Richard & The Modernistics Aren’t A Band

Teardrop trailer

We asked for your stories about Camping on the Coast, wanting to know if anybody had experience traveling in, or building, teardrop trailers.

You told us about the Trask River Teardrop Trailer Gathering near Tillamook, Oregon.

As the stories rolled in, we headed to Salem to tour a Teardrop manufacturer. That video will be posted soon along with other messages from squidknot.com readers.

Richard Baize sent us his story, an example of how the tiny trailer introduced him to a tribe of outdoor enthusiasts where new friendships began. Thanks Richard for this fun and inspiring tale. Any failures in storytelling are mine, not his, the result of late-night editing.

See you in Tillamook!

R Baize Teardrops

Richard supplied the photo taken near Mount Shasta.
Check the size of the Teardrops as compared to the big-rig parked behind them.

Back in the fall of 2008, my wife Cindy and I made the decision to look for a teardrop trailer.
We’d raised two girls, which meant that we’d participated in the group campout, family weekends, and team travel that parenthood entails.
Although they were great fun, the prep work involved a ton of time and effort.

The girls are out of the house now, but we still wanted to go outdoors and recharge in what my wife called the “Big Trees.” The answer came in a small, adorable package out of the days of the Greatest Generation, the teardrop trailer.

Retro tear strong horizontal copyI was drifting though the listings on Craiglist in March of 2009 and read “For Sale, partially completed Teardrop Trailer, $300.” I nearly wrenched my arm out of the socket reaching for the phone. Patrick, the fellow on the other end of the line, filled me in. He’d gotten plans off the internet from a company called Kuffel Creek. They’d been easy to follow. He’d made simple modifications and had attached the sides after they were trimmed to the traditional teardrop shape.

About that time, his wife walked into his shop on their vineyard near Phoenix, Oregon and announced they were having twins. “Right then,” Patrick told me, “I decided that a tiny trailer made no sense.”

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I drove home with the trailer and commenced to work. The plans were extremely well-written and included a list of materials and providers. Through this list, I met Grant Whipp, who had been building and providing parts and advice for builders of Teardrops for over a quarter of a century. Like every single person who has come into my life through this delightful hobby, Grant and his partner Kay have become true friends.

Retro tear 4 square with pop effec tBy June our tiny trailer, called “Cubby” by its designers, was ready for its first camping trip. When night fell near the shores of Howard Prairie Lake, we dropped the rear galley hatch, slid inside the cozy interior, and closed the doors for the night. Since the teardrop is carefully sealed and well-insulated, the night chill stayed outside and the noises of nearby campers faded into peaceful slumber–free from critters, rocks, and rain.

The first Gathering for our little Cubbie was at Applegate Lake. However, there was a problem lurking in the glow of the campfires.  Since I’d completed Cubby, I’d been without a project. Seeing all the great trailers at the Gathering made me think the Cubby was a great little trailer, with the key word being “little.” I wanted more, I needed…more.

Teardrops BookEnter the Modernistic. Along the way I’d found a lovely little book by Douglas Keister, “Teardrops and Tiny Travel Trailers.” It had photos of all kinds of trailers: teardrops, “canned hams,” and the Modernistic. With a profile similar to the cross-section of an aircraft wing, the Modernistic had the shape I dreamed about–the one I wanted to build next.

I started getting information from Grant and others on the www.tnttt.com forum during the fall of 2011. Grant had the ability to trace the profiles of several types of traditional trailers and the Mod was one of them. I ordered a tracing from him and when it arrived, I unrolled it onto our really long dining room table. It was round and swoopy just like I though it would be.

–Richard Baize as told to squidknot.com

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