Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Little Talbot Island State Park (FL)

Well, another long weekend of camping in the Teardrop - yup! again!  Three nights this time.  First two mornings were pretty chilly but, thanks to the little ceramic heater we picked up recently, we were pretty snug.  (Great investment - small, cheap & works great in our small space.)  Another new purchase - check out our "camp kitchen" in the picture above!  How sweet is this?  Folds up like a small card table and has a sink, storage racks, lamp pole, etc. etc.  (Saw one last time we camped at another site and couldn't wait to get one!) 

Once again this trip we were besieged with "visitors" who couldn't wait to see the Teardrop.  Didn't even get out of our town (stopped for coffee at the local coffee shop) and someone pulled right over to see it.  Had to get the "tour" and ask Don a ton of questions about how he did it.  People are amazed when we tell them it only took him 5 weeks - start to finish!

The park we went to is just above Jacksonville - on an island.  We spent one full day just a little north of the park in Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island.  Lots of restaurants and neat little shops.  Spent another day doing historical "stuff" - plantation tour and the like.  Had some of the best shrimp we've ever had at a little restaurant called Nicole's.  (They were "Mayport shrimp" - caught right there!)  If you ever get up that way, plan to eat at Nicole's - just south of Little Talbot - and try the shrimp.  Inexpensive, lots of food, and really yummy!

 And look what happens when I walk away for a minute ...  On the table no less!  Oh my - who's spoiled now?  (And you'll notice who is allowing it!)  Molly still loves to camp.  About 7:30 pm she'll go to the camper door and whimper.  Took us a little to realize she just wants in - ready to go to bed!

Oh - stopped at the lighthouse in St. Augustine on the way home Sunday!  (Couldn't resist a picture.)

Well - guess that's it 'til after Christmas - too much to do now!  Happy Holidays all!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

O'Leno State Park, High Springs, FL

Well, another long weekend fairly close to home - about an hour and a half away.  Drove up on Friday and had great weather all weekend.  Nice park.  Friendly people.  Lots of people had to stop by to see the Teardrop!  Everyone is amazed that Don actually built it. 

Every time we take it out we think of something else we'd like (this time another site had this great "camp kitchen" - folding table with two fold out shelves, a built in sink, a shelf for your camp stove, and even a zippered pantry!)  Can't wait to get one - probably before we go out again!  (Sold by Bass Pro Shop - we asked!)

I've decided that the very best thing about the Teardrop is its simplicity.  Someone at this Park told me that "if you have to bring a vacuum, it's not camping" and I think that says it all!  You get to enjoy ALL your time - there's no cleaning up, laundry to do, etc.  You can just take walks, hang out with your new "friends", or just read & relax.  Perfect camping if you ask me! 

TH Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park (FL)

What a great park!  White sandy beaches on both sides of the park (Gulf on one side & the bay on the other)!  Beautiful weather in October.  Can't wait to go back!  We saw a bunch of deer & a wolf/coyote!  Had some great seafood at a local restaurant while we were there.  Neat little towns all around for antiquing, etc.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Oct. 2011 - Off to Mississippi

What a great trip!  After two "dry runs" (to local parks within 50 miles of home) we loaded up and took our show on the road - to Mississippi for the weekend!  This thing is really great.  Drove all day on Friday to get there, set up in Shepard State Park (only something like 28 sites and right on a bayou) in Gautier (sp?).  Site could've been better.  Ours was kind of two levels but it was ok.  Spent Saturday there visiting our son (Justin) who's in the Coast Guard, complete with a campfire that night, and then drove back to Central Florida on Sunday.  Phew!  Everything worked great - trailer tows like a champ!  Don't even know it's there - even on the interstate which was most of the ride.  Looks like it's a winner!  People still stop us when we pull off for a break - lots of compliments for Don!  Now planning our next excursion.  Hmmmm.  Let's see ...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Our Teardrop Experience (2011)

Hi Teardroppers ... or future Teardroppers!  I'm here today looking for others - especially in the Central Florida area - to chat with or to share our story with!  It all started innocently enough ...

A few weeks ago, while at a Sanford, Florida antique car show, we saw a Teardrop trailer ("Woody") and fell in love.  By the next weekend my husband had started ours - from the frame up!  (Most are built on utility trailer, bolt-together frames but my (very particular) husband insisted on building the frame from square tubing - for added strength.)  And, he added 15" wheels rather than the standard utility trailer wheels.  (Better for towing, I'm told.)

Well, by the very next weekend, the frame was ready to roll! And - 5 weeks later - it was completely done!  Yes, 5 weeks - start to finish!

 Now, if you've never heard of Teardrops, they started in the 1940's and were initially mostly made of aluminum.  (We just liked the Woody-look and it really is quite the conversation starter.)  It probably cost us a little more to build it all in wood but I think it was worth it!

Here's the disclaimer - I think it only fair to tell you - this shouldn't be something you start unless you've got some pretty good skills.  (My husband welds, does mechanical work, and is a retired carpenter.)  He's the bomb!

 But, it didn't look like much - in the beginning!  (This was the beginning of the trailer body.)

The trailer body is basically 5x8.  (The originals were 4x8 but we added an extra 12" in width to allow for a queen-size air mattress.  That's ALL that's inside you know!)

(We researched online and found lots of plans and information, making slight adjustments as we went along to fit what we thought we wanted.)

I think this is what appealed to me in the beginning - the sheer simplicity of the thing.  I rationalized that the more basic you kept it, the less work would be involved to use it - and so far that seems to be true!

We did add one more "upgrade" - a second door.  That way you don't have to crawl over someone to get out.  My husband even added screened windows that raise and lower - just like home!  It also has a roof vent to help with air flow.

By the time we were done, it was pretty cozy.  (We travel with a Yorkie - so it sleeps "3"!)  And, surprisingly enough, we had plenty of room.

It also has a "kitchenette" when you open the back hatch.  This is where you keep groceries, dishes, camp stove, etc.  (In this picture you can see the electrical outlet and the light in the hatch.  Again - basic.)  The whole camper is wired for electric & TV - with a remote antenna (not shown here).  The TV is set up to be used inside or outside the camper.  (You should've seen our neighbors the first time we took it out!  Our TV was playing on the table in our screen room.  Everyone had to come by to see how we did it - in their big campers they couldn't get any reception!)

So far we've taken it on 2 "dry runs" - learning a little more each time we're out!

Salt Springs Campground (near Palatka, FL)
The first time out we went to Salt Springs Campground (in the Ocala (FL) National Forest).  We knew we were off to a good start when the registration people had to come out and take a picture of our camper!

We were very glad we'd invested in a screen room, too, as it rained all weekend but the camper was very snug and we didn't let the rain "dampen" our spirits! 

We met a lot of very nice campers - everyone had to come over to see the camper - and Molly (our 1-year old Yorkie).  She was a hit too!

The second time out, we went to Silver River State Park in Ocala, FL.  This time we had much better weather and, again, met lots of nice people!

Silver River State Park, Ocala, FL
We were surprised when we registered at the campground and the people asked if we had "others" coming.  Apparently a group of Teardroppers had been there recently and they thought maybe we'd all come back!  I think they were disappointed when we said we'd be alone. 

One funny comment: a little girl was in the site across from ours.  While walking Molly she came up and asked to pet her.  During the process she asked if "that" was "Molly's camper".  (Guess it was about the right size - at least in her eyes!)  I told her Molly let us sleep in there with her!  Too cute!

In the picture above, you can see the remote antenna (mentioned previously) for the TV.  It's mounted on the right rear - behind the fender and comes off for travel and slips right back in place when you set up.

You can also see the snazzy wooden fenders we added.  (My husband took regular fenders and "wrapped" them with the wood and trimmed them to match the camper.)  We got lots of compliments on those, too!

Now, we're looking forward to really hitting the road!