Why This Retired Couple Bought a Teardrop Camper

December 18, 2010

Imagine cruising down the interstate in your big rig, fifth wheel and toy-hauler in tow, headed towards your favorite campground. In the your side mirror, you see the glimmer of a car in the distance. It gains on you, bit by bit, and soon you can make out the form of a compact car, the sort that most folks use for commuting—not camping. It comes closer and closer, signals and finally swings out to pass you. And it’s then that you notice that it’s not flying solo. In fact, it’s towing one of the smallest campers you’ve ever seen on the road. And it keeps heading right on past you at 70 miles an hour and 35 miles a gallon.

You, my friend, have been tear-dropped.

Sterling and Jeannie Bradley of Sheffield Village, Ohio, could have booked an ocean cruise or bought a large RV to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. Instead, they decided to purchase a classic Silver Shadow Teardrop Camper and hit the road.

  • “There are so many places we have not seen,” said Sterling Bradley. “And now seems like a good time. But we are not necessarily Interstate folks. Just getting from Point A to Point B is not our objective. We are more interested in what we discover along the way. If we see something interesting—an antique store or a farmer’s market or a good looking place to eat homemade pie—we stop.”
  • For the Bradleys, their teardrop camper—christened the Gone Rovin’—allows them to travel the way they want, when they want and it fits their simple, adventuresome lifestyle. Its birch interior offers storage for day-to-day needs, and just enough space for sleeping. Lockable double doors with slider windows and screens allow for venting, privacy and security. Cooking and food prep are done in the galley located at the rear of the trailer.
  • The couple said that the Teardrop is “ready to jump in and sleep instead of setting things up”, meaning they could spend more time out and about and less time worrying about where to park and how long it would take to set up camp. Their fuel-efficient Ford Focus has more than enough power to pull the thousand-pound trailer, and, according to Sterling, “pulls like a dream” without extra mirrors or other accessories.
  • “Retirement has a lot of pluses—I took off my watch,” noted Sterling. “We’ve always taken whatever road looks the most interesting. And that’s the beauty of this whole operation—it’s so simple.”

This summer the Bradleys will launch their golden anniversary travels with a trip to a family reunion in Colorado. As new KOA Value Kard Rewards members, they are eager to begin adding points and reaping rewards. In fact, Sterling figures they will take several trips that last 2-3 weeks each to various destinations but their plans are not concrete.

So we guess that you’ll just need to look for them at a KOA—or in a rear-view mirror—near you.

Think the Bradley’s have the right idea? Then you’re definitely going to want to read the June Kompass next month, ’cause we’ve got a camper giveaway courtesy of our friends at Little Guy Teardrop Trailers that you’re gonna love!

14 Responses

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  1. Al Pfingstl

    YES, the Bradleys have the right idea and made the perfect choice.
    Patti, my better half, and I have upgraded from a 5-wide Little Guy Teardrop to the Silver Shadow. It is the perfect camper for the back roads traveler. Small, light weight, nimble and easy to just settle in for the night with out to much preperation. We keep it stocked and ready to go on a moments notice. It’s parked in the driveway and when the weather is nice and the adventure/travel bug hits us we just hook up to it and hit the road.

    May 19, 20106:23 pm
  2. MARY

    I use to own a PT Cruiser and I also had a teadrop trailer. This really brings fond memories back to mind. We camped in it quite a few times, but we decided to get a little more comfortable and buy a travel trailer. It was probably the best thing that we did and we enjoy going to the many KOAs that are in California.

    May 19, 20109:48 pm
  3. charlotte &carl

    We build one and we love camping in it..

    May 20, 201012:00 am
  4. charlotte &carl

    We build our Teardrop camper and we love to going camping ….

    May 20, 201012:03 am
  5. Jim and Connie Stover

    My husband and I have a one of a kind Teardrop. It was made by a man in Michigan. The Bradley’s have the right idea. We are working our bucket list from ours.

    It’s small but comfortable.

    Keep rolling!

    May 20, 20106:30 am
    • Jim & Connie Himebaugh

      I noticed a few things here…I like these campers. Just the right size to get started. Two, we have the same first names! Third, we are from Michigan too and would like to see one of these campers in person.

      I kept asking my husband, “Isn’t there anything that is small and lightweight enough to pull behind our CRV?”

      This is so cool!

      May 20, 201010:41 am
      • emmen

        We pull our teardrop (made in Wisconsin by Camp-Inn) with our CR-V as well – you hardly know it’s there. http://www.timycamper.com

        June 25, 20103:10 pm
  6. Ralph Talbot

    Go for it. It beats a pup tent & 2 sleeping bags.

    May 20, 20108:30 am
  7. Bob & Lissi Little

    We are pushing 15 tons across Canada right now, but remember fondly our Serro Scotty 13 foot tear drop. Not quite as compact, but it did allow us to stand in the unit. It looks like the ultimate couples rig!

    May 20, 20109:27 am
  8. Bev Bailey

    My travel companion, Lynda Bewley, built a queen size Tear when we lived in Waldport, OR. When we sold the house the Tear was sold to a dear friend. We are now Workkampers at New Bern KOA and have been living in a 36 ft fifth wheel. We miss the Tear but recently purchased a Time Out motorcycle trailer that we pull with our PT Cruiser.

    May 20, 201010:28 am
  9. Katie

    We’ve been looking at a trailer like this for our Mini Cooper. Our family of four has put over 3000 miles on our Mini Cooper touring the US. We’ve been to the East Coast and the West Coast. We stayed at a lot of KOA cabins this past summer on our road trip from Houston to California. We loved it! We’d still stay at KOA with a trailer though. 🙂

    May 21, 201010:09 pm
  10. George

    Looking for a good used tear drop to pull behind my 1931 Model A Ford for a cross country trip my dog and I are planing

    February 27, 201110:58 am
  11. Scott Hubble

    Could we see a picture of Sterling Bradley’s Silver Shadow?
    The picture featured at the top of this page is a Little Guy 4-Wide Retro, something that stopped being produced in 2009.


    February 11, 20142:24 pm

Continuing the Discussion

  1. Have You Been Tear-dropped? « Teardrop Trailer News

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    May 23, 20103:06 am