05 June 2016

'RV Capital of the World'

5 Jun 2016--We were supposed to leave St Louis this past Monday but, as has been the case in the past a few times, our passenger-side bedroom slide-out had other ideas.  Our departure for Springfield, Illinois was delayed because the slide refused to come in, even with the efforts of Cathy, the RV manufacturer technicians on the phone, and the 'fix-it' man Travis.  We have replaced the motor to this particular slide twice before, the last time as recently as 7 months ago, but whether we worked on the motor, the motor controller you see Cathy inside the lower compartment re-wiring, or anything else, we were ultimately left with releasing the bushing and literally muscling it back inside!!!

So once we got on the road late Tuesday, we skipped Springfield and headed straight to Elkhart, Indiana where our manufacture is located.  This stop was on our list of stops anyway, so we haven't been thrown off course too badly, but we thought we would be here a few days to take the Newmar plant tour and see the RV Hall of Fame...this is now Sunday and we won't know if we have a fix in the cards till Tuesday.  They are scheduled here thru July, so unless there is a cancellation on Tuesday, we will have to come back in August to have a major repair done.  UGH!!!

We passed this huge cross on the road here...thought it might be prophetic!!!  haha Say a prayer we can get this puppy fixed this coming week, please!

We are sitting in what is called "Camp Newmar"...basically a big parking lot with full hook-ups on the Newmar campus while we wait to see what happens.  And we are in a town called Nappanee...this whole region is the 3rd largest community of Amish in the country, with some Mennonites also, and a whole bunch of them work right here.

On the RV plant tour we learned that this is a 50 acre operation where all Newmar RVs are made. They don't let you take pictures along the production line, but they make 7 of them, from start to finish, every day 5 days a week!!!   And that is just the Newmar products...this area of Indiana is known as the 'RV capital of the world' and they manufacture 50% of all RVs made in the world.

Farming is huge here also...the manufacturing plant operates 6am-2pm weekdays so that the workers can get off and still work their farms every day.  Just driving around we saw this really pretty house with the horse outside...how picturesque, huh?!  And we took the picture of this supermarket only because it looks so odd...sort of looks like they are advertising something scary...dripping blood? haha

Across the street is "Amish Acres", land bought by an Amish couple in 1873 that is now a spot catering to tourists.  They have a huge restaurant, meat, cheese and ice cream shops, and a novelty shop to get something for the kiddies!  haha  I love shops like these where everything is homemade...and that ice cream shop is decorated where you just feel happy being there!!!  haha


Of course we are like kids in a candy store when it comes to the Amish.  You can't help wanting to stare (but not get caught--haha), and they don't want you to take their picture (which you have to respect their wishes) but I just had to take pictures of these buggies.  I'm thinking the 1st one has to be a Mennonite rig...they are less strict than the Amish...check out how they have tricked it out with car seats!  And the 'happy face' on the small cart in the 3rd pic?  What a sense of 'whimsy'!!!   haha

In Nappanee and surrounding towns they have a series of 'quilt gardens' you can go see, usually outside a local museum or historical shop you can then go into to learn more and buy trinkets...haha  Not a bad way to promote the local tourism industry!

And in Nappanee, in an effort to spruce up the downtown area, they have a series of painted apples that can be quiet pretty.

We found this old kitchen manufacturing plant along the quilt garden trail...the advertising worked! We not only went inside, but we bought something, too!  Mission accomplished!

A few of the items on display...this computer was used here in the the early 1980s...God, it doesn't seem that long ago, but that computer looks ancient!  haha  And we loved this old toaster!

There were a lot of old kitchen cabinets on display but this being 'Amish' land, the most interesting aspect of them was that inside the cabinet doors were helpful hints on everything from how many teaspoons in a tablespoon to how to clean something.  Very practical, especially for a new, young wife!   haha

And we haven't seen this before...this is a flour dispenser built into the cabinet...also very helpful for the woman who makes everything from scratch!!!

And what did we buy?  You have to check out the video to see this...in a leap of modernity, they make a 'flash freeze' ice cream right before your eyes!  Check out how it starts out totally liquid and then with a burst of liquid nitrogen you get your finished product...it was delicious!!!

So on to the RV Hall of Fame, in Elkhart!!!  Like the 'Funeral Museum' we went to in Houston, who would have thought there would even be an RV Hall of Fame?  haha

This is a 1978 RV..check out the furniture fabric inside...horrifying!!!

Because of the angles inside the Hall, we couldn't get great pics, but this pull trailer is the 'oldest' in the world!  Built in 1913...you can tell how small the people were when you look in the sleeping/eating compartment in back.

This 1916 model is not a trailer, but part of the 'car' itself.  When you open up the back you have your storage drawers (1st pic), the sleeping area (3rd pic), and the the attached 'kitchen' (last pic).  Is that cool, or what?

This is a 1931 Ford Housecar...Its interesting on the outside, but check out the wood burning stove thing inside the house in the 2nd pic.

This belonged to Mae West...I loved the back of it where it looked like an old train car that you used to see in the movies where someone would be standing there as the train went through the town.

Cathy under the 'attached to the rig' awning at the picnic table.  And that box you see in the 2nd pic is a bathtub in a 1936 model!!!  Again, how small were these people?

Charles Lindbergh's trailer...it is supposed to resemble his plane, which we were reminded had no front windows...he had to look out the side of the plane to see where he was going!!!  How crazy is that!!  haha

What were our parents thinking back in 1966?  1 share?  1000 shares?  I lament!!!

Don't you wish you were here with us?!  In light of the picture of this RV, I guess our slide-out issue isn't such a hindrance after all!  haha

So we wait for Tuesday...hopefully going to Notre Dame tomorrow...we'll say a prayer at the church that we have the cancellation we need to get a spot here!  haha


  1. Did you get to Rocket Ice Cream in Nappanee? It's great !

  2. OK on the ice cream I saw where they made little balls out of the ice cream, then you ate it and you would blown out smoke like a dragon. Do you all do that too? The toaster and the flour bin my Mom had both of those items in her kitchen when I was growing up. The toaster we used but the flour bin was a old piece of furniture she redid and had in her kitchen.

  3. Great reading! Enjoyed the info about the old RV's. Bet it was fun! Good luck with service. Hope its not like us!!! ha ha

  4. Very cool. Enjoy your blog and all the pictures. Too much work for me. I just post on Facebook with minimal comments. Just wanted you to know we appreciate you having us on the list. Hope you get your rig fixed.

  5. My mom got our kitchen cabinets from Coppes in the 60's for our new house. And yes you've got to go to Rocket ice cream!!! Sorry you are waiting so long to get coach fixed but I'm happy you are touring my "home" area. Saying a prayer @ND and in front of "Touchdown Jesus" will do the trick I'm sure. I will NEVER look at a Martin's store sign the same way....only you Paula...how about all the Amish buggies @ DairyQ and Macs and the other fast food places???? Safe travels...hope you leave Camp Newmar ASAP!!!

  6. Hello to both you in the "birthplace" of rv's....so to speak!! We are sending good vibes to get your rv issue fixed! F.Y.I. We too saw that cross in Effingham, Illinois... Pretty hard to miss! About the same height as the wind turbines nearby.

  7. I also hope you got that cancellation today and they could at least assess your problem and get the parts needed to fix it right. Can you live for 2 months without using that slideout? I bet not - the way they make it so you can't get into drawers and closets with it pulled in.
    Enjoy Amish Country while you're there and also their food!

  8. That ice cream place was cool!!!
    But I am very impressed with all the old rv's!
    Hope your slide gets fixed soon!!!!!

  9. Hello, I've read this blog in the cyber lurkdom, but this is my first comment.
    I'm a Japanese RVer living in Japan and sometimes travel around the US by a Rental-RV.

    I have been in or at the place. The RV Hall of Fame was extremely fascinating.
    And observed a RV manufacture in Elkhart that have made my RV.


    1. Hi...glad to hear you are reading this. We have been to many amazing places, and hope to see many, many more in the years ahead. Next spring/summer we hope to cover a lot of the middle of our country, and then up and around the Great Lakes into Canada...should be a great trip!!!

  10. Thank you for your quick reply to my comment.
    I'm enjoying your previous posts and looking for your future post. :)

    BTW, I've read your ancient post "It Was a Total Blowout!" in 2013. You have got off without a scratch, that's one consolation. I posted an aricle in my blog quoted from your post. http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/fuji8888/36100093.html


    P.S. I'm encouraged to launch my new blog on blogspot.com