Tallahassee was not on our radar for this trip east…we left Houston, made a stop in Livingston, Texas, our nominal home where we have our mail sent, where we are registered to vote, where we pay taxes on our vehicles and where we have no intention of settling permanently. Then we were off eastward bound through Louisiana (we stayed in New Iberia), Alabama, Mississippi (we stayed in Gulfport), and Mexico Beach in Florida. Some long days of driving, and not without incidents. Checking the tire pressures one morning one tire on the rear of the RV was a little low. Stopping at a Love’s along I-10 we found this nail stuck in the sidewall.
Nothing we could do. These tires are rated to last ten years as long as you don’t pick up debris like this and this tire lasted one year on the road! Michelin truck tires cost a little more than a family gathering at Ruth’s Chris coming in at a cool $650. RV’s don’t come with spares.
Leaving Mexico Beach we were headed south along Florida Route 19 when we stopped for some gas. Pulling away from the pump I somehow got the rear of the RV tangled up with a stanchion that was sticking out. No Bueno! Major cosmetic damage and a difficult lesson learned.
We were only 20 miles from Tallahassee and we contacted the local Camping World who said they could fix it and make it look like new. We had no choice and although their outside time for fixing it was three to four weeks (!!!) a couple of the guys said it would be done in two weeks. Obviously this threw all our plans out the window and we had to reboot the computer. The revision included a couple of days in Tallahassee to deal with the insurance company (very understanding), a drive to Melbourne on the coast of Florida, on to Miami to visit my brother Michael and his wife Martine, a stay over on the Gulf Coast of Florida at Ft Myers and then back to Tallahassee to pick up the RV. Thus the chronicle of our journey continues.
Located along the border of Georgia, Tallahassee is home to Florida State University and is also the capital of the state. Tall pines and the vegetation lead people to call this area Georgia’s little brother and the stately homes and large wooded areas are in stark contrast to the the lower half of the state.
Union Bank with a lot of history…
and the Tallahassee Automobile Museum. It was built and is owned by DeVoe Moore, a self-made man who started with nothing and built a vast empire based primarily on land acquisitions but was also deeply involved in a host of other industries including warehouses, industrial parks and golf courses. His first collection was a series of knives at the age of nine and to call his place an automobile museum is misleading because Mr Moore’s passion for collecting runs the gamut from rare cars to knives to typewriters to old outboard motors and so much more. As you will see.
The horse-drawn hearse that allegedly carried the body of President Lincoln after his assassination.
“Ask the man who owns one” was a famous saying when one asked about a Packard automobile. Known for reliability, style, performance and innovation Packards like this 1923 model on the left were the playthings of the wealthy. The 1928 Model A Phaeton 4-door convertible was the first of a series of models that succeeded the Model T. Price: $400.
The country’s first gasoline powered made in America production car was this 1894 Duryea.
The first Stanley Steamer car was built in 1898, was very reliable and street tough and could be re-fueled at any horse trough. The price on this model – $600.
There is no chronological order to the cars in the museum – kind of random model years all mixed together. This is a 1936 Ford Model 68 Station Wagon that boasted a V8 engine with 221cc and 85 horsepower. Henry Ford owned his own forest where he grew maple, birch, gum and basswood trees that he used for the station wagons that became known as “woodies”.
Three iconic cars of the ’50’s. The one on the left is a 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air 2-door hardtop sport coupe with over a 100 first place show prizes. The one in the middle is a 1956 Chevrolet Nomad that garnered 987 points out of a possible 1000 at the Classic Chevy Winternationals. The 1956 Buick Roadmaster Convertible was long , low and sleek. 4363 cars of this model were made which boasted a 364 cubic inch engine that developed 300 horsepower, Remember the “dagmar” bumpers in the front?
1956 Corvette with a V* 265 horsepower engine and a base price of $3149. Oh my!
Speaking of “oh my’s” how about this 1969 GTO convertible with a 400 cubic inch motor developing 350 hp. My drama teacher in college bought himself one of these as a wedding present to himself.
A 1953 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible first introduced to the world on television at the inauguration of Eisenhower in 1953. First time wire wheels were introduced at an extra of $619.55
A 1931 Dusenberg Model J Double Cowl Phaeton. The Dusenberg brothers were well known in automobile circles for producing limited, superbly built and engineered roadsters and in 1926 when E.L.Cord, who owned the Auburn Motor Company, purchased the Dusenberg company, he charged the brothers to make the biggest, fastest and most expensive car ever made. They would be custom built to buyers’ whims; Clark Gable and Gary Cooper would race through the Hollywood Hills in their Dusies. The average physician was making $4000 in those days – these cars ran between $13,000 and $19,000. I had a friend I went to school with when I was very young whose father was one of the very few people in the United States who could restore to perfection Dusenbergs, and he was busy all year long and made enough money to live in the toney suburbs of New York City.
A real muscle car…2005 Ford GT with a 5.4 L V8 fuel injected engine with a 6-speed manual transmission. Base price was around $123,000, and while only 3500 or so were produced these cars could hold their own with the most exotic cars of the world.
These are only a few of the cars located on the first floor and as you walk up the ramp to the second floor you get the sense of the scope of DeVoe Moore’s passion for collecting anything and everything. Baseball memorabilia adorns the walls leading to the second floor…
and a little higher up the ramp a collection of vintage golf clubs and golf balls…
Once on the second floor there is so much more… like a collection of cash registers with electric fans above them.
A stylized replica of the African Queen this is a sample of the kind of work that Richard Speas, a curator and builder of wooden boats could do. “If God wanted me to build a fiberglass boat, he would have created fiberglass trees.”
Something in outboard motors?
How about an extensive gun collection?
Pedal cars were introduced almost at the same time as automobiles and continued to evolve much the same as automobiles did. With the advent of plastic the high of pedal cars waned as metal gave way to plastic. In the day, pedal car races were almost as popular as the endurance races of real cars.
Is Batman your superhero?
Vehicles of the two -wheel variety?
A Steinway Piano in your music room?
Or some dolls for the kids?
Mr. Moore has spent a lot of change on this place!
Sometimes a good hot soup is good for the soul. It was rainy and chilly in Tallahassee and this soup hit the spot. Enjoy!