Intro, Newbie wanna be solo lady teardropper in Pacific NW

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Intro, Newbie wanna be solo lady teardropper in Pacific NW

Postby Nicolathecat » Fri Oct 18, 2013 6:46 pm

Hi there,

My name is Nicola and I am 38, widowed, and mom to a delightful 10 year old daughter. We really want to start going camping, but since it is just the two of us I do not feel comfortable with the idea of tent camping. I really want a door I can lock at night (to keep out four footed beasties and two footed beasties.) We would be bringing our sweet love of a dog Kahlua (90 lb mix breed with an incredibly impressive bark that she only uses when she feels we are being threatened.)

I am not a builder and am thus planning on buying our tear drop. I think I have it narrowed down to two builders...either a FronTear from Oregon Trail'R http://www.oregontrailer.net/ or a Tiny Trailer from Jack Gerber http://www.tinytrailer.com/. I am having a heck of a time picking between the two. We will be towing with a 2006 Kia Sedona. I emailed the service dept asking about adding a tow assembly to my van and to find out how much Velda (the van) can pull. I was told 1,000 lbs w/out brakes on the trailer or 3,500 with brakes. Do brakes make a big difference when towing?

I have never towed anything and am a bit nervous about it. I have also never hooked up a trailer...LOL...again nervous about that also. It is amazing how many things I have had to learn how to do on my own since my husband died 18 months ago.

Any advice, suggestions, btdt stories you all want to share will be welcomed most gratefully. I feel both excited and totally over my head.

Thanks,
Nicola
"An Zhi Fei Fu"
Who could have guessed it was a blessing in disguise?
-Chinese proverb


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Re: Intro, Newbie wanna be solo lady teardropper in Pacific

Postby Nicolathecat » Fri Oct 18, 2013 6:58 pm

Here is our Kahlua baby.
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Re: Intro, Newbie wanna be solo lady teardropper in Pacific

Postby Roo Dog » Fri Oct 18, 2013 7:09 pm

Nicola,

We are too far away to be of much help to you except to say take your time, do not rush anything you do as regard choice or actually learning about your Tear when you finally get it.
Take it easy and enjoy the process.
Good looking dawg.

RD :)
Lets do a three sixty and get out of here !
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Re: Intro, Newbie wanna be solo lady teardropper in Pacific

Postby Mary C » Fri Oct 18, 2013 7:58 pm

Welcome Nicola, purchasing a tear or building one is a matter of choice Get what you want. There are lots of people in your area who would be most willing to give you a hand in getting set up go on the tearjerker site and just ask there about camping with the groups around local. I want you to know that most everyone here on this site are pretty nice people and I have not met or know of any weirdos. With the tearjerkers you will meet mostly couples who love camping and are really nice people who go camping with the groups. I have no fear of going to a camp out with any of the groups. everyone has been good natured and kind so ask I am sure with a little more info about where you live we can locate a couple to help you. Read the threads about backing on here and when you get your TD take it to an empty parking lot and just practice while your daughter is in school. practice and you might get something to See and adjust and aim for in your mirror, a buggy left in the parking lot or a flower pot with a stick in it , My experience has been that Uhaul is the most reasonable for hitches, and there are some on the forum that will have you put brakes on and believe me I would but they are expensive and if you don't drive like a maniac you probably won't need them ever. Brakes are great with a heavy trailer (I used to haul horses) but I am pulling my TD with a little car and I have been to Texas 2 times, Indiana and St Augustine FL and have had no problem but I drive like a little old lady too says my 40 year old son!!!! I hope you will continue to post here and let us know about your choices, decorating, questions and experiences . Again Welcome!!!

Mary C. :)
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Re: Intro, Newbie wanna be solo lady teardropper in Pacific

Postby tony.latham » Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:48 pm

Nicola:

About your question on brakes. I don't think you need brakes on a tear. My first tear was a 4x10 Hunter made in Sandpoint that looks suspiciously like Jack Gerber's trailers. It doesn't have brakes and I never felt the need for them. The trailer I just built is a 5x10 and I didn't add brakes to it either –I didn't hold back on this build– if I thought brakes were a good idea, I'd have added them. A horse trailer? You bet, but not a lightweight tear. There's over 17,000 members on this forum so I suspect somebody is going to disagree. Their trails may have been down a path I have yet to go. Listen to them also.

When I bought my Hunter (no longer made) I recall asking the owner about brakes and he poo-pooed them even though they were an option. I think they are required if registered in California.

Your intro as a 38 year old widow was a grabber. My widow girlfriend and I (yep, I'm a widower too...) simply love teardropping. It's a great way to camp. Life is good (again). :wine:

Tony
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Re: Intro, Newbie wanna be solo lady teardropper in Pacific

Postby PKCSPT » Sat Oct 19, 2013 1:59 am

Welcome, I have a feeling when you see the right teardrop you will know it. When it comes to towing and hooking up,, practice. It is really quite simple with these little campers it won't take you long. I can move mine around by hand if I need to, mine is pretty light, about 700 lbs fully loaded. I tow with a beetle no brakes on the trailer.

I camp by myself or with a grandchild and have always felt comfortable doing so. I make sure several people know where I am going, stay aware of my surroundings and have a very similar alarm system as yours but mine is a lab dane mix model. There are many of us ladies out there who solo camp with or with out kids for a variety of reasons.

And if you get a chance to join up with one of the gatherings I highly recommend it, I have been to one and it was great.

Sorry to hear about your husband passing at such a young age.
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Re: Intro, Newbie wanna be solo lady teardropper in Pacific

Postby Nicolathecat » Sat Oct 19, 2013 2:13 am

Thank you all for the warm welcome. I truly appreciate it.

I think one of the hardest things is figuring out what you want on/in your teardrop. There are so many different styles and features. It seems like you can go as simple or fancy as you can imagine and afford. I am on a budget so I won't be going super fancy, but I am struggling trying to figure out what is worth the splurge, what I need to consider essential and what is a pure luxury I can live without. Things like is it worth it to upgrade to a Deep Cycle Battery and Heavy Duty Charger/Maintainer or is the Basic 12V battery with basic charger/maintainer that comes with the base model enough to cover our needs.

I have already decided I am cool with lugging in our water in containers and using a plastic tub rather than springing for the sink and water tank. I am also cool with getting a separate propane stove instead of getting a built in one. But then I start wondering is the tongue box (for extra storage in the cabin) worth it or should I get the cooler rack on the chassis instead (would having an external cooler even be a good idea or would it be wiser to store that in my van where it is more protected from critters?)

Of course there is also the choice between the base model shelves in the galley and cabin or custom cabinetry in both...is it really worth the extra money?

Oh and is a second door vital or can we live without it? *sigh* There are so many choices!!!

I have also debated going on craigslist, but that one scares me a bit...what if it leaks, has water damage, was owned by a smoker (I am asthmatic so that is a big deal)...I have no construction skills so if I don't like something I can't just tear it out and fix it. I can paint and put up curtain rods... that's about it. There is a really pretty one near here http://seattle.craigslist.org/oly/rvs/4113730327.html Would an all wood one like this have issues with water? It rains a lot here so I need something that is not going to leak.

And yep...I already know I over think things...LOL.

Thus far I am leaning towards splurging on an Oregon Trail'R. I like how sturdy it looks and thus far they have been extremely nice and very patient with my many questions...LOL.
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Who could have guessed it was a blessing in disguise?
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Re: Intro, Newbie wanna be solo lady teardropper in Pacific

Postby Mary C » Sat Oct 19, 2013 11:25 am

My advice go check it out It is cute and You really wouldn't know check for water stains on the inside and remember that a new one could leak. check for mildew and mold and check the insides of cabinets, and regarding the types of batteries.......well you will have to replace in 4-5 years so it is a money thing . What do you plan to use in your camper? if I were to be in mine for only weekends I can do without tv, but I camp during the winter so I need enough power for an electric blanket. If I were going to be in it for a month here and a month there if I could afford it I would think solar too. I like coffee but I can use the stove to heat water for my 2 cup drip maker , I love toast made in a frying pan and I can make my margaritas on the rocks. I sorta camp out of mine. I can spend the extra money on better made Ice chest, or new mattress. as far as cabinets and other things inside I suggest you assemble all the camping things you use. decide if you want cabinets or like me I am going to put them in baskets on a shelf. that way I can take the whole basket over to a picnic table. Things wont stay real still in the shelves or cabinets they seem to get jostled around. Cubie holes are fine if you build it yourself and you can always improvise when you get yours, It seems there holders for almost everything that can be attached to walls doors and put into places, so think about a trip to the container store soon then you may want to go by ikea if you have one.....not to spend money but to decide what you may want in the making of your TD. I am building a box to go on the front of mine to put all the small junk in and I can put my dirty clothes and shoes in too. I like to go spelunking (caving) so there will be a place to put those clothes in too. You just need to decide what you need and will use some people have to have a coffee maker toaster blender microwave and all sorts of radio sterio and tv equipment. I decided to buy a boombox with a cd player that can use internal batteries or plug into the ac. then I can have music outside or inside and a few extra batteries wont break the bank. You can make a list of what you want and what you will use and you are right about the not needing a sink I wash all my dishes by using the largest pan I have put it on the stove heating water and then washing the dishes and rinse in a very small amount of water . Think through your needs, Good Luck.

Mary C. :)
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Re: Intro, Newbie wanna be solo lady teardropper in Pacific

Postby Shadow Catcher » Sat Oct 19, 2013 2:36 pm

I will strongly disagree on the brakes, We have had two pretty much the same teardrop, the first one made by a company and the seventh and last one. #1 did not have brakes and the current one does. On the flat and level (most of Ohio and Michigan) not a big problem, when we traveled to California even with brakes smoked the brakes coming down Tioga pass. Most vehicle brakes are designed for the vehicle not for the vehicle and a trailer. Also think of what happens if you are in a accident and the lawyer finds out your trailer did not have brakes... They do not add much cost and knowing Oregon and the west coast you absolutely need them particularly in rain.

There are often a number of single ladies coming to tearjerkers events and one of your jobs as a parent is to provide memories for your daughter. Ours joined us with her husband in Lake Superior Provincial Park (North shore of Superior), she and her brothers spent a week up there most summers while growing up, and she of all our kids loved it most!

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Re: Intro, Newbie wanna be solo lady teardropper in Pacific

Postby nevadatear » Sat Oct 19, 2013 3:50 pm

If you a still thinking between ice chest on the front vs tongue box, i would go with the tongue box. You are hoing to move the ice chest in and out of the car or a bear box in bear country anyway. My preference was more storage for the propanr tank, lantern, etc. just my opinion

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Re: Intro, Newbie wanna be solo lady teardropper in Pacific

Postby tony.latham » Sat Oct 19, 2013 4:39 pm

Shadow Catcher wrote:I will strongly disagree on the brakes, We have had two pretty much the same teardrop, the first one made by a company and the seventh and last one. #1 did not have brakes and the current one does. On the flat and level (most of Ohio and Michigan) not a big problem, when we traveled to California even with brakes smoked the brakes coming down Tioga pass. Most vehicle brakes are designed for the vehicle not for the vehicle and a trailer. Also think of what happens if you are in a accident and the lawyer finds out your trailer did not have brakes... They do not add much cost and knowing Oregon and the west coast you absolutely need them particularly in rain.

There are often a number of single ladies coming to tearjerkers events and one of your jobs as a parent is to provide memories for your daughter. Ours joined us with her husband in Lake Superior Provincial Park (North shore of Superior), she and her brothers spent a week up there most summers while growing up, and she of all our kids loved it most!

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Shadow:

I can't disagree with your experiences. I pull with a truck, and you pull with a car (or so it looks). I drive a Toyota pickup that came with a hitch, truck frame, and beefier brakes. I travel country –central Idaho & western Montana– that's crazy steep with my tear (for the last nine years) and have never overheated my brakes. I don't think it's my driving skills either BTW, but I do gear down descending a steep grade. I've got an auto tranny, not a stick.

Perhaps towing with a car, one should have brakes on a teardrop?

I expet there'd be no disagreement between us concnering jay-strokes 'n draw strokes. :beer:

Tony
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Re: Intro, Newbie wanna be solo lady teardropper in Pacific

Postby ParTaxer » Sat Oct 19, 2013 5:31 pm

I agree with Deb. A tongue box is much more valuable for storage and can be more easily attached to the tongue.

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Re: Intro, Newbie wanna be solo lady teardropper in Pacific

Postby Miriam C. » Sat Oct 19, 2013 8:07 pm

Image to the playground.

My experience with towing is to listen to the manufacturer. Your insurance may decide to not pay if you do have a problem.

I have a Sentra and the tow rate is 1000 also. However U-haul said not to exceed 500# because of the way the hitch is attached. Not a good place for it. I got a truck. Remember that you are also towing you toys too. You might ask your hitch installer also.

Now for that lovely dog and two people try at least 5' wide and a side tent to keep pup in. :D I don't keep water or flame in my TD. Most of my cooking is outside and on the table. I do keep a porta potty and strongly advise it for girls... :D

Be sure to get us pictures when you get your TD and enjoy the site. I will second the group camping. If we were to ever see anything off with a member that person would not be welcome.
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Re: Intro, Newbie wanna be solo lady teardropper in Pacific

Postby PKCSPT » Sat Oct 19, 2013 10:28 pm

I bought real super basic and have added what I needed but so far it hasn't been much. A tongue box and an extension cord to run a fan and a side tent. The one thing I wish I could add is a second door. I am just not about to cut a hole in the side myself and don't want to spend the money on having it done. I also wish I had the little plug in on the side of my trailer to plug and extension cord into on the outside and the fan in on the inside, they way it is now I just drape the cord through the hatch so I guess that is two things I wish I had on mine.
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Re: Intro, Newbie wanna be solo lady teardropper in Pacific

Postby Nicolathecat » Sun Oct 20, 2013 12:47 am

Thank you guys so much for all the advice!!! I have now found a THIRD builder that I have contacted. I know I want to work with someone in the Pacific NorthWest. We are so wet here I feel it is important to get a trailer built by someone who knows our weather. I am now leaning towards http://www.oregontrailer.net/ or http://teardropsnw.com/ . A lot will be dependent on potential turn around time. I am hoping to be able to start our camping season this coming spring. I really like http://www.tinytrailer.com/ but he is booked through May and the earliest I could get a teardrop from him is August.

I was wondering if anyone knows...would a deep cycle battery allow me run the lights in the trailer, a mini heater on cold days and a single electric burner? I have never used propane and would honestly prefer never to do so. Growing up the house stove was gas and I nearly caught the house on fire more than once. I by far prefer cooking with electric. I do not think I am going to be doing a great deal of cooking, but for things like tea having a small burner would be nice. Something along this line http://www.amazon.com/Proctor-Silex-341 ... +in+burner .

Does anyone know where I can find reviews from people how have bought trailers from any of these builders?
"An Zhi Fei Fu"
Who could have guessed it was a blessing in disguise?
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