Feb 232014
 

Tin Can Tourists’ 2014 Winter Convention

February 23rd 2014

Brooksville, FL – Panama City, FL

I woke up quite early this morning, probably a bit anxious to get on the road and head home, hoping to have no trouble on the way home unlike on our trip down. I started to pack up most of our outdoor items, including all my parts and the golf cart onto the utility trailer that we pull behind the motorhome. At 8am I headed over to the pavilion were we were having breakfast. A few of the members pulled out quite early this morning, but most everyone else was still around. We got to stand around and talk and say our good byes. Every Rally seems to go by so fast, never long enough but it helps knowing the next rally will be just as fun!

By about 10 am we were all set to head out towards home. My parents would be following us in their little truck and I would be driving the Motorhome with the trailer in tow. The motorhome drove great with all new tires!! A few hours down the road I noticed my parents were not behind us anymore, so I slowed down a bit to see if they would catch back up to us. About the time I was getting concerned I noticed my cell phone was on silent and there were several missed calls.  I turned the cell phone back up at the same time it rang again, my mother was calling to let me know they had a front tire coming apart on the front of the truck and had pulled off the Interstate about 30 miles back! They had found a tire center and were going to get the front two tires replaced just to be safe. They told us to continue on as it would take us another 45 minutes to get back to them and by then they should be back on the road. So we continued on home running into hard rain not far up I-75. The rain continued all the way up I-75 and by the time we made it to I-10 it was starting to rain pretty heavy. We pulled over at a rest area not long after getting on I-10 and discovered it was getting cold outside; I even had to change from shorts to jeans. We continued down to interstate making taking our exit towards Panama City. By 4 pm we were pulling in at home and at the same time my parents called to tell us it took forever to get the tires changed and they were still about 4 hours behind us at this point. They finally got home around 8pm.

What a trip! No matter what kind of travel trouble I have, I am always looking forward to the next Tin Can Tourists Rally!!!!

 

Tim Heintz

Tin Can Tourists Southeastern Representative

1995 Fleetwood Flair

Feb 222014
 

Tin Can Tourists’ 2014 Winter Convention

February 22nd 2014

Brooksville, FL

Woke up this morning to a few dark clouds and a heavy fog, but there was the promise of clearing skies and warm weather to come quickly. I made my way over to the pavilion where we all had donuts/pastries and coffee for breakfast.  Soon after most of us headed back to our trailers to get ready for the open house, as I headed back to set up the rest of my parts for sale since I did not bring a vintage trailer to the winter convention this year.

Before the dark clouds cleared out we did have a very short light rain, just long enough to get everything a little wet, but thankfully the sun came out and dried most of it up rather quickly. The flow of visitors was a good steady flow, and not too busy allowing for an easy day. I sold quite a bit of parts as well as antique accessories to go with vintage trailers.

I missed not having one of my vintage trailers with me, but it was nice to bring modern once and being able to enjoy the rally and walk around seeing all the trailers on display. (Pictures can be viewed at http://www.flickr.com/photos/tbone2/sets/72157641453933663/ ) The weather throughout the day was great and the sun was out for most of the day. We had a lot of visitors who had recently purchased vintage trailers and can’t wait to get involved with the Tin Can Tourists and start using their ‘new’ trailers.

Around 1pm we called to see if there was a tire shop that would come out to change the last two tires that needed to be replaced on the Motorhome. There was only one tire shop located in Dade City and could not make it out, but said if the motorhome could be driven there by 130 they could get the last two tires replaced. So my parents loaded up the motorhome and headed to Dade City while I stayed behind with all the parts I had for sale. They were only gone for about an hour before returning with the two new tires installed on the motorhome. Now we will be driving home on all new tires!!!

By 5 pm the open house was over and it was time for dinner which was a great BBQ dinner supplied by the Youth Ranches volunteers. When dinner was over I showed the TV Episode of Extreme RVs from the Travel Channel that featured our shop ‘Heintz Designs Vintage Trailer Restorations’ (www.HeintzDesigns.com) since the featured restored trailer was in attendance at the Winter Convention. It was a gold colored 1957 Airfloat Landyacht Coach.  After the Extreme RVs they showed the movie ‘The Long Long Trailer’, many people came out to see the movie. I decided to walk around a bit and see if there were any groups gathered around a campfire as I had already seen the movie a few hundred times! I found a group gathered at Harvey’s 1970 WilliamsCraft Trailer and we sat around and talked trailers for a few hours before it was well past 10 pm so we all decided to head to bed as we were all pulling out in the morning.

Tim Heintz

Tin Can Tourists Southeastern Representative

1995 Fleetwood Flair

Feb 212014
 

Tin Can Tourists’ 2014 Winter Convention

February 21st 2014

Brooksville, FL

I slept very well last night after such a long day of travel and roadside tire problem on the way down. The rest of the family slept in, but I went ahead and got up for breakfast at the pavilion to see everyone who was still wondering if I had made it to the campground last night. Everyone was happy to see that we finally arrived in one piece last night. Breakfast was supplied by the youth ranch volunteers and it was great to have a big warm breakfast.

After breakfast we had a memorial service for John ‘Canner’ Culp, who had passed away earlier this year. John was the last of the true Tin Can Tourists having attended the original TCT Rallies in the 1930’s and 1940’s with his parents. John also lived full time in a 1947 Westcraft Trailer that he bought brand new with his father in 1947. John pulled it all over the US well into his 80’s when he finally retired from the road about 4 years ago and parked the trailer in central FL to live in.John Culp with his 1947 WestCraft

After the service we had the rest of the day to do whatever we wanted to do. I was happy to spend most of the day walking around and talking to everyone at the rally. Many of the TCTers at the event I had not seen in at least a year or more. We had some really great trailers attend this year, although many of our Airstream Friends were drawn away from our winter convention with an Airstream Rally in FL the same weekend, but we still had a good supply of vintage Airstreams at the event.

I eventually made it back to my rig and started to unpack all of the vintage parts I had packed to bring down with me to sell at the rally. I had four large tubs full of parts that I still needed to go through, price and layout on the utility trailer. I had also brought a lot of antiques for vintage trailers such as coffee pots, dishes, and even vintage clothing. Even sold a few items early as I was unpacking.

At 6 pm it was time for a pot luck dinner with chicken provided; there was a ton of side dishes including some awesome deserts.  When dinner was over we had a band providing a great selection of music. There was quite a bit of dancing as well with a couple of surprise fire dances from one of our fellow TCTers!!!! The music lasted well into the night, until we all could not stay up any longer and finally headed in for the night. Been a great day and can’t wait until tomorrow!

 

Tim Heintz

Tin Can Tourists Southeastern Representative

1995 Fleetwood Flair

Feb 202014
 

Tin Can Tourists’ 2014 Winter Convention

February 20th 2014

Panama City, FL – Brooksville, FL

I spent all day yesterday packing all the vintage trailer parts and antiques that I want to bring for the flea market on Saturday at the TCT Rally. Since I am not bringing a vintage trailer this time I may as well bring part of vintage trailers. After packing all my parts, I finished packing all my clothes and other items I usually take. This time I will not be pulling vintage, I will be bringing a more modern Motorhome with a utility trailer in tow behind with all my parts onboard.

At 6:30am I loaded up all my stuff and headed a few blocks away to my grandparents place. They will be tagging along with me and allowing me to drive their Motorhome (they are TCT Members too and love to attend the rallies) Although they have never owned a vintage trailer, they have owned MANY new trailers that would be considered vintage today….their first was a 1954 Continental Trailer 35’.

By 7:30am we were all set to hit the road. Felt a bit weird at first, I am used to driving a shorter vehicle with a longer trailer in tow, this time I have a 30’ tow vehicle and a 13’ trailer in tow….I feel backwards! But quickly got used to how the motorhome handled. Starting off traffic was a little heavy out of Panama City as this weekend starts our Spring Break Season, and traffic was already quite a bit heavier than usual, but thankfully it was all incoming traffic and we were heading out of town.

About 120 miles down the road the motor home started to shutter and it felt like a tire was getting ready to blow. So I pulled off at the first exit off I-10 and of course as my luck would have it we were in the middle of nowhere right outside of Madison FL. The only thing at the exit was a gas station, but it was better than the side of the highway. Got out of the rig and looked around but saw no signs of tire trouble, so after driving around the station thought it may have been the road. As soon as we got back on the road and before getting back on the interstate it started again so I did a U Turn….all 43’ of us in the median and headed back to the gas station. Called the road side service and they my cell phone was cutting in and out really bad being out in the middle of nowhere, I had to climb up the rear ladder and get on the roof of the motorhome…..just like Robin Williams in the movie ‘RV’ And as if that was not a sight for all the people as the station, I always pace when I am on the phone, and didn’t realize until the call was over that I had been walking back and forth the length of the motor home for about 30 minutes!

Road side service said they would have someone out in about 20 minutes, which I was very happy with since usually it takes hours! Best of all after only 10 minutes the repair guy was there to change the inner rear dually with our spare. It didn’t take him long and he finished up the tire change and put the old tire on the back where the spare was located. He left and after eating a quick lunch we were ready to get back on the road

Roadside……or so we thought.

As soon as we got back on the road the same bouncing started. So again I made a tight U turn and headed back to the station.  Called road side service again and they asked how bad the bouncing was which I told them it was bouncing quite a bit, but not too bad. They asked if I could make it 7 miles to the next exit where there was a large tire and truck shop. So I told them we could make it and I would take it slow on the interstate, otherwise I would have been waiting for hours.  Got back on the interstate and finally made it the 7 miles at 35mph. After turning onto the exit I looked for the station but did not see it anywhere. Thankfully the lady on the phone gave me the stations number, so I called it and they informed me that they had not been at that location in over 2.5 years!!!! And they moved 50 more miles down the road. So I called road side service and told them what had happened and how aggravated I was at their outdated information.  The ‘new’ lady on the phone was very helpful and found another tire shop 6 miles down the road, but the good thing about it was I could travel on the exit road and not get back on the interstate. So off towards Madison FL to find the tire shop.

After circling the town about three times we finally found the tire shop. They looked at the rear tires and found an inner dually on the street side was bad, and the tread was warped. So they had a tire in stock and changed it out. Didn’t take them too long, and to find out the very first repair guy was from this same shop.  After the tire was installed we packed up and got ready to hit the road. Within a block of the tire shop (by the time we got up to speed) the rig was doing it again!!!! So we turned around and headed back.

The guys were surprised to see us back, but we told them what it was doing and upon inspecting the front two tires they found that they too were warped. So we asked them to put two new tires on the front. One problem…..they were out of tires for this rig and could get them delivered by morning! They owner told us to hold on and he would call and see if he could get any from town even though it was already 4:30 pm. Just our luck he located two tires and went to pick them up and his crew even stayed late to help make sure they were installed for us to get back on the road.Madison FL Tire Shop

The tire guys told us that the make and model of tires on the rig had been recalled due to failure, it was an older recall and the tires have been on this rig for years already, so no wonder we were having all these problems. Unfortunately there were not enough tires to replace them all, but he told us to make sure to get them all changed (ones still not replaced) and he didn’t like the look of the two on the curbside, but they might make it the remaining 150 miles to Brooksville.

After the two front tires were installed we headed back out once more……this time there was no bouncing for once!!! Everything seemed to be fine. Even started to make good time on the highway.

BUT………………………… after getting on I-75 I could start to fell a slight shuttering/bouncing, so I slowed down a bit, hoping it was the road or at least that slowing down would help to make to Brooksville or at least to a place to pull over. About the time I turned to my Grandfather to tell him I thought another tire was going bad, there was a huge bang and I could fell the curbside of the rig lower. We had blown a tire, but at least it was an outer dually this time (a bit easier to change). This time there was no spare, so we called roadside service again. They told us they would find someone to come out and bring us a new tire. Took quite a while for them to call us back as they had a hard time finding a place opened after hours with the tire we need.

Within an hour the service truck arrived on site. I-75 Road SideThe guy was great, within 20 minutes he had the bad tire off the rim, new tire installed on the rim (by hand), installed on the rig, and had us ready for the road. We pulled out on the interstate and were ready to finish the last 120 miles of the trip. Thankfully the last leg of our trip was eventless and we finally made it to the campground by 11:30pm. We found a great spot right by a few friends and did a little bit of setting up before grabbing a very late dinner. I can’t believe it took us from 7:30am to 11:30pm to travel just 343 miles!  That’s an average of 21.5 miles per hour!!!! I could have made it faster by moped!!!!!

Time for a well-deserved good night’s sleep!

Tim Heintz

Tin Can Tourists Southeastern Representative

1995 Fleetwood Flair

Jan 262014
 

Tin Can Tourists’ 2014 Chautauqua Rally

January 26th 2014

DeFuniak Springs, FL – Panama City, FL

Last night must have been a bit warmer as I had to get up and turn the heat down during the night as it started to get a little too warm in the trailer. Still was a bit cool outside this morning but the wind had calmed down and it felt promising for a warmer day.  Around 8:00 am one of the event staff came by and invited all of us next door for a pancake breakfast so we all walked over to the old hospital building where they were cooking the breakfast. It was a great breakfast and we got to eat in a nice warm building.

After breakfast we all made our way back to our trailers for the last show day. Finally the temperature was starting to feel better and for once I did not have four full layers on, just a T-Shirt with a wind breaker jacket. The event was supposed to start around 8:00 am but the event grounds were empty with even a few other exhibits packing up late yesterday and leaving. Unfortunately the weather this year has been horribly cold and has kept the crowds in out of the weather.

Around lunch things started to pick up a bit with the weather finally warming up quite a bit and the sun had even broken through the clouds. I am sure the Church crowds helped with so many Churches around the lake, as well as the Civil War battle that was scheduled around 1:00 pm. We had quite a few people stop by from lunch time until the time for the Battle. After the Civil war battle there was another increase in people wanting to see the trailers as they walked back to the parking areas.

When 3:00 pm came around the crowds had finally stopped and it was time for the events to be over. All of us started to pack up, say our good byes, and get ready to hit the road. It was just our luck; the best weather of the entire weekend was when we were packing up. By 3:30 pm the first trailers were starting to pull out, the first three had the furthest to travel home while the rest of us only had about 50 miles to get home and a few only had 5 miles or less! By 4:00 pm the last three trailers in the line-up would be those of us from Panama City, so we all traveled home together as it is fun to see everyone on the road get excited when there is a caravan of vintage trailers traveling down the road together.

By 5:00 pm we were driving into Panama City and I was the first one to turn off the highway for the last mile of my trip home, the other two trailers passed by blowing their horns and waving as they went by. It has been a great time regardless of the cold weather, in fact because of the cold weather we had some of the best time sitting around a nice warm campfire and enjoying each other’s company. Looking forward to the next time we are all together, because “the more we get together”……well you know the rest!

Tim Heintz

Tin Can Tourists Southeastern Representative

1950 Spartanette Tandem

Jan 252014
 

Tin Can Tourists’ 2014 Chautauqua Rally

January 25th 2014

DeFuniak Springs, FL

Slept very well last night and stayed quite warm as last night was not as cold as the last few nights. In fact there were a few times I almost got hot last night, of course the heater was on full blast! As much as I did not want to get out of bed but finally, after hitting the snooze alarm a few times, I got up and started the large coffee pot for everyone and put out all the breakfast treats on the table out under my awning. It still felt quite cold this morning but there was the promise by the national weather service that we would reach in lower 60’s today, however with it at 38 degrees we had a ways to go.

Around 9:30 am there were a few people starting to walk around and wanting to look at the vintage trailers. Everyone that came through seemed quite interested in the vintage trailers and the TCT. It was still quite cold and the crowds were rather small and came in quick shifts, likely just small groups walking from the parking areas to the main event areas. Since it was rather slow I decided to walk down to the Vintage Car show to check out a few cars that were arriving, I was surprised to see fellow TCTers and good friends of mine Herb and Sidra Spies who had brought their 1925 Ford Truck with a 1916 Expanding Apartment on the back of it. If you have never seen their rig you should look it up, an awesome rig similar to what the early TCTers would have used in the very early days of our existence.

By lunch time the weather was looking a bit better and I was even able to take my heavy coat off and just have on a sweater. As the weather warmed up the crowds started to get larger and for a while we had a steady stream of people moving through the vintage trailer area. Many people were thrilled to see a new aspect of the Chautauqua Fair by having the TCT at their event. In fact may of the spectators asked if we would be back for next year and if we would bring even more trailers, which was a surprise coming from the general public as it seemed they really enjoyed the vintage trailers and the history of tourism in Florida.

At 3:30 pm the crowds slowed down a bit again, but all the sudden by 4:30 pm there was another rush of people, probably on their way back to the parking areas as many of the other events were closing down. We were happy to show our trailers to anyone that showed interest in the trailers or the TCT group in general, as many of the spectators had toured our trailers earlier but came back bringing more friends and families to see the trailers.

5:00 pm arrived and it was time to shut our trailers down and get ready for dinner. Since we had such a busy day I had planned just sub sandwiches, chips, and cake for dinner. Everyone made their own sandwiches to order, we had Turkey, Chicken, and Ham. Best of all we had a nice large campfire to sit around, which we could finally enjoy since the weather has warmed up quite a bit. The last few days have even been too cold to sit around a campfire! Tonight we were able to enjoy a long night of sitting around the camp fire eating cake and talking late into the night. Eventually fewer and fewer people were left around the fire until the rest of us were so tired and ready for bed that we decided we better get some good sleep as we still have about 7 hours to show our trailers tomorrow before the event is over and many of us will be driving home tomorrow evening as well.

Tim Heintz

Tin Can Tourists Southeastern Representative

1950 Spartanette Tandem

Jan 242014
 

Tin Can Tourists’ 2014 Chautauqua Rally

January 24th 2014

DeFuniak Springs, FL

Up bright and early this morning before my alarm went off thanks to the 5:00 am Train passing right behind my trailer! But I needed to get up early anyway to get the coffee started for everyone as it is very cold this morning, a mere 27 degrees with all the fountains outside frozen solid! Seems like it may be a very cold day which was expected as the weather forecast always had this Friday as the coldest day, but the exact temperature forecast has been changing every hour. This morning is states we should get up to about 45 degrees but with it so cold this morning we can only hope it does.

By about 7:00 am we all walked down the block to the Historical Episcopal Church where they were cooking breakfast for a $5 donation. The Church is an awesome building built not long after the civil war in the 1870’s. Breakfast was great not to mention being inside a heated building for a meal! Sitting around with all the other members (new and old) was a great time as well.

After Breakfast we all made our way back to our trailers to see if there would be any visitors to take tours of our trailers. It was still quite cold and did not seem to be warming up like the forecast said it would. By 11:00 am it was still 35 degrees and a wind chill factor of 24 degrees.  Thankfully we had our trailers we could step into and warm up a bit, but all the Indians, Civil War reenactor and the cowboys were all stuck out in the open with nowhere to get out of the cold except their small historical tents, which the Civil War reenactor are sleeping in every night!!!!

Throughout the day it was very slow, but that can be expected since today is a work day and the weather is so cold and miserable. There still were quite a few people passing through that were very interested in the trailers and would even knock on the door if we were inside warming up wanting to come in a see the insides of the trailers. It also gave us plenty of time to walk around the see all the other members’ trailers too.

Later on things really slowed down and many of the other exhibits closed down early as the weather was just not getting better. Our high today only reached 38 degrees and even lower for the wind chill. We started up our camp fire and sat around that to try and stay warm. Wasn’t long before we started to hear from others and from weather warnings on our phones that it was snowing about 60 miles to our west and sleeting about just a few miles to our north, south, and west.  About an hour later we finally started to get freezing rain and sleet mixture. Just what we needed to top off this miserable day, however I think we broke a TCT Rally for the Coldest Rally in FL and the only Rally to have Sleet and Freezing Rain.

At 6pm everyone gathered around my trailer for a pizza dinner. Finally the wind had stopped blowing and it did feel a little bit warmer without the wind chill factor.  We all huddled around the camp fire for warmth and had a great time talking and eating our pizza. For Deseret we had Birthday and Anniversary Cupcakes.  Larry’s Friend Angie had a Birthday today and it was Forrest and Jerri’s 51st   Wedding anniversary. After eating we all sat around for a short time before heading back to our warm trailers to warm up and get ready for bed, it is just too cold to be sitting outside but hopefully tonight will be the last of our really cold nights. Tomorrow is supposed to bring low 60’s for our temperatures….we can only hope it is true!

I think I am going to follow everyone else and call it an early night. Too cold to stay up, and the light sound of sleet on the roof of my trailer is about to put me to sleep, if the trains will stop their drive-bys!

Tim Heintz

Tin Can Tourists Southeastern Representative

1950 Spartanette Tandem

Jan 232014
 

Tin Can Tourists’ 2014 Chautauqua Rally

January 23rd 2014

Panama City FL-DeFuniak Springs, FL

I spent most of yesterday packing my Spartanette and getting ready to head out of town for the TCT DeFuniak Springs FL Rally. I have been watching the weather nervously as it has been changing every day for the extended forecast from mild, to warm, cold, and even at one time forecasting a rain and sleet mixture!!!! It now looks a little better with Thursday being a little cool, but Thursday night will get down to 25 degrees and only a high of 45 on Friday, but if we can make it through that the rest of the days will make it up to at least 60 degrees.

By 9:45 am I was all packed and ready to hit the road as soon as some other TCTers arrived at my shop as we were going to caravan together up to DeFuniak Springs which is only about 60 miles away from Panama City. Around 10:00 am the other two trailers pulling in at my shop, a 1965 Airstream Globetrotter and a 1967 Airstream Caravel. We were now ready to hit the road with my 1950 Spartanette leading the pack! It is just fun cruising the highways with a line of vintage trailers, even a very small line.

A little after 11 am all three of us pulled into the area we were to park around Lake DeFuniak. The location is perfect, with our trailers facing the lakeside parked on asphalt with the edge of our trailers right up to the grass so we ca still set our awnings up. Plenty of power as well with every trailer on their own power panel which is unusually for a set up like this, but will come in handy tonight with a low temperature of 25 degrees I am sure we will all have our heaters on full blast!

It wasn’t long before more trailers started to arrive and started to set up. We will be a small group of only about 8/9 trailers, but sometimes those are the best! By 3 pm everyone had arrived and set up except one more trailer which should arrive later tonight around 10 pm from GA.At 5 pm we all gathered near my trailer (and the camp fire) to meet all our new members and eat a light meal. Almost all of us are Floridians and had three to five layers of clothes on, but there sat Forrest Bone with Shorts on!!!!! Just made all of us even colder!  With the sun setting so early this time of year everyone headed back to their trailers or more importantly their heaters! A few headed home since they are locals and live right here in DeFuniak Springs. I also headed to my trailer to relax a bit and get out of the cold; I will have to stay up for a little while longer waiting for the last trailer to arrive tonight around 10 pm.

Hopefully the trains will stop before it gets much later! We are just a few steps from a major RR line. So far in the nine hours we have been here I have seen about 6 trains go by. They do not even slow down for this little town and fly through here extremely fast blowing their horns the whole time! My trailer is a bit farther down the line than most and we are still so close that the entire trailer shakes like being in an earthquake until the trailer has past, and these are long trains…..this is the major RR line that parallels Interstate 10 cross country, so a lot of train traffic moving through here….it is sure to be a fun night if it continues much longer!

Tim Heintz

Tin Can Tourists Southeastern Representative

1950 Spartanette Tandem

Nov 092011
 

Estero, Fl

 November 9, 2011

Time again for the Florida Homecoming Rally down in Estero Florida at the Koreshan State Historic Site. So after a full 10 hour work day today I headed straight home to hook up my 1950 Spartanette to my truck and head south! By the time I made it home and got hooked up, it was about 630pm. With 10 hours and 500 miles ahead of me, I headed out. I was making really good time, but by about midnight I was just too tired to drive anymore. In years past I have made it at least 400 miles, but this was the first year at working 10 hours the day I left! So I pulled over at a rest area just outside of Gainesville with overnight security, and decided to sleep for a few hours in the Spartanette. Got into bed and set my alarm for 4 am.

Tim Heintz

TCT S.E. Rep.

1950 Spartanette Tandem