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Weekend Edition: 2014 Turkey Rod Run Road Trip: And Out Of Naples

IMG_2644 So one of the perks of my new gig, one that was unknown to this olelongrooffan, is that after six months employment, I was awarded two weeks paid vacation. The caveat is that those days of vacation needed to be used by the end of the calendar year. As I run the customer service division of my company for the new home communities we have in the southwest part of the Sunshine State and the snow birds having been fleeing the northern part of this great country in droves to my part of this world, my skinny white butt has been spread pretty thin. However, last week during my performance evaluation (four exceptional and four outstanding, thank you very much) I was chatting it up with the British monarchy I work for (Charles, Diana and Henry) about my workload for Thanksgiving week and they all agreed that my taking off for this coming week would be a great idea and to have fun. Well as I had planning on spending Thanksgiving weekend at the Turkey Rod Run at the Daytona International Speedway, this olelongrooffan thought I would road trip it up there trying to avoid Eisenhower’s Interstate System. If my fellow Hoons are so inclined, click on through to ride along with me and see some of the sights I saw on Saturday.   IMG_2588 One of the things this olelongrooffan has been doing is checking out GMC motorhomes in the hope of picking one up for a steal. thejeepjunkie kept thinking of an Argosy motorhome by Airstream so when I saw this one in a storage lot along US 41, I had to stop and grab a shot of it to demonstrate the difference between the two. Anyway, that map in the first image? It cannot be used for any in town navigation but shows every rural road or pathway throughout the state. I discovered it about 15 years ago when one of thejeepjunkie’s black and tan car driving friends turned me on to it. One time a buddy and I traversed 14 miles through the Ocala National Forest mostly on forest trails without once getting on a paved road. IMG_2645 About 20 years ago, I stumbled upon a U-Pull-It just off 41 north of Fort Myers. Across that side street was an old school junkyard where not one car was newer thatnaround 1970. Well, the landscape in that part of the woods had changed quite a bit and this olelongrooffan was unsuccessful at finding that old boneyard. However, I did remember that just up the road a piece in the burg of Punta Gorda was Muscle Car City. Yeah, some dude had bought an old big box retail building to house his collection of Muscle Cars and for a mere $12.50 this olelongrooffan was granted access to see them. IMG_2589 And what a collection it is. He has one of almost every year of many of the species. IMG_2590 In addition to all those Corvettes and Muscle Cars, he also several of those open fender rides that my pop, TheGentlemanFarmer, admired so much. IMG_2591 He also had several suburbans including this first gen model adorned in a gorgeous shade of blue over black. But what is that on the side of the red one? IMG_2592 Why it’s a NAPCO driven burb. While Dodge had been building their own 4×4’s for many years, General Motors and Ford outsourced their four wheel drive production to the North American Power Company. NAPCO’s were fairly rare back in the day and even more so today. IMG_2593 If there was any ride inside this olewallyworld that this olelongrooffan would absolutely love to own, it would be this ultra rare longroof. In resale red to boot. IMG_2594 This dealership tag on the rear of this oleragtop appeared to be original and Palm Chevrolet is still around these days. IMG_2595 But I gotta say that old man mannequin was just down right creepy. I didn’t hang around to long. IMG_2596 Now this olelongrooffan knows what I just said about that NAPCO Suburban just a moment ago, but this C-5 Blazer is to die for. Yeah, a longerroof and a ragtop and a four wheel drive all in one sweet ride. IMG_2597 Unfortunately, that transmission will need some attention prior to getting this baby back on the road. IMG_2598 I thought this old Chevy panel truck was pretty cool as well. IMG_2599 Miss Budweiser was lurking over against the rear wall. She certainly is no wall flower. IMG_2600 It appeared as if this dude owns one of every year GTO made. IMG_2601 And it appeared to this olelongrooffan the same could be said about Corvettes. IMG_2602 He also had a pretty cool diorama of an old junkyard and shop. IMG_2603 In total on this day, this olelongrooffan traveled on 22 roadways, my average speed was 39 miles per hour and that included a total of nearly three hours at interstate highway speeds. IMG_2604 It was 83 degrees out when I left Naples around 9 on Saturday morning and for the first six hours, my longerroof averaged 33.2 mph and 18 milse per gallon. IMG_2605 Just down the way was this pretty sweet table and chair set. I thought it would look great in Kamil’s man cave along side that engine block coffee table. IMG_2606 And a nod of the head to the 2 + 2 post recently noted here in the Hooniverse. IMG_2607 Elky’s had a solid presence in this museum as well. IMG_2608 Including this sweet ’59, the first year the El Camino was offered. IMG_2609 And even though this Gran Sport was a replica, it has been recognized by the NCRC as an authentic reproduction. IMG_2610 Up on the dividing shelf between the museum and the gift shop were a bunch of sweet old pedal cars. IMG_2611 The poster on the rear end of this open wheel ride was of Charlie’s Angels. I have no idea what that connection could possibly be. Any of my fellow Hoons have any idea? IMG_2612 Camaros to the left, Chevelles to the right. IMG_2613 As I was looking at this Cameo, it occurred to me that the last time I had seen one in the flesh was at a Turkey Rod Run. I then realized that I was going to be seeing nearly every one of these cars out on the streets and decided to get out of that museum and get on down the road. IMG_2614 As this olelongrooffan was cruising down US 17 somewhere in the center part of the state, I spotted a sign that read “Old Highway 17” with an arrow pointing to the left. Now when out and about, driving on the “Old Highway _________” is always an option to be checked by this olelongrooffan. Yeah, right off the batt I spotted this old CJ5 resting comfortably between a pair of swamp buggies. IMG_2616 And just down the road, in yet another storage yard, I spotted my Holy Grail. IMG_2617 I would totally Hoon this GMC Motorhome all around the countryside. I will have one of these gems one day soon. IMG_2618 IMG_2619 In that part of the Sunshine State, Old Highway 17 runs just a building lot away from the Peace River. That thought prompted this olelongrooffan to remember another site a buddy, the one who traversed the Ocala National Forest with me, had told me about when we were discussing this road trip. IMG_2620 In front of these old brick chimneys, I pulled my longerroof to the curb, as it was, and consulted my favorite road atlas and determined the succession of roadways to get me and my longerroof to that destination. This olelongrooffan would love to have seen the structure that once housed these majestic chimneys out in the middle of fields of orange groves out in the middle of nowhere. IMG_2621 I was less that a mile away I spotted this late model 48 Ford clad four wheel drive chassis. I’m pretty sure this has to be a late model chassis as I don’t think Ford made a four wheel drive of this body style, NAPCO neither. IMG_2622 That destination I was referring to? Well it is Soloman’s Castle built on the banks of the Peace River. My buddy had paid the ten bucks to see the inside of it and he said it was “interesting.” IMG_2623 Based on that recommendation, this olelongrooffan decided to check out the boat in a moat alongside that castle and beat it the hell out of there. IMG_2624 As I was leaving the grounds of that castle, I spotted this old ride parked across the street. IMG_2625 When I spotted what was painted on the side of that antique, my heart started fluttering and I turned to head over to the gate. IMG_2626 Even though that gate was in the welcoming position, this pair of signs caused that feeling of elation to rapidly deflate. IMG_2627 As I was leaving that area of the Florida countryside, I spotted a brown 55 Chevy four door post sedan parking in front of that building seen in the background of that yellow car image and I spotted the skeleton of a couple open fender rides off in the treeline. IMG_2628 Yeah, there is an old rusty chassis in that image. IMG_2629 Just down a piece was this old Crosley longroof. IMG_2630 So over on Desoto County highway 557 this olelongrooffan was this close to these orange groves. IMG_2631 Just down the road a bit I spotted several orange transport trailers with a field orange gathering buggy unloading its wares into the larger trailers. IMG_2632 This olelongrooffan has seen these old buggies around but had never seen one in action until now. Of course, as I was traveling about 25 mph, I had to stop and gather a couple images of it in action. IMG_2633 I have previously seen how the larger semi trailers are unloaded. They are backed onto what looks like 1/2 of a drawbridge at the processing facility, a small hatch is opened in the tailgate of that trailer and the “drawbridge” is raised up with the tractor and trailer on it and gravity allows those highly sought after oranges to flow through that hatch to be processed into the glass of OJ I had for breakfast this morning. IMG_2634 Yeah, the natural and man made fauna habitat varies quite significantly here in the Sunshine State. Just a couple miles away from those orange transport trailers was this growth of live oak trees IMG_2635 just across the street from this cow field. Are my fellow Hoons aware that Florida is one of the largest beef producing states in the US? IMG_2636 And it was on this same roadway that my longerroof and I traversed this old wooden bridge. I can’t even remember the last wooden bridge I crossed in a vehicle. IMG_2637 Over in Desoto City, in a scenic park just off the main drag they have a 1914 Baldwin wood burning locomotive on display. Placed there in 1967. Man, I bet that was a job! IMG_2639 And just up the road a piece was a fairly ubiquitous sign round these here parts around our lakes and ponds. IMG_2640 After stopping off to get a boy’s Cheeseburger Happy Meal (what’s up with the prizes these days?), I almost lost it when I spotted another re-bodied four wheel drive chassis. IMG_2641 Luckily, the sighting of this old camper settled my stomach rather quickly. Only $3K. IMG_2642 And if this olelongrooffan was the esteemed Mr. Emslie, my fellow Hoons would be reading a rather witty comment here. But, alas, I am not. Image Copyright Hooniverse/2014 longrooffan

  • JayP2112

    I could spend a week in one of those museums.

  • Maxichamp

    Can't wait to hang out with OLR next month!

  • Plus One on the DeLorme maps. I've used two of those to make a map of Northern California that went from floor to ceiling, and two more to make a map of Massachusetts that extended down the length of my hallway in Jamaica Plain. If you're in New England, visit the DeLorme headquarters in Yarmouth, Maine. They have the worlds largest revolving globe, Eartha, at 41.5 feet diameter.

    That creepy mannequin reminds me of the story of Elmer McCurdy, an outlaw killed in 1911, whose body was eventually mistaken for a mannequin and bought, sold and exhibited all over the US until it was discovered to be human remains during the filming of a Six Million Dollar Man episode in 1976. It had a 1924 penny in its mouth.

  • bigbluefl

    If you're looking for something to do on Black Friday beside fight over the last TV at Wally World, come a bit north for a bit of backroads fun. A bunch of gear heads I hang out with are putting on a photo rally. Should be a great time. Check it out here: http://www.tampabaymiatas.net/forum/viewtopic.php

  • bluehillsmike

    Mr Long Roof you have piqued my interest in the GMC Motorhome, and the genre in general. I'm contemplating between a GMC–perhaps a refurb from that shop in central FL you showed us, or a newerSsprinter-based diesel Class B, hopefully an Airstream. These rigs seem to be most available in central FL too. May be a mid winter road trip from NW Wis to pick up my Christmas present.

    The shopping is the most fun anyway so I will drag out my search….

    FYI the NAPCO facility was in Hopkins, MN, about 10 miles from downtown Minneapolis. By the 80's when I was shilling metal castings and machined parts, NAPCO was a transmission parts supplier to the military and was in decline. They closed about 15 years ago–I used to live about three miles away. I was told that the 50's-60's when they were doing all the GM 4 X 4 conversion kits was NAPCO glory days. GM took it in-house for the '67 year and it was the beginning of the end for NAPCO.

  • Tom Lee

    If you like the GMC motor home, do you remember the Winnebago Chief???? they have come out with a new motorhome that looks just like the chief from the 70s and 80s….

    • HorseFarmer, do you really believe I could afford a new motorhome?