Tourist Kitchenette

The Model T Museum has something interesting that I’ve never seen anywhere else. It’s a Tourist Kitchenette that would have been a necessity for anyone traveling a long distance during the early days of automobile travel.

Think about the days before modern automobile travel – no interstate highways or fast food restaurants and few hotel and restaurant options along America’s rural roads.

Made by Tourist Supply Company of Los Angeles, California, it has compartments for dry goods as well as cold items, providing a compact means of storing everything you need to prepare a meal on the road. It would be attached to the running board of your car and the front folds down with legs to create a table.

Ingenious, isn’t it?

I found this photo online to illustrate how it would look attached to the vehicle and opened as a table.

It seems there would be a market for something like this today. Think about the outdoor enthusiasts who need a way to stay organized while camping and nerds like me who wish to eat healthy while traveling.

It seems like everything old is eventually new again and a version of this little kitchenette would be great in the back of an SUV!

Want to learn more about my most recent trip to the Model T Museum? It’s a pretty cool place so you should click here and read all about it!

Model T Museum With Dad

A highlight of last year’s Christmas vacation was a stop at the Model T Museum in Richmond, Indiana. While I know little about cars and nothing about the Model T, I had a fantastic time touring the museum and learning from a great tour guide. The entire time, I kept thinking about how much my dad would love it there.

In my lifetime, I went places with both my parents or with my mother but rarely just with my dad. So it’s a treat to spend a day just the two of us. We set out early, zig zagging through small towns and then across the National Road into Richmond. Neither of us enjoy highways and we weren’t on any kind of schedule so it was fun wandering down roads we hadn’t seen before.

The museum didn’t disappoint. I enjoyed the tour again and he loved it, getting more out of it than I ever will. He has many of the tools and parts they’re displaying, jumbled into his own random collection of stuff. Good luck finding any of it. He’s sort of a pack rat and, while no one else can ever find anything, he knows exactly what he has.

The museum tells the story of the Model T in the context of what was happening in the country and world. It’s very nicely done and I would recommend it if you get a chance.

We also stopped at a big antique mall near Dayton that I’ll tell you about another day.

It was a good day and I’m glad we got to enjoy it together. Solo adventures are fun but it’s even better with someone you know will enjoy it.

Harry Ferguson and the Weirdness I Photograph

The people in my life probably think I’m nuts when I get excited about some of the things I photograph. For example, check out this old Harry Ferguson tractor in my cousin’s driveway.

I had no camera or phone with me so I had to borrow a phone to snap these pictures.

Yes, it sounds a smidge nuts.

I know you have a burning desire to know who this Harry Ferguson fellow was. He was an Irish born British mechanic and inventor who evidently played a major role in the development of the modern farm tractor.

He also developed a plow that could be attached to a Model T car, a real game changer for farmers who needed a car as well as an ability to plow- both expensive investments in a day before everyone lived on credit.

Funny – when I toured the Model T Museum in Richmond, Indiana during my National Road adventure last year, I learned a little about this topic. Oh… you haven’t read my account of the Model T Museum tour? Well, you need to so click this link as soon as you’re done reading this story!

A quick Google search tells me that he also developed the first four wheel drive Formula One car AND was the first person in Ireland to build and fly his own airplane.

And yes, he is THAT Ferguson – his name lives on today in the Massey Ferguson Company.

So back to my brand of crazy.

I just loved old cars, trucks, tractors and really any kind of large equipment or vehicle that has interesting lines or patina.

Bonus points for neat gauges and cool wheels!

One of these days someone will find me wandering through a junk yard, snapping photos of rusty old car taillights and gas gauges like a woman possessed.

For now though it’s just a cute little quirk….

Firehouse BBQ and Blues

I’ve mentioned before that I’m always grateful to find good vegetarian food when I travel.

There’s a place in the Historic Depot District of Richmond, Indiana called Firehouse BBQ and Blues. It has great character, good food and a couple of vegetarian options that aren’t boring old salads.

Plus, this place is a lot of fun to visit.

First of all, the building is a fantastic old stone firehouse with a mural on the side that depicts firefighters trying to catch a cat that was dropped from a second floor window. It was the city’s first firehouse, predating automobiles so the building once stabled horses that were used to pull the “fire trucks.”

Inside, you’ll find gorgeous wood floors and fun memorabilia from the city’s musical past. Another fun detailed is these great old pinball machines turned dining tables.

So back to the food. It is a bbq place so I had no choice. I had to order the bbq veggie wrap. It’s packed full of fresh veggies and black beans with a little cheddar cheese and bbq sauce. It’s absolutely delicious and filling. In my mind, bbq is meant to be eaten with mac and cheese. Theirs was just a tiny smidge dry but I forgave that flaw because it arrived in a small mason jar. I mean, really friends, how cute is that?

If you go, Firehouse BBQ and Blues welcomes kids until about 7 pm on the weekends. As the name suggests, they do have live blues music and a nice bar.

They’re located next door to a fantastic record store and across the street from the Model T Museum which I wrote about last month. Read about it here. This part of Indiana is also part of a couple of antique trails known as Antique Alley. I also wrote a little about my antiquing experiences from this trip.

Indiana’s Antique Alley

If you enjoy treasure hunting, the National Road in Indiana is rich with antique malls and nice local shops. In fact, there are two antique trails that start in Richmond – one that is largely in western Ohio and another that follows the National Road west to Plainfield. This is the route I followed, picking up a few other stores on the Ohio side as well.

The National Road is four lane through most of Indiana, meandering through small towns and burgs with quaint architecture, fun local diners and cute stores.

My favorite treasure hunting spot along the way was probably Cambridge City which is home to more than a dozen antique stores and malls. This is a friendly, tidy little town where you could easily spend a day or more depending on how serious you are and how quickly you shop. Nearby Centerville has a number of stores including a large mall where I found a great train case and a few other unique bargains.

If you’re venturing further west, Gilley’s Antique Mall in Plainfield is worth the drive. It’s a large antique and craft mall that’s packed with stuff.

Even further west, Shady Lane Antique Mall was perhaps my favorite store this trip. It’s in an old motel and filled to the brim with good quality vintage and antique items. The owners and the people working there were so friendly and helpful that I truly felt wanted and welcome in their store. More than that, I found bargains! Records, vintage jewelry, story books, small advertising pieces, linens – I honestly don’t even remember what all I bought here. They said the vendors are all good to rotate stock and make an effort to keep things fresh about every week, something you simply don’t see in a lot of these places. It was well worth the drive and I’m already plotting to go back this year.

If you’re thinking about doing these trails, my advice is to check out the Richmond/Wayne County Visitors Center¬†and be sure to request the Antique Alley brochures. They were a huge help, easy to follow and mark up as you go.

Where’s your favorite antique store? Tell me in the comments – I’m always looking for ideas!