Tom Raper RV is now a Camping World dealer

Our Four Winds with the new cargo trailer

Our Four Winds with the new cargo trailer

Sher and I bought our Thor Four Winds class C motorhome from Tom Raper RV in Richmond, Indiana in December of 2014. We got a great deal, were treated well and very satisfied with the transaction. Tom Raper has been in the RV business for decades and most in the Midwest recognize ads for Exit 149A on I-70 in Richmond.

I was surprised when I went to the Tom Raper website in the search for a cargo trailer and bam! there was the Camping World website! The deal was reported back in January by media. Sadly media also reported that founder Tom Raper passed away this April in Florida. Tom Raper RV is now a Camping World dealer.

We got another great deal on a cargo trailer, working with Mitch Crowe, our salesman from the Thor Four Winds deal. Once again Mitch took great care of us. Within a couple of hours we had purchased the trailer, had it correctly hitched to our motorhome and were on our way.

We went to Michigan to get some merchandise to sell at upcoming festivals and shows. The pesky April weather was chilly, and our furnace in the Thor would not work. Heading back south we detoured to the Tom Raper/CW dealership. Long story short, the service department with no hassel found the problem (a bad contact in the thermostat) and even took care of a couple of other minor issues. Hats off to technician Steve and Hank and Paul at the service desk.

I have talked to several Tom Raper employees from the sales, parts and service departments. All said they were pleased with the transition from Tom Raper to Camping World. This change sems to be a good thing for not only the staff but also the customers of this dealership. I was very pleased with the way they took care of our furnace issue and the help with the other minor issues.

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Shady Trails Family Campground

Entrance to the campground

Entrance to the campground

Sometimes you find a campground that, for your use, just works well. Shady Trails Family Campground is near Hillsboro, Ohio and close to Rocky Fork Lake. You can see a portion of the huge lake from the entrance to the campground, and there is a public dock and boat ramps a half mile from the campground.. Primarily filled with seasonal campers, this campground does have several nice spots for transient travelers.

The owners are starting their first season as the new owners of the facility. The facilities are not fancy, but the rest rooms and showers are very clean as is the small laundry room. There is a nice playground for the kids and a large shelter house for picnics and other gatherings. Propane, ice and firewood are available.

The park is hilly with decent roads. Extra long rigs will have to be careful negotiating some of the turns.The sites are level and each has a nice concrete pad for the picnic table. Most sites also have a fire ring. This facility is very pretty with lots of trees. The campgrounds offer nice tent camping sites, too.

The rates are very reasonable and extremely reasonable ($12.50 a nite midweek) with your Passport America discount. Shady Trails is open from April through October. It features full hooks-up including 30 and 50 amp, some pull thru and some accomodate double slides. Check the Shady Trails website for the number and other information.

I would recommend this campground for its price, beauty, very nice and helpful owners and the peace and quiet.  I have to also say that their free WiFi is very strong and fast. This campground is worth a look if you are in the area.

Short term sites on the right, seasonal on the left

Short term sites on the right, seasonal on the left

The camp office

The camp office

The remains of the historic Starr Piano and Gennett Recording studio

The origianl Genett Parrot logo still seen on the wall of the remaining brick building

The origianl Genett Parrot logo still seen on the wall of the remaining brick building

Richmond Indiana is a very history filled town on the Ohio-Indiana border in the central part of the state. Both I-70 and Historic US 40 run through Richmond. One of the historic sites in Richmond is the remains of the old Starr Piano manufacturing plants and the Genett Recording studios.

Starr made high end pianos beginning in the 1870’s. The remaining Starr pianos are highly sought after by collectors and musicins alike. The Gennett recordng Studos were in business from 1920 to 1934. The records were made in a primitive concrete and brick building with little acoustical features.

Legend says that an Oriental rug from the Gennett mansion was used as a wall hanging to deaden the echo sounds during the recording sessions.

Louis Armstrong honored on the sidewalk next to the remains of the old recording studio. There are many musicians so honored.

Louis Armstrong honored on the sidewalk next to the remains of the old recording studio. There are many musicians so honored.

Many famous musicians of the times got their first recordings made at Gennett. Hoagy Carmicheal’s big band recorded there. Louis Armstrong got his start in the Gennett studio. The studio was known as the first one to record jazz, blues, country and gospel genres. The Great Depression signaled the end of Genett Records as it did many other record companies of the times.

The remaining portion of the brick factory now has a modern steel structure and metal roof system. Ths building is used for concerts and other civic events.

When in Richmond be sure to seek out the old Starr Piano buliding. You just might hear echos of music from the past. Read more at the Starr Gennett Foundation website.

The remaining structure from what used to be a huge manufacturing complex on the White River in Richmond.

The remaining structure from what used to be a huge manufacturing complex on the White River in Richmond.

The remaining smoke stack from the Starr Piano factory.

The remaining smoke stack from the Starr Piano factory.

A different perspective of the old factory

A different perspective of the old factory