The decision to teardrop

I grew up tent camping. My dad was a forester and we spent a lot of time with him in the woods. We sometimes used campgrounds,  but were just as likely to set up in a remote spot known only to dad.

My sister and I on our summer-long trip across the US (mom and our babysitter are behind the picnic table…are they washing their hair?)

We once camped for more than a month about ten miles up the Elwah River. Mom and my oldest sister (13) packed my twin brothers in.  They learned to crawl in the meadow outside our tent.

Another sister (11) packed in the beer, leaving a couple in every creek all the way up. Dad and his crew were grateful for that beer after clearing trail all day.

I was part of the middle group (4, 7, and 8). The only thing we packed was ourselves.

I still pick up trash wherever I go

We’d spent the entire previous summer camping eastward across the US and westward across Canada. Yes, my mom was pregnant with those same twins.

I have fond memories of my dad’s famous gray egg and bacon breakfasts and mom’s weeny wrap and s’more dinners.

In college Bill and I borrowed sleeping bags, piled in the back of a friend’s truck, and slept under the stars. Later we accumulated some gear, borrowed more, and camped with our kids.

Bill and I have never overnight hiked. We bulk-camped near our travel vehicles.

We live in Western Washington and camped mostly on the Olympic Peninsula.  Aquacamping was our circumstantial specialty. We’d pack a bag of briquettes to make a campfire from soggy wood,  weren’t surprised when our friends and their kids ended up in the van after the hollow they pitched the tent in became a stream in the middle of the night,  and spent many days back at home drying out sleeping bags, tents, tarps, and kids.

We also got older. 

Sleeping bags on the ground became padded with mats and inflatable mattresses that sagged throughout the night. There’s nothing like waking up when your partner, who kept you sleeping on a thin cushion of air, rolls out of bed, depositing you abruptly on the cold hard ground.

We got more involved with other things and stopped camping as much. I missed it.  Bill missed it too, but let me know he was done sleeping on the ground.

I like the whole living outdoors aspect of camping. Trailers with satellite dishes aren’t for me. I also do not want to haul my poop down the road.

We started looking at vintage trailers in library picture books. Canned hams were cute,  Airstreams classic, and some of the boat-camp combos fascinating. I was both drawn to and repulsed by the lengths people went to in outfitting their too-twee, too-cute trailer ensembles.

We’ve kept coming back to teardrops. Aesthetically pleasing and about as close to a tent as you can get without sleeping on the ground.

I had opinions. I always have opinions. I don’t see why you shouldn’t have form AND function and generally lean a little toward form.

Classic camping (or at least picnicking) in a red VW bus. That’s me in the carseat.

My teardrop would need to be curved from stem to stern. It needed a rounded door. The galley needed to be spacious and attractive. I didn’t want a built in stove or sink. I didn’t want a heater or air conditioner. I didn’t want ugly curtains. 

Bill needed two doors. Looks are important to both of us, but he’s the more practical half of our duo.

We didn’t have money to actually purchase and in the back of our minds we thought we’d build someday as we do with most things.

We liked Vacations-in-a-Can’s Chili Peppers and Orange Pops, but never got closer than pictures. We tracked down a few want-ads and started to keep a mental list of the bits that seemed prone to failure. We looked at lots of too big, too straight, too not-quite- perfect teardrops…and all the while we slowly added to our kitty.

I don’t know where Bill first ran across Oregon Trail’r. I do remember that the first Frontear I saw had a squarish door.

The more I looked the more I liked.  They had a rounded door option. It was fun to look at the spec sheets and mix and match to fit my wish list and budget. Best of all they’re located just outside Eugene, practically on the way to both my and Bill’s parents.  Eventually we emailed for an introduction 

Jon and Sawyer are awesome. Sawyer agreed to meet us on a weekend and Jon stopped in with his family and stayed to talk. You can tell that they are proud of their work,  enjoy each other, and like to teardrop camp, each in their own way. Their personal teardrops are their display models. They comfortably attended to their small kids while we were there and I knew I could trust them to put the same care into creating Brave Horatio.

2 thoughts on “The decision to teardrop”

    1. The Elwah is also a marvelous, amazing success story of dam removal! The restoration project is transforming fish passage and the mouth of the river.

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