Jay and Dana Cadwell met rock climbing at the Tri-City Court Club.
That led to climbing outside once the weather turned warm. And to hiking and biking and camping.
The Cadwells, who live in Pasco, have run races together, they’ve climbed mountains together.
After Jay finished graduate school at Gonzaga University in Spokane, they set out on an epic three-month road trip that took them through about a half-dozen Western states and more than 15 national parks.
It goes without saying that they love the outdoors. “That’s been the ethos of being together, for us,” Jay said.
It’s also the ethos of their business, Explore More Northwest — the region’s only rental company specializing in teardrop trailers.
“We want the outdoors to be accessible. We want to make it as easy as possible to hook up and go, to breathe fresh air and get some good outdoor experiences,” Dana said.
A teardrop is a small, lightweight travel trailer known for its signature teardrop shape.
The Cadwells started their business last year with two teardrops, and this year they’ve added two more. The next-closest companies offering teardrop rentals are in Seattle and Portland.
Explore More Northwest’s inventory includes two Little Guy trailers, each about 900 pounds, and two larger Dutchman T@B trailers.
All the trailers have kitchens, which the Cadwells stock with towels, pots and pans, dishes, utensils and other necessities.
The trailers also have other cool features, from stargazer windows in the Little Guys to refrigerators and heat/AC in the T@Bs.
Rates are $89 a night for the Little Guys and $109 a night for the T@B trailers, with discounts for rentals of a week or longer.
The teardrops are easy to use, with no towing experience needed, the Cadwells said. They generally fit in regular camping spots, so renters don’t have to shell out more for RV spaces.
They’re also comfortable. The Cadwells know that firsthand as they used one of the T@Bs on their three-month road trip, which included adventures from mountain biking at 12,000 feet in Colorado to navigating Class V rapids on the Colorado River.
“We really enjoyed the experience,” Dana told the Herald last year, when the business debuted. “We want to share that with other people. That’s where this came from.”
The Cadwells see a mix of renters, from young people to retirees, from experienced campers to newbies. And those renters take the teardrops to all sorts of destinations, from Mount Rainier to the Painted Hills, from Yosemite to Sun Valley, Moab and Glacier National Park.
“It’s so awesome to hear about where (people) are going, and when they come back to hear about their experiences,” Dana said. “To see their faces light up.”
The Cadwells — who are founders of Tri-Cities 5K Run and Brew, in which participants meet weekly for a group run followed by beer and fun — are founts of outdoor knowledge, so they’re happy to give tips about fun places to visit, routes and activities. They also plan to add a blog and more resources to their website.
Teardrops first became popular in the 1930s, and they’re experiencing a resurgence now. The Cadwells said to expect enthusiasm and curiosity if you take one out.
“You’re the highlight of the campground if you’re traveling in a teardrop,” Dana said.
They also said to expect a good time.
“You see a lot of the van life out there, people starting to break away and hit the road. We’re kind of an extension of that, but you’re towing (a trailer). They’re easy. You can switch vehicles if you need to,” Dana said. “There’s a movement of hitting the road and being outdoors. We make that more accessible.”