Teardrop Trailers in the Plomosas

December 1, 2011
Filed under Feature Stories, Southwest Camping

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No matter where you travel lately it seems you’re bound to see the iconic shape of a teardrop trailer heading toward its destination. With its sleek familiar shape, there’s no mistaking this again-popular if not diminutive member of the RV family. However, after spending several days with a group of teardrop owners in the beautiful Plomosa Mountains of Arizona, we found there’s nothing diminutive about the teardrops’ abilities or their owners’ loyalty.
Meeting up with the group outside Quartzsite, Ariz., we were treated to nearly the full line of Little Guy models pulled by a variety of tow vehicles ranging from Toyota Prius Hybrid daily drivers to highly modified Jeep Wranglers. From the basic 4-foot by 8-foot model to an extreme and over-the-top off-road model, it also became obvious that these versatile trailers lend themselves well to customizing.

No matter what your style of camping may be, the teardrop is highly adaptable. The experience level of the owners in attendance also spanned newbie to veteran, and this outing, like most RV rallies, proved to be a valuable forum for all. Getting a firsthand look at what works and how other owners had personalized their trailers helped streamline the learning curve, build confidence, avoid potential missteps and enhance the overall RV-camping experience.

Attendees towed teardrops with vehicles ranging from hybrid cars to modified 4x4s.
We convoyed to a beautiful remote campsite in the historical mining district where lead destined for use in World War I was mined and later, gold and copper ore added to the incredible mineral wealth extracted from the drifts and shafts that still crater the terrain. Recent rains had jump-started the spring bloom, creating striking oases of color against the area’s stark volcanic topography.

Setting up camp was an amusing beehive of activity as colorful fitted screen rooms and awnings went up to moderate an unexpected spike in spring temperatures. It was interesting to watch the parade of gear being unloaded from the teardrops, validating their unique ability to offer a simple yet complete and comfortable way to enjoy the outdoors. Equally as entertaining was the witty banter from campers who were already friends.

Basecamp was spread out across a small natural basin.
The Paha Qué Tent Company, manufacturer of add-on screen rooms and covers for Little Guy teardrops, decided to throw one of its long-standing customer-appreciation camping trips for its tent customers to share outdoor experiences and have some fun. Paha Qué’s involvement with Little Guy accessories, encouraged by Little Guy’s San Diego dealership, led to this inaugural teardrop outing where teardrop campers could meet, share information and enjoy a long weekend of camaraderie in a beautiful location. The tent and teardrop connection was a natural.

The trails to camp and to some of the sites explored during the three-day rally were adventures in themselves for many of the participants of the Paha Que/Little Guy Rally.
With camp made and the first of several spectacular sunsets at hand, there were plenty of opportunities for people to relax, chat and get acquainted.

Mike is a recently retired public utility professional from Michigan touring the U.S. in his newly purchased teardrop and had stopped in Arizona to visit friends. He happened to see the online notice about this trip, was intrigued and showed up. His accidental discovery turned into a side trip filled with amazing sights and newfound friends that will likely fill an entire scrapbook.

Guided expeditions to remains of mining operations were part of the trip.
David, an Arizona medical prosthetics designer, explained that he had been searching online for Amish-built furniture and during a search the Amish-built Little Guy teardrop popped up. His interest grew in the trailer and now he and his girlfriend enjoy teardrop outings whenever they can get away.

Nuggets of precious metal can still be found in these hills by those who have the right equipment.
Mary’s a retired Arizona teacher and ceramics artist who was looking online for a cargo trailer to transport her Cattle Track pottery. One of her searches turned up the teardrop design, which caught her eye. After additional research, Mary bought one of Little Guy’s Silver Shadow models that closely resembles the original 1940s aluminum-skinned teardrop complete with wide whitewall tires. When not used for camping, her teardrop serves as her office when attending art fairs.

Bruce got into teardrops a while back while recovering from a broken leg. In a cast and bored, Bruce took a closer look at a teardrop one of his friends was building from online plans. Bruce was hooked and began building his own. He arrived for this trip in his seventh hand-built teardrop with a For Sale sign, apparently ready to start No. 8.

Once camp was made and everyone settled in and started to get to know each other, the camaraderie grew with no end of kidding when one of the group got a flat tire.
Chris works in the aviation industry in Las Vegas and brought his highly modified Rough Rider model. Color matched to his Jeep Wrangler in a brilliant bumble bee yellow and sporting 35-inch tires, his teardrop looked well-suited to follow his Jeep anywhere.

One of the youngsters in the group receives a few tips on safe and sane ATV riding.
Designed for extreme off-road use including a roll-bar exoskeleton for protection, the teardrop features a multi-axis-style hitch, but still retains all the usual creature comforts needed to bring camping civility to the backcountry, including cabin air conditioning powered by a small generator.

Diana, a property manager from Temecula, California, summed up the teardrop lifestyle for her: “It involves the friendliest people in the world.” A teardrop meets her needs. It’s easy to pull, easy to set up, and by design offers an outdoor lifestyle. She couldn’t be happier in her 4-foot by 8-foot “4-Wide” model.

Refreshed under a starlit night, morning found the group involved in a variety of activities. Some decided to explore the nearby washes and bed­rock formations with a metal detector in search of riches while others shared their favorite coffee blends, enjoyed a walk or recorded the blooming desert through their lens. Later, everyone jumped into the trail-worthy tow vehicles and set off on the first of two guided back-road tours of the area led by Paha Qué President Jeff Basford.

The Little Guy teardrops feature compact yet fully functional galleys in their rear hatchback compartments.
Basford has explored the area and is a bit of a history buff when it comes to this region. The group was given the opportunity to get a closeup, hands-on look at the mining operations of a generation past, the history of their efforts, and see the colorful claim markers of present-day prospectors. Basford even conjured up the sudden appearance of a desert bighorn ram. Now that’s tour guide mojo! Only one tire dueled with the sharp rocks and lost, but after a quick tire change, we were back on the trail to camp, where the rest of the evening was spent relaxing, talking tear­drops and visiting under a starry sky.

The following day dawned cooler with cloud cover custom-made for striking photography. A second trail ride expanded on the first, offering new vistas and stories of life in the Arizona Territory before statehood.
Returning to camp, thoughts turned to the finale potluck dinner and the realization that the weekend was nearing its end. Just before the evening meal, our tour guide and historian was recognized and presented with a thank-you gift from everyone for guiding us and for adding such an interesting historical dimension to our adventure. And if all the tasty food wasn’t enough, everyone was treated to an incredible sunset that will likely be the last entry in many journals for this memorable trip.

Nobody was late for potluck when the dinner bell rang.

These campers have discovered a unique way to enjoy the outdoors, and if you’re interested in more information about a first-rate camping experience, tents or teardrops, contact:

Little Guy Trailers
858-277-7607, www.littleguytrailers.net.

Little Guy Worldwide
877-545-4897, www.golittleguy.com.

Paha Qué Wilderness Inc.
888-700-8368, www.pahaque.com.

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