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Gents

In the immortal words of Otto Kern the Actor “She-who-is-to-be obeyed” has decreed that we shall sell our house in the Philadelphia area and move to Florida for our retirement. Although this idea has some merit, I am not just yet ready to go south and pick oranges. I was gainfully employed as an electrical/software engineer for 45 years. Now I drive a school bus for a part time retirement job. Parenthetically I am working harder driving the bus than I ever did before, and making much less money to boot.

But all this is beside the point. Many years ago I had a substantial 2ROS layout in the basement of my home. The joy lasted for about 10 years and I had a blast, but due to career changes and other issues I was required to move. I decided to further pursue the hobby but in the form of Club Membership only. Our existing Florida property is located in Venice, on the Gulf Coast about an hour south of Tampa/St Petersburg and about an hour north of Ft Myers. The problem with Florida housing is that most houses do not have basements. So a club layout would have to be located in a building above ground level in an area that was not flood prone (or hurricane prone or alligator prone etc).

So I am asking you Floridians if there are club layouts available on the Gulf Coast which I could join. I have been reviewing the trade magazines and have not noticed too much activity in this state. Most retirement age folk like me get to Florida, notice the lack of opportunity and start to sell off their collections piece by piece on eBay.

Any Ideas?

John McEnerney

Original Post

The first thought I have which is somewhat supported by  “She-who-is-to-be obeyed” is that you collect and build this stuff and dream about enjoying it in retirement.     So it seems like a waste to sell it off when you retire because of moving to a place that makes it impractical.      I don't see myself picking oranges and dodging alligators either.     Also I don't see myself enjoying playing bingo in the community house or whatever.    

The question is how is the second "she" going to think about this?

Can’t help you on the left coast. I’m in Broward, but you may want to renegotiate the terms of the move and at least get one room ceded to the effort.  Most of us Florida O gaugers have done that or run ac vents into the garage and built our empires there.  If you don’t feed the beast, you’ll be miserable.  Go for it and good luck. 

Oh, BTW, the whole state is hurricane and flood prone. There is no getting away from that.  I’ve  ridden out over 10 hurricanes since I’ve moved here and my layout is located on a second floor spare room in a house on the water.  You close up your shutters or install hurricane proof windows and get used to it after a while.  Such is life in paradise. 

Last edited by Strap Hanger

Good luck with your impending move.  I tried it for some years following retirement ( NC not FL) and found my new digs to be an O-Scale desert.  OK for the lone-wolf modeler I suppose, but I soon determined it problematic to be surrounded only by folks who, although friendly, simply did not speak my language.  It was similar to Robinson Crusoe stuck on his island with no civilized contact.  The internet will help to lessen the pain.  Still, I like nothing more than sitting around with other O-Scalers and talking about past trials and tribulations while eagerly looking forward to future projects.  Model railroaders are themselves in a minority, and 2-rail O-Scalers are a minority within a minority; so I would advise caution before such a monumental move.  You can buy yourself a bag or oranges pretty inexpensively in the northeast, and you can always get yourself a pair of alligator shoes.  Good luck anyway; I'll miss the times we worked on your layout and shared the conversations. 

You should think about northwest Iowa. When I got up this morning, it was 4 above zero. We have basements which makes build easier. It's cold so we we don't have the diversions of 70 degrees. The closest supplier I have is Caboose Stop Hobbies in Cedar Falls, IA about 5 hours due east on US20. I believe I am a lone 2ROS modeler in a city of 80,000+. At least no one can tell I'm nuts or I did it wrong.

Dick

For model railroaders looking into a retirement move folks I recommend taking a look at Willamsburg, VA.  Small town charm, history, culture (College of William & Mary) and a good number of model railroaders.  Our model RR club has 68 members  - 2 with good sized O scale 2 rail layouts.  I designed our retirement home essentially for one story living.  Effectively you almost get one square foot of train room and workshop in the basement for each square  foot you give the wife on the main floor.  In selecting the lot I looked for one with good drainage and a mild slope to the rear enabling a walk out basement.  The walk out to a patio provides easy access for guests ( and bringing in layout building material), and in fair weather a place to cut lumber for bench work.

Florida has its plusses- but for me a house with an O scale size basement was a must.  

To piggyback on what Ed says, I’ve moved away from any desire for basement railroading.   I simply find that a bright and cheerful naturally lighted area is much more conducive to my model building happiness.  

If I could reach nirvana it would be with a huge “train sunroom”.   Looking at the beauty of Erik’s trains or a Lee Turner model in natural light is a wonderful thing. 

How to build it for a railroad of the size and scope of Ed’s is a complete ‘nother story. 

Last edited by Rule292
John McEnerney posted:

Gents

 

So I am asking you Floridians if there are club layouts available on the Gulf Coast which I could join. I have been reviewing the trade magazines and have not noticed too much activity in this state. Most retirement age folk like me get to Florida, notice the lack of opportunity and start to sell off their collections piece by piece on eBay.

Any Ideas?

John McEnerney

I am not familiar with the Gulf Coast but in the middle part of Florida (Orlando and vicinity) there are quite a few clubs and collections. For instance, the Owner of the PODS company in Clearwater, has a train museum and layout in various scales.

I am sure you will find enthusiasts there.

Yves

IME, Williamsburg is the oasis of the North East US.  Watch the weather maps, you will see the majority of tough winter weather passing well to the West of Williamsburg.    Plus housing is less expensive than SE PA.

"She who is to be obeyed",   is the  "She" definitely a keeper?  You could be giving up a lot of future enjoyment. 

Clubs can be great but you still have to travel to them on their days and during their hours.  I enjoy the ability to go into my train room at any point in my day for as long or short a time as I have available.

A ranch style home with a full basement is great, especially with a  walk out lower level like Ed's.  Not only do usually you get the same sq. footage in the basement as the main floor but your attic is also much larger.

Big consideration, think carefully....................

Last edited by Tom Tee

I never had to suffer through northern winters but I can attest to the fact that a layout is manageable in Florida. Make plans for a train room in a bedroom (forget the attic) or, better yet, to build a detached man cave (insulated and air conditioned) dedicated to trains. A man cave is better because it keeps the running sounds outside the house and allows “She-who-is-to-be obeyed” to enjoy the tranquility of the house. I live in north Florida and am building a 32 x 20 workshop; half is for tools and outside things and half for inside things like trains and will be insulated and air conditioned. There are a lot of northern retirees in southwest Florida and I would bet there is a local club in the area. They probably all associate and if you contact any one of them in Florida they can tell you what's happening in Venice. 

A word of caution to anyone contemplating a move to Florida.  It can be a very enjoyable place to live, but there are some serious drawbacks that one should know about.  From May through October there is unbearable heat and humidity.  There is what I call "culture shock".  It is hard to make lasting friendships because of the transient nature of the population.  Traffic can be a nightmare, especially during "the season".  On the plus side, taxes are low, winters are very mild, clothes are inexpensive, and there are many interesting places to visit and plenty of things to do.  Since this thread began with an emphasis on O scale railroading, the one facet of the hobby that I found to quite successful is the modular layout clubs in HO and N. 

What one makes of it is up to the individual.  One doesn't get a true sense of living here in just a few weeks;  it takes time.  I wouldn't live anywhere else. 

Hi Tom Tee

My client base is about 50% seniors.  One common caution I got from them is to make sure you spend a couple of weeks in Florida in the summer before you move.

My wife and I had a condo in Clearwater Beach for many years b4 relocating to Venice. I am familiar with Florida Summers

Some of my moderate income clients have sold their home, moved to Florida, found they had great difficulty with the hot humid summers but could not afford to move back home due to losses including double moving expense and a double dipping of real estate sales commission. 

In later years there can be a loss of stamina to move  again.

I've already lost it!

WALMART TOM posted:

Yves:  I go to Clearwater quite often.  Where is the PODS layout and museum?  Any info is appreciated.  Thanks, Tom

Sorry Tom, it is not in Clearwater but in Odessa. It is more a fine scale museum than a layout per say: 

https://www.finescalemodeling.org/about-the-center

It is (unfortunately) open only a day per month. If my memory is not shot, I believe the owner/founder to be the CEO of PODs.

Yves

Yves posted:
WALMART TOM posted:

Yves:  I go to Clearwater quite often.  Where is the PODS layout and museum?  Any info is appreciated.  Thanks, Tom

Sorry Tom, it is not in Clearwater but in Odessa. It is more a fine scale museum than a layout per say: 

https://www.finescalemodeling.org/about-the-center

It is (unfortunately) open only a day per month. If my memory is not shot, I believe the owner/founder to be the CEO of PODs.

Yves

1 day per month, 9 months out of the year. With that limited access can it be a museum?

I attended the Orlando NMRA national convention a couple of years ago.  The Florida NMRA Division appeared to be very active.  Your best bet might be to contact someone from the division about Gulf Coast 2 rail O scale railroads.

There was one On3 layout on the tour modeling the DRG&W.  It had an interchange with a standard gauge 2 rail O scale railroad.  The owner was a Master Model Railroader (MMR).  I think he was located in the Tampa area but I am not sure.  

Only one layout was in a basement of all the the layouts on the tour.  All the rest were in an out building or a garage.  One person bought a separate house for his model railroad.  NH Joe

Yves posted:
Bill Chaplik posted:

Good luck with your impending move.  I tried it for some years following retirement ( NC not FL) and found my new digs to be an O-Scale desert. 

Where are you in NC? If you are near the main cities, there is hope.....

Yves

Pamlico County.  Nearest City was New Bern, about 30 miles away, also an O-Scale desert.  Back in 1991 the National O-Scale Convention was in High Point, and there were a few but widely scattered layouts to visit.

Bill Chaplik posted:with your impending move.  I tried it for some years following retirement ( NC not FL) and found my new digs to be an O-Scale desert. 
Pamlico County.  Nearest City was New Bern, about 30 miles away, also an O-Scale desert.  Back in 1991 the National O-Scale Convention was in High Point, and there were a few but widely scattered layouts to visit.
 

Yes, definitely a desert for O scale modeling. I go on a frequent basis to Oriental to sail, but I feel your pain.

Raleigh/Cary has one layout in 2 rails and another one in the making. Not much for 1 million plus inhabitants in the Triangle.

Yves

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