Travels with…”Scotty”; seeing the USA with a small teardrop trailer in tow!

We delight in taking pictures like this one; we are getting 27 MPG towing our Scotty, the owner of the huge fifth-wheel probably about 8 MPG. We often park, side-by-side in campgrounds with these big behemoths, with our little teardrop trailer getting the many passers-by inquiries

Our ’58 Scotty Junior, equipped with bike carrier/bikes, in Harper’s Ferry, W. VA
Our ’58 repro Scotty Junior, with builder Tom Scott at right. We purchased this trailer in West Virginia in summer, 2013, towed it on to Gettysburg, PA, then on to Long Island, NY, then back to CA!
Our ’64 Serro Scotty Sportsman; this slightly larger trailer needs a lot of work, and is jammed in my garage awaiting a large dose of that work and renewed inspiration!  In meantime, we are happily using the Scotty Junior!
Our Kit Kamper teardrop, behind our Nissan 300 ZX, in the sunny Sierra (both since sold)

Some readers may be familiar with teardrop travel trailers, among the smallest of travel trailers.  They have a host of benefits: light and easy to tow, storable in a garage or beside the house, easy on gas mileage and innately cute, causing many campers to ask for a look-see!

For five years we owned and toured with a Kit Kamper teardrop reproduction unit; mostly on short trips throughout N. California.  We sold it after we bought a slightly larger 1964 Serro Scotty Sportsman trailer in spring, 2013.  The larger vintage Scotty currently resides in my garage, awaiting my return to the rebuild that it needs.

Coincidentally, we had had a June, 2013 auto trip planned to Gettysburg, PA, for a Civil War bike ride with my brother and four pals.  Just before that trip, I was intrigued to find a reproduction 1958 Scotty Junior teardrop advertised on eBay, built in 2011 by a West Virginia high school shop teacher.

The Scotty was listed for a good price (just $3,100, a steal in California) and it looked perfect, so I bought it on-line and picked it up in route to Gettysburg.  My spouse and I, over three weeks, towed it to Gettysburg, then all the way to Long Island, NY, then back across the US to California.

Camping and living out of the Scotty Junior or any teardrop takes a bit of adjustment. Like almost all of the early teardrops made in the 40s and 50s, they were built on a 4’X8′ plywood foundation. That makes them 4′ wide, 4′ tall, and 8′ long, with an interior sleeping compartment 6’4″ long by a little less than 4′ wide. Cozy for two, but we sleep very well!

In the back is a small galley, a “kitchen hatchback” where we store camping gear, camp stove and lantern, pots and pans and the like.  Another nice thing about camping with a teardrop – you are always “ready to go” on a moments notice.  Your trailer is packed, bedding is made up, you merely pull it out of the garage, toss in your cooler with food and drink and “we’re on the road, again”!

Overall, we have learned to travel pretty light, storing other camp gear like small table and camp chairs in the interior sleeping compartment, and storing “chilly weather gear” in the interior cabinets. We each pack a clothing bag, which we toss in back seat of a 2013 Focus Hatchback, our tow vehicle.

Barring wet or really cold weather, this is a very pleasant way to travel (of course, we toss in a stop at relatives/friend’s home or a motel every so often, so we are not camping continuously)! Getting 27 MPG is also likeable, compared to 7-10 MPG for those big pickups pulling giant 5th wheels that we often pass!

How do you find a teardrop?  Check eBay and Craig’s List for teardrop campers; you will usually find a pretty good selection of both home-built and factory-built models.  They range in price anywhere from around $2,000 to upwards of $10,000, depending upon size, quality, age and optional equipment.  Most teardrops are of the 4×8′ variety, though you will find some up to 5′ wide and 9 or 10′ long.

If you are buying, look for quality workmanship and one comfy to sleep in; you don’t need a lot of built-in equipment when you realize that most of the time, you are camping (at least in California and the west) in nice weather.  You will be sitting, cooking and socializing outside in the campground  – right beside those folks in the giant $50,000 fifth-wheels!

This entry was posted in Alaska, Canada, Eastern, Canada, Western, Central California, East Coast US, Hawaii, Midwest US, Mountain West (Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado), Northern California, Pacific Northwest USA (Oregon, Washington, Idaho), Sacramento/Capitol region, San Francisco Bay Area, Sierra Nevada, Southeast US, Southern California, Southwest USA (Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas), Stockton/San Joaquin County, Teardrop and tiny travel trailers, United States beyond! and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment

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