I answered an ad in the newspaper for “Plastic panels” Turns out they were bronze tinted lexan that had been remover from large commercial skylites. I had found my roof material !  The bonus would be a see thru roof !

    August arrived and  I fine tuned doors and  built the galley hatch lid and veneered the outside of the tiny trailer with luan panels and applied 6 coats of marine spar varnish.  I was finally ready to install the roof  but one final thing had to happen first , a queen sized pillow top mattress needed to be inserted thru the roof spars and into the sleepy side of the tiny trailer.

    September arrived and the folks I had been talking with on the teardrops and tiny trailers forum  had planned a local Indiana “Gathering”  for the 17th of  the month. I so wanted to go. I worked frantically but by the date I was still attempting to finish the roof.  As it turned out we had to settle for a ride thru the park on my motorcycle and to stop and visit with the folks and look over their little trailers. 

    I would like to point out a home built teardrop is never really finished ! We refer to a functioning trailer as “Campable”  This generally means all the important parts function and that nothing is likely to fall off.

    In mid October, with camping season all but gone, we finally got the tiny  trailer fully functional.  We driveway camped at home.  I was heartbroken we had not been able to camp with our new found friends in 2007.

    And then………

     Someone got the bright idea our little Hoosier group should be the first group in the nation to go camping in 2008. We planned for the 1st weekend after new years and 8 intrepid campers braved the snow and cold for bragging rights. We dressed heavily and stood near the campfire and visited and ate and as the sun went down so did the temps. So we retreated to the comfort of our little trailers.

           That night’s temperatures went to  –1 with a –15 wind chill index but all parties were warm an safe in their little trailers by them. Equipped with small electric heaters everyone was comfortable. This get together was our maiden camping outing we encountered several rough edges with forgotten items and learned to make do and borrow from the neighbors when necessary.

    Now, well into the close of  or 2nd year of camping, we have camped in 5 states and have attended some 17 gatherings as well as 5 or 6 solo excursions.  The camping group has developed into an extended family and we have gained quite a few real close friends. Not a nodding acquaintance but a true friend, one you can call in the middle of the night broke down somewhere and they will rescue you. That kind of friend you can not put a price tag on.

    Soon to enter into my 60’s I never expected to develop into a camper type but both my wife and myself look forward to each outing and arrive home at the end  of each tired and happy.

    Looking back to that cold wintry day in January of 2007  I feel  so blessed that I found a small picture of a “Teardrop trailer” . It  sounds a bit corny but it was a fork in the road for us and luckily it led us down a serene wooded path to the joys of camping in comfort.