Pat

Pat


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Posts by Pat

Friday Happy Dance…

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After waiting all week to hear back from Tom at Serro Scotty trailers, we got in touch with him today to find out about the modifications for our new HiLander that we’d like done in production. All three were OK’d at NO COST!! With the total retro look of the exterior from the colors to the design, we wanted to do the same with the interior. First, the interior on a standard HiLander looks like this:

We’re going with a different flooring. Instead of the tan stuff, we’re going with the highly retro black & white checkered floor, which will look similar to this old Shasta trailer:

The next issue was with upholstery. The 2010 HiLanders have a brown, paisley looking design that neither of us cared for. The folks at Sierra Motor Corp. in Bristol, IN, where the Scottys are built, will be sending us some photos of some solid colors for us to choose from.

The last request was for a Formica boomerang design for the counter and table tops. The one we thought would tie in with the exterior would be the aqua colored boomerang. A chrome edging around the counters and tables will also compliment the boomerang quite well.

So that’s the plan! Happy to say our HiLander is now officially ordered and it sounds like one they’ve already started will be earmarked for us. ETA 3 weeks!  Stay tuned…

The Twelve Year Plan…

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I recall over the years during job interviews, I’ve been asked “Where do you see yourself in ten years?” I’d typically give a BS answer that sounded good, but in reality I had no clue what I’d be doing, let alone what I’d want to be doing in ten years.  Well, that’s all changed, and if asked that question today, I could give an honest answer: I plan on being free of debt, free of a mortgage, and in a position to thumb my nose at the rat race and hit the road…permanently.

We’ve both decided now’s the time to start our plan to achieve that goal. Jennifer’s been crunching the numbers of late and if all goes well, 10 years from now we’ll be debt free and mortgage free. Of course a lot can happen in that time period, but unless we have a plan and begin to execute it, there’s no way it’ll ever happen. After we pay off our debts, we’ll turn our attention to our mortgage. By paying it off 12 years early we’ll save nearly $46,000 in interest alone. Once that happens, we’ll see what our savings looks like and then decide if it’s time. We’ll both be in our early 50’s, with (hopefully) many years ahead of us to enjoy life without the rat race. The grand plan from that point is to sell the house, downsize our belongings, buy a new 31′ – 35′ Class A or Class C motor home and call the U.S. our home.

We’ve been doing some initial research on “full timing”, as RVers call it, so we have all our ducks in a row when the time comes. Fortunately we have plenty of time to prepare, as we’re learning there’s a lot involved. But in the end, we’re sure it’ll be worth it. After all, how many in their early 50’s would be in a position to do something this bold? Heck, we’ll have friends who’ll still have kids in school ten years from now!

Every time we watch “RV” or “The Long, Long Trailer”, we think about how cool it would be to be out there on the road like the Gornickes or the Collinis.

We know this life wouldn’t be for everyone, but for two people who love being on the road and seeing different parts of the U.S. as we do, I couldn’t think of a better life to have. And in case you were wondering, no, we wouldn’t be going from place to place every few days. We’d likely stay in an area for a month or two, then move on to another place and set up shop there for a while before moving on to the next dot on the map. Sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it? Stay tuned…and stay where you are…we’ll bring our house to you!

Weighing options…

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Those of you who follow the blog know that we’re new RVers since September and are already looking to upgrade to something with a few more amenities than our T@B. We’ve been back & forth for over a month trying to decide what we want our next trailer to be. We were pretty sure we narrowed it down to the Serro Scotty HiLander, and even made a trip to western Pennsylvania to talk with the owner of the company.

However, the Indy RV Show has been in town the past week and on our second trip to it this past Friday night, we ran into a nicely priced and bigger alternative: The CrossRoads Zinger.

The Zinger is a nice entry-level travel trailer, built by CrossRoads RV near the RV manufacturing hub of Elkhart, Indiana. This is a very nicely built model, with ample room and other goodies. Compared to the Scotty, it’s surely a typical looking “box” trailer.

So this leads us to our current weighing of pros & cons. The Scotty has the cool retro 60’s look, but is smaller. The Zinger is a box on wheels, but has more room for a similar price as the Scotty.  The Scotty could fit in a garage, but the Zinger couldn’t. The Scotty weighs 2500 lbs and the Zinger weighs about 4000lbs. The heavier load would likely require me to have my 200,000-plus mile transmission rebuilt. The Scotty checks in at 15’9″ from tongue to tail and the Zinger measures about 23′.

So these are some of the variables we need to think about before making a decision. And of course, we won’t have to make a decision until we sell our T@B. So, what are your thoughts? Feel free to comment below!

January 16-17, 2010: Mounds State Park

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The Teardrops & Tiny Travel Trailers group held its annual campout this weekend, aptly entitled “Shiveree.”

Slideshow of Pat’s Photos

For more details about a particular photo, click on it in the slideshow and it will open in my Flickr site.

[flickrslideshow acct_name=”11019355@N03″ id=”72157623107182967″ width=”600″]

2010 T@B Trailer For Sale!

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 **UPDATED  4/23/2010** Our T@B has been sold! Thanks for your  inquiries!

For the three of you who follow my blog, my apologies for turning this into a classified ad! Just looking to get a little more internet exposure for our T@B we have had for sale.

For those of you who found this site because you’re looking to buy a T@B, thanks for finding us! Feel free to contact us at roadmaven@aol.com. Our T@B has been sold, but if you would like a brand new T@B,  try Little Guy Trailers, who has resumed production of these cool trailers!

2010 TAB TQ Travel Trailer with loads of options and extras! **Excellent condition, must see!!** Selling SOLD at $1,000’s below MSRP

With some regret, we SOLD  are selling our 2010 T@B TQ travel trailer. We loved it and have had fun camping in it since October. But as we thought hard about the types of travel we would like to do and the places we want to stay (basically going off the grid and boondocking/dry camping), we feel that we’d really be happier and more comfortable with slightly upgraded model with toilet and shower.

But if you’re looking at this, you probably already know that the T@B has no bath or shower and don’t have a problem with it! As stated, our model is was a TQ, which is the U-shaped dinette that converts to a queen-sized bed, and has the roomy L-shaped kitchenette. Here are more details from T@B’s website about the TQ model, including its standard features, options, stock photos, virtual tour, etc. Their site is more informative for general information than I could be: http://www.tab-rv.com/specs/Qfloorplan.php Here’s information regarding the TAB generally, including its history, construction, etc.: http://www.tab-rv.com/specs/index.php

As far as our the particular model we used to own, it comes came with the following options:

* Red Alufiber skin with white trim

* Stonehenge pattern for the fabric seats

* Spacesaver 9″ HD TV / DVD / radio combo with exterior antenna

* Norcold ® Compressor refrigerator – 12Volt only (Runs on 110v A/c power thru standard power converter) (note: this refrigerator option allows for the TQ to have the front window, a nice feature that allows more light)

* LP furnace

* Cool Cat ® air conditioner with heat pump

* Northern Breeze ® power roof vent

* Thermarest Archwing Awning (the newer, easier to assemble type) ($400)

* Thetford Porta-potti ($100)

We also have purchased the following items; some are essential, others are just nice to have. We won’t need them with a future model the ultra-cool retro style Serro Scotty HiLander we‘ll purchased, so we are including  included them with the TAB:

* A shower tent for housing the Porta-potti (serves as an “outhouse”)

* Stromberg Carlson Steel Platform Step (Model S-100)

* A blue 5-gallon jug and hose for gray water collection

* Teardrop trailer party lights (look just like the TAB)

* Two mini TAB toys made by Siku – one is stock (silver with yellow trim), the other we painted to look like ours, red and white

We have tons of photos of the TAB available for you to see, here at our sites on Flickr. Check out the photos carefully, as almost everything listed here as being included is shown in our various photos (but not everything in the photos is included, only what we have listed here!).

http://www.flickr.com/photos/roadtripmemories/sets/72157622413338416/

or

http://www.flickr.com/photos/11019355@N03/sets/72157622275975537/

For all of the above, including more expensive options, like the AC/heat pump, furnace, awning, and storage cover, we are asking asked $13,000, many thousands below MSRP. As we have only had the TAB a few months and have babied it alot during that time, it is in great shape and everything works perfectly. It was manufactured in July 2009. We are no longer accepting inquiries, as it SOLD LAST YEAR.  are more than happy to answer any questions you have or provide more photos. Feel free to contact us at: roadmaven@aol.com

Please note, the T@B is was located in Indiana, for those of you considering it.  It now has a new happy home with the wonderful couple that bought it last year! Thanks!

**UPDATED  4/23/2010** Our T@B has been sold! Thanks for your inquiries!

Time to upgrade…

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If you would have told me three months ago I’d be the owner of a travel trailer in early December, I likely would’ve looked at you, tilted my head, and would’ve said “Huh?” Well, it is true, and I’m quite happy I own one, a 2010 T@B TQ.

We bought this little guy in September after a series of events transpired on a Route 66 motor tour we were on in Missouri. We have no regrets after purchasing our T@B. We’ve had 5 camp outs in it, met some great new T@B friends, and have even spent numerous nights “driveway” camping. We’re hooked and there’s no turning back!

After camping out a few times, we realize whatever our next trailer would be, we want something with a shower/potty combo. We found a few small trailers on the market and like the longevity of the Casita.  But there was one issue I had with the Casita that I’ve been having trouble getting over. My apologies to Casita and its owners, but this thing to me is just ugly!

After having the cool looks of the T@B, it would be hard for me to own this. Make no mistake, I have the utmost respect for the Casita and their longevity. But the T@B just has that “Wow” factor. I would have settled to have one if that’s all there was in our price range, but fortunately something else came along that met all our requirements. It has the shower/potty combo, it has retro styling, and it’s got the “Wow” factor. It is the Serro Scotty HiLander.

Serro Scotty was a company that began producing small “canned ham” trailers in the late 1950’s. After a fire at their Pennsylvania plant in 1997, they got out of the RV business and focused on, ironically, building mobile fire safety houses and are now known as Mobile Concepts by Scotty. In 2006, an RV dealer in Pennsylvania, Bill Kerola, purchased the rights to the Serro Scotty name and began having a few of the more popular Scottys from the 1960’s reproduced, retaining much of the original look, but with 21st century technology.

We took a trip to Collinsville, Illinois to an RV dealer there who sells the new Scottys. We were very impressed with a number of things with the HiLander he had for sale. It appeared to be constructed quite well, the oak cabinets were put together well, it had a nice amount of usable floor space, it had a nice amount of head room compared to our T@B, the shower/potty combo looked ample, and oh yeah, it had that “Wow” factor!

We’ve learned the new Scottys are being produced by Sierra Motor Corporation in Bristol, Indiana that makes living quarters for horse trailers. Jennifer talked to Tom at Serro Scotty Worldwide, the general manager, and he did a fine job answering all the questions & concerns.

So…it looks like we’re going to make the commitment to get a HiLander for our camping adventures. Ahh, but one issue first: We have to sell the T@B. We’ve begun the process with an ad on Craigslist. We’re not too worried if it doesn’t sell right away, as we don’t feel there’s a big rush. But, we’re really getting excited about one day getting the HiLander. And we’re pretty sure we’ll hang on to that one longer than 3 months.  :-)

Indiana’s basketball mecca…

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“While it was invented in Massachusetts, basketball really had its beginning in Indiana, which remains today the center of the sport” — James Naismith, 1936.

Those words ring true more than 70 years later.  Indiana and basketball go hand in hand, like peanut butter & jelly. No other state can lay claim to the rich basketball heritage that Indiana has. From its home grown legends like Tony Hinkle, John Wooden, Oscar Robertson,  George McGinnis, and Larry Bird, to its legendary courts such as Assembly Hall, Mackey Arena, The Wigwam, Chrysler Arena, and a little place called “Hoosier Gym”, to many Hoosiers, basketball has a way of making  all that’s wrong with life right. It’s about legends, stories of legends, and the hallowed grounds where those legends roamed.

In 1985, writer/producer Angelo Pizzo , a Bloomington, Indiana native, set out to capture that feeling on film. He got his inspiration from the 1954 Indiana state high school championship team from Milan High School.  The result was the release in 1986 of  Hoosiers starring Gene Hackman, Dennis Hopper and Barbara Hershey.

Pizzo centered the movie around a fictitious town’s high school basketball team, the Hickory Huskers. Filmed in several areas throughout central Indiana, he found the perfect spot for the Huskers home court. The Knightstown Gym was built in 1922 and served as that high school’s basketball court up until the 1960’s.

Recently I was driving through the area and as luck would have it, the now “Hoosier Gym” was open. The sign on the door showed it closed at 5pm and it was 5:05, but I walked in anyway. Just inside the doorway is a small lobby that has display cases filled with Knightstown memorabilia as well as that from the movie.

When I was signing my name in the guestbook, I could hear someone bouncing a ball just around the corner in the gym. The echo was identical to a scene in the early part of the movie when “Jimmy Chitwood” was in there by himself shooting. As I was heading in, I half expected to see Jimmy in there in his white t-shirt and blue jeans.

However, it was Tom, one of the local caretakers of Hoosier Gym who was getting a few jumpshots in before he locked the doors for the day. Tom was kind enough to show me around, tell me what I didn’t already know about the gym, and showed me the the locker room where one of the scenes was filmed.

hoosiers031

I felt like a kid in a candy store. Not only was Hoosiers voted the best sports movie of all time by USA Today and ESPN, it’s probably my favorite movie of all time of any genre. It was approaching 5:30, and I knew I had kept Tom way too long, but he seemed more than happy to oblige. He tossed me a ball and gave me the chance to take a few shots. Just out of the 4 or 5 shots I took, I knew that court would be very good to my rusty jumpshot.

But I’ll be back there for sure. Hoosier Gym is open 7 days a week for walkers, receptions, group events, and guys like me who just want to show up and soak it all in.

Indiana State Road 58

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Indiana State Road 58

Indiana State Road 58 is one of southwest Indiana’s best routes to travel when you’re in the mood to enjoy a road that isn’t straight as an arrow. Its 122 mile path cuts through the typical Indiana farmland, but it also winds you through parts of the Hoosier National Forest. It’s one of those roads where you want to find yourself on a weekend in the Fall. The colors can be spectacular.

IN-58 starts in Merom, Indiana, some 30 miles south of Terre Haute.

Merom is home to less than 300 citizens, but is also home to the Merom Conference Center. Opened in 1862 as the Union Christian College, the Merom Conference Center now serves as a retreat for the United Church of Christ.

IN-58 angles southeast out of Merom, crossing over US 41 at Carlisle, which is “home” to the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility.

IN-58 continues to zig-zag southeast to Freelandville.

58 straightens itself somewhat at Freelandville and cuts across to Elnora. A visit to Elnora isn’t complete without a visit to the Graham Farms Cheese store, located on the north end of Elnora on IN-57. East of Elnora, IN-58 starts to wind through the hills as it approaches Bedford.

Approaching Bedford, IN-58 follows IN-37 south for a short distance before heading east on its own in Bedford. Bedford, population 14,000, is noted as the Limestone Capital of the World. Limestone from Bedford can be found in structures such as the Empire State Building, the Pentagon, and the National Cathedral. Bedford also lays claim to a couple of historic highways as well: The Dixie Highway and US Route 50, traversing some 3,000 miles across the United States from Ocean City, Maryland to West Sacramento, California.

  

East of Bedford, IN-58 continues its twisty two-lane trek across parts of the Hoosier National Forest. This particular area is a good section to test your driving reflexes or just to see how well your car handles tight curves. :-) Plus, you get to see a wide array of warning signs along the way you won’t often see elsewhere.

Just up the road is the tiny town of Heltonville. Boasting a population of 1200, Heltonville is the boyhood home of Indiana basketball legend Damon Bailey. Bailey’s fame began when he was in 8th grade and Indiana University basketball coach Bob Knight targeted him as a recruit to play for the Hoosiers in the years to come.

Bailey went on to set the Indiana state scoring record in basketball, which also garnered him the coveted title of “Mr. Basketball”, given to the state’s top senior hoops player. He eventually signed to play college ball at Indiana University. Today, Heltonville honors its native son with a limestone monument, which chronicles his achievements, in front of the grade school he attended.

Past Heltonville, IN-58 continues snaking through the countryside…

before entering Freetown, a town seemingly lost in time with its old time grocery…

and its gas station.

IN-58 begins to angle northeast out of Freetown for its remaining 17 miles through Spraytown…

Waymansville….

and finally Ogilville.

Indiana State Road 58 quietly ends its 122 mile journey just past the interchange with Interstate 65.

IN-58 has much to offer if you’re looking to kill a day with a drive. I highly suggest making this trip during the peak foliage season in October. It’ll give you a good dose of happiness before a loooong winter season.

Indiana State Road 75

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Anyone looking at a map of Indiana State Road 75 thinking it’s non-stop from US 40 west of Stilesville to its terminus some 78 miles north at Camden may be in for a surprise….like I was.

I wasn’t expecting anything out of the ordinary when I recently took a Sunday afternoon to explore this north-south route through Indiana’s western half. I’ll fill you in on that later. Like many of Indiana’s state highways in this area, IN-75 slices through Indiana’s rich farmland. It quietly begins its northern journey at US 40 a few miles west of Stilesville.

It skirts the east side of the Coatesville before taking a straight shot north where it intersects US 36 at New Winchester, which is little more than a grain elevator, a couple of businesses, and a smattering of homes. Standing as a tribute to gas stations of a bygone era quietly sits a relic on the northwest corner of US 36 & IN-75.

North of US 36, IN-75 curves through Hendricks County and has a series of 90 degree turns around various farms on its way into North Salem.

In North Salem sits the Eel River School, once an “all grades” school that now is North Salem Elementary. This is one of the few examples of a small town school that survived after consolidating with other small towns. There are many examples dotted throughout the Indiana landscape of former schools such as this that are sitting silent with shattered windows and overgrown weeds. The Eel River escaped that image.

Just past the town limits of North Salem on the west side of IN-75, a field has what appears to be an unnatural hill. Legend has it that when my grandmother was a little girl in the 1910’s, she’d play out in that field and would often find various Indian arrowheads and other articfacts like that. It’s always been thought this little hill is an ancient Indian mound.

Between North Salem and Jamestown, an abandoned section of IN-75 can be seen. Looking south here, old 75 is on the right and used to make a hard left turn over Big Walnut Creek before joining the current alignment of 75 on the left of the photo.

Entering Jamestown, the Tucker Auto Sales building sits on the southwest corner of US 136 and IN-75. Of note, US 136 through Indiana was one of the many alignments of the fabled Dixie Highway, the brainchild of Lincoln Highway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway founder Carl Fisher.  

North of Jamestown is the town of Advance (prounounced AD-vance in these parts).

Other than the intersecting of a couple of popularly named streets….

and a cool old DX Service Station…..

there’s not a lot going on in Advance these days.

Now, remember what I said about the surprise I encountered earlier with this route? Arriving in Thorntown….about halfway through IN-75’s length…..I encountered at IN-47 a sign that stated “End Indiana 75″.

Huh? How could this be? My maps looked as if it should piggyback IN-47 east and then resume north piggybacking IN-39 into Frankfort. A little cornfused, I followed what I thought should be the route up to Frankfort, which was some 17 miles. Following my route through Frankfort, I got my answer. IN-75 is essentially two highways. It restarts on the north side of Frankfort.

 Frankfort’s a neat little city of 16,000, and is the county seat of Clinton County Indiana. Frankfort is known for several things, one of them being the hot dog. No, Frankfort’s not a hot dog hub, but Frankfort High School’s nickname is the “Hot Dogs”. Every last weekend in July on Main Street in Frankfort you’ll find Frankfort’s Hot Dog Festival.

hotdog

Frankfort’s town square is very vibrant, with the beautiful Clinton County Courthouse as the centerpiece. On the northwest corner of the square are murals depicting Clinton County’s history. Part of one mural honors Frankfort’s favorite son, Will Geer, who portrayed Grandpa Walton on “The Waltons”. And no visit to Frankfort is complete without a visit to the Zachary Confection factory, located on the west end of Frankfort on IN-38. They’ve got a shop at the factory where you can purchase some of your favorite chocolate covered goodies when in need of some good “road food”.

IN-75 departs Frankfort and heads north for another 23 miles through Sedalia, Cutler, and Flora before REALLY ending in Camden.

Camden’s main drag through town is IN-218. It was a quiet little burg when I was through, but the old Masonic Lodge is worth a look, as is the local library with the cool old fire escape.

Thus ends our journey on Indiana State Road 75…..both of them!

Portland Concrete, Bridges, and Lucille’s…

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If asked where my favorite section of Route 66 would be, I’d have to say all 2448 miles of it. But, if I was forced to pick a favorite section where I like to drive, I’d say it’s the section between El Reno and Hydro, Oklahoma. It’s got a nice ribbon of Portland concrete that dates back to the 1930’s, complete with curbing, like this mini section that’s housed at the National Route 66 Museum in Elk City, Oklahoma.

 This cool section brings back memories of roadtrips when I was a kid, when two-lane highways were made of concrete and the tires hitting the seams of the road created a perfect rhythm. This section has the same beat. The fun starts at an area called Bridgeport Hill, with a nice little view of the Mother Road as you descend toward a gentle curve.

 One of the highlights of this section in western Oklahoma would be the 3944 foot long Route 66 bridge across the South Canadian River. It’s unique in that its constructed of 38 spans of “pony” trusses and has stood the test of time, dating back to 1933.

This section between El Reno and Hydro is approximately 28 miles long and keeps you far out of sight of Interstate 40, helping to preserve the image of what travel was like along this section, which carried Route 66 traffic until it was bypassed in 1962.

The alignment comes back into view of I-4o in Hydro, where you can stop off and view Lucille’s Historic Route 66 Gas Station. Built in 1927 as Provine Station, it was purchased by Carl & Lucille Hamons in 1941 and renamed Lucille’s in 1974. Lucille’s remained open right up until her death in August of 2000 (Carl died in 1971), and was later purchased and restored by a Weatherford businessman, but no longer functions as a business. (Hat tip: “Oklahoma Route 66″, Jim Ross, Ghost Town Press). I had the opportunity to stop into Lucille’s in 1995. I had just finished a semester at Indiana Wesleyan University and aced a finance class I had taken. With some vacation time to burn up before the end of the year, I decided to reward myself and took some time off and made a solo trek on 66 out to Albuquerque, New Mexico. I stopped by Lucille’s and got a pop for the road and went on my way. It was my only chance to visit there, but I was glad to have stopped in a Route 66 business that had seen the highway’s birth in the late 1920’s through being bypassed by I-40, right outside its windows. Not only that, but it was neat to visit with someone who had served Route 66 travelers during the highway’s heyday, prior to the interstates when Route 66 was the way west.

During the father/son trip we took over Christmas of 2008, I shot some video of the pony bridge and put it together on YouTube. Hope you enjoy…and my apologies for the shaky hand in the beginning!

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