Greetings from San Antonio, Texas!

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Greetings from San Antonio, Texas!

Postby pralfred » Sat Aug 12, 2017 5:13 pm

Hello to everyone! My name is Paul, and I wanted to say thanks for allowing me to join the community here. I've been researching teardrop campers for over a year now, though it started as me looking to buy one. I decided that due to the cost, and lack of customization for my needs in currently available on-the-market teardrops, I would look into building one myself. Well, in all honesty, not by myself. I will be assisted (probably heavily) by my mentor, who builds homes for a living and custom furniture as a hobby. His skills in woodworking should make the design and fabrication a bit easier, and less likely to have newb mistakes and problems.

I am planning on an ultra-lightweight teardrop that I'll be able to pull with my motorcycle, as that is my only vehicle. It has a Velorex sidecar so my service dog (her name is Cara) can ride along. I can't wait to get a trailer designed and built so Cara and I can live more comfortable when we're on the road. Right now, we don't travel as much because I'm a full-time college student (thank God for the GI Bill), but once I graduate we're celebrating by going on a two-to-three-month roadtrip; the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, etc. I'm hoping to have the trailer completed by then, which is about 16 months from now.

As far as some personal information about me, I am a disabled Air Force veteran. I spent 7 years in military intelligence, before separating due to health issues. While I was in, I ended up in 10 countries across three combat zones. I deployed twice to the Middle East. My specialty was as a signals intelligence analyst, which may sound boring, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was a Staff Sergeant when I separated from the military, and in all honesty I miss it...both the military, and being a SSgt, lol.

I have also previously worked as a chef and cooking still remains a huge passion of mine. I worked as a prep-chef for a small hotel in NEPA briefly before moving back to TX where I worked for the Menger Hotel as their pastry chef, and then later as a line chef for the Hyatt Regency - San Antonio. Between my culinary apprenticeship (while I was still in the military) and then working for the hotels, I have a total of six years of culinary training and experience.

I am now a full-time student at Texas A&M University - San Antonio, studying for my bachelor's in Business Administration. I graduated this past May from San Antonio College with my associate's in the same field. My goal is to eventually become an entrepreneur and own my own leatherworking business. I have been doing leather work since I was a boy hanging out (ie getting in the way) in my father's taxidermy shop. I mostly do leather clothing now, biker gear and such.

In the more near-term I will likely be applying for jobs that allow me to combine my new degree with my military background. This means jobs like a business analyst, for example. I have also considered opening a restaurant with the chef I traind under, though we're still in the very beginning brainstorming stages of that as a possibility.

I am originally from Upstate New York, and North Eastern Pennsylvania. I prefer Texas as the weather is nicer and I can ride my bike and camp all year long. Still, I usually take at least one roadtrip a year back East to see my folks. I'm hoping that with a good job after college, and a nice teardrop camper, to start seeing more of the country than my usual TX-to-PA-&-back route. I've already learned a lot from browsing this forum, and I look forward to learning more from all of you as I begin to participate and contribute here.

And lastly, here's a pic of my bike (there are a few more in my gallery here):
Image
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pralfred
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Re: Greetings from San Antonio, Texas!

Postby pchast » Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:47 pm

Welcome! :D

There are several build threads of light
tears for motorcycles. Some are quite
different!
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Re: Greetings from San Antonio, Texas!

Postby Dan242 » Sat Aug 12, 2017 11:49 pm

Welcome from a fellow SA dweller.
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Re: Greetings from San Antonio, Texas!

Postby pralfred » Sun Aug 13, 2017 4:26 am

Thanks for the warm welcome! @Dan242, I am not surprised to find another San Antonian on the board here. I suspect there might be a bunch of Texans here, given that we have such nice camping weather nearly all year, and so many beautiful places to go visit with a good camper.

I've been reading everything this forum has to offer in regards to motorcycle builds, in addition to quite a bit else. This forum has been, and I'm sure will continue to be, invaluable to my design phase. The nostalgic part of me wants to build the thing entirely of wood, especially since that will allow me to take the most advantage of my mentor's woodworking skills. I'm possibly going to end up making the tongue out of aircraft aluminum though, depending on the results of my call to the local registrar's office and inspection station on Monday. If they say they won't go for a wooden tongue, or simply give me too much trouble, the aircraft aluminum A-frame tongue should solve that. My build won't be the palatial mobile home (comparatively, lol) that some of you have built here, but it will be fun, and meet my needs and weight restrictions.

I considered a foamie, but I like the durability of the wood/foam sandwich idea and the look as well. There were a couple of good threads regarding using the floor of the tear on its own without an underlying carriage framework, and that is likely how I'll end up cutting some weight. I'm also forgoing all the bells and whistles such as sink/running water, propane stove, air conditioning, etc. It will end up being fairly minimalist, but it will give me the mobile shelter I'm looking for, and a bit of style to boot. It also helps that I only need it to house me and my service dog, so I might be able to go skinnier with the build too.

Figuring out the right height in relation to internal space, wind drag, and visibility is what I'm working on researching now. I'll probably start drawing up plans later this week. If I can get my desktop running again, instead of my laptop, I'll have access to Solidworks and I'll try to model it up in there. Otherwise, I'll be drawing it by hand. I may have dropped out of mechanical engineering school (lack of money at the time) but I do enjoy this type of project. If all else fails, I have a friend in town who is a professional CAD drafter, who specializes in Solidworks, and I can call on him if I get stuck. I'm sure y'all here will be able to answer my questions once I've had a chance to analyze things and formulate some questions that (hopefully) haven't already been discussed to death.
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Re: Greetings from San Antonio, Texas!

Postby HMK » Sun Aug 13, 2017 2:14 pm

Hi Paul and Welcome to the forum. I'm a fellow Texan too. My wife and I found your bean recipe and will surely try it. We love trying new recipes! I'd also like to thank you for your service and I look forward to chatting with you here.

You might look at this thread if you haven't seen it already

viewtopic.php?f=46&t=69093
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Re: Greetings from San Antonio, Texas!

Postby pralfred » Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:52 am

HMK wrote:...You might look at this thread if you haven't seen it already

viewtopic.php?f=46&t=69093


Hello, and thanks for the equally warm welcome! I may end up posting a bunch of recipes eventually, but I didn't want to flood the section with them, lol. Hope you and your wife like the beans when you try them. It's probably one of the simplest ones I've written, but it was intended for a simpler cooking environment. I like to camp a lot, and that means I have to adjust recipes to work in less than a full-production kitchen, lol.

I had not seen the thread you shared, but I have read it now. Pretty neat build, and coroplast is a material I have considered. I have a friend in town that is (at some point) going to build herself a small coroplast bicycle camper, and she suggested I look into the material for my build. It's pretty neat material for lightweight building!

I'm going to try and get the design to work with wood though, as I am certain I can find the sweet spot between size and weight that will work with my bike. Even with my body weight, the sidecar, and the dog, I still have plenty of room left to pull a trailer provided I don't get too crazy with it. Besides, I'm modding the bike as we speak to increase its ability to handle the extra pulling weight.
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Re: Greetings from San Antonio, Texas!

Postby jim_manley » Sun Aug 27, 2017 4:28 pm

Hi Paul!

Welcome to the fray and we'll be watching to see how your design and build come along. While you're waiting to get access to Solidworks, you might look at using SketchUp to play around with your ideas much more quickly than with hand sketches. There's a forum topic on it with lots of threads on how to design teardrops - there are a ton of existing teardrop SketchUp models with components that are much easier to modify than to try to start designing from scratch. Once you're ready to transition to Solidworks, SketchUp files can be easily converted to the .stl (stereolithographic) format that's the standard that can be read by virtually every 3-D CAD software package.

Thank you for your service from a long-time Naval Intelligence Officer, among many other things (software/hardware/mechanical engineer, rotary and fixed-wing pilot and aircraft builder, computer scientist, educator ... and teardrop builder, of course!). My Dad was 101st Airborne demolitions (what we now think of as Special Forces) who first parachuted in combat on D-Day into Normandy and fought all the way through to the Battle of the Bulge, where he was taken POW for four months after taking a 13 mm Panzer machine gun round through both legs (roughly a half-inch diameter .50 caliber round, for the non-metric types).

He lost a third of his body weight, but was rescued from a train taking POWs deep into Germany for negotiations toward the end of the war. He recovered in time to rejoin the 101st to capture Hitler's alpine retreat at Berchtesgaden, which was a fitting way to close the circle in that nastiness - today's pampered wimps have no idea how bad things can be, with the possible exception of those in Southeastern Texas this week and others who have survived real disasters.

I'm up in Montana, but I strongly share your desire to visit places like Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Glacier, and all of the other NPs, especially out here in the West. I've managed to live near Yellowstone and now have a place directly adjacent to Glacier NP, and perhaps one day when you're on the road with your bike trailer, we can cross paths after I've got my Mod-u-Foamer "Corto" modular-panel reconfigurable foamie built. Glad to hear that you have a service dog, as I am a long-time dog kinda guy, having had best friends that happened to be black Labrador retrievers with a white star in the fur on their chests.

Good luck, keep updating us, and All the Best,
Jim
"Education isn't the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." -- Plutarch ... or W.B. Yeats ... or ...

"In theory, theory and practice are the same ... in practice, they aren't!" -- Some Engineer

"Just when you think you have all the answers ... they change all the questions!" -- Murphy of Murphy, Dewey, Screwem, and Howe, LLP


What I'd love to build: ... What I'll probably wind up with:
.....Image................ Image
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Re: Greetings from San Antonio, Texas!

Postby pralfred » Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:37 pm

Jim, thanks for the long and very warm welcome! I appreciate your service as well as your fathers! Thanks also for the suggestion of SketchUp...I'll have to look into that. I'll also be doing a search for the thread describing how to design a teardrop with the program, so thanks for the heads-up on that too! I'm about to start drawing up plans, so hopefully I'll have some ideas on paper soon, and some updates to share. I hope to take my tear on the road a lot, so perhaps at some point we will cross paths!
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