First Year Summary and T@G MAX XL Modifications

Year one of camping is under our belts! We bought a new T@G MAX XL and it was pretty much good to go. However, we have made a few modifications.

We purchased our teardrop in September 2016, so it has been a year now since we became teardroppers. Being new to camping in general and never previously having owned any type of camper, we learned a lot in this first year.  This past year, our camper has been towed 3,430 miles on eight camping trips to five different states (AL, GA, FL, TN, & AR).

There were not any exceptionally long trips this first year for two reasons:  1) we had to figure out what we were doing and 2) we are actively working toward a knee replacement for my husband and it precludes long trips planned well in advance.  Our longest trip lasted a week.  We expect much longer trips next year.

Our T@G is really well-designed and is comfortable and functional, despite its size, but we did make a few minor changes.

1) Removal of the Headboard:  

We had our dealer remove the headboard at the time of purchase.  My husband is 6’3″ and he really needs the extra space.  The headboard was nice, but comfort trumped utility in this instance.  He is able to sleep very comfortably with this modification.

T@G without headboard

2)   DVD Light-Blocking Panel

My big guy cannot stand any light while sleeping and the light on the DVD player is quite bright.  One of the first things he did was to make a panel to block the light.  It attaches with Velcro and works very well.

Light-blocking panel

3)  Head Protection, Cabin and Galley

My husband’s height has caused pain on a couple of occasions. The open shelving over the head of the bed had some hard edges and bumping his head motivated him to look for a solution.  He installed foam padding attached with glue strips.   There have been no injuries since this was done.

Padding on the Shelf

He also shortened the length of the hex studs on the galley door.  They were longer than necessary and he had scraped his head on them before the mod.

Modified studs

4) Greywater Drain Access

Having to crawl around on the ground to attach the hose to drain water from the sink was not one of my favorite things.   A lady on one of the teardrop Facebook groups posted that she has a solution to provide easy access and I immediately requested the modification for our camper.  Her solution was lower to the ground.  We raised ours upon the recommendation of a plumber so it would be less likely to get caught on a curb or on uneven terrain.

Greywater Drain Access

5) License Plate Holder

The original way the holder was mounted was flimsy and hung low to the ground.  One of the first things we did was to purchase a black plastic tag holder and mount it appropriately 1 1/2″ higher to the lower frame using the existing screws.

6) Naming the teardrop 

We had no idea how camping would be for us and did not have a name for the trailer initially.  After a little experience, we named it Endeavor and had the name installed on the back.  There is an older post that describes the naming process and installation.

7) Inexpensive and easy air antenna

We purchased an air antenna at the time we got our camper and tried to use it several times.  It did not do a great job, but we were often not in high reception areas.  I saw a post on a Facebook teardrop group a where a gentleman was using a co-axel cable about 6″long to attach to the cable receptacle with the outer insulation stripped off by about 2.5″.  It worked fairly well the one time we tried it and is more compact than the one we purchased.  I am not sure how useful it will be as reception is not usually strong at campsites, but I like its simplicity.

Inexpensive TV Antenna

8) Memory Foam Cover

As many campers have suggested, we installed a memory foam cover over the mattresses  Ours is a 2″ cover and we also use a mattress pad for comfort and an added layer of separation from the memory foam itself for allergy reasons.  It has made our bed quite comfortable.  I don’t think the mattresses alone would have been adequate.

Modification Reversal

We had a diffuser over the air conditioner because the constant blowing of air directly on us was annoying.  It was a plastic traylike apparatus that was rather flimsy and stuck out quite a bit.  We seemed to have more issues with condensation using it and it was an obstacle to be avoided. I managed to knock it down and break it the second trip it was used and we decided to not replace it.

Under Consideration

My tall husband has to stoop when under the galley.  We checked with our dealer about the possibility of adding the Outback wheels to raise the overall height.  This would get us electric brakes as well.   It is a little pricey, but the bigger issue was a concern about the width and getting it into our garage.  We still may do this at a later date.

Summary

Our first year in Endeavor was wonderful and we have not make a lot of  changes.  Looking forward to year two!

 

 

With Family at the Beach

This is not my usual camping or travel post and as such, will not be posted to camping sites. This post is to capture some wonderful memories with family at the beach. If you happen upon this post, there are some photos of some beautiful sunsets and some great times with family.

Our son, Shawn, and his girlfriend, Laura, rented a condo at North Redington Shores, Florida, for Labor Day weekend.  They offered us one of the extra bedrooms and Laura’s mom and her boyfriend the other.  We really enjoy Laura’s mom and was just meeting her friend, Jack, who was fun to be around too.  We had a wonderful time with them all.

Most of our past beach trips have been in the panhandle and we have never spent time on the eastern Florida coastline.  Redington Shores is in the Pinellas Park area and very nice.  It was not especially crowded considering it was Labor Day weekend.  The beach was nice and well-maintained.

The condo, the Ram Sea, is right on the beach and the unit we were in was newly-remodeled.  It was very nice!  Below is a photo of our bedroom.  This was not tiny trailer camping!

Unit 610 At the Ram Sea

Shawn and Laura were outstanding hosts.   Laura cooked us big, delicious breakfasts, venison stew, and baked ziti.  They had an abundance of Cuban sandwiches and fried stuffed potatoes (a delicacy with meat in the center).

We were blessed with a beautiful sunset our first evening.  The sun sets directly over the water and it is an incredible sight.  We used it for a photo opportunity.

View from balcony on first night
Shawn, Laura, Rose & Jack
My honey and me
Shawn and Laura
Rose and Jack

This trip was all about relaxing on the beach.  Shawn and Laura love spending all day on the beach and they do it with maximum comfort.  They put up two tents and there were chairs for each of us, plus snacks and adult beverages.  So relaxing!  My husband is not a big lover of the beach, so I am not accustomed to this much time and comfort. Greg would hang out with us for awhile each day and then head for the condo.  He was a really good sport about it.

Our spot on the beach
Relaxing under the tent
Greg joined us

The condominium also has a nice pool that we enjoyed as well.

Ram Sea Pool

We had dinner out a couple of times.  Our favorite was Seabreeze Island Grill.   They had a delicious grilled grouper and fantastic drinks.  We were joined by Rose’s sister, Josie and her husband, Ross.  They were fun and we have a good bit in common; they are dancers.  After dinner, we played a game that was new to me, Rummy Royal.  Fun!

Dinner at Seabreeze

We spent four nights at the Ram Sea and I loved every minute of it.  It was great being with Shawn and Laura and her family were incredible.  The weather was perfect with the exception of a few hours of rain one day.

Ironically, the very next weekend the area was under extreme threat from Hurricane Irma.  I am so glad that the worst case scenario did not occur.

We loved our time at Redington Shores!