Sunday, October 26, 2008

South Bend, IN

Greetings from...South Bend, Indiana!

Well, we survived our first full week on the road - thanks to a heater and tank full of propane :-) We arrived at the KOA in Granger, IN, and pulled into our home for the week among the beautiful tall pine trees. We spent the first few days getting into the swing of homeschool. Then on Wednesday we ventured out to the
RV Museum where we learned about the history of the RV industry. Did you know 50% of all RV's are made right here in northern Indiana? We toured four new models and then looked through quite a few models from days gone by. We used to go through model homes and come home feeling dissatisfied with our house. We should have toured old, run down houses instead because we were very happy to get back to our home on wheels after seeing what early RVer's had to deal with!

The campground here had a great playground with an obstacle course for the kids and Macie appreciated her own doggie play area where she could run off leash.

On Thursday we took a tour of the
Newmar factory in Nappanee where our RV was built. We really enjoyed seeing RV's in different stages of development, but we were sad to learn that the factory was closed for the week due to financial issues. They currently have about 500 employees, down from 1,000 at full capacity. It takes 18 days to build Newmar motorhome. They currently have four roll off the line each day - they finished 20 each day when times were better. With some of their competition now out of business, they will hopefully come through the slower winter season and thrive in the spring. 75% of their workforce are Amish people with incredible work ethics and craftsmanship skills. The short video you'll see in the slide show is our tour guide demonstrating how they move an RV to the next station in the factory. It's like a giant air hockey game. They use air pressure to lift the whole thing up and then they can push it with one finger! Very cool.

We also drove the Heritage Trail through Amish country. Ashley loved all the horse and buggies we passed along the way. We took a tour at Amish Acres and learned about the history of the Amish and their ways of life. There are certainly some appealing aspects to how they live. We could all take some lessons in how to live a simpler - though certainly not an easier - life.

It rained all day on Friday so we took the opportunity to snuggle up and watch a three hour movie. It was the story of
Abraham brought to life on a DVD. It was really incredible to ponder the faith it took for him to leave his family for a land he did not know.

We have been enjoying eating in all week, but tonight we ventured out and found an absolute treasure! It's probably a good thing we didn't find it earlier in the week or we may have blown the food budget. It's called Uptown Kitchen and it was fabulous! I wrote more about it on my
Healthy Moms blog, so check it out for more info.

A picture is worth a thousand words - so here's the week in pictures:


Pete Narloch said...

Hi Bendicksons !!
Looks like you are off to a nice start. Have you checked into doing some geocaching? See for details. You guys are in a perfect situation for it. You're got a GPS .. you're set.

Rich.. we'll miss you at movie night this week ;)


Anonymous said...

Welcome to my neck of the woods! I'm glad you got to experience 2 of the things that this area is known for: RVs (unfortunately, Newmar isn't the only one experiencing financial issues right now) and the Amish. If you have time, you must visit Notre Dame since you are so close. The campus is wonderful. Top of the list there are The Golden Dome, Touchdown Jesus, the bookstore and the Snite Museum of Art (free; perfect for rainy days, but closed on Mondays).

Have fun and enjoy your adventure!