Friday, December 30, 2011

Shore Power

Before the coming trip I installed an exterior outlet for shore power (120 volts). It’s great to have the option to plug in if there’s not a lot of sun or we’re staying for an extended period of time somewhere. Solar will always be my first choice, but there’s an added sense of relief knowing you can plug in.

It was a pretty straightforward installation. I took a power strip, cut off the plug, stripped the wires, and connected it to the exterior outlet. Plug an extension cord into the exterior outlet and Bam! Electricity.

We have two 120 volt interior clip on lights for the cabin and one 120 volt LED strip light for the galley. The power strip is also great for charging the phones and laptops.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hatch Leak

Well, it's happened, a leak. Boo! Hiss! Boo! We have had a tremendous amount of rain, but a leak is a leak - must fix.

Fortunately, it's localized in the hatch, but the first time it leaked water found it's way into the cabin and soaked the mattress and popped up the tiles. Live and learn and patch and seal, repeat as necessary.

I bought a rubber garage seal and some 1/8" flat aluminum stock that I'll put over the hatch hinge, plus 1" of overhang on each side. Hoping this will work.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Upsides and Downsides

Mount Desert Campground is hands down the most beautiful campground in the Acadia region. A large number of their campsites are on the water (Somes Sound), and most have platforms for tents so the ground isn't all soggy or lumpy under your ass (if you are unfortunate enough to still camp in a tent like a girl scout). No reservations are accepted after labor day, and you don't need them. And our dog is allowed during the off-season.

The downside is that other people's dogs are allowed, too. The dogs across the street from us were barkers, and the owners were shouters. The mornings greeted us with the lovely sounds of chirping birds; barking, snarling dogs; and "PETER! PETE! NO! PETER!"

When you travel in a teardrop to the coast, it's hard to avoid an occasional trailer park atmosphere. Though Leah has quickly become an expert at backing into small sites, the more private sites just aren't accessible enough for us. So we were in a bit of a neighborhood. Besides our neighbor "PETER! PETE! NO! PETER!" , we were also near "KEVIN!!" and "Waaaaaaaaaaaaah!" That last one was an infant. I'm assuming there were grownups in the site with it, too, but they we relatively quiet, perhaps because they lacked brains large enough to provide them the ability to master language, which goes hand in hand with thinking it is a good idea to bring an infant tent camping, and with the absence of opposable thumbs.

Quiet hours were still quiet, so technically we couldn't complain. No generators. And most of the people were very nice and friendly. A couple of our hipper neighbors were in airstreams.

I do miss having a living room. Because we have a sturdy waterproof screen tent with rain flaps, the two brief periods of rain were not a problem. But we had a couple of very cold nights. The teardrop gets steamy inside, so we turned in early. I would have liked to sit at the picnic table longer, drawing or playing music. The campfire only gets you so warm.

In the eleven days we were gone, we only went out to one restaurant, for brunch. (And they didn't have mimosas. What's the point of brunch without mimosas?). We visited our marine mammalogist friend Courtney in her ocean front home and pigged out on the biggest lobsters I had ever seen, caught fresh that morning. Otherwise, we were content to enjoy home-cooked meals in the teardrop galley, with sake (Leah) and gin and tonics (Amelia) tying to win the "drink of the week" title.

(I'd like to imagine that this Maine restaurant spelled 'cocktails' wrong on purpose, only because it hurts me to imagine otherwise.)


Friday, September 16, 2011

The Precipice Trail

That is a drop off of a few hundred feet; better hold on tight! (I was holding on with one hand so I could take pictures, as Amelia swore at me to keep both hands on the rails then scurried up the rock declaring she would not "watch me die").

Not for the faint of heart. This truly is a non- technical climb, and they mean it. There are a lot of iron rungs in the cliff face and lot of rock scrambling you'll have to do. Also, if you're under 5'2" prepare for serious stretching to reach hand holds. I'm 5'4" and some moves were quite a stretch.

We saw a family with three young children (read: under five years old) whose parents were upset the trail wasn't child-friendly. The signs clearly explain what you are walking into: it's not a trail, it's a non-technical climb. Don't be stupid.

There will be no pony rides or cotton candy at the top of this climb.


Thursday, September 15, 2011


Outrageous sunset over Somes Sound at the campsite.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hike at Sand Beach

Yes, this is Maine: Acadia National Park.


No dogs allowed on the beach so we hiked around the rocky ridge. You could scamper down the rocks right to the edge of the ocean's mini- cliffs. I call them mini-cliffs because they were less than 50' high.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Arrived at Mount Desert Campground

Eesah made himself at home on his grassy knoll overlooking Somes Sound with Amelia's traveling pink flamingo.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Maine, here we come...

First stop on our way to Maine: Wells State Park in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. Amazingly quiet for being so close to a city.

Amelia is not feeling so well. Hopefully no one is traumatized from witnessing her heaving on the side the road on Route 90 (it was quite a sight). Sorry about that.

Does this mean no cocktail hour?


Friday, August 26, 2011

Cocktail time

It's always cocktail hour at the Alligator Teardrop Lounge. Here I'm shaking up some Tomato Zingers.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cranberry Lake & hatch awning

Great 8'x10' nylon tarp I got at LL bean. So much better than the loud crinkly ones you find at hardware stores.

Quick to put up - I installed 2 eyebolts on the roof trim for tie downs and staked the rest.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pass the muffins

Coffee and homemade blueberry muffins and silence and awesome chairs at Cranberry Lake State Campground in the Adirondacks.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


My relationship with 12 volts has officially begun.

Starting with one panel and will probably end up with three.

Oh, and it works - charges the battery right up!



Best. Chairs. Ever.

So I decided I needed a pair of those retro plastic-weave aluminum folding chairs for our excursions. Which meant, of course, that I couldn't find them anywhere. Well, Leah found some online on eBay for $50-$80 a pair, but they were awfully expensive for chairs that had molded over the years to someone elses' butts.

The day before we left for the Adirondacks, I was driving to work and I passed a once-a-month flea market at the antique barn. OMG. There were my chairs. (insert chorus of heavenly angels here.) I pulled in and asked the woman at the table, "How much?"

"Those aren't for sale," she said. In fact, a purse and a cup of coffee sat beneath one, and a change box under the other. "We sit on those at our flea markets." She gestured to her husband who was chatting at a nearby table. My face fell.

"But I suppose we would consider selling them if the price was right," she said.

"And I would consider buying them if the price was right," I said cautiously. I examined their condition out of the corner of my eye as I calculated how much would be too much. Maybe I'd pay $30 for the pair. Probably not $40. But maybe. They had rust on them, but they had clearly been re-webbed . And I really wanted these chairs.

"How's $5 each?" the woman said.

"Great!" I said. I quickly handed her a $10 bill, shoved the chairs into the back of my car, and sped off before she could change her mind, and before her husband showed up to protest.

-Amelia Sauter

Monday, August 1, 2011


Sand seems to be a recurring theme no matter if you camp in the mountains or by the water so I built some wooden mats.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Finger Lakes National Forest

We escaped for two short days (with our instruments) to the Finger Lakes National Forest which is only 20 minutes away.

It was a perfect respite, except for the bugs. The dog hid from the mosquitoes in the truck. We bought an excellent Eureka Northern Breeze screen house (it's HUGE), but we were lazy and didn't put it up. Next time.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Rest Area picnic, teardrop style.

-Amelia Sauter

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The bar and the kitchen

The bar

The kitchen

-Amelia Sauter

Dog bed

Dog sleeps at my feet, on a pseudo-bed. He doesn't take up too much space, though he boofs in his sleep and twitches against the walls with his claws. Leah needs to create (and patent) some Dog Hush Walls. He creates a lot of body heat. Actually, we all do. A blanket is barely necessary. The fan, fortunately, works great.


We made it

Well, it didn't explode into pieces. It poured outside, and not one leak. And we loved it.

Backing up, a bit of a challenge.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

First trip

On our way to Rehoboth Beach (More accurately, Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware).

Will it explode into a million pieces on the way?
Will it rain and burst with leaks?
Will we hate it?
How do you back this thing up?


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Galley done

All the doors are installed. 8 coats of polyuerthane on everything.

Also added a hickory bumper.

We're ready to roll!


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Interior cabinets

Interior cabinets are done & battery hooked up.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Trimmed out hatch

The trim is pretty much done.

Jack stands went in a while ago after I stepped up on the hatch on the whole trailer tipped backwards.



Friday, April 15, 2011

Door frame

Door trimmed out with aluminum angle. Bent pretty easily around the radius.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Door fitting

The door fits, although it doesn't swing all the way out. I don't like that. But there's not much I can do about it now.

This is a patient job: fitting, filing, installing, uninstalling, fitting again, filing - you get the idea.

And a nagging thought pops in my head: this is supposed to be leak-proof???

Oh, boy.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I ordered a bunch of bendable teardrop trim for the roof and doors.

The rest is aluminum angle iron that I annealed by heating up and letting cool. Now I can bend it around curves.



Thursday, April 7, 2011

It fits!!!!


It fits!!!!!

Time for a cocktail.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Hatch is skinned

Aluminum has been glued on.

More hatch

Glued and nailed strips of luan to the hatch in preparation for applying the aluminum skin.

I'm hoping for very little spring-back, we shall see...

Wired up the lights & fan. Still deciding where to put the electrical panel.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Mind the hatch

Oh, the hatch, the dreaded hatch.

Building a door with a curve to match another curve exactly and fit inside within 1/2" is pretty hard.

But, I did it and it really wasn't that hard. You just have to be patient.

There are easier ways to do this. I think the hatch profile should get cut in the beginning with all the other major cuts. That would be a start.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Roof skinned

Did I mention that I'm difficult?

I didn't learn from my previous aluminum sheet wrangling experience one bit.

This sheet was 5'x12' and after a considerable battle I finally got it where I wanted it.

This is more of a 2-4 person job; you want to lift it up over the trailer and place it pretty close to where you want it.


Friday, April 1, 2011

Roof insulated

The roof is insulated. I added insulation tape on all the seams.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Skid marks

Cutting out the doors and profile was a bit tricky.

I bought air shears, but it turns out my little pancake compressor just wasn't strong enough to go more than 6" at a time.

I took a staring stare............

I ended up using the jig saw after attempting tin snips (don't do that). The cut itself was great, but the trail of scratches, not so nice.

Lesson learned today? Vertical cutting is stupid. Next time sandwich everything that needs to be cut - paneling, plywood, aluminum - and cut it all together on the ground, glue the aluminum to the wood while horizontal as well. That just makes more sense and would be a lot neater.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Aluminum skin

I am difficult.

I wrangled 4'x8' sheets of aluminum by myself while polyurethane glue stuck to everything within a 10' radius.

It was ugly.

Learn from my mistakes, ask for help and clean up that glue immediately of you'll be staring at it F-O-R-E-V-E-R.