Tag Archives: camping

Fantastic AND FREE National Park Map Resource!

national park map, map resource

One guy. One website. TONS of FREE maps of every sort, related to our National Parks.

Click here for the website –>   NATIONAL PARK MAPS

This extremely thorough website and project is clearly a labor of love. If you camp, backpack, hike, or just plain old visit the incredible National Park system we as citizens of the United States so far been blessed to have in the first place. (Thank you, Teddy Roosevelt! Thank you, every environmentalist! Thank you every selfless, kind-hearted politician that protects our parks–ok, I know you are few, but thanks to those of you who do! Thank you every activist who fights the good fight to keep these amazing National Parks clean, secure and abundant in healthy flora and fauna!)

I don’t know about you folks who read my blog, but I view the National Parks as an emblem of what is meant by “America, the beautiful.” Without them, American wouldn’t be so beautiful. So, please do what you can to preserve what we have right now, to keep anyone from destroying it, degrading it, AND ESPECIALLY FROM CAPITALIZING on it for monetary gain.

I love you guys and gals who respect our parks enough to always leave ’em looking better than they did when you first got there. So many folks continue polluting and defacing our National Parks. Common sense and respect are fading fast in our society. It’s hard to keep up with it’s negative impact. So, everything you do to mitigate that reality, to balance out the bozo heads around you, really makes a tremendous difference. Never forget that!

Thanks and ENJOY!

Teardrop Trailer Air Conditioning (A/C) Unit Installation

We recently received a request from a Twitter follower to provide installation details about our custom, home-built teardrop trailer’s air conditioning (A/C) unit  . . .


Do you have any write ups on how you vent/drain your A/C on your teardrop?

By now, you may have seen some photos of our teardrop trailer’s air conditioning (A/C) unit installation in the post entitled “Building Our Teardrop Trailer From Scratch: Learning by Doing“.  In the next set of paragraphs, I’ll give more details about those photos.

Teardrop Trailer Air Conditioning (A/C) Unit Installation

The over-simplified explanation of how to deal with venting and draining of a teardrop trailer’s air conditioning (A/C) unit goes a little something like this:
air flow zones for camper air conditioning unit, teardrop trailer air conditioning installation
Air-flow zones for teardrop trailer or camper air-conditioning unit.
  1. Divide air space outside of A/C unit into three distinct zones:
    • Zone 1 at front of A/C unit, where cabin air is pulled in through one set of A/C unit’s front-panel vents, and cooled air is pushed back out into cabin via another set of front-panel vents;
    • Zone 2 through mid-section of A/C unit, where outside air is pulled into the A/C unit’s mid-section vents;
    • Zone 3 at rear of A/C unit, where hot air from condenser coil is pushed out the back-end vents.
  2. Provide intake route for outside air to be pulled into Zone 2, where it will enter the A/C unit via the mid-section intake vents;.
  3. Provide exit route in Zone 3 for heated air at back end of A/C unit to be pushed outside of teardrop trailer (Note: we installed a partitioned roof vent to accommodate both Zone 2 ingress and Zone 3 egress).
  4. Provide a water collection space at back end of A/C unit in Zone 2 and Zone 3, where water from A/C unit’s internal, built-in drip pan (a result of front-end cooling-coil evaporation) can safely collect and exit the trailer when A/C unit is running;
  5. When installing a water-collection pan to accommodate run-off water through Zone 2 & Zone 3:
    • Make sure teardrop trailer is level;
    • Position and secure the water-collection pan at ample angle to allow A/C unit’s run-off water to safely and efficiently collect into one back corner of collection pan (in our case, the back-left corner);
    • Cut small hole at base of water-collection pan in separator wall between Zone 2 & Zone 3 to allow water to pass from Zone 3 into Zone 2. Punch hole at back of water-collection pan in Zone 2, where water can drain out through a drainage tube;
    • Install a leak-proof drainage tube long enough to run down through infrastructure of teardrop trailer until it reaches the outside of the teardrop trailer’s underbelly (Note: we punched a hole in left-rear of collection pan and soldered copper tubing that we then ran through an interior wall to the underside of the teardrop trailer). REMEMBER: GRAVITY IS YOUR FRIEND, so MAKE SURE the water’s EXIT ROUTE IS ALL DOWNHILL!  🙂
  6. When ready to install A/C unit, use weather-proof sealant tape between rear of A/C unit and any framed areas A/C unit will butt up against to ensure a watertight installation.

Now, for the expanded Photo Log of our Teardrop Trailer air conditioning unit installation . . .

With this being our first attempt at building a teardrop trailer from scratch, we attempted to capture as many photos of our trailer build as we could. We did so STRICTLY FOR OUR OWN INFORMATION. Beyond family and friends, we never thought in a million years we’d show them to anyone else. And yet, here we are!

(Recall, this wasn’t a kit build, but a wing-it-as-you-go home-built teardrop trailer. We wanted (and knew we would need!) plenty of step-by-step evidence in case something didn’t work well afterwards. We’ve been fortunate and INFINITELY GRATEFUL that most things have worked great from the start. )

All said and done, making the correct cuts and creating the correct angles for the aluminum shields and separators was perhaps the most trying part of the build. It helped TREMENDOUSLY to use cardboard and foam board stencils to attain the best configuration and thus have templates to use when cutting and shaping the aluminum.

First we made a cardboard mock-up of the air conditioner, flushed out some ideas, and committed to a channel through which we would run the copper tubing that would serve as an egress of the air conditioner’s run-off water:

 Next, we worked on fashioning a foam board mock-up of the external vent area to be used for BOTH Zone 2 air intake AND Zone 3 hot-air egress:

Then, we worked on framing the innards with aluminum sheeting and created a path for run-off water to exit the trailer :

Next, we commited to cutting and forming the air conditioning system’s outer roof shield, AND we commit to applying the full aluminum skin to our trailer:

Final stages included installation of air conditioner’s aluminum roof-top vent shield and placement of protective plastic grill to keep the critters out:

See? That wasn’t so bad!

Actually, it was a bit more complicated than we thought. As with anything, you learn a whole lot about something when you’re forced to. I know WAY more about air conditioning systems than I thought I ever needed to or wanted to, but I actually feel the better for it. You will too.  🙂

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. In the meantime, good luck to all of you out there bravely building your own teardrop trailers. We STILL look fondly at this teardrop trailer build as our favorite joint-project to date!


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Happy trails, y’all!

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Building Our Teardrop Trailer From Scratch: Learning by Doing

Adventure comes in many forms, but boiled down to its basics, adventure is simply about going where you’ve never gone before or doing what you’ve never done before.

Sometimes it involves having a specific step-by-step plan, and sometimes it’s all about exploring and figuring it out as you go along.

The latter is how we set out to build our own teardrop trailer. Our big plan was to wing it, to step out on a limb with a destination in mind and take a leap of faith that our wings would do what we knew they could do, and that we’d get where we wanted to be.

THE INSPIRATION: The first time we saw a teardrop trailer, we were tent camping in Big Sur on the coast of California. The year was 2012. I had been in California all of a year, having moved there from my birth state of New York. After a lifetime of camping primarily in the Northeast United States, California seemed like a candy store, fully stocked with endless shorelines, expansive inner-mountain ranges, and forests of every height and girth.

Coastline not far from Big Sur
Coastline not far from Big Sur

And Big Sur offered it all– shoreline, mountains, and forests, all wrapped up in one gorgeous package. It was there that we saw it . . . a tiny teardrop trailer. We’d just spent an hour or two setting up a huge tent, a camping kitchen, filling up water jugs from a nearby faucet, unloading all our stuff from the utility trailer (one of several Mark had built through the years),  . . .

and in rolled a tiny camping trailer no bigger than the car that was hauling it. Within 15 minutes, the happy owners of the trailer had set up camp and were kicking back with a glass of wine. We gawked at them, envious and miffed . . . hmmmmm.

Curious, we strolled by and struck up a conversation. The husband and wife cheerfully gave us the teardrop tour (available all day long, it seemed–teardrop trailers naturally double as people magnets!). We ooh’d and aaa’d over the queen-sized bed and the cozy hatch-back kitchenette. The disappointing news for us was that their particular trailer went for roughly $13,000 brand new . . . way too steep a price tag for us. The interesting news was this couple had bought their teardrop trailer second-hand for $6,000 and altered it to their liking.

By the time we made our way back to our own campsite, Mark announced, “We can make one of those.”

Roughly a month later, that’s exactly what we set out to do. With only a vague idea of how to begin, we researched like heck whatever teardrop trailers we could find on the internet and then decided what style we wanted to make. We discussed some finer points about cabinetry needs, kitchen features, etc., and then just started building it!

THE PROJECT:  Over the course of four months, it went something like this . . .

To be sure, there were many trials and tribulations along the way, but for the most part, we worked together on this project, and that made all the difference. Mark had much more construction knowledge than I did, but I had a practical yet creative mind that served us well on many occasions. I had many ideas about aesthetics and design and even came through with viable solutions when we got into inevitable jams. We found that with the two of us working together, when one of us exhausted all our ideas, the other was able to come in on a fresh, new angle.

As with most things Mark and I come across, we’re hardly ever interested in buying something brand new. We’d rather restore, re-purpose, or attempt to build it ourselves.

Granted, a big reason for that is we’re simply not financially well-off enough to afford new everything. But honestly, the bigger reason is we enjoy the challenge of attempting to fix or build something ourselves. For one, we get to work on projects together, which improves our communication with one another. For two, with every project, we inevitably learn a couple of new skills we can port over to the next project. For three, we acquire a sense of empowerment by staying self-reliant, comforted in knowing that we can always make ends meet should our life adventures throw us a curve ball or should we temporarily lose our way.

With many of the projects we embark upon, we often don’t know what awaits us. We often don’t know if we have the specific skills we’ll need to get the job done. That can be intimidating. What we DO know, however, is we definitely have the most important tools: patience, common sense, cooperation, resilience, and desire. Everything else we need, we acquire by simply doing it!

Here’s a link to a post, showing what the final product looks like these days . . . Photos of Our Own Home-Built, Custom Teardrop Trailer.

[What’s that one project that keeps gnawing at you that you haven’t yet started or completed? Why not commit yourself today to getting the job done? Maybe if you say it out loud in our comments section, we can help hold you accountable for completing what you know you want to. If you do share your goal with us, we’d love to hear how the project’s progressing, whether you completed it, and what you learned along the way (and we’re not talking just skills learned!).]


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Happy trails, y’all!


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Lost in Daydreaming at Lost Dutchman State Park, AZ

Lost Dutchman State Park Campground, AZ, Arizona, hiking, teardrop trailers, tiny campers, nature, camping, photography

This is the view from inside my teardrop trailer. How am I supposed to get any work done with a view like this enticing me to daydream instead of write?

I should’ve known the moment we stopped at the entrance gate to the Lost Dutchman State Park campground in Apache Junction, Arizona, that nature would be ready to play hard ball to win my full attention for the next two days . . .

We chose a spectacular campsite that typically is claimed by the camp host but was available during this trip. This week’s camp host was instead set up next door to the one we were interested in. Good thing, ’cause we fell in love with ours right away . . .

Cactus plants all around. Some very much alive . . .

Lost Dutchman State Park Campground, AZ, Arizona, hiking, teardrop trailers, tiny campers, nature, camping, photography Lost Dutchman State Park Campground, AZ, Arizona, hiking, teardrop trailers, tiny campers, nature, camping, photography

others providing valuable service as they delicately decayed . . .

Lost Dutchman State Park Campground, AZ, Arizona, hiking, teardrop trailers, tiny campers, nature, camping, photography Lost Dutchman State Park Campground, AZ, Arizona, hiking, teardrop trailers, tiny campers, nature, camping, photography

I enjoyed the outdoor space, while Mark took his time with setting up the trailer . . .

and a few “features”–like the outdoor shower . . .

Lost Dutchman State Park Campground, AZ, Arizona, hiking, teardrop trailers, tiny campers, nature, camping, photography

and the chili-pepper lights and hummingbird feeder . . .

We have new additions to our teardrop trailer this time around; did you notice? . . .Lost Dutchman State Park Campground, AZ, Arizona, hiking, teardrop trailers, tiny campers, nature, camping, photography Lost Dutchman State Park Campground, AZ, Arizona, hiking, teardrop trailers, tiny campers, nature, camping, photography

I tried to settle in and stay focused on my writing for the day, but how could I? With Gambel’s quails strutting about the perimeter . . .

and cottontail rabbits bouncing about, too, it was all I could do to keep my head down and follow my own words. When I wasn’t distracted by the wildlife, I had this view to contend with . . .

Lost Dutchman State Park Campground, AZ, Arizona, hiking, teardrop trailers, tiny campers, nature, camping, photography

The second day, we headed out for an early morning hike. There are many possible trails at Lost Dutchman, from easy to difficult. We chose a moderate one which afforded views like this . . .

after which we gladly ended the day like this . . .

Lost Dutchman State Park Campground, AZ, Arizona, hiking, teardrop trailers, tiny campers, nature, camping, photography

Sadly, on day three, we had to leave. While packing up, we chatted it up with a man walking the road past our campsite. He was telling us about the campground’s wildlife, things to look for and look out for when, mid-sentence, a sizable bristle-haired javelina (a medium-sized, wild boar-like mammal) charged out of the brush and across the road behind us. Our dog barked her objection at the intrusion, inspiring the javelina to race by in a flash. I had no time to take a picture, but here is what one looks like . . .

javelina

Anyway, turns out the man we were speaking with was our camp host, and the camp host is a writer, and the writer had written a book.

“Fabulous,” I said. “What about?”

“It has to do with 9/11 and a cross-country bicycle trip I took. It’s about having hope.”

“Funny,” I said. “I’m writing a book right now that relates in part to 9/11. I used to live in New York.”

“So did I,” he said. Conversation followed of towns we both knew and a dozen other things we seemed to have in common, including something to say about 9/11 and the power to heal.

“I’d love to read your book,” I said. “And, hey, maybe some day when I’m done writing it, you could read mine.” We shared that excitement and encouragement commonly found among fellow writers and agreed to exchange business cards before Mark and I headed home.

Within minutes, Ray came back with a copy of his book as a present to us. I was blown away by his generosity.

Ray of Hope, Inspiring Peace, Ray MadaghieleInside the front cover read the words, “Mark & Susan, Thank you for your adventuresome spirits & for being rays of hope in this world. Many Blessings”

I can’t wait to read Ray’s book, “Ray of Hope: Inspiring Peace”; something tells me I’m gonna feel good after reading it. As for you, Ray, if you’re reading this blog page, thanks for the thoughtful gift. I plan to pay it forward some day soon.


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Happy trails, y’all!

 

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3-Week Teardrop Trailer Summer Road Trip: 9 NW States, 8 Nat’l Parks

22 days, 3,600 miles, 9 states, 8 National Parks and a whole lotta fun! Final preparations in motion for our next teardrop trailer adventure–Summer Road Trip 2014, starting tomorrow, August 15, 2014.

SB at JT 32

THE STATES:

We’ll be giving you play-by-play highlights direct from our home-built, vintage-style teardrop trailer as we travel from north Los Angeles, California, to Oregon, Washington, across to Idaho and Montana, down through Wyoming and Utah, and back home again through Arizona and Nevada.

Teardrop trailer travels, Teardrop Adventures, Multi-National Park trip, camping, West and Northwest U.S., hiking

THE NATIONAL PARKS:

We will spend time exploring the following and a whole lot more . . .

Oregon: Avenue of the Giants
Washington: Olympic National Park
Wyoming: Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park
Utah: Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Zion National Park


JOIN US FOR THE RIDE! FOLLOW US!


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UPDATE: 

THIS TRIP HAS ALREADY BEEN COMPLETED. TO SEE THE PLAY-BY-PLAY OF THE ENTIRE ADVENTURE, VISIT THE FOLLOWING ARTICLES IN THE ORDER LISTED:

Day 1, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Travel Log: Willits, CA, KOA Campground

Early Day 2, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Toilet Bowls, Vintage New Yorkers, and the Eclectic

Later Day 2, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Drive-Thru Redwoods, Giants, and Castles

Day 3, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Gigantic Marshmallows of Oregon

Day 4, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Captivating Washington Coastline

Day 5, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Olympiad Deer, Bald Eagles, and Chica Birds

Early Day 6, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Port Townsend, WA, See It All and Sea Otters Too!

Later Day 6, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, WA

Day 7, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Goodbye Olympic Peninsula; Hello Seattle!

Day 8, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Hay, Washington! Spuds! Spokane!

Day 9, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: It’s a Dog’s Life for Me

Midway on 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Just Stop; You’re Missing It!

3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Wild, Wicked Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone Bison vs. Humans: You Can’t Fix Stupid

3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Wildlife IN YOUR FACE in Grand Teton National Park

3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Journey to the Center of Utah

Got Gas? Utah Offers an Old-Time Fix

3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Arches National Park, Utah–Simply Speechless

Day 17: 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Day 18: 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Day 19: 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah


DAY_7_01We’re happy to help!

If you have any questions about where we’ve been, any aspects of the experience we didn’t share here, please use our ‘Contact’ page to send us an email with your question(s). We’ll do our best to provide you the answer if we know it or will at least fabricate something entirely convincing.

Remember…

If you see us the road, HONK!
If you take a picture of us and want to share it, or if you just want to say hi, visit us on FACEBOOK at:

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2014 Lake Perris Teardrop Trailer Gathering: Photo Gallery

Okay, Folks! There’s far too many to caption each one. Rather than do so and risk not getting these photos out quickly, here’s what my camera and Mark’s camera captured at the 2014 Lake Perris Teardrop Trailer Gathering:

 


Stay tuned for selections of these photos with special notes/stories that go along with them. If you haven’t signed up to follow TEARDROP ADVENTURES yet, make sure you do today so you don’t miss a thing!

2014 Lake Perris Teardrop Trailer Gathering: Dutch Oven Cooking

Did someone say Dutch Oven cooking? Oh, yeah!

We had a fantastic time at the 2014 Lake Perris Teardrop Trailer Gathering this past weekend (March 27-30). As with many events for me, it’s the unique food around an occasion that makes the memory stick. Here’s a video of many of the Dutch Ovens cranking away in the common cooking area:

Other teardrop trailer owners prepared their Dutch Oven recipes at their campsites and brought their finished products to the shared area just in time for chow call. At 5 p.m. Friday evening, all Dutch Oven chefs were on line with plate and utensils in hand ready to sample these fabulous looking entrees and desserts:

 

Stay tuned for more photos from the 2014 Lake Perris Teardrop Trailer gathering. If you haven’t signed up to follow TEARDROP ADVENTURES yet, make sure you do today so you don’t miss a thing!