Thursday, July 31, 2008

Roaming Northern Indiana

What's to do in Elkhart, Indiana, you say! Even with all our years in this state, we found last week that there are many entertaining sites we've yet to see. Our main reason for coming was repairs for the motorhome, but that fortunately turned out to be unnecessary. Lucky for us, though, the nice folks at the Coach Care repair facility offered to let us use their nicely appointed parking spot for a few days. Well we couldn't turn that down. We decided to stick around and explore.

First on our list to investigate was the RV Hall of Fame. Sounds a little cheesey, huh? Not at all. We had a very interesting afternoon. The museum leads you through the industry's history with actual retired campers, trailers and motorhomes. It's a show-and-tell with lots of fun examples. The parade starts with the oldest travel trailer in the world pulled by a Model T (pictured in the first photo above). And, yes, the blue and black paint is authentic. That's the year before Henry Ford decided to offer only black. There were fabulous examples of ingenuity and craftsmanship in these preserved RV creations. But here are just a few of our favorites.
The next, very futuristic looking, invention is the 1937 Hunt Housecar. Built by Hollywood movie producer, Roy Hunt, this unit was named "The Star."
And in 1931 Paramount Studios enticed Mae West away from Vaudeville to make movies using this housecar equipped with a hot plate stove, an icebox and a small table for having her tea. What a gig!

One of Jerry's picks was this tiny little 1950s travel trailer that was almost the exact replica of the one his parents used for weekend getaways for many years. Does that bring back any memories for any of you??? It was a blast walking through this chapter in history.
Since, after all, Elkhart is the RV builders capitol of th world, we had to take a day to scour the RV surplus and salvage stores in the area. There's everything imaginable to be found, doors and drawers, blinds and bolts. We were able to locate a handle for our tv antenna and the rubber gromates for the grates on our stove. What an experience to roam through those places.

From the buggys of yesterday's RVland we ventured a few miles east to share a day or two listening to the comforting cloppity-clop of the horse-drawn black buggys of today. A visit to this area of the country wouldn't be complete without passing through Shipshewana's Amish byways. As we discussed the lifestyle of the Amish and Mennonite people, we realized we had lots of unanswered questions. Guess what? There is a well-presented museum called the Menne Hof in Shipshewana that did a fabulous job of answering those questions. Of course, we added a few calories at one of the local bakeries at an Amish home along the highway as well. The yummy cinnamon caramel donuts were melt-in-your-mouth. And on our way over we stopped in Middlebury, a quaint, tiny town, to check out the Hoosier Meat Market. It's a small building that's at least 100 years old, still making their own sausages, etc. From the conversations, it was obviously a local favorite. Jerry discovered that he loves their pfefferwurst. Made his trip complete!


  1. Next time we travel through that area, we'll have to stop. Now we feel bad we just drove through; had somewhere else to be.


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