26 May 2015

Wolf Wagon, DewDrop, Pearl, Anal Avenger, & Other Tags

For years now, Jerry and I've been talking about a camper.  We both are past the point of camping via nylon tent and sleeping on the ground.  Besides, that's way too much stuff to haul around, unpack, set up, tear down, repack, etc.  And if it rains, no matter how weather proof that tent is, you still feel damp and clammy.  And as I get older, my sense of smell is getting keener, and sleeping bags, tents, tarps, tend to have a peculiar odor.

I'm more focused on convenience now, but I also like to be efficient and cost~effective.  So I did my research.  Teardrop trailers are also called "canned hams", due to the shape of the tow~behind, hard~shelled campers that usually sleep two {altho some actually have a shelf in them, a loft of sorts, allowing more folks to sleep sardine style}, with the rear hatch opening to provide a kitchen galley of sorts.  There are many who build them for a fee, for fun, or for therapy {just threw that one in there to see if you were paying attention, and you are, which is great for my ego}.  Some companies manufacture them, such as Lil Guys, who go "where they're towed".

NOT ours, but similar is appearance
{door, fenders, vent, tongue}
Usually, TearDrops can be customized with various features, such as fridge, stove top, TV/DVR/Stereo fixtures, AC {both AC as in airconditioners and AC as in 110 outlets}, shelving, lighting, etc.  Exteriors can be aluminum, fiberglass, wood, and can come in a range of colors with various decals and designs.  They come in various widths and lengths, weights and heights, and shapes.  There are more options available, but you get the general idea, I'm sure, right?  Yeah, I thought so.

I drive a Yaris.  Toyota Yaris's do NOT have a towing capacity in the United States, but the exact same car with no modifications can be driven into Canada and all of a sudden, the Yaris now has a 700 pound towing capacity.  Imagine that!  More research.

Then I saw that one company actually makes pods, lil teardrops, that are towable by smartCars.  I figured, if it's towable by a smartCar, it ought to be towable with a Yaris.  More research.

Then I contacted various TearDrop builders.  It was surprising how many builders were not open to discussing variations, even though they bill themselves as able to customize your teardrop for your specs.  But one builder, Preston Broadhurst, of Logan, UT, not only stepped up to the plate and answered all my questions; but welcomed other discussion and hypothetical questions.  He accepted the challenge I posed, and exceeded expectations.

I explained that I wanted a lighter weight TearDrop than his base model, and asked if he could build with lighter materials, while still maintaining the structural integrity and road~worthy safety.  Yup.  Preston told me what he modifications he had in mind, including moving from a 13" wheel/tire to a twelve inch {which was fine, my Yaris is not going off~road and needing high terrain clearance}.  We discussed which features I wanted to include, and which ones would contribute too much weight, so would need to be excluded.  Then, we discussed time frames and monetary considerations.

About a week ago, Jerry and I picked up a lil teardrop trailer and I was so damn excited that I squealed like the lil girl I once was.  I giggled as I climbed inside it and sat in the middle, clicking on and off the battery operated reading lights.  I splashed into a puddle while I wriggled on his driveway to peer under the trailer and poke at the tires.  I took plenty of notes {of course I did} while he explained and showed us how to hook it up, how much slack should be left in the chains, how to properly seat the flat four prong electrical connection, and so forth.  I asked a gazillion questions, most of which had to do with the teardrop, how he got into building them, and what sort of maintenance it might require.

Preston was very informative, very professional while still being accommodating, and an all around good guy.  He assured us when we asked "is this normal?" when we drove it around the block {we'd never towed anything with the Yaris before}.  He welcomed feedback and so forth.

We drove on to Portland, which is "only" ten hours from Logan, Utah~~Portland, Oregon is a helluva lot closer to Utah than to Starkville, Mississippi; that's for damn sure!  In the over five years that Daughter Donna, Jerry's middle child, has been living in Portland, this is the first time we've visited.  We'll be seeing her in July, when she comes eastward for the better part of a month; but we couldn't be THAT close and not go visit her!

The TearDrop handled nicely, even through the Rockies.  It's the exact dimensions of my Yaris, from tongue to galley, from fender to fender, and pretty much in height too!  We're very Very VERY pleased!

Along the way, we tossed around names for the trailer.  Wolf Wagon, DewDrop, Conestoga are the top contenders.  Altho, "Pearl:  the world is our oyster" kinda works too.  A few other not~so~wonderful nomers popped up every now and then, to be shot down with wither glances, guffaws, or groans.

I asked Donna and her fella for a few suggestions and quick as could be, she states, "Anal Avenger" and my first reaction was, "what sort of super powers does the Anal Avenger have?", thinking about Jerry's love of Marvel and DC comics.  It's an odd conversation to have with both father and daughter, but not the strangest one ever.  I learned the story of "avenger" labels and since Donna and I had just finished discussing the cyclops tree directly in front of their porch {"cyclops" was not the first term that came to my mind when I saw the knothole, below which was an almost obscene stain that just begged for comment}, her suggested tag was more reasonable than was first apparent.  However, I think it's safe to say that there are other better names in the running {could NOT help that pun}.

Why have I not posted a picture?  Of the trailer, dudes, the trailer!  Cuz I didn't take one yet, despite having my camera with me.  So there's a similar one pictured above.  Probably when I am less road weary from traveling about five thousand miles in about ten days, I'll take a few pictures.  At the moment, I'm ready to take a shower and climb into bed for some solid sleep, ahhhhhh.

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