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!

1 comment:

  1. I am extremely amazed with the construction of this fine creation. It is simply gorgeous...

    Luv ya,

    The contractors "BOSS"