Friday, February 21, 2020

I Join the Tear Jerkers Tiny Trailer Community

Tear Jerkers
I tend to camp by myself quite a lot, which I don't mind. Camping with my wife is also something that I really enjoy when she can get away from work. We both hope to start camping with our grandkids soon when they get a bit older.

What I'm trying to say is that I haven't done much group camping; I just haven't had the opportunity. Last year I did attend a tiny trailer company get-together, which was a lot of fun--like-minded people owning the same brand of tiny trailer. ("2019 Gathering of the Bears: RTTC 2nd Annual Tiny Trailer Gathering") I was able to meet people I had interacted with online, to enjoy food and camping together, and I was able to see that although solo or couple camping is wonderful, group camping can also be a hoot.

Based on my RTTC Gathering experience, I decided to join up with the Tear Jerkers organization. I have joined both the international organization and also the chapter for my area, the Tear Jerkers Heartland Chapter (Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, and Kansas). There is also a Heartland Tearjerkers Facebook page that I've referenced more, at this time anyway, since the main Tear Jerkers website has just moved to a new platform. The new platform is up and running now, so I'm looking forward to exploring it.

Here is the Tear Jerkers description of their organization:
Tear Jerkers was founded in 1997 by Todd Brunengraber, with assistance from Grant & Lisa Whipp of Teardrop Tales & Trails / Teardrop Times. Our members include owners, home builders, manufacturers, restorers, parts suppliers and creative craftsmen that build their own from scratch. We enjoy not only our small vintage trailers but also, vintage vehicles to tow them with. Tear Jerkers started out on the East Coast of the U.S. but has expanded to include members from Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, Sweden, Canada, and The Netherlands. 
Tear Jerkers is an informal group of people who share their love of teardrop and small travel trailers through discussions and gatherings. 
"If you enjoy the great outdoors and fellowship with others, our campsite will always be open." 
Let us make no mistake, TearJerkers does "Group Camping." Our gatherings are social events with lots of interaction and activities. One does not have to be a member to attend our gatherings.
I think it's important to reiterate that the organization is for both teardrop and all other small travel trailers. When I once asked a FB tiny trailer group administer what constitutes a "small trailer," his easy-to-understand reply was "a single-axle trailer." Some single-axles are not so small, but it is a good beginning point for identification.

What Is a Teardrop Trailer?

While exploring the Tear Jerkers' website, I enjoyed reading a short piece on the history of the teardrop trailer.
As early as the 1930’s, a unique camping trailer began taking to the American roads. Teardrop trailers are named for their unique tear shape, and became popular in the early 1940s. Their compact size, simplicity and affordability made for a winning package to Americans of the era. When Post-war availability increased the resources of aluminum and fiberglass to consumers, and with the boom in automobiles (and children), coupled with the new national highway system, vacationing via the family car became an inexpensive way to see the country. These small trailers were easy to tow, slept two comfortably, featured a cooking area under the hatch, and were stylish and fun. Multiple manufacturers contributed to the various styles and shapes such as KIT, KENSKILL, CUB, MODERNISTIC, MODERNAIRE, MARVEL DWYER, and SCOTTY, to name just a few. Many of them were sold as ready-to-assemble kits, and homebuilt from plans published in the pages of magazines such as POPULAR SCIENCE and POPULAR MECHANICS. Today, plans are still readily available to the do-it-yourselfer, and many new manufacturers are re-creating the classic shape with modern conveniences.
Tear Jerkers
Heartland Tear Jerkers

Right now I am having fun learning about the Tear Jerkers' website and especially the group chapter for my area, the Heartland chapter. I've introduced myself on the main site's forum and am pleased to find out that some members have been reading my Green Goddess Glamping articles. I've found out that there is a Heartland chapter gathering at Mark Twain Cave Campground in Hannibal, Missouri, April 30-May 3. I've never been to the cave or on a riverboat, so it sounds like there are some new experiences available, in addition to meeting some new Midwest campers.

The organization and "look" of the website is different than I'm used to, but there is a wealth of information and opportunity available. I've connected to the international Tear Jerkers site now during the last few days, and interactions have been positive and supportive. Sharing common interests is a good thing to do, and the Tear Jerkers is a safe, friendly, and inclusive avenue for learning more about this tiny trailer lifestyle. As a note, if you belonged to the old website, you need to sign up for the new website. Soon they will archive the old site, making it accessible for research but not for interaction.

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