Traveler’s Rest, Florida

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Just outside Dade City, Florida is a place where Airstreams and their owners thrived and co-mingled. Developed by Jake Busch, a member of the Tampa Bay Unit of the Wally Byam Caravan Club, Traveler’s Rest was initially funded by Airstream enthusiasts who invested $500 a share and raised over $80,000 to help secure a site. Jake Busch scoured Florida for a beautiful location that could fulfill the dream he had of providing an Airstream Park for wintering travelers.

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He found it near Dade City, adjacent to the small towns of St. Joe and San Antonio; the are know as the “Florida Alps.” In 1972, the property was secured, volunteers helped clear brush, install drainage and water, and prepare sites for silver bullets to nestle in together for warmer winters. Wells for drinking water were drilled and a sewage treatment plant was planned and eventually built.

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Unfortunately, a corrupt contractor took advantage of the park builders and nearly bankrupted them right off the bat. Jake Busch stepped in and pulled the plug on him, but not before he and others paid him off. By 1973 part of the park was finished along with Busch Hall, which houses everything from church services, arts and craft fairs and, of course, the traditional Airstreamer’s pot-luck.

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As is the custom of ‘streamers, much of the work done was facilitated by volunteerism, and several things available today, like the front office, pool, snack area, and Busch Hall floor were the result of loans given for the cause. There was much trust and fellowship as they built out the cabanas, maintained the grounds and enhanced the park. By the end of the ‘70’s most all of the Village lots were sold as well as about 100 mobile home lots were occupied. Traveler’s rest was now a wonderful destination spot for ‘streamers and winter “snowbirds” that wanted a community.

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The golden years from the mid-70’s through the 80’s began. Tennis courts were built, Mirror Lake was created and a new golf course added. They were all enormous projects that today form the beauty that makes Traveler’s Rest unique. In 1986 the TR Times was begun by a retired newspaper editor and continues to this day.

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Can you imagine lines of silver trailers gleaming in the Florida sun? If you go to some of the larger Alumaevent rallies around the country, you might get the idea. But Utopia for Airstreams couldn’t last. Unfortunately, Airstream began developing a line of motor coaches that were strictly outlawed at Traveler’s Rest due to a clause prohibiting motor homes of any sort so that sight lines wouldn’t be ruined.

Additionally, Jake Busch was disheartened following a particularly nasty town hall meeting in his own hall. His dream sullied, Jake Busch passed away in 1993.

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Several “founders” stepped down including the park manager. Airstream sales began to decline and fewer trailers came to Traveler’s Rest as the elder ‘streamers declined. Discontent bread defections and many people simply left. Maintenance and park repair fell as money and interest dwindled and Traveler’s Rest was on the verge of collapse until the bylaws were changed admitting RV’s with other brands were allowed to stay. A renaissance of Traveler’s Roost was underway.

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As we walked around the park, we were greeted by a friendly wave from everyone. And I mean everyone. The sense of community was palpable, and while Airstreams still dot the landscape with newer and older models existing side by side sometimes, the other RV’s fit in well with the landscape in the various sections.

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We particularly liked the area of Cabana’s that were placed next to the Airstream offering what is known as a “Florida room” for residents to enjoy. Airstreams were next to mobile homes, or rested under canopies of Spanish moss covered oak trees.

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The gardens are well maintained by friendly Garden Club volunteers we met. The hall was bustling with church services, the golf links were busy and several people were out for walks with their dogs. They even have an off-leash area. Mirror Lake is now a bucolic view from the wood-planked walks and trails; wildlife teems along its shores.

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John and I now know a place to bring “Margaret” that will be close to his mom’s and provide us with a community of ‘streamers and RVer’s alike, but also that promise of a hookup for electricity and sewage for our longer stays. We are looking forward to our first trip across country!

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Roman, Josephine (John’s Mom) and John

Note: Much of the information on the park in the above article was taken from their history PDF available on their website here: http://www.travelersrestresort.com

Today is the Day for Airstreaming

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Three years ago today, I published AIRSTREAMING. And it’s been amazing meeting all of the fellow ‘streamers along the way. It’s Superbowl Sunday, our Hawks are playing and I’m reflecting on all of the great people and readers who’ve found something to love about this book.

I do hope that it finds a large audience someday, but even if it goes along at a fair clip (6 copies sold this week!) I’m a happy man. People are reading something I spent years and years on, and it makes me very proud.

If you’ve read the book, please write something up on Amazon about it. That helps a lot. If you haven’t download a copy and shoot this book to number one – just like our Seahawks. You can click on the book cover below, which will take you to the book for Kindle or paperback. It’s also available on Nook.

So – go AIRSTREAMING, GoHawks and above all, go read. It’s unbelievable where stories can take you.

http://www.amazon.com/Airstreaming-Tom-Schabarum-ebook/dp/B0074V5XBY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1422827617&sr=8-1&keywords=airstreaming

Reading at Alumafiesta, February 4th @ 7pm

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I’ll be reading with Gregory Zeigler at Alumafiesta in Tucson, Arizona on February 4th at 7pm. We’ll be talking about our books, “Travels with Max” and “Airstreaming” respectively and opening up to questions following our talk.

For more information, click the following! http://www.airstreaming.net/miscellany/airstreaming-author-tom-schabarum/

We do hope you can make it!

Champoeg State Park, Oregon

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This past weekend, we had a great trip to Champoeg, Oregon and saw lots of folks we’ve met at other rallies and made new friends. The rally was for the Oregon Unit’s annual meeting and there were 64 Airstreams and over 100 people who were there.

Pictured above is an amazing vintage trailer that won the People’s Choice Award at Modernism week last year in Palm Springs. It belongs to Doug and Mona Heath, who is past President of the WBBCI Oregon Unit and works with Airstreams 2 Go.

IMG_5157 IMG_5158Champoeg is a terrific state park and particularly beautiful in the fall.

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We picked up pumpkins and walked to the historic Butteville Country Store where they made amazing cherry pies.

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There is a bikeway that runs along the entire Willamette Valley that is stunning right now.

We look forward to many more rallies with this group, and more adventures ahead.

 

Our First Airstream Rally: Depoe Bay, OR

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John, Buster and myself took off for Depoe Bay on Friday for our first Airstream rally ever.

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We had an amazing weekend and were a little overwhelmed by all the people we met, the names we had to learn and all of the Airstream knowledge we heard. It’ll take some time to process, but what a great first rally.

Thanks to Rally hosts, Devon and Rebecca Sigleer and Marcus and Becki  Burr. They did a great job hosting 29 Airstreams and 60 people at the Sea and Sand RV Resort overlooking Depoe Bay, OR.

We were greeted by the nice women at the front desk and then Devon helped guide John in for his first backing lesson into our site over-looking the ocean.

Friday evening was happy hour, appetizers and, for us, meeting a lot of new people.

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We looked at some incredible Airstreams, vintage and new, and talked solar panels and generators and styles and lengths.

Saturday was a nice walk on the beach, French toast, sausage and fruit by our Rally Hosts, and then lunch for John and I just down the road at a Mexican restaurant (not so tasty).

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We toured around the small coastal town and then went back to the resort for the rest of the afternoon to nap and read and ready ourselves for dinner.

My old friend, Tanya Spruill, who lives up the coast with her partner, Miles, came to visit and catch up. We hadn’t seen each other since just before our High School graduation so it was quite a treat.

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Afterwards, we met for the Saturday bar-b-que and everyone brought dishes, and the hosts provided grilled shrimp, tuna and Prime Rib, which was amazing. Another set of couples brought makings for hot fudge sundaes.

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We were also treated to an amazing sky above the ocean.

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The day ended with a beautiful beach fire with s’mores and more visiting.

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Sunday, John, Buster and I took off down the beach to look at tide pools and came back to a Happy Birthday sing-a-long for me, which was quite nice (thanks Toni for starting that!)

We then hung around to say goodbye and see people off.

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I was able to sell copies of AIRSTREAMING, which was great and I hope will be enjoyed. Then the weather turned as John and I went to brunch at a local cafe that had extremely slow service. We were sitting outside with Buster and nearly froze to death waiting for crepes. Then it was back to Margaret and naps and reading and planning our next adventure.

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A big thank you to all who welcomed us from the WBCCI Oregon Unit and those from the Washington Unit as well. Thanks also to those who shared their knowledge and wine (thanks Diane and Rob!). We are really looking forward to Area 33 (Trout Lake) over Memorial Day weekend.

THE GOOD: Great people, Amazing view, clean and nice RV Park, The weather on Friday and Saturday. We figured out Buster’s bed, which he LOVED. We really are making Margaret a home away from home. Endless power, endless water. The beach. Salt Water Taffy from the front desk. John and I travel really well together and both love being in the Airstream.

THE BAD: The little town’s Mexican food place. Dory’s. The wind on the way home scaring the bejesus out of us as Margaret swayed…

THE UGLY: At the tail end (pun intended) of dumping out the gray and black water, I accidentally pulled off the hose and a little nasty spilled out. Not too bad and I washed the little bit away. Luckily, it was at the end of the gray flush.

PS: click on the pics to see them big and beautiful.