Off to Glacier!

The Sunflower is currently traveling in Montana and Glacier National Park. While the park's iconic red tour buses are not teardrop trailers, wouldn't it be fun if they towed them around?

See you soon!

Photo by Glacier National Park Lodges

Friday Teardrop Photo

This wonderful teardrop camp setup is courtesy of Brian Seeley of Aero Teardrops in Portland, Ore. His interview will be coming to the Tiny Yellow Teardrop blog soon.

Don’t Rely on Your GPS

The other day, a friend was coming to my house so we could go hiking. I gave her the address, but warned her that some GPS units and phones like to take people on a dirt access road behind my house and told her to follow my directions. She ended up on the dirt road behind my house with her GPS unit chiming, “You have arrived.”

I’m morbidly fascinated with dumb GPS mistakes. Lately there have been an influx of deaths (many in Death Valley, of course) of people blindly following their GPS units or Siri's voice onto dangerous dirt roads, into lakes and mud holes and nearly off the sides of cliffs. GPS is a wonderful tool, but just like any tool (that can break) don’t rely solely on it if you are traveling in unfamiliar locations.

If you have a medical question, you usually don’t go with one source or one piece of advice. You ask several medical experts, do some of your own research and maybe read some books or articles. Do the same when you are traveling. If you have to get to a specific location, use several sources and compare how the information is given to you.

1. Google Maps and Google Earth:

Before you leave on your trip, use Google Maps to see the various routes that you can take to your destination. Another problem with relying on a GPS is that you blindly follow one route (usually the shortest, but not always the best) without knowing what else is around. 

I’ve met people who have become so reliant on their GPS that they don’t even know how to read a map anymore. They don’t know which way is north, south, east and west and they don’t recognize the difference between a secondary road and topographic line.

Google Maps at least allows you get a feeling for directions, time, surrounding terrain and various obstacles. It shows you nearby towns, services and other attractions. The 3D options of Google Earth shows road types, canyons, mountains and tall buildings that don’t translate well to paper or GPS.

2. Paper Maps: 

Since some remote areas are not always mapped by GPS, always take a paper map of your desired location. Some of the best maps are the Rand McNally Road Atlas, Benchmarks Maps & Atlases and specific trail and park maps offered by REI. I’m a paper map junkie and love to pore over them before, during and after a trip. I love to see where we are going and what we will see and experience on the way to and from our destination. A GPS can’t give you that holistic satisfaction.

The best thing about paper? You can write all over it. Mark your location, any special notes or issues you have noticed on Google Maps.

3. Ask the locals: 

No matter if you are going to New York City or Oatmeal, Texas, there will be a local who knows more about the area than you do. Ask for directions and about attractions from cops, coffee shop owners, grocery clerks, librarians, RV hosts and adventurous teens. You might make a new friend and won’t have to contend with Siri’s annoying voice for miles of unending dirt roads.

Friday Teardrop Photo

This photo of a handmade teardrop trailer in the desert is by Engineer_Allen. His 71-1/2" wide, 108" long, and 60" high trailer is featured on Instructables and his requirements and step-by-step building guide is available on the website.

Teardrop Miscellaneous Box

Most of our camping equipment is inside the teardrop trailer, but we do keep a 14 quart Sterilite box for those "extra" items that don't seem to have a regular home. These are usually items that help us around camp or are things we don't use all the time. The box goes in the back of the car along with our folding camp tablecamp chairs, and our EZ-Up shelter.

The box contains the wind walls for the EZ-Up shelter, a pair of work gloves for doing any dirty work, several stakes for the shelter, some pieces of wood for leveling out our cook table, a tiny wood level for checking the level of our teardrop, an axe for chopping up firewood, a can of Fire Be Gone extinguisher and a small can of WD-40 lubricant.

While the items might seem random, we keep the box near our campsite picnic table and access at least one thing during each camping trip. It helps with the "Honey, where is the...?" questions.

Friday Teardrop Photo

This wonderful photo is from Road Adventures, a new camper (and tow vehicle) rental company in partnership with AAA auto club and insurance. The company rents iconic campers like Airstreams and Little Guy T@Gs and T@Bs and helps you plan the perfect trip to various locations. The company also has videos on how to operate your chosen trailer.

Cool Tears Magazine - May/June

The latest version of Cool Tears and Tiny Campers is now available online. This issue features the family business of Colorado Teardrops, an ingenious mobile bedroll towed by a motorcycle and a list of this summer's teardrop trailer gatherings.

Friday Teardrop Photo

This patriotic colored teardrop trailer is perfect for the 4th of July. The Vistabule Teardrop Trailer of Minnesota was parked at the Minneapolis/St. Paul RV Vacation and Camping Show and was too much of a temptation for 5-year-old Ashley Ritchie.

Photo by Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune