“The Amish are islands of sanity in a whirlpool of change.” Nancy Sleeth
Carol writes: We left Ohio and headed into northern Indiana for some scheduled RV warranty work at the factory in Middlebury, Indiana, where our motorhome was built.
We arrived in the northern Indiana area a week before our scheduled appointment and camped for a week in Goshen at the Elkhart 4-H Fairgrounds. When we pulled in we noticed that a huge Montana 5th Wheel rally was going on in the fairgrounds campground.
This was our first time camping at a county fairgrounds, and we found it pretty interesting. The grounds of the Elkhart 4-H facility were lovely and first rate. The flowers were still in full bloom.
Individualized barns for each animal type was a tip-off that the 4-H people sure take animal husbandry seriously.
The real reason we stayed in Goshen was for the opportunity to visit the Hall of Fame—The RV one that is!
We had a blast going inside classic RVs from the past, starting with campers built into the rear of very early cars like this 1916 “Telescoping Apartment.”
The inside cabinetry of some of the very early campers had wonderful built-in wooden drawers and cabinets, not to mention very primitive driving seats!
Two of my favorites in the collection were Mae West’s 1931 Housecar,
and the 1929 Wiedman Housecar with an optional driver’s seat.
All I can say is, “We’ve come a long way, baby!”
ENTEGRA FACTORY IN MIDDLEBURY, INDIANA
From start to finish, our week at the Entegra factory was top notch. Before the sun had even risen over the parking lot campground at 6:30 each morning, we turned our coach over to service tech Matt, who kept it for the entire work day as he worked his way through a list of about 20 items that needed attention. At the close of every work day, our coach was returned to us so we could spend the night in our “home.”
Our personal service advisor Mary kept us up to speed daily on all the progress that had been made on our service items list.
The days were ours to do with as we pleased. We visited the nearby towns of Middlebury and Shipshewanna with their quaint little shops and yummy restaurants and bakeries where we observed the unusual Amish lifestyle up close. It was most interesting to have short conversations with friendly Amish women in the retail stores. We even found some RV items that we needed at the Shipshewana Auction venue.
Over the week, we spent a fair number of hours in the comfy service lounge where we met and networked with about a dozen other Entegra owners whose motorhomes were also being serviced that week. We were so appreciative for the opportunity to share travel stories, favorite campgrounds, and problem tips. By the end of the week we were exchanging business cards with another couple so we could stay in touch.
The best part of the week was the day of the Entegra factory tour, during which we observed an Entegra coach being built, mostly by hand, at every stage along the assembly line.
The goal of this plant is to build 3 coaches from start to finish every day! This was a far more complicated process than at the Toyota plant where a new car rolls off the assembly line every 54 seconds!
We noticed many Amish workers, both men and women. We have been told that the high quality of our cabinetry is in large part due to Amish woodworkers.
About midweek, we felt confident that all the warranty problems were under control. We decided to step away from the stress and visit one of the country’s finest universities—University of Notre Dame.
The University of Notre Dame was founded in 1842 by a French priest named Father Edward Sorin, who was a member of the Congregation of the Holy Cross.
Strolling the campus past iconic Notre Dame buildings was a delight with many highlights:
… the magnificent campus Basilica of the Sacred Heart
with a poignant side entrance hanging light fashioned from the “doughboy” helmet of the 12th President of Notre Dame, who served as a chaplain in WW I, hanging beneath the insignias of the units in which Holy Cross chaplains served,
… the reproduction of the Grotto of Lourdes,
… the impressive golden statue of Mary atop the Main Building,
… the Word of Life mural on the 13-story Hesbaugh Library
… and the hall hung with championship banners leading to the football field, next to the statue of Knute Rockne.
We did a whirlwind tour through the campus fine art museum
and were struck by the awe-inspiring painting by Paul Wood entitled “Absolution Under Fire” which depicts an actual event that occurred during the 3-day battle at Gettysburg.
That was such an interesting walking tour of the campus with its magnificent iconic “Notre Dame brick” buildings.
By noon on Friday our RV warranty repairs were completed! It had been a bit of a stressful week, but Entegra folks sure did everything they possibly could to make our stay comfortable. We felt quite reassured about getting back on the road with a 100% fully operational motorhome. Time to head south and get back to our RVing life on the road.
“Instead of complaining that the rosebush is full of thorns, be glad that the thornbush has roses.” Amish proverb