Trains.com

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Kevin's Coast to Coast Hobby Shop Adventure

13792 views
218 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    January 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 18,255 posts
Kevin's Coast to Coast Hobby Shop Adventure
Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, April 19, 2019 8:14 PM

I have departed on the adventure of my lifetime!

.

.

-Kevin

.

Living the dream.

  • Member since
    January 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 18,255 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, April 19, 2019 8:22 PM

First stop: Miami, Florida. 

.

To make this truly a Coast-To-Coast adventure, I had to start at the Atlantic Ocean, and where better than Miami?

.

I drove across the state and the first stop was Discount Trains in Fort Lauderdale. This store is a cram-packed treasure trove of hobby shopping adventure. It is getting so you can hardly move around.

.

I found a rack of Floquil Railroad colors on the bottom shelf in the back and bought four bottles of Primer Gray!

.

.

Next stop is the best hobby shop in Florida... Ready to Roll Trains in Miami! This store is huge! so much to see and so much inventory. It is a treasure.

.

.

Then off the the Zona Blu Sardinian Italian Restaurant in Weston, Florida. I had a Caesar Salad and Linguine with Clams in White Wine Sauce. There were a bit too few anchovies on the Caesar salad, but still very good.

.

.

.

My wife and I checked into the hotel and then went to the Crossroads in Miami Lakes for a bit of the fun nightlife, but not too much fun tonight.

.

.

Now we are back at the hotel, and tomorrow we head for Tallahassee.

.

Stay tuned!

.

-Kevin

.

Living the dream.

  • Member since
    January 2004
  • From: Canada, eh?
  • 13,375 posts
Posted by doctorwayne on Friday, April 19, 2019 8:24 PM

Keep your right foot on that pedal, Kevin, just to make sure you get there before some of those hobby shops close.  Looks like a fun trip, though!

I had hoped to make a perimeter trip of the U.S., visiting on-line friends and fellow model railroaders, but I think it's probably beyond my budget (unless I sleep in my car every night).

Wayne

  • Member since
    August 2003
  • From: Collinwood, Ohio, USA
  • 16,286 posts
Posted by gmpullman on Friday, April 19, 2019 9:17 PM

Looks like lots of fun is in store for you!

Those aren't very big bags you are leaving with. C'mon, let's get that credit card warmed up Stick out tongue

Cheers, Ed

  • Member since
    March 2002
  • From: Milwaukee WI (Fox Point)
  • 11,435 posts
Posted by dknelson on Friday, April 19, 2019 9:23 PM

It looks to me like just before you cross from Illinois into Iowa you will be close to Highway 6, which is right along the old Rock Island main, now Iowa Interstate.  Let me recommend Green River Hobbies in Geseseo Illinois.  A nice little train shop.

https://grhobbies.com/

And the Quad Cities have many fine railfanning opportunities.  Can't say the same about the dining but I doubt if you'd be complaining about too many anchovies in the fare.

Dave Nelson

 

  • Member since
    December 2008
  • From: Heart of Georgia
  • 5,406 posts
Posted by Doughless on Saturday, April 20, 2019 6:29 AM

You NEED to stop in Deshler Nebraska.  Spring Creek Model Trains. It looks like your planned route on I-80 will take you close enough to it to not throw you off schedule.

In fact, you could get off of I-29 in NW Missouri and head west on US 136.  Shouldn't be a big diversion at all considering you're not stopping in Omaha anyway.

Or US 36 west out of St Joe MO across Kansas to US 81 North.

http://www.springcreekmodeltrains.com/

 And while in Nebraska, your I-80 route pretty much parallels US 30 west of Grand Island.  The double tracked UP mainline runs right along side US 30 for at least 150 miles.  Plenty of action along the mainline at any time, so you could railfan while still driving 60mph west along your route, if you took US 30 for those miles.  Kearney (Odessa) to North Platte. And N Platte has one of the the largest railroad hump yards in the world. 

https://goldenspiketower.com/

 (of course, stops cost time, so weigh these stops with the knowledge that the posted speed limit on I-80 in Nebraska is 75 mph!.......but traffic probably goes faster....)

- Douglas

  • Member since
    December 2015
  • From: Shenandoah Valley
  • 9,094 posts
Posted by BigDaddy on Saturday, April 20, 2019 6:39 AM

It's surprising how much Floquil is still on the shelves at various places. 

Looks like you are driving by the Little Bighorn Battlefield.  Be sure to stop there.

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

Shenandoah Valley

  • Member since
    May 2010
  • From: SE. WI.
  • 8,253 posts
Posted by mbinsewi on Saturday, April 20, 2019 7:07 AM

BigDaddy
It's surprising how much Floquil is still on the shelves at various places. 

I seen a rack of it at my LHS on Wed.  I didn't stop and pay attention if it was all Floquil paint or not, I'll have to take a closer look next week.

It looks like he his going through Billings, where my wifey is from.  We stopped at the Custer site.  I love history, and the story behind the whole event always intrigued me.

Kevin, are you after any thing special? or what ever catches your interest?

Definetly a man on a mission!  Don't forget to be scooping up on all those NWSL parts! Laugh.

Goog luck, and wishing you and the wifey a safe trip!

Mike.

PS.  You do have a trailer with you, right? or at least taking a van? Wink

  • Member since
    January 2009
  • From: Maryland
  • 12,874 posts
Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, April 20, 2019 8:16 AM

Well, that's interesting, have a fun trip.

But I can think of a list of great shops your route does not even get close to.

While not like years ago, the Northeast is still full of great train stores.

Mainline Hobby - Blue Ridge Summit, PA

Tommy Gilberts - Gettysburg, PA

Star Hobby - Annapolis, MD

English's Model Railroad Supply (Bowser) - Montoursville, PA

Strasburg Train Shop (and a great steam ride right down the street, a great museum, and a motel of real cabooses to sleep in) - Strasburg PA

Nicholas Smith Trains - Broomall, PA

Pro Custom Hobbies  - Sykesville, MD

Trainworld - Brooklyn, NY

and many more........

Sheldon

 

 

    

  • Member since
    April 2019
  • From: Pacific Northwest
  • 780 posts
Posted by SPSOT fan on Saturday, April 20, 2019 9:34 AM

I highly recommend you take a short detour when your in Washington, and stop at PF&S railway supply just north of Pasco Wa. It’s the largest hobby shop I know with a great selection. I’ve spent hours there!

Regards, Isaac

I model my railroad and you model yours! I model my way and you model yours!

  • Member since
    January 2011
  • 893 posts
Posted by PennCentral99 on Saturday, April 20, 2019 9:40 AM

Kevin - looks like it's going to be a nice trip. Where are you stopping in Los Angeles? It's been a few years since I been there, but the Original Whistle Stop in Pasadena, CA was worth the trip. Also, what you planning on seeing in Las Vegas, NV?

Terry

Inspired by Addiction

See more on my YouTube Channel

  • Member since
    December 2010
  • From: Portland, Oregon
  • 658 posts
Posted by Attuvian on Saturday, April 20, 2019 9:43 AM

Kevin,

If you stop in Portland, OR there are two quality "all-trains" shops. The Hobby Smith is just off I-80 at the Cesar Chavez (39th Ave.) exit. Whistle Stop Trains is 12 minutes away, a mile east of I-205 on Division. Don't forget to hit the cast-off/consignment closet at the latter. Tammie's is on the West Side, easily accessible off the OR-217 freeway in suburban Beaverton. It's a full hobby shop but has a great selection, just a bit more spread out.

For such a long trip, I'd have a hard time with the self-discipline. I'd end up as a combination of jaded, overloaded, tired of browsing, or broke - before I got to the Continental Divide!

Don't know who'll need more endurance in this adventure, you or your sweetie!

John

  • Member since
    April 2019
  • From: Pacific Northwest
  • 780 posts
Posted by SPSOT fan on Saturday, April 20, 2019 9:55 AM

Attuvian

Kevin,

If you stop in Portland, OR there are two quality "all-trains" shops. The Hobby Smith is just off I-80 at the Cesar Chavez (39th Ave.) exit. Whistle Stop Trains is 12 minutes away, a mile east of I-205 on Division. 

I can second that, I‘ve never visited these shops but I’ve heard they’re very good!

Regards, Isaac

I model my railroad and you model yours! I model my way and you model yours!

  • Member since
    January 2001
  • From: Southern Illinois
  • 67 posts
Posted by JDCoop on Saturday, April 20, 2019 6:01 PM

If you have time stop by Chuck's Depot in Marion, IL.  Based on your map you will be driving past it.  You can see the store from I-57.  Take exit 54. Take Illinois 13 east, turn south on Carbon St, turn west on Rendleman St and he is at the end of the street.  It sits behind the Ford dealership.  The store building is designed to look like a 2 story SP depot.  He has a layout in the basement that is the size of the store. He has a huge stock of HO and N.

  • Member since
    June 2004
  • From: From Golden, CO living in Puyallup (Seattle), WA
  • 750 posts
Posted by Renegade1c on Saturday, April 20, 2019 6:39 PM

SeeYou190

I have departed on the adventure of my lifetime!

.

.

-Kevin

.

 

I'm surprise you are skipping Colorado. Such a mecca of trains. There is the Durango & Silverton, Cumbres and Toltec, Georgetown Loop, Cripple Creek and Victor, Colorado Railroad museum, Caboose Hobbies (now just Caboose), The Colorado Model Railroad Museum, Coors brewing Co. Railroad and the list goes on.  

Even it you aren't about seeing the big trains checking out the Colorado Railroad musuem and the Colorado model railroad musuem are both worth the detour, especially since you are so close (Cheyenne is 3 hours from Denver, and the CMRM is in Greeley (1.5 hours at most) from Cheyenne. They both have very nice train layouts. 


Colorado Front Range Railroad: 
http://www.coloradofrontrangerr.com/

flag

  • Member since
    January 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 18,255 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, April 20, 2019 7:46 PM

doctorwayne
I think it's probably beyond my budget (unless I sleep in my car every night).

.

All of these hotels are FREE. I had over 400,000 points saved in my Hilton Honors Account. The car rental is also only costing $400.00 because of so many earned free days.

.

gmpullman
Those aren't very big bags you are leaving with. C'mon, let's get that credit card warmed up 

.

I am trying to pace myself. Can't blow the whole budget on day 1 of a 24 day trip!

.

dknelson
Let me recommend Green River Hobbies in Geseseo Illinois.  A nice little train shop.

.

Thank you, I will be stopping there.

.

Doughless
You NEED to stop in Deshler Nebraska.  Spring Creek Model Trains.

.

Yes Yes Yes. Most definitely a stop!

.

BigDaddy
Looks like you are driving by the Little Bighorn Battlefield.  Be sure to stop there.

.

My wife will do hobby shops, but she will not do battlefields. I got her to stop a Shiloh several years ago, and she still is not happy about it.

.

mbinsewi
Kevin, are you after any thing special? or what ever catches your interest? Definetly a man on a mission!  Don't forget to be scooping up on all those NWSL parts! 

.

I am looking for small parts needed for the future layout. Preferably things that I havennot seen before. I will certainly be snapping up NWSL parts as they are found.

.

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Well, that's interesting, have a fun trip. But I can think of a list of great shops your route does not even get close to. While not like years ago, the Northeast is still full of great train stores.

.

Stay tuned Sheldon... that is the plan for vacation 2020... To Maine, and I will finally clear all 48 states.

.

SPSOT fan
take a short detour when your in Washington, and stop at PF&S railway supply just north of Pasco Wa.

.

While I am in Washington I will be visiting my middle daughter, so hobby shop time in that state will be diminished. My wife would be very mad if I ditch our baby to go hobby shopping up there.

.

JDCoop
stop by Chuck's Depot in Marion, IL.  Based on your map you will be driving past it.  You can see the store from I-57. 

.

Thank you... that one is added to the list.

.

PennCentral99
Where are you stopping in Los Angeles? It's been a few years since I been there, but the Original Whistle Stop in Pasadena, CA was worth the trip. Also, what you planning on seeing in Las Vegas, NV?

.

I am 100% going to the Original Whistle Stop! I wrote down a couple shops to stop at when we leave Las Vegas, if we still have any money left. We are spending three nights in the Excalibur.

.

Attuvian
in Portland, OR there are two quality "all-trains" shops. The Hobby Smith is just off I-80 at the Cesar Chavez (39th Ave.) exit. Whistle Stop Trains is 12 minutes away,

.

If I get to Portland during business hours I will stop in both. That day of the trip is not cemented into the schedule yet.

.

Renegade1c
I'm surprise you are skipping Colorado. Such a mecca of trains.

.

I did Colorado years ago. Yes, it was great!

.

-Kevin

.

Living the dream.

  • Member since
    January 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 18,255 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, April 20, 2019 8:05 PM

Day #2: 

.

Another successful day, but I think we might have made a big error. At home in South Florida it is in the 80s. We are in North Florida tonight, and it is in the 60s! I brought no long pants, all shorts. I hope we don't freeze in the North!

.

We started out in Miami with an early start. We drove all the way across the state heading Northwest. We made it to Saint Petersburg for a small train show. All I found here were a couple of cast resin telephone shelters.

.

 

.

Then I took US19 North to Dana's Model Railroad Supply in Spring Hill, Florida. This was a great treasure hunt of a store. over 50% of the stock is used items. This is another store I have never been to before. It is not on the way to anywhere I normally travel, so I made a special trip over today.

.

 

.

Then we headed to Tallahassee on US19. I have never driven this road before. There is lots of empty wilderness in this part of the state.

.

I stumbled upon this old Consolidation and took a few pictures.

.

 

.

 

.

I saw this beautiful church as I drove past and had to stop and take a picture.

.

.

For dinner, since we are leaving Florida tomorrow, we decided we had to have Publix Sub Sandwiches. PubSubs have a fanatic following here in Florida, and it is going to be hard to live three weeks without one.

.

 

.

I also scored some fresh Honeybell Oranges from a roadside stand today. If you have never experienced the delight of a fresh Honeybell, you really owe it yourself to get one at some point. They are amazing.

.

 

.

Into Mississippi tomorrow. Since tomorrow is Sunday, I doubt there will be any hobby shopping to report.

.

-Kevin

.

Living the dream.

  • Member since
    January 2011
  • 893 posts
Posted by PennCentral99 on Saturday, April 20, 2019 9:25 PM

SeeYou190

I am 100% going to the Original Whistle Stop! I wrote down a couple shops to stop at when we leave Las Vegas, if we still have any money left. We are spending three nights in the Excalibur.

-Kevin

Let me know when you hit Las Vegas. Also, I recommend the Nevada Southern Railway Museum in Boulder City, NV. Which includes the vital role the railroad played in the building of the Hoover Dam

Terry

Inspired by Addiction

See more on my YouTube Channel

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • 685 posts
Posted by Howard Zane on Sunday, April 21, 2019 5:30 PM

Man, you are my kind of a guy. I have often dreamed of doing this, but Sandy my wife would have other ideas. How did you convince your significant other to go along?

I worked for many years as a corporate pilot and often during layovers at many towns and cities, I'd hail a taxi or borrow a car from the FBO and head for the nearest hobby shop. During this period in my life (late 60's to late 70's), I must have visited several hundred shops in the US. I used both good and bad ideas to start my own shop, and what I learned from these forays proved quite useful, indeed. And then I was able to fill in voids such as close out table, table for new items, clinics on items sold in store, specal sales, beautiful display railroad featuring items carried in inventory, used trains with emphasis on brass and craftsman kits, very attractive and friendly sales staff, and most of all.....follow up! I still miss this store and retail sales, but when an offer comes in paying almost 6 times what the store is paying  coupled with a ready buyer at my heels, it became time to sell. the good news is that the Great Scale Model Train Show (Timonium show) grew from this store. My train show partner Ken Young had been my best customer.

Sadly, most of these shops I have visited most likely have closed their doors.

HZ

Howard Zane
  • Member since
    April 2018
  • From: Northern NY (Think Upstate but even more)
  • 1,306 posts
Posted by Harrison on Sunday, April 21, 2019 7:10 PM

SeeYou190

Day #2: 

.

Another successful day, but I think we might have made a big error. At home in South Florida it is in the 80s. We are in North Florida tonight, and it is in the 60s! I brought no long pants, all shorts. I hope we don't freeze in the North!

60's is quite warm up here, short weather.Wink 

I'll say one thing, it isn't gonna get much warmer.

If you ever get to ME, York Village Marketplace is a good shop.

Have fun!

Harrison

Homeschooler living In upstate NY a.k.a Northern NY.

Modeling the D&H in 1978.

Route of the famous "Montreal Limited"

My YouTube

  • Member since
    January 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 18,255 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, April 21, 2019 9:34 PM

Howard Zane
I have often dreamed of doing this, but Sandy my wife would have other ideas. How did you convince your significant other to go along?

.

Lots and lots of stops at antique stores for her.

.

-Kevin

.

Living the dream.

  • Member since
    January 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 18,255 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, April 21, 2019 9:45 PM

Day #3:

.

No hobby shops. In fact, since it was Easter Sunday, no antique stores were open in Alabama or Mississippi either. Double bummer.

.

We stopped for the night in Wiggins, Mississippi, and the only restaurants that were open were Popeye's and McDonald's. We ate at Popeye's. This was a diappointment. There was a catfish and steak place in this town that I really wanted to try.

.

I started the day by driving through the path of devastation from Hurricane Michael six months ago. Things are getting much better, but there is still a good way to go.

.

One interesting thing I found was this "train" on display. It is in front of the entrance to a Federal Prison for some reason.

.

.

The boxcar in the train was blown over on its side. This gave me a usually unseen point of view for the details of AB brake rigging.

.

.

.

The caboose had all the siding taken off by the Hurricane. This gives a unique opportunity the see the contruction techniques of a prototype caboose. It looks like some repair work has started in the second picture.

.

.

.

There were a few cabooses on display in towns we passed through.

.

.

.

This depot was seen in a small town in Alabama.

.

.

How cute is the little train out fron carved from logs? It is in the lower left of the picture above.

.

.

Tomorrow we will resume the shopping.

.

-Kevin

.

Living the dream.

  • Member since
    January 2004
  • From: Canada, eh?
  • 13,375 posts
Posted by doctorwayne on Sunday, April 21, 2019 10:06 PM

BigDaddy
It's surprising how much Floquil is still on the shelves at various places....

I wish that I could find some of their grey primer - it's the only one of the Floquil paints that I really miss.  I do have  a fair number (17 or 18) of other Floquil colours left, and many more of the Pollyscale colours, too, the latter being my preferred ones.

Wayne

  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 569 posts
Posted by drgwcs on Sunday, April 21, 2019 10:32 PM

Make sure while in Cheyenne WY to go by the depot museum- it is the home of Harry Brunks Union Central and Northern that was imortalized in the Narrow Gauge and Shortline Gazette.

  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 569 posts
Posted by drgwcs on Sunday, April 21, 2019 10:43 PM

I couldn't tell for sure but if you are going through Springfield MO It might be worth a stop into Trainland Hobbies on South Campbell Ave. Been a while since I was through there last but they often had some neat used (and new) stuff. There is another hobby shop in Branson (actually Hollister) Branson Hobby Center that was very good. There is some good shopping for your wife in Branson too.

 

  • Member since
    June 2007
  • 8,881 posts
Posted by riogrande5761 on Monday, April 22, 2019 6:56 AM

Howard Zane
often during layovers at many towns and cities, I'd hail a taxi or borrow a car from the FBO and head for the nearest hobby shop.

I got the "hobby shop adventure" out of my system some years back when I used to visit shops when traveling around the country for work.  Traveling across the country to visit hobby shops and see escoterica doesn't have much appeal to me.  I've seen plenty of rusting old train diplays during years of working for Shell Oil Company in NY, PA, WV and other locations.  Kinda depressing.

Back when I did that hobby shop adventure gig, many of the shops were disappointing so I'd hate to spend my own money doing that now; at least before the travel was paid for by the company and I'd do my hobby shop "adventures" when off-duty.

My idea of a fun road trip would be to fly to Denver and by-pass the BORING mid-west and east coast (which I have traveled ad-nauseum already) and start my drive where the scenery is IMO the best, west of Denver (or north or south of Denver).  West of Denver is a treat!  And given limited time off from work, it would be the best bang for my buck.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

  • Member since
    January 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 18,255 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, April 22, 2019 7:38 AM

riogrande5761
My idea of a fun road trip would be to fly to Denver and by-pass the BORING mid-west and east coast (which I have traveled to-death already) and start my drive where the scenery is IMO the best, west of Denver (or north or south of Denver).  West of Denver is a treat!  And given limited time off from work, it would be the best bang for my buck.

.

The main event of this vacation is the opporunity to spend over THREE WEEKS with my wife, enjoying each other, and not working.

.

Hobby shops, antique stores, and rusty trains are just added fun. Three days in... and we are having so much fun together.

.

-Kevin

.

Living the dream.

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 15,681 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Monday, April 22, 2019 8:27 AM

SeeYou190
Three days in... and we are having so much fun together.

That's great Kevin! That's what is important. Dianne and I always have a really good time together when we are travelling (actually we always have a really good time together regardless of what we are doing). Enjoy the rest of your trip!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    June 2008
  • 598 posts
Posted by tin can on Monday, April 22, 2019 8:36 AM

JDCoop

If you have time stop by Chuck's Depot in Marion, IL.  Based on your map you will be driving past it.  You can see the store from I-57.  Take exit 54. Take Illinois 13 east, turn south on Carbon St, turn west on Rendleman St and he is at the end of the street.  It sits behind the Ford dealership.  The store building is designed to look like a 2 story SP depot.  He has a layout in the basement that is the size of the store. He has a huge stock of HO and N.

 

We drove through Marion countless times on our trips from Texas to Purdue; never knew that Chuck's Depot existed.  Then again, most times we were on a strict schedule, with no time to stop.  Another place to add to the bucket list.

 

Remember the tin can; the MKT's central Texas branch...
  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: west coast
  • 7,620 posts
Posted by rrebell on Monday, April 22, 2019 8:58 AM

You are missing something by going down the middle of California instead of the coast. There are countless live trains there the most famous being the Skunk Train and roaring camp railroads plus a few train shops like Just Trains and The Train Shop in the bay area, also you can catch the veiws on the coast and hit San Francisco for the day if you like.

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Users Online

There are no community member online

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!