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Southeast (Gulf Coast), Texas, United States

Friday, July 24, 2015

Finishing Up Our Time in Elkhart Amish Country

As stated in the previous post, we spent our 5 days in the Elkhart area at the Grand View Bend Community Association Campground in Howe, IN.  It is a Passport America park, which means we paid 50% of the normal daily price, which in this case was about $17/day.

The campground is a family-type park where most of the sites are owned by people who use it mostly for a “get-away” camp!  They do a lot of personalized decorating……. some very good, and some not so!!  Here are some pictures that Patsy took while walking around the park……


We spent much of our time visiting Amish stores, the Amish Flea Market in Shipshewana, and produce stands throughout the area.  On Wednesday, we chose to take a tour of the Entegra Motorhome factory.  That is a brand that several long-time Tiffin owners are switching to because of quality issue and the fit & finish. 

During the tour, it was obvious why they end up building a better coach.  There are a lot of improved design details, a much more clean and organized factory build area, and a much slower rate of build with a lot of third person inspection.  They have a goal of 3 coaches per day while Tiffin normally produces 12 and have gone up to 15 in the best of times.  With the 3 per day goal, right now, they are just over 1 per day.  Our guide said that they have the orders…….. just not the capacity yet.

Here are some factory pictures.  The units being built are pushed sideways from station to station rather than being driven forward.  The front wheels are set on “trucks” which ride on rails in the floor, and the rear tires are placed on air pads.  They are then pushed sideways by two workers.  They also thoroughly sweep and clean the floor and each worker is required to recycle all of their wastes.……


The build is done slowly, piece by piece.  Even the tile floors are built tile by tile, even the little chips.  Unlike other brands, including Tiffin, the floors are laid and put down like in a house………. the walls are put in first and then the tiles is placed around them.  At other manufacturers, the completed floors are set on the chassis, and then the walls are set in place.


Below, the in process coach is shown with a painted one right after it.  Big difference!!………..


Next week, we are attending an FMCA Convention in Madison, WI.  Entegra coaches will be on display, and we intend to look them over and see what the final ‘negotiated’ price will be!  Regardless, Patsy and I are still satisfied with our Bus…………. for now!!!

On Wednesday night, we discussed what we wanted to do until Saturday, when we decided to begin our travel to Madison.  Diane Jennings wanted to put her feet in Lake Michigan, and be able to say that she visited Michigan.  After a look at a map, and a couple of phone calls to locate a campground, we decided to pack up and move on to the shores of Lake Michigan early on Thursday morning!!  That is one of the great things about RV travel…. changing travel plans at will.

We got up a little early on Thursday morning, and headed out.  The Jennings had hooked up their car on Wednesday night, but due to the way that we had the Bus backed in, we had to wait until Thursday morning to hook up our car.  While we hooked up the car, the Jennings decided to head out and fuel up.  I took care of that before we got to the campground last Friday.

Just as we were leaving the campground, I got a call from Chip Jennings telling me about his “fueling incident”.  As he was filling, he walked around the front of his coach.  As the pump nozzle cut off when the tank got full, the complete pumping nozzle came off the hose, and diesel fuel sprayed all over his coach and the concreted area.

As we drove up, he was washing diesel off his coach…….


Following are the pictures of the fueling area with diesel all over the ground, and the loose nozzle sitting on the concrete barrier guard for the pump island……


After cleaning up, we made the 100 mile trek to the Lake Michigan area.  More on that visit in the next posting.

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