Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Back Home in Indiana

It is not us but our motorhome, Opus, that is back home in Indiana. We are at its birthplace, Newmar in Nappanee, to have a few things fixed on our seven year old rig. We had new covers put on the slides, heavy duty springs on the jacks and new running lights installed. They also adjusted the slides and repaired the hot water heater and entry step. I guess driving on bumpy roads really takes its toll on our home. We had our two dining room chairs (our most used furniture) reupholstered. All the work was completed by Wednesday but we decided to stay here through the July 4th weekend since we are only travelling a short distance to Spartan to have the work started in May completed. Holiday weekends are often an issue for travelling fulltimers as the parks fill up and the cost of staying here is what we paid for the work we had done. We did a bit of exploring around Nappanee and rode our bikes for the first time in quite a while. We also took a tour of the Newmar plant. It is always fascinating seeing how they put the rigs together. Business is way down from the first time we visited in 2006. Back then they were making 12 to 15 rigs a day and now they are only building three. They are down to 400 employees from a high of over a 1000. The whole RV industry is in big trouble with many manufacturers going out of business. We are happy that Newmar is still around as this is really the best place to get repairs done.

Here is a before and after of the chairs and one of the two pillows we had done at Mast Upholstering. Nanc had called them a couple of weeks ago and they were very accommodating in getting the work done in only three days as we had originally planned to leave last Thursday. We had already purchased fabric but they have quite a selection to choose from if you have more time to wait to have the work completed. I sure hope I am not the first person to spill something on the new chairs. Mast did a great job so if you are in the area and need any work done give them a call.
One afternoon we drove to Elkhart to the RV/MH Hall of Fame Museum & Library. They have a great collection of old and modern RVs. The display above shows how RVs have changed over the years. The Hall of Fame is photos of people in the industry most of whom we did not know. We did recognize the owner of Newmar and Joe & Kay Peterson the founders of Escapees. According to the local paper, the museum like the rest of the RV industry is not doing very well because corporate contributions are way down.

The road leads you down a memory lane of old restored RVs.

How about this early rig with a bathtub and a pot that is literally a pot. We like our more modern facilities much better.

Many of the oldest rigs and even some smaller new ones have outdoor kitchens, an idea that goes back to the old chuck wagons.

This Shasta really brought back memories for Nanc and me. My Uncle Chuck and Aunt Sis had one like this and we spent many weekends camping with them. We usually slept in our tent but one rainy weekend we slept inside with Chuck, Sis, Randy, Greg and their dog Skippy. Looking at it now it is hard to believe we got seven bodies in there for the night, but it was great fun.

Nanc loved the Tennessee Traveler and thinks we should look into what we can get on a trade. The RV Museum is a real walk down memory lane but if finances don't improve it may not be open much longer.

We enjoyed riding the bikes and driving along the country roads with all the beautifully kept Amish and English farms. One way to tell a Amish farm is they usually still have small bales of hay and not the big rolled ones. The work here requires a lot of laborers. We try to collect some small memento that will remind us of a place we have visited and we were lucky enough to find a very unique one here in Nappanee. We found a horseshoe which we hope will provide us with continued good luck in our travels. It will also be a reminder of the slower pace of Nappanee and the pace we continue to strive to keep as fulltimers.

I guess it is OK to use an outboard motor as long as the boat is pulled to the water by a horse. We did discover we can bike faster then the buggies travel, as we passed several on our rides. The greatest obstacle while bike riding the roads here are the IPDs, Improvised Poop Devises.

Look very carefully in the tall corn and you will find a farmer, his son and a team of draft horses. The countryside around Nappanee is well worth a visit. As the welcome sign says "Embrace the Pace."

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