Friday, May 15, 2009

Road Trip - Camp Inn - Necedah, Wisconsin

Do you like to camp?

Even if you said no I'll bet you'll find this road trip interesting.

My sister and I like to camp but our husbands are not so convinced. We realize that we wouldn't want to wrangle a large trailer by ourselves and while searching online we discovered the world of teardrop trailers. These are small units that could be described as sleeping pods. They were popular back in the 1950's and there were patterns published in magazines such as Popular Mechanics.

We were convinced that between the two of us we might possess enough skills to build one. Until we decide whether to take the plunge we've immersed ourselves in teardrop information. There are several manufacturers producing these trailers and I'd determined that Camp-Inn trailers were the Rolls Royce equivalent. They simply looked so well designed.

The Camp Inn website states that you are always welcome to visit their shop, and that's just what we did! On our Mother's Day trip to Wisconsin we jumped off the main road and headed over to Necedah. A friendly clerk at the mini-mart directed us to the small industrial park. They're set up in a really nice facility. My sister heads inside.

There are two models in the showroom. In this photo you see the front of the smaller unit on the right, and the back of the larger Raindrop on the left. The back end opens up to reveal a kitchen, complete with sink and propane stove.

Here's the stove. The cool thing is that it slides out of the way when not in use, making room to store the ice chest.

I'd like you to meet Craig Edevold. He started Camp Inn with his friend Cary Winch. The reason these teardrops are so well designed is because he's an engineer. The first teardrop they built was for a camping trip they were taking out west. They were traditionally tent campers but were getting tired of the time involved in setting up and breaking down a tent site. They stumbled upon a pattern for a teardrop, made some adjustments and built one.

At this point the Farmer would get all excited because here's where the entrepreneurialism comes in (that was his Master's degree and he gets stoked on this stuff). Their teardrop got reactions wherever they traveled. Someone approached them to build one for them and was willing to pay for upgrades. Just about this time it became apparent to both men that their jobs were going to be eliminated. They asked themselves if there might be the possibility of making a business out of their love of the teardrop. The answer was yes and they used the remaining time before they were let go to do the necessary ground work.

And......Camp Inn was born. Gosh, I love a good entrepreneurial success story.

Anyway, back to the beautiful teardrops. Here's my mom peeking inside one.

Here's the larger unit with it's wrap-around windows. It's got a queen size bed inside.

Under those windows is a couch. YES!

Where you can sit and eat your popcorn while you're watching TV!

Again, terrific design because that TV screen flips down to reveal storage behind. There are storage pods beneath the mattress also. The couch (and a separate piece) convert into a bunk bed for small children.

The shop was busy making new trailers.

They sell about 60 per year. A map shows their customers locations. I mentioned to Craig that I would be posting this and that I have a large number of readers from the Netherlands, of all places. Imagine my surprise when he said they'd sold one of these trailers to someone in...... the Netherlands!

Thanks for coming along on our road trip to the Camp Inn shop in Necedah, Wisconsin.

If you're in the area visit the shop and say hi to Craig and Cary. Stop at the mini-mart first and pick up some cheese curds!


Molly said...

I have loved those trailers since I saw the article about the women who have them and gather periodically...what kind of towing capacity does a vehicle need to tow one, I wonder. Great road trip!

Anonymous said...

My, oh my, your trailer photos inspire true wanderlust. Just looking at them, I picture myself and a couple of friends (and/or my hubby) heading down the road again.

chocolatechic said...

I love to camp

At a Comfort Inn.

Vee said...

You've introduced me to something completely new. I enjoyed learning more about Camp Inn. Still not sure about the camping life, however. I want to stay in B&Bs across the country, which is going to mean a whole lotta cash. Oh, you didn't mention how much one of these little wonders sells for...hope Santa isn't feeling the economic pinch this year like the rest of us.

Steph said...

I'm a tent camper, but those things look pretty neat! I've never seen one!

belladella said...

I have seen something about these on tv and just love them. I think I could learn to love to camp with one of those.

Have a great weekend!

Suzanne said...

Molly -Oh yes - the Sisters on the Fly. Some of them have a little larger vintage trailers. Very cool. The teardrop can actually be towed with a mid-sized car. I have a Chevy Equinox and there would be no problem.

Cindy - Yes, a road trip for us girls would be fun. We could gather our teardrops in a circle like the old wagon trains, sit around the campfire and tell stories.

Chocolatechic - I know what you're saying, but these are awfully cozy. Just imagine, you could cook while you're on vacation. I know you want to do that!

Vee - Their only distributor is in Turner, Maine!! So, get thee to Turner to check one out in person. I only stayed in a B & B once. It's a little odd for me to be staying in someone's house. I feel really wierd. Santa is doing lots of HO-HOing on this request. Nope, these are pricey. But dreaming is free!

Steph - You would love this. There's a tent accessory that attaches to the side, which allows you to change your clothing, etc.

Thanks everyone for going cyber camping with me.

lifeinredshoes said...

Oh man, I may have to change my mind about camping. My dream machine is an Airstream, dream on baby!

BittersweetPunkin said...

Those are so cool! Makes me want to go on a roadtrip somewhere!

Craig Edevold said...

I had a great time visiting with Suzanne, her mother and sister. Thank you, to them, for visiting our shop and writing such a wonderful article about your visit.

Most of our trailers are sold direct from Necedah, WI. If you aren't near us, we do have customers nationwide that are willing to show off their trailers. Just give us a call 608-565-7443.

I'm going to check out more of "at home with the Farmer's wife" Blog. This looks like interesting stuff. Maybe I can find some ideas for camping.
Thanks, Craig
P.S. I second the cheese curds idea!

Cottage Rose said...

Hey Suzanne; They are so cute, but very small, I could not sleep in one. On the travel channel they had a special on the Tear Drop campers, there is a large group of people who travel together with their tear drops. And they are all vintage, some of the paint on the out side of them were so great... Thanks for sharing.


Leann said...

That was great. I loved the photos , the details, the story everything. I want one too. I'll put it on my Christmas list too.

Enjoy your weekend!

Anita said...

Way cool...I am not much of a camper- but this could change my mind!

COFFEE MAN said...

Wife and i love to camp , however im afraid we would need more than the teardrop room allows . We have looked at them though. Have you guys ever camped Point beach Wisconsin, its where we like to go , as well as Gov . Dodge State Park.

Alsop just so u know , I live in Rural Illinois as well . shhhhhhhhhhh dot tell hehehehe

Jody Blue said...

When you get your built you can tear drop inn to my side of the state, we have some nice parks to camp in here!

Marfa said...

I followed your link and visited their website and simply stared drooling. I wish I was retired and had money to travel around the country. I'd get me one of those (rather than drive a huge camper). It would be a dream come true!

JAS-- said...

If Santa will drop off another teardrop on your map I will be happy to come pick it up. I LOVE these trailers since I set out on the hunt for the ultimate appointed simple trailer. Love their ingenuity and compactness.

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Heather said...

My in laws purchased their custom teardrop from this very place. The design is genius and the construction is top of the line. We have borrowed this a few times and have never been more comfortable.