TOUR AMERICA 2022, ELVIRA’S ROOST, POLK CITY, FLORIDA

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Temperature 83 Degrees, Abundant Sunshine

Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum

Visited September 17, 2022

It began in 1988 with the dream of one man, George Barber a successful business man and someone who was in love with automobiles of all flavors. In this year he began collecting and restoring classic cars. He wanted at first to amass the largest collection in America of classic cars. However, a close friend of his convinced him otherwise. He suggested that since there were already several large and truly unique automobile museums he should focus instead on collecting motorcycles. Being a man of big dreams, Barber seized the opportunity to accomplish what no one else had done – build the world’s best and largest motorcycle collection.

Toward that end in 1995 Barber opened the Vintage Motorsports Museum. But he was far from done.

Going even further he imagined a road course where his collection of motorcycles could be demonstrated in action. In 1983 he opened an 880 acre park with a 16 turn road race track that was open to the public. Today, the track is home to the Porsche Sport Driving School, and numerous automakers have chosen the park as their stage for vehicle debuts and to film commercials. Then in 2014 The Barber Proving Grounds was built adjacent to the race track (upper left corner of the above picture). It can be configured as a racetrack, or used in various configurations to test vehicle capabilities such as accident avoidance, braking, turning, and acceleration.

But the crown jewel of the park is beyond a doubt The Vintage Motorsports Museum which today is recognized by Guinness World Records as being the world’s largest motorcycle collection. This is truly one awe inspiring facility that has one’s head spinning from the first few steps in the door. You hardly know which way to look.

But ,actually, the experience starts even before you enter. There is this sculpture on the front lawn.

OK, let’s go inside and I’ll share with you just a bit of what there is to see.

There are five full floors of motorcycles of every kind, a total of about 1,600 motorcycles that span over 100 years of production. I, for one, never knew there were so many different manufacturers, so many different brands, and so many different models. Of course some no longer exist today. They were made for maybe a year and then disappeared from the motorcycle scene.

Here is where the motorcycle began.

From 1885. This is a replica of one of the first motorcycles ever built. Two German engineers built it to test out their new engine. They called it a riding car and it achieved a blazing 7 mph. This is where it all began.

1867. Another early attempt. This is a replica of what is believed to be the first true two wheeled motorcycle built. It features a coal fired steam boiler with the water for same built into the saddle. It is believed that about five or six were actually built but it never went into production. I wonder why!

This is believed to be the first mass produced motorcycle. The power unit was based on steam principles but was powered by gasoline.

OK, let’s take a look at just a few of the unique motorcycles in this amazing collection. I’m just going to “throw” them out in no particular order.

1923. It was called a Ner-A-Car. This was promoted in the United States as an economical form of transportation. Over a period of seven years 100,000 units were produced. It’s weather protection and quietness made it popular with women and in November, 1921, Mrs. G. M. Janson completed a 1,000 mile test without stopping the engine.

In 1922 Cannonball Baker rode one from New York to Los Angles in eight days covering 3,368 miles at an average speed of 30 mph.

1925. The Bohmerland, is one of the most unusual in the history of motorcycles. Designed to seat three people in tandem some models were almost 10 feet long. About a thousand machines were built between 1924 and 1939 and now only a handful remain. This actual machine is the oldest one in existence.

1959. Though often looked down upon in the United States, in Europe owning a fully equipped luxury model Scooter would be regarded as a status symbol. This CZ Cezeta with trailer for camping gear would enable a couple to go on vacation at minimal cost. Anyone out there with a large rig that want’s to downsize might want to take a better look!

1965. It’s called a Valmobile and its a folding scooter. Designed to be carried in the trunk of your car, boat or plane. Suffice to say, it never caught on.

1915. You could order it out of the catalogue and have it delivered to your closest railroad station ready for you to ride. The big attraction of purchasing from Sears was that you could pay for it in installments.

Want something a little more comfortable? This is a Honda GoldWing, the type of bike that I used to ride. It had cruise control, stereo, and could run all day at 70 mph. When Ms. Barbara and I used to go on a run more often then not she would fall asleep in the back seat.

Any Disney fans recognize this motorcycle? If you were at Disney World in the 70’s or 80’s you more than likely saw it at some time on Main Street. Yes, it is still in running condition but the low down is stopping is whole other thing!

For the couple looking for something new to do how about motorcycle side car racing. Granted it is one of the most dangerous forms of motorcycle racing but just think of the stories that you can tell your neighbors. Oh, and yes for the one in the side car you basically kneel on that small aluminum platform and hang on for dear life.

Yes, this one is for real. For a brief time JRL Cycles Lucky 7 was the only radial-engine production motorcycle in the world. The goal was to build and sell a minimum of 50 units but the development and production of them resulted in a price tag of $100,000 per bike. Alas, only four were ever built and this is one of those four.

OK, this is just a taste of what is in this amazing motorcycle museum. If you love, really love motorcycles then this is a must visit for you. It was a must for me and I’m glad I finally was able to visit it.

Thanks again for spending some time with us.  It’s always great to be able to share our story with family and friends. Comments? Feel free to share them with me. And always remember, cherish every moment of every day that God gives you and live those moments to the fullest. 

Our continuing mission remains the same: to explore as many new states as possible, to seek out new acquaintances and make new friends, to boldly go where we have not been before.

TOUR AMERICA 2022, ELVIRA’S ROOST, POLK CITY, FLORIDA

September 29, 2022

Temperature 79 Degrees, Overcast Skies with Light Rain

Goodbye Ian

If this is all that we have to put up with then we’ll be fine. That was what I was thinking early Wednesday morning. But by the afternoon things started going downhill very quickly.

By the afternoon we were literally an island with water surrounding the house on all sides. Thankfully, we sit high enough that it never got to the point of coming even close to getting into the crawl space under the house.

Then came the wind. Unfortunately, it was coming from the one direction we didn’t want it to come. It was coming in such a way that it was pounding the house on the side with the four windows. It battered the side of the house for hours. All was fine until two of the awnings began to break loose. Well, thankfully, my son Adam and his significant other Joanne were here with us. Hard to believe but in the midst of the storm out they went and took down the two awnings before they broke loose and did any damage.

But it was just getting started. Come Wednesday evening the winds had picked up to 50 mph with much higher gusts. And the rain came in sheets, one after another. The funny thing, through it all DISH never lost the signal. Well, Wednesday night was the worse in terms of wind and rain. We finally lost electric and water about 10 pm that night. Elvira to the rescue. We just moved right back in and fired up the generator. Thankfully, power and water were restored by 10 am Thursday morning.

The bottom line – we made it through with no damage to our house or property. Thanks to one and all who kept in touch with us and offered their words of encouragement and prayers. As I’ve said and I will continue to say, we are truly two of the most blessed people on the face of the earth.

TOUR AMERICA 2022, MT OLIVE SHORES, POLK CITY, FLORIDA

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Temperature 89 Degrees, Overcast

Home Safe and Sound, Waiting For Our Newest, Nastiest Child – Ian

Yesterday was maintenance time for Elvira. It was time to have all the fluids and filters changed on both the engine and the generator. A close inspection of the engine revealed only one minor problem that we might or might not have fixed before we leave next year. It has to do with the Dash A/C so it is not really critical since we can run the rooftop air while we’re driving.

Service finished it was time to make the decision. Do we turn and flee north? Or do we go south and go home? If we had been full-timing the decision would have been an easy one, turn and flee north. But we both decided we wanted to be home to take case of the house in case something happened to it as a result of the impending hurricane. So south we went and home we are.

I mean what a nice site we have. A full concrete pad that is dead level with full hookups. Not to mention that we have a roof over Elvira that will keep her out of all the rain and wind. And right next door is our deluxe suite that offers all the best in living. What more could one ask for.

So now we wait for our newest and nastiest child -Ian. As of now it is looking like the eye will pass over us sometime either Wednesday or Thursday. The last time this development took a direct hit I’m told there was some streets flooded, some trees down but not much else. No homes were flooded and no homes sustained any major damage. We’re hoping for the same this time. Time will tell. Prayers appreciated.

Thanks again for spending some time with us.  It’s always great to be able to share our story with family and friends. Comments? Feel free to share them with me. And always remember, cherish every moment of every day that God gives you and live those moments to the fullest. 

Our continuing mission remains the same: to explore as many new states as possible, to seek out new acquaintances and make new friends, to boldly go where we have not been before.

TOUR AMERICA 2022, GRAND LAKE RV RESORT,CITRA, FLORIDA

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Temperature 94 Degrees, Abundant Sunshine

One Stop Closer To Home

Wednesday, bright and early we said our goodbyes to the Hitchin Post and got back on the road heading south. Today would be all highway driving so I didn’t anticipate any issues with stop and go traffic. Thankfully, I was right.

We could have gone straight home, though it would have been about a six hour drive. However, we have friends in Ocala who we wanted to stop and see. In addition, it is time to have annual coach care maintenance done on Elvira. So, for those two reasons we planned on stopping at an RV Park just north of Ocala.

The drive was an easy one but a bit longer than we like – a good four hours. The temperatures were in the 90’s but thankfully our dash A/C decided to work the whole trip this time. It’s sort of funky, that is it will work for a couple of hours then it just blows luke warm air. I’ve found, though, that if I switch it to vent for ten to fifteen minutes and then switch back to A/C it will work for another couple of hours. What can I say, our rig is haunted!

In time we exited the highway and made our way to

where we will stay until Sunday. I have to tell you this place is

huge. This is one of their stock photos. There is one section with some 300 plus manufactured homes in place. The second section has 207 RV sites with a good 90% being seasonal. Then in between and among the seasonal sites are places for transients like us.

And here we are. A nice concrete pad, of course it isn’t level but what else is new. It is a really nice place to hang out for a few days. This park is spotless, every site is neat, clean and tidy. And despite being called a resort it is one of the least expensive parks we have stayed in this whole summer. Now, perhaps you’ve noticed we have a few trees all around us. Well, Albert did like this at all. So,

he found himself all alone on a table 50ft from the rig. Here, there is just a big enough hole in the trees for him to lock on to all three satellites. Ah yes, life is good and we’re almost home. This time next week I should be sitting in my nice big recliner with my feet up and remembering the fantastic time we had this past summer.

Thanks again for spending some time with us.  It’s always great to be able to share our story with family and friends. Comments? Feel free to share them with me. And always remember, cherish every moment of every day that God gives you and live those moments to the fullest. 

Our continuing mission remains the same: to explore as many new states as possible, to seek out new acquaintances and make new friends, to boldly go where we have not been before.