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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.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Touring the Indiana Amish Area Near Elkhart

We left the Walmart in Scottsburg at about 9:00am, and headed for Howe, IN, the location of our intended Passport America campground, Grand View Bend Community Association, for the stay during the tour of the area.  This campground is a ‘'Weekend-Type” campground where a lot of folks own their lots, and it has a section for RV’s just passing through.

Our friends, Chip and Diane Jennings were already here, and saved us a place near them.  Chip had had limited success in getting his satellite to pick up the DISH signals, but did not think we would get it at one of the two sites that he saved for us.  He was correct on the first site, but on the second, my satellite locked right in, and we’ve got a good signal!

Here are some pictures of our coaches in the campground….


As can be seen in some of the pictures, there has been a lot of rain here recently, including a big shower today.  There is a nice field of corn behind us, and it is tempting to go pull some ears, but since it is available at the Farmer’s Market at 3 for a $1, we have resisted!

Today, we visited a couple of small farmer’s markets, and a flea market.  We bought a lot of fresh produce that we will be eating for the next couple of days.  Here are some pictures……. as you can see, we weren’t the only ones on the road………..


Farmer’s Market at Howe:


Farmer’s Market area in La Grange:


Chip, Diane, and Patsy can be seen in the street (L to R) above.  The Flea Market is below, and the parking attendant is taking the fee from an Amish buggy…..


An interesting two-headed horse wood carving for sale at the market.  I could not get Chip to buy it.


At one of the markets, some lady recommended that we eat lunch at the Blue Gate Restaurant in Shipshewana.  We did, and it was good.  I must have forgot to take pictures, because I have none!!  We also walked through some of the shops at Shipshewana.

We returned to our coaches about 3:00pm to rest, and put away our purchases.  On Sunday, most of the area is closed, but we will probably take driving tour of the farms on the back roads.

More later,

Travel: Red Bay, AL to Elkhart, IN

We left Red Bay on Thursday morning about 8:30am, and drove toward Nashville via the Natchez Trace Parkway.  There was very little traffic on the Trace, and some bicycle travelers, and some pleasant scenery.IMG_3146IMG_3145


We had planned to tour the Lost River Cave in Bowling Green, KY and stay overnight in a Passport America campground in Cave City, KY.  When we checked with the campground, they only had 30A sites, which would not support our two roof a/c’s in the 90 degree weather. 

We opted to do the cave tour, a 3:30pm tour, and then drive on toward the Elkhart area.  We took the tour, and it was good, plus, it was cool at a constant 57 degrees.

During the tour, we found out that the cave is flooded at times of heavy rains, was used as a supply and rest depot during the Civil War by both sides (at different times), was a saw mill for a while until it burned down, and lastly was a night club with cool air (air conditioning) in the 20’s and 30’s.  In 1998, an effort was made to clean it up, and make it a tourist area for Kentucky.

Here are some of the many monuments around the cave….. (Remember, click on the picture to enlarge it)


Here are a few pictures around the cave (The cave entrance, and the nightclub area which is now a place for weddings)……..


The boat ride in the cave was interesting, but my cell phone camera did not take any real good pictures……. these were the only two that I would post!


After leaving the cave, we drove until about 9:00pm and overnighted on a Wal-Mart parking lot in Scottsburg, IN with the generator providing power for the roof a/c’s.  We had completed a 425 mile drive!