Posts Tagged ‘gathering’

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  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.


Raccoon Holler 2010

June 1, 2010

By Ross Wade

We, Ross and Carla Wade, started the 4th Tearjerkers Chapter, known as the Southern Appalachian Tearjerkers and have been the Chapter Directors since 2004. The Southern Appalachian Chapter was the largest chapter to ever be formed, which included the Mid Atlantic States: WV, VA, NC, SC, TN, GA, FL, AL as well as, KY, MS and LA. Since then we have found great people to take over several of these states and form their own chapters. As of now, the Southern Appalachian Chapter has members from WV, NC and SC. All of the other states have Directors. By becoming Chapter Directors, we did help change the Tearjerkers to an open camping group, meaning that you don’t have to have a teardrop camper to be a part of us.

We welcome everyone who enjoys the great outdoors and fellowship with others, whether you have a tent, pop-up, van, RV, or fifth wheel….it doesn’t matter. Our campsite is always open, so come and sit a spell ’round tha campfire.

We host 2 gatherings per year. Our first gathering is held the 3rd weekend in May and our second gathering is held the 3rd weekend in September of every year. Makes for easy planning so everyone can join in.

We just had our “SPRING FLING AT THA HOLLER 2010” at Raccoon Holler Campground in Glendale Springs, NC and have for several years. Camping in the heart of Christmas Tree country. We had 14 trailers and not a bad turn-out considering that the weather started out rainy and was to be a possible wash-out weekend. True Tearjerkers will brave out the weather and hope for a few breaks between rain showers. The rain was gone by mid afternoon on Saturday and was beautiful for the rest of the weekend.

We started, what seems to be a tradition now at our Saturday Night Pot Luck Dinners, a Communal Grill. We have a large 2′ x 5′ grill for everyone to grill up their favorite eats and then they bring a side dish to share with others. This gives everyone a chance to be together and mix & mingle before breaking bread together

After dinner we are always fortunate to have live music from some very talented Bluegrass musicians.

Here are a few more pictures:

Our next 2 gatherings will be Tearjerkers East Coast Nationals August 4-8, 2010 at Fort Chiswell RV Park in Max Meadows, VA and End Of Summer Fun At Tha Lake September 17-19, 2010 at High Rock Lake Marina and Campground in Lexington, NC.

Hope to see ya ’round a campfire real soon,

Tearstock 2010

May 19, 2010

Report by Len

There were 3 sections in this trip for me.

1.) 2 nights an Camp Wm. Penn.

2.) A day at the WoodStock Concert Site in Bethel, NY.

3.) And 2 Days at TearStock

Just like the original WoodStock Concert of 1969 there were several roadblocks, hurtles and bends in the road for us the event planners.

3 days of peace and camping

I am an original TearJerker member, probably the second just after the Founder Todd Brunnengraber.

When we first started the club back in 1997 there was me in Phila. PA. Todd on Long Island and a guy in the Boston area.

A good central meeting point, at that time was Mystic CT. So the first Main TearJerkers Rally was held at Seaport Campground in Mystic, CT. in July of 2001.

After a few years at Mystic and the popularity of our gatherings increasing it was soon evident that Mystic was no longer the center of the Universe.

We suggested a new site in the Rhienbach/Kingston NY. area.

Everyone was all for it. It was a good more centrally located location, most people coming north did not have to go through, or around New York City, the people coming South never had to deal with New York City, all was looking great for moving the gathering location.


The guy from Boston, who never read the discussions in a timely manner chimed in near the end of the planning and raised such a stink that the Gathering was left in Mystic.

  This ruffled a few feathers, why inconvenience the masses to make it easy for a few, bla bla bla and The Mystic Gathering remained in Mystic but became a “Local New England Gathering” as opposed to our Main gathering.

This ruffled the guy in Boston’s feathers and he left.

I started a discussion in the summer of 2008 about a 3 Chapter Gathering centrally located for all 3 of the chapters.

All was going along when scheduling derailed the discussion.

Again in late summer 2009 and with a new New England Chapter director I started the discussion.

This time the plans went on without a hitch.

I started drawing circles on a map from all the directors locations and at about 225 miles they all converged, once again on the Rhienbach/Kingston NY area.

But there was another town in that tight little Triangle…WoodStock NY.

That gave us our theme.

The event was well on its way NOT as a National Rally, Not as a Replacement for Mystic but as just a 3 Chapter TearJerkers Gathering.

The name TearStock was suggested to us by a non attending director. And as we were having it near the Town of WoodStock all fit.

A date, a location…not in Woodstock but nearby Phoenicia were set and we were all ready.

Now, Back to our Story.

In 1969 I was working in a Summer Camp, Camp Wm. Penn in the Pocono Mts. A few of us had heard about this really big concert only 45 miles away.

So on Wednesday morning August 13, 1969 4 of us left for the WoodStock Music and Arts Fair in Bethel, NY.

On this Trip to TearStock, 2010.

I made arrangements to spend 2 nights prior to TearStock in the same camp, Camp Wm. Penn in the Pocono Mts.

I arrived at Camp Wm. Penn Wednesday morning May 13.

6 Trailers joined me there Thursday May 14 2010, we spent the night and Friday morning at 7AM we left for the original Woodstock Concert site from my original starting point along the original route.

We arrived in Bethel at the concert site at about 10AM, toured the First Class Museum and walked the grounds.

For me it was very moving.

Then off to TearStock.

We had 57 trailers from TearJerkers, a Scotty Group, a T@B group and The Tin Can Tourists. Over 130 people, lots of food, a great crowd and a great time.

Tie-Dying for everyone, an Arts & Crafts making Awards and a Trailer Crawl.

Both nights we had a roaring Campfire, some speeches, jokes, singing, stories and live Guitar & Harmonica entertainment.

2 great community Breakfasts and an unbelievable Pot Luck and Bar-B-Que Dinner

The Campground was below our expectations but it proved once again that its not the place, or even the trailers, its the people who make things great.

Happy Trails


Tearstock photos

And some more

Tearstock Cafe Press