Well, after our travel day Monday (9/11) we woke up in Shipshewana Indiana where we stayed for 4 nights.
Why Shipshewana? Well it seemed to be a centrally located spot to tour a couple RV manufacturing plants in the area PLUS it’s the only place in Indiana listed in the “1000 Places to See Before You Die” book LOL!!
Shipshewana is a very small town of less than 1000 people but it has a number of antique shops, country style décor shops, a couple great Amish furniture shops and restaurants that are strong with Amish flavor.
Shipshewana is also very well known for a huge Flea Market, it’s considered the largest Flea Market in the Midwest.
We have to be honest, we love going to Farmers Markets but the Flea Markets of this sort that have everything from the cheapest Chinese made products known to man to who knows what really isn’t our thing. At least not while we are living this RV life style because let’s face it, even though a person can find some really cool rusty & dirty things to take home and make treasures out of, what the heck are we going to do with them living in a RV.
The upside to this particular market for us was that there was a pretty good Farmers Market set up at one end and we were able to pick up so nice fruits & vegetables, now those we can use!!
So between the attractions we mentioned, the Amish culture and the natural beauty of the area Shipshewana draws over 1 million visitors each year that according to a study that was performed adds about $137 million to the LaGrange County economy, so it has to have something people like.
Ok, so we ate one meal at the #1 rated (by Trip Advisor) restaurant in town called the Blue Gate Restaurant and Bakery. You can either eat a sit down & order type meal upstairs or have a buffet style meal downstairs, we (well I) opted for the buffet (Diane would never pick a buffet as her 1st choice) which was far from the best meal we have ever had but it was ok. If we ever return we would try the sit down & order option upstairs.
One good thing about eating at the buffet is that we were so darn full after eating that we didn’t buy a single thing at the bakery LOL!!! You can always find an upside if you look hard enough.
We also went to Goshen and did a little touring before stopping in at Keystone RV Manufacturing to take a tour of the Montana 5th wheel plant.
Goshen’s population is about 32,000 and is known as a center of manufacturing for recreational vehicles and accessories and the home of Goshen College, a small Mennonite liberal arts college.
Even though the population is only 32,000 it was a PITA driving around because of all the road construction so we ended up showing up early for our tour at Keystone.
We won’t bore you with all the details of the tour, this was more of a researching thing for us but the tour lasted a little over 2 hours and we went through all of the stages involved with the build process from when the frame enters the plant until a finished unit leaves. Well everything except the paint booth.
On yet another day we drove 15 miles to Howe, Indiana to take a tour of the DRV 5th wheel plant.
Once again we will not bore you with the fine details of this tour either but it also took about 2 hours and we saw the entire process from a bare frame sitting in a lot with suspension’s sitting alongside all the way through to completion (again except for the paint shop which is located off site).
By now you might be wondering, what the heck are Dave & Diane up to touring 5th wheel plants, they are motorhome people. Well that has a two part answer.
#1, back in my working days one of the things I enjoyed most was being able to tour many manufacturing plants around the country. I’ve toured everything from lumber mills on the west coast to carpet and hardwood plants in Georgia and countless other plants in between and I enjoy it.
#2, we have always said that even though we love our motorhome and everything about it just fit’s for us we would re- evaluate and consider switching to a 5th wheel when and if the time ever comes that we slow down our travels. We don’t mean stop traveling but if we start staying put in one spot for 2, 3 or 4 months at a time and moving far less than we have over the last almost 5 years.
If you take into account that last winter we stayed in one location for 3 months and plan to do the same thing this winter for 4 months and the fact that we have been watching for a spot or 2 that we could do the same thing at during the summer months got us thinking that we might not be that far away from such a change. Certainly not this year and probably not next but after that who knows.
So because we were passing through the area of a couple well know and popular 5th wheel manufactures it just made sense to toss in a little advanced research. In fact if we had more time we would have toured a couple more plants just for fun but because of the slight changes to our final stages of our summer travel plans we couldn’t really hang around any longer, well we could have but felt it best not to.
And now you might be saying, there they go again bringing up changes to their travel plans and such, what the heck are they referring to LOL!!! Well I promise we will go into that in our next update. Dang, are we turning into suspense writers???
Anyway, we enjoyed our short 4 day stay in Shipshewana but it was time to move on so on Friday (9/15) we woke up a little extra early and were on the road at 7am with no reservation for our next stop. Hmmm, now that’s different for us because we have a normal ritual of wheels rolling at 9 and 99.9% of the time we have reservations in place for our next stop, more suspense? Well it will all come together in our next update.
There’s one thing that gets my goat on that Montana frame photo, Dave…and it’s not unique to Montanas. See that white wire on the left laying across the upper part of that angle iron on that frame? That’s the main power line. They just let it lay there. Mine was half worn through on my 2007 Colorado when I pulled the underbelly off last summer. DRV doesn’t seem to be much better. Grrrr….
You know how you are restricted on time during a tour but it did seem DRV was paying closer attention to detail’s like that. Just my opinion.
Well Dave we’ve got to stop this! You drove a Jeep, we drove a Jeep. You bought a Phantom, we did too. You bought a truck, we bought a truck. You bought a Mavic, we did too. You’re considering a 5er down the road, you guessed it…we are too. We live your blog!! We gained so much (literally!) from following you. Thank you!
LOL!!! I was rolling on the floor as I read that!!!! Man, you are really going to come unglued when you hear about the newest addition!!!! OK, pick yourself up off the floor because there is no new addition, yet LOL!!!