Tag Archives: teardrop trailer

Vacation Time

This is going to be one of those, “I don’t have time to blog today and I just came here to tell you that” blog posts. I have spent the last few days trying to do all the things I absolutely had to do to before my husband and I could go on vacation. We start that vacation tomorrow morning and I need to pack up my netbook, so I need to make this short and sweet.

Short, anyway. I’m excited about my trip but exhausted from getting ready for it, so I don’t think I will start feeling relaxed until I get out of the state of Florida. That doesn’t take long when we’re heading north. Jacksonville is only about forty minutes from the Georgia border. It takes a lot longer when we’re heading west, which is what we’re doing tomorrow morning. The Florida panhandle is long, but we will jog north into Alabama at some point. We might even be catching part of Georgia. My husband has probably told me exactly where we’re going, but I’ve been stressing out over preparations, so I don’t remember.

I let him plan our whole route last September and we had the best vacation of our lives, so I have no qualms about trusting him with this trip, too. He has retired from his office job, so this journey will be more open-ended than the last one. I told him I would like to see Mount Rushmore and Devil’s Tower and giant redwoods if we have enough time. I’m the one who needs to be back. There are tie-dye things that need to be done.

I don’t know if I will be able to keep up with this blog while we’re on the road. We will be camping in our Little Blue Teardrop Trailer and some of the campgrounds may not have wifi or even a phone signal. I just don’t know, but I will keep up if I can. We will be seeing some beautiful scenery, so I know I will want to share pictures.

Meanwhile, here’s a picture of the load-up.
Once I add this netbook, I think we’ll be done for tonight.

Festival Fun

Some Wednesdays, I have a hard time thinking of anything to write about, but today I have recently returned from the Florida Folk Festival, so it’s hard to narrow it down. My regular readers know that I was a stressed-out mess last week because I was trying to get ready for this festival and the ticket vouchers were slow in coming. I never did receive any more of them but we all got through check-in just by giving our names, so that turned out okay. I should try not to let these kinds of things stress me out. They always turn out okay.

Check-in was Thursday and we settled into our campsite about two o’clock. If all I did was sing, this would have given me some much-needed kick-back time before the participants’ potluck at six, but I also sell tie-dye, so I just ate a quick sandwich and moved on to vendor check-in. From there, we went to the craft area near the Old Marble Stage to set up our booth. We did as much as we could before the potluck. The rest had to wait until Friday morning, after a good night’s sleep in the little blue teardrop trailer.

The Little Blue Teardrop Trailer

The Little Blue Teardrop Trailer

We finished our set-up and then the other members of the family yodeling group pulled me away for a rehearsal. Some of the group members came from as far away as New Jersey, so it had been a long time since our last rehearsal. We managed to pull a decent half-hour set together before our performance at 10:30, but I didn’t make it back to the tie-dye booth until after I finished singing. My daughter was not too worried about it because it was a slow day in the booth and my husband showed up to give her a hand.

The slow day on Friday worried me a bit, but we made up for it on Saturday. I had another rehearsal and another performance, so it was a good thing my husband was there to help my daughter in the tie-dye booth.

The Tie-dye Booth

The Tie-dye Booth

Sunday was another busy day in the booth, but our performance that day was on the Old Marble Stage. Most of the stages are far away from the tie-dye booth, but that one is so close, my daughter could watch our performance and still handle tie-dye sales. Forty-four years ago, when I first started singing at the Florida Folk Festival, it wasn’t called the Old Marble Stage because it wasn’t that old and it was the only stage there was. Memories wash over me every time I step on that smooth marble surface and it was a joy to share it with the extended family one more time.
Together Again on the Old Marble Stage

Together Again on the Old Marble Stage

We had beautiful weather, wonderful music and record tie-dye sales. We would be celebrating all that, but first we have to do the paperwork. That waits until I get home because I’m not bringing an adding machine to the Florida Folk Festival.
I finally got the sales tickets to balance--yay!

I finally got the sales tickets to balance–yay!

Florida Folk Festival Stories

The thing about the Florida Folk Festival is that I have been singing there for more than forty years. I have been selling tie-dye there for seven years. No matter what happens, it makes me think of other years and other happenings. This leads to conversations like the following:

“It sure is hot.”
“Yeah, but not as hot as that one year.”
“You mean the year we walked down to the Suwannee River and sat in it with all our clothes on?”
“And then we walked back to the campground…”
“And by the time we got there, our clothes were bone dry again.”
“Yep. It’s hot this year, but it’s not that hot.”

We have a story like that for every situation. If it’s chilly, we talk about the year we were camping in a small trailer with one blanket per person and it got so cold, my Mom, my sister and I ended up in one bed so we could stack the blankets. If someone skins a knee on the playground, we remember the time my niece had to be rushed to the nearest emergency room because of a wrist injury during a game on the open field that preceded the playground.

The campground itself has been the source of endless stories. It’s a landscaped wonder now, with two modern comfort stations that provide flush toilets and hot showers all festival long. Old-timers remember the years when you had to get up before dawn if you wanted a chance at a hot shower, and the septic tank backed up the first day of the festival. The pump-out guy used to camp behind the bath house in the old days, and he stayed busy all weekend long.

Even older old-timers remember when the campground was just a field with one street light, one water spigot and a port-o-let. My children can all repeat the story of the time I caught my class ring on the door of the port-o-let and it tried to yank my finger off. My finger was fine, but there’s still a dent in my class ring. The kids have all seen it, and they’ve heard the story countless times, along with countless other festival stories. They’ve added some of their own.

Every year adds something to our personal collection of Florida Folk Festival lore and this year has been no exception. It was already the year The Makley Family became the Makley Duo after unforeseen circumstances (including emergency surgery) led to cancellations by three group members.
You’d think that would be enough for one year, but it seems that was only the beginning.

Friday morning, the first day of the festival, my daughter and I loaded the things we needed for our day into my car and started to head up to the vendor area. We had barely pulled out of our campsite when we heard a sound. A mysterious sound, but a familiar sound. I stopped the car and my daughter got out to check. Oh, yeah…that was the sound of a flat tire.

Flat Tire

Flat Tire

We shifted all our necessary items into my husband’s van and took that up to the tie-dye booth, leaving my husband to deal with the flat tire. He enlisted the help of my brother-in-law and by the time I returned to the campground at the end of the day, I had a new tire. Things were looking up.

Saturday, we took my car up to the tie-dye booth and had a relatively uneventful day until about seven o’clock, when we were closing up the booth and listening to the last act of the evening on the Old Marble Stage. Suddenly, we could no longer hear the act on the Old Marble Stage. The power had gone out. We went back to the campground and found that the power was out there, too. We heard it was out, not only in the whole Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park, but in the whole town of White Springs, where the park is located. Someone had crashed a truck into a very important power pole. A park employee, who was putting up signs at the comfort station saying it was closed due to power outage, told us they were hoping to have the power back on by eight-thirty. I couldn’t wait that long and I’m not a guy, so I hiked out to the port-o-let by the North gate of the park. This one did not try to yank my finger off. Of course, I was not wearing a class ring at the time.

I imagine the primitive campers were feeling quite smug until a little after nine o’clock, when the power was restored and a huge cheer erupted from the campground. Our refrigerator was back on and so was the air conditioner in our little blue teardrop trailer. Things were looking up.

Sunday was bright and hot, but not as hot as Saturday and certainly not as hot as that one year. We had a busy, fun day and were starting to pack up the tie-dye when we noticed dark clouds gathering in the sky. Instead of folding up the T-shirts and packing them in bins, we rushed to pull everything into the tent and zip up the side panels. Then we ran to the car and drove back to the campground in a heavy downpour, praying the tie-dye would be all right until morning.

It was all right, but it was all a bit damp, which is why I have racks of T-shirts in my living room right now.

Tie-dye in the Living Room

Tie-dye in the Living Room

It would have been okay to start folding them today, but the air conditioner in my house stopped working the night we got home from the festival and the repairman couldn’t come until this afternoon. Folding up the tie-dye is a big chore and we’re not going to do it in an overheated house.

The repairman just left and the air conditioner is functioning again. Things are looking up.

My Little Blue Teardrop Trailer

I’m having a busy week, but not a creative week. I’m preparing for a trip to the mountains. My husband and I own a small piece of property in North Carolina. We love our little hillside, but it has no improvements other than a driveway, so that means we’ll be camping. When this man agreed to spend a lifetime with me, I was a young woman who loved camping. I hate to be a party pooper now, but I am getting way too old to sleep on the ground. That’s why I’m delighted that my husband built a tiny teardrop trailer for us to sleep in.

We used to own a fairly large RV, but it was so big that we could hardly ever afford to take it anywhere. Even when we could afford the gas, there was no way either of us was going to drive it on those twisty mountain roads in North Carolina. Okay, there was no way I was going to drive it under any circumstances, but even my much braver husband was not going to drive it up there. We would travel light and bring a tent. I tried to be a good sport about it, but it was a lot of work and in October, it was way too cold, even on an air mattress in a down sleeping bag. I was chilled to the bone the last few times we took a tent to the Blue Ridge Parkway. When we got in the car to go sight-seeing, I would crank up the heat until my poor husband was sweating and I still did not feel warm. This led to expensive extra hotel nights. With Jacuzzis.

The teardrop was the perfect solution. We first saw them on a show called “RV Crazy” on HGTV and we immediately recognized their quirky owners as kindred spirits. My husband started lurking on a forum which provided guidance and step-by-step instructions for building a teardrop trailer. There were plans you could get for free and there was a whole community of helpful people who would answer questions. My husband bought a small metal utility trailer and got to work. He kept asking me how I wanted it to look and I kept saying the most important thing was that it had to be cute.

I think he nailed it.



I absolutely love this little trailer. The walls are insulated, so it’s toasty warm even when the only heat source is two human bodies in a small space. It has tiny cupboards over the bed inside for our personal things, and it has a whole galley in the back. My wonderful husband made all the shelves and drawers himself. He asked me to pick out the blue paint for the outside and then I made tie-dyed curtains to match.

Nice galley

Nice galley

We took it to the Blue Ridge Parkway before it even had all its cupboards and we just loved being up off the ground when we were camping. We started taking it to folk festivals, which was so much fun I ended up writing a yodeling song about it, and now that we have land in North Carolina, we take it there and make ourselves at home in it for a week. It has a sturdy RV battery that keeps the lights going when we’re boondocking and the galley holds all the tools we need for fixing meals and making coffee. Coffee is important. Ask anyone who’s seen me before I’ve had my first cup in the morning.

The RV was too big and the tent was too small. Our little blue teardrop trailer is just right.