Posts tagged RV

October 9-11, 2015: Prophetstown State Park

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Knowing October is going to be a busy month, we decided to head out for a RVing weekend. We weren’t sure which park we wanted to go to, so Pat had the Indiana State Parks website open to their reservations page, showing all available campsites, periodically refreshing it. Two sites came up that were not previously available, so they were probably reserved and canceled.

Both sites were at Prophetstown State Park in Battle Ground, near West Lafayette. The park is primarily on flat prairie land, which is being restored and landscaped to include native prairie plantings. It has a very different feel than the parks in southern Indiana, which have more woods and forests. One part of the park is fairly open (electric only site numbers beginning at 200), but with some young trees in between sites. Depending upon one’s preferences, that may or may not be suitable, but it is still nicely manicured and maintained, with a very nice comfort station / shower house in that area.

The sites that became available were in the area with campsite numbers starting at 100. Pat selected 108, which was a pull-through with full hook ups, so we had water, sewer, and electric, for a total of $40. What was really nice about all of the sites in this area, was the trees! It was a very different feel than the 200-numbered sites. Both the pull-through and back-in sites all had a very generous number of trees surrounding the roomy sites, creating a nice little enclave of privacy one doesn’t usually find many parks. Commercial RV parks are usually close, and state parks are usually spaced farther apart – and this one did quite well! The back-in sites all had three sides of tree coverage, and obviously having a pull-through, we had just two sides – but it was nice to look out and see just trees instead of other rigs and to have a delineation of our site.

Shasta Oasis at Prophetstown State Park

We arrived in the dark Friday night and I wasn’t inclined to do much but go to sleep, but the next day we basically lazed around until we felt like getting up (that feels good!) and had some coffee and breakfast before heading out for a walk. First, we walked around the campground for about a mile. We went back to the campsite to check out the trails for our next walk…I’d say hike but the area is pretty flat, no hills, no stairs or ladders to climb – so it was walking. But the layout of the two trails we wanted to take ensured that it was going to be a long walk. Turns out it was 6 miles!

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The weather was typical October, meaning chilly at night and warm during the day – but warmer in the sun and cooler in the shade. In many of the open prairie portions of trail 3, it got a little warm with no shade to be found, but trail 4 offered a good mix of shade.

Walk along Trail 4 - Prophetstown State Park

After trekking 6 miles, we rested a bit and decided to have an early dinner to replenish some of the calories we burned (and to avoid the post-game Purdue traffic), so we headed to the Dog n’ Suds on US 52 in West Lafayette. Dinner at Dog n Suds, US 52, West Lafayette, Indiana

We indulged in a little frozen yogurt at Urban Swirl Frozen Yogurt and headed back to the campsite.

The Indiana DNR had a fall campfire event in the other area of the campground and was offering free s’mores so we headed over and found that they were for everyone, not just kids. Woo hoo! Not too many took advantage of it, so there were plenty for the small crowd. I only had one though! We were treated to a beautiful sunset as well – though as good as a camera as the iPhone 6 Plus has, didn’t get the deep red colors correct (should have brought the Sony!).

Sunset at Prophetstown State Park

I fell asleep very early and to my surprise slept very late (for me) – 9:15! That was every bit of 12 hours. Yeah, that felt good. We wanted to have breakfast out and already knew we were going to the Route 66 Diner in West Lafayette. It is 115 miles from the closest part of the actual Route 66 (which would be Normal, Illinois) but as the sister restaurant to the popular local favorite the Triple XXX (featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives) the Route 66 Diner serves up some great food and friendly service. We had a bit of a wait, with the after church crowd, but it was worth it!

Next, on to burn off some of those calories with a bike ride. The park had a paved bike trail where they set up a “Scarecrow Trail” for October. Various civic groups set up scarecrow displays along the trail. See images in my photo gallery below.

After the 7+ mile bike ride, we had a couple hours left until Indiana’s most generous 5PM Sunday check out time. We rested for a bit, then set to the task of putting everything away and heading home. Until next time…

October 9-11, 2015: Prophetstown State Park

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September 12-14, 2015: Route 66 RV Trip

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Our latest journey is another trip on Route 66. We decided to take our new Shasta Oasis travel trailer on this trip, rather than our typical road trip by car.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

We initially planned to start on Friday evening after work, but due to a late schedule, needed to wait until morning. We left early to ensure we could meet the schedule we had planned. That was another different aspect of this trip, that we would have some anticipated stopping points; travel less time per day, and spend a little more time in the overnight location.

For the first day, our destination was Springfield, Missouri to the KOA where we stayed for the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival a couple of weeks ago. After we passed St. Louis, we took 66 mainly through Missouri, except in a spot or two.

We stopped by Paris Springs to see Gary Turner’s replica filling station, Gay Parita. Sad to hear that vandals have been stealing signs and memorabilia after his death. His sons have taken down many of the signs to prevent further thefts. Gary’s daughter will be purchasing the property and opening it once again – hopefully, that will deter the vandals when someone is on site!

We went next door to visit Teresa and John – fellow Corvair enthusiasts we met during the Springfield 66 festival last month after conversing on several 66 Facebook groups. Nice visit with new friends!

Once we arrived at the KOA and he’d had some playtime at the KOA’s playground, we took our grandson to the Steak n’ Shake on Route 66 and then to Andy’s Frozen Custard.

We enjoyed this KOA just as we had previously. There is a nearby train tracks and it is pretty close to a crossing, so when the train goes by, you do get the loud whistle sound. Whether that disturbs one is strictly personal preference. I can sleep with it, and fall right back if I wake up…plus I enjoy the sound. Your results may vary, but it’s good to know!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

We moved on the next day to the Tulsa area. We continued taking 66 as much as we could, stopping at as many places as practical given our combined total of 48 feet. Of course, we stopped at Afton Station to visit our friends Laurel and Ron. Jameson enjoyed the station and exploring the Packards and the old motorhome.

Next, we stopped at the Blue Whale in Catoosa, which went well. Luckily, a year later, our grandson has a better understanding that leaving one place doesn’t mean the fun is over and he knows that there is more fun down the road!

Unfortunately, on this day there would be a little less fun than we had planned. First, we ran out of gas in Tulsa. So much for the “Distance to Empty” feature on the truck, which still read 50 miles! Our Shasta came with a year of Coach Net from Forest River, the parent company of Shasta. They did very well, giving us an estimate of an hour but the service provider delivered the gas and we were on our way within 45 minutes. Two thumbs up!

That was great service though the experience was still annoying and we were a bit cranky…and then to make matters worse, we found that our RV park for the night (Cross Trails RV Park) was not at all what we expected.

Here is the description from their website:

“Sapulpa’s newest RV Park located on 7 Scenic acres with all the amentities that you need to feel at home. We are located in the scenic hill country on the Southwest side of the Tulsa metro area. We use the Eaton Powerhouse Pedestal that has 50/30/20 Amp electrical plugs, TV cable jack as well sewer, trash and free WiFi internet access. Our clubhouse offers a Laundry Room, Showers , a Playground area for the kids, a Dog Park, Picnic Area and Storm Shelter.”

Let me first say the good. The manager was very responsive and friendly by telephone (I did not see him in person, though). It was unusual, though, for him to tell us to meet his son by the dumpster along the fence after dark. Not exactly a usual or comfortable “check-in” experience.

The park is very new and to some extent, that is a plus. The concrete pads are very new and in excellent condition, same for the electrical pedestal. And for what it’s worth, it was on Route 66.

Beyond that, I have very little other positive things to say about this RV park. None of the other amenities appeared to be built or ready…no playground or dog park. The only building that was listed as the office and laundry was closed and peeking in the windows, it was still very much under construction. The grounds were similar, with piles of dirt and rocks everywhere. Many of the other trailers were in various ages and physical condition, with some having flat tires (along with their vehicles). All around, it was not a comfortable place to stay and I wanted to leave as soon as we could in the morning. I do hope that someday this park builds or makes available all of the amenities it has advertised….but as of September 2015, it does not.

We did manage to sneak in a very short visit to the very cool playground in Sapulpa where we took our grandson last year. It got dark pretty quickly but he enjoyed it anyway!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Our next day was to be a bit longer day, trying to get to Amarillo, Texas. Unfortunately, in western Oklahoma, the wind picked up considerably and we were getting a lot more sway with the trailer than we felt comfortable. We heard it was worse in Texas, so we decided to stop and stay at the KOA between Clinton and Elk City, Oklahoma. Not too much to do in the area but they had a playground and what more does a 4 year old boy need. :) This park isn’t bad (the grounds), though there are better KOAs. It doesn’t have much around it to do, except if one drives 12 miles in either direction to Clinton or Elk City (I did cruise Route 66 to Elk City to get some groceries and it was very peaceful!). It’s very good for an overnight stop, but maybe at other times there are amenities and activities? Many KOAs have kids activities, but my feeling is this one is geared more to overnight stops. For that, it is very adequate.

We would then have an easier day getting to Amarillo tomorrow!

Below is a gallery of photos from these three days of the trip. Enjoy, and stayed tuned for the remainder of our journey!

September 12-14, 2015: Route 66 RV Trip

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November 5-6, 2011: Little Farm on the River

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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.

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A Little Scotty Then & Now…

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Since picking up our Serro Scotty HiLander a week ago, we’ve found out the prevailing question we can anticipate in the future: Is that new or restored? We encountered that question twice while camping in Batesville, Indiana Sunday. That’s a fair question to ask from those who remember Scotties from the  trailer’s hey-day in the mid-late 1960’s.

The HiLander model was introduced in 1964 and was manufactured until the late 1970’s. Little changed in the design, and with the popularity of them during those years, there was little need to fix what wasn’t broken. John Serro strived to build a line of small but roomy, lightweight trailers that were affordable. Few could argue the success he had, as Scotty built travel trailers from 1957 through 1997 when a devastating fire at their last remaining plant located in Irwin, Pennsylvania put them out of the travel trailer business. Two other plants in Bristow, Oklahoma and Ashburn, Georgia had already closed in the early 1980’s.

Fast forward to 2006 when an RV dealer in western Pennsylvania wanted to see the past brought back. Bill Kerola worked with John Serro’s grandson to bring the Serro Scotty name back and did so with the introduction in 2007 of the 13′ Sportsman and 15′ HiLander models. Now produced by horse trailer conversion specialists Sierra Custom Interiors in Bristol, Indiana, Serro Scotty Worldwide offers a line of five different trailers from which to choose. For us, it was the 15’9″ HiLander, the largest rig they offer. We love just about anything retro, so going with a Scotty for our next trailer was going to be a perfect fit. We went as far as to have them add a black & white checkered floor and aqua  boomerang counter and table tops to add to the 1960’s feel.

Their brochure asks you to “Stand apart from the crowd with this timeless classic.” We’ve found early on during our brief ownership that standing out isn’t a hard thing to do with the HiLander. That is, unless you’re at a rally of original Scotties. To the average Joe, they probably couldn’t tell which one was built in my birth year of 1968 (Courtesy of Scott’s Flickr page)…

to one that was built just weeks ago (Ours with Sierra Interiors manager John).

But whether it’s old or new, Serro Scotty is an iconic  name in the history of travel trailers that won’t soon be forgotten. Bill Kerola is making sure of that.

Our New Camping Buddy…

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Many folks who have vintage Serro Scotty trailers also have a Scottish Terrier for a pet. Why not? The Scotty trailers have adorned a black terrier in their logo since the early stages of the company’s existence in the late 1950’s.

Back in December after we made the trek to Transfer, Pennsylvania to talk with the folks at Serro Scotty Worldwide about getting a HiLander, we were pretty sure after this trip we’d one day get one. On the return trip home, we found ourselves at an antique mall somewhere west of Columbus, Ohio on US 40. We walked around a bit to stretch and look at some of the booths. It was there we knew that one day we were going to have that trailer. For $15, we had our confirmation.  A little fellow we affectionately named Winton:

We never wanted to get a Scottish Terrier, let alone any dog, but this little guy offered us no mess and no noise. The perfect pet. Now that our HiLander is in production, I decided it was time for Winton to get a little makeover. So, to coincide with the Serro Scotty logo, I gave him a nice black coat of paint and painted his little bow tie red:

Winton will be with us on all our future trips in our Scotty, and will find himself sitting under the awning watching the world go by…just don’t offer to play fetch!

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!

February 10, 2010: RV / MH Museum – Elkhart, Indiana

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It’s far too cold for us lightweights to camp, but wanting to head out and do something, Pat and I decided to take a trip to the RV Museum up in Elkhart, Indiana.

Loads of cool stuff up there. They have displays featuring the first types of campers of yesterday and how they evolved over the years into the modern trailers and motorhomes of today.

Slideshow of All Photos

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

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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!

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