Saturday, September 15, 2012

In the Beginning...

After being here in Elkhart Indiana for one week, we have learned a bunch about the RV Industry and also an Amish area of Indiana.This is our first trip to Indiana. No better place to be on 9-11-12. This town is resiliant and survived the crash of 08. Some things are very fascinating and other things make a lot more sense seeing them in person! These people here at the Thor Service Facility have been absolutely fantastic to us. They have addressed all of the issues on my list...and fixed many more things that weren't on the list! They assigned us our own technician and he has worked on our coach all day every day Monday through Friday. A couple of the big issues, the big Carefree Awning won't come out and go back in with the switch. They have tried several things, replacing the motors and other parts not finding the problem. A factory engineer from Carefree Colorado came over yesterday and they worked on my coach until they traced the problem. We are staying here in the lot over the weekend, as no one works on the weekends. Our back yard may not be too pretty right now, but we have all the comforts of home.  Sunday afternoon we will go to Bremen Indiana to the Paint Factory that painted this coach...They are going to buff it and work the problems out with the finish. Then we come back over here and they are finishing up fixing the awning. Yesterday while talking to our technician, we discovered a big crack in the windshield at the top right corner. If it weren't for bad luck, we'd have none! One more thing that they will do when we come back Monday or Tuesday. A new windshield, and a treat to a hotel while they keep it in the shop to cure after it's installed. I just want all this done and I'd rather be here than out on the road to deal with other dealerships to get these things fixed. Every day this week my wake up call has been at 5 am. Our technician shows up to take our coach to his bay at 7:15. We have all day to explore the area and experience all the special offerings of the Amish people in the local surrounding communities. 
 Monday we took a tour of the Thor factory where our coach was built and they build 6 on Monday Wednesday and Friday and Tuesday and Thursday they build 7. Not all just like ours, but other models and makes. It is really strange to see these chassis being driven around from one lot to another.
 Very early mornings with a chill the drivers sitting on a box, with a stocking hat on, zipping through the lot from point A to point B.
This is what the beginning looks like. Our Coach looked just like this before it had walls or a floor. The next thing is the floor. It is tiled completely and the rest is built up from there.
 They are totally white before they are delivered to the paint factory about 30 miles from here. It was a very interesting tour. In having a new 2013 model, we can relate to many of the things that we learned about. On Tuesday we toured the National Motor Home Museum, Hall of Fame and Library. A beautiful facility and well worth the three hours we spent there. If you ever have the opportunity to do so, it is a must see for every RVer. I even saw the 1954 Spartan Trailer that my folks owned and lived in when they brought me home from the hospital. That was top of the line in that day and age and they pulled it behind the car all over the country as my dad was in sales.
 We have shopped and ate in several Amish Communities. Shipshewanna, Middlebury, Wakarusa, Nappanee and Goshen.

 Today we took a ride in the country and stopped in a small local Cheese Factory. The yards and the flowers are beautiful and the countryside is really green here. They have had more rain. Night before last it rained gently on the roof most of the night and shortly after 7 it broke and cleared to be a beautiful fall day.

 We have enjoyed this state and I would come back here to have things fixed on our coach.  Hopefully we will have all of our issues fixed and when we are satisfied with the results, we will be on our way back west. Today we are having a day off from the hustle and bustle of the RV Industry. Elkhart is a rebuilding community from the massive lay offs and repression of the collapse of 2008. In talking with some folks here, there are jobs if one wants to work. Many of these technicians are older, solid folks that have lived here forever and they kept their jobs. Our tech. has worked here for 10 years. South of here are plants that make UPS utility trucks, and there are manufacturers of all kinds of travel trailers and fifth wheels.
  Nappanee has their Apple Festival this weekend. Fall is in the air!

They have a compound called Amish Acres that is decked out in all the fall colors and decorations. This area is bouncing back and slowly but surely will thrive through the eyes of the RVer once more.  

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Missing Montana


I just can't ever be able to soak up enough of the beauty of Montana to last very long! I am so thankful that we have our pictures and memories of the time spent in the last Best Place! There was a lot of fires burning in Montana this trip. The lightning and drought have been brutal for many mountain communities this year. We visited several places that we had not been. Saw one wild bear and spent a couple days with some dear friends. We met them in Arizona a few years ago and really enjoy their company. Just so happens that they live outside of Manhattan Montana, have a full RV hook Up by their shop...for their own Coach or visitors and we were lucky enough to pass through at a time when they were home and had time to visit! They talked us into staying an extra day, and I'm so glad they did. The girls went to a Farmers Market in Bozeman and the guys went to explore where the Missouri River Begins. Then we met back at the ranch and headed off to Virginia City Montana, to explore the old west streets and rode an old fire truck for a historical narration of the town and country. One night we had the best steak I've had in years! The next night we stopped at a little place for a very good know....when in Rome.... Eat Beef!!! We said our good byes and headed out for a long trek across the country to Elkhart Indiana. We made a stop in Billings Montana at their Cabelas Store and trekked on to Buffalo Wyoming for the first night. The second night we spent in Presho South Dakota, where we were invited to a wonderful Fried chicken Dinner prepared by the gal who runs the RV Park. The next night was at the old Home Place in Sioux Falls South Dakota. Sometimes we need to take care of business and I also got my mail. The next night was Kellogg Iowa and this little Park and Cafe boasts having the best Burgers in Iowa. They are darn close to the best ever!!!! Scooting on the next day, we crossed into Illinois and stopped at a wonderful RV park at Utica Il. We got to use our Passport America Card and for $18.50 we were escorted to a large level pull through in "Green Acres." I wish that we could have spent more time there, and hopefully that will be a stop on the way back. The rain started about 6 am, and driving through Chicago in the rain wasn't planned, but by the time we took off for the last 175 miles, it sprinkled a couple of times and cleared off, arriving at the Elkhart Campground pretty proud of the trip and the way the coach performed. I am much less tired at the end of the day now then with our other bigger rig. Our new home on wheels has an appointment on Monday Morning at the Thor Service Department. When you buy a new Motor Coach, you can expect to have some construction issues...and it seems like ours has it's share.
Tomorrow we will move from this campground into the parking lot of the Thor Factory Service Department. That will be our home until they let us go. At 7 am every day, our technician will take our coach to have the things on my list addressed and fixed.
While we are there we will tour the factory and learn about Thor. I have planned a side trip to drive around the countryside and visit some of the Amish Communities in this area to fill some of the hours that we wait. We will come back at 4 pm and spend the night in our space in the lot. We also did this in Arizona when we bought our other coach. That time it was for two weeks. Hopefully this will only be a few days. I have never been to Indiana and so far it is a nice place, really green, lots of trees...but I can't stop missing Montana!