So last year Julia found the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum in Elkhart, Indiana; and ever since we have wanted to go. So this year for Mother’s day, we went. We did not take the camper, as we are not yet confident enough to take it so far (4.5 hours) away.
First let me say I underrated Indiana. The only part of Indiana I had ever seen before was on the way to and around Indianapolis, which is all flat and featureless. So I was surprised at how BEAUTIFUL northeast Indiana is – rolling hills, woods, hundreds of cleat lakes – wow! We even saw a few campgrounds we would like to try out.
Another thing – right before you get to the state line in Ohio, around Van Wert, are hundreds and hundreds of huge power-generating windmills. VERY cool to see.
Another cool thing about the area were the Amish. They are everywhere. They ride bikes in addition to buggies. I also saw not one but TWO 8-10 year old Amish girls mowing the grass on HUGE riding mowers. One morning we ate at an Amish restaurant – Das Essenhaus. What was cool was that unlike the Der Dutchman/Dutch Kitchen-type restaurants I am used to around here, not only do the Amish WORK at that restaurant, but they all EAT there too, in huge family groups.
So honestly I was amazed by the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum. My first thought was “How do you get in the RV Hall of Fame?” Turns out, you just donate a bunch of money to the museum or work for one of the trailer manufacturers or something. We didn’t go through that part, which was just hundreds of 8×10 black and white headshots of old white guys. But the museum was great!
I expected maybe a handful of campers. They had dozens and dozens, from every era. And you could walk through most of them. They had the very first RV from 1926 all the way up to brand-new models. I wish I had descriptions of most of them, but it was all I could do to get the photos, it was a free for all with everyone running from camper to camper.
I thought it was cool how you could see the designs change over time. In the 1920s, they built them like wagons. In the 1930s they built them like train cars. In the 40s it was Art Decco and Flash Gordon! In the 50s and 60s they began to take the modern shape we know now. Here are just a select few photos:
By the way, the MH in “RV/MH Museum” stands for Mobile Home. There was a brand-new modular model outside you could walk through. This coming summer, they are having a huge RV show on the grounds there. Oh, and the goofy family photo at the top of this article was taken at an exhibit inside.
We were very surprised and pleased and we will definitely go back!
A couple more things about Elkhart. We happened to get there on the 200th anniversary of Indianas statehood, and went to a founders day celebration in a little town. There was music, arts and crafts, food, shops, etc. My favorite was the Amish buggy races, where two people sat in a buggy and two people pulled it down main street, then they switched halfway and the other two pulled it back. And even people from the crowd participated.
Lastly, all over Elkhart are dozens of huge concrete Elks. Each one is painted differently. I think it is like a big scavenger hunt kind-of thing, trying to find all of them and get a selfie with them. Here is the one outside the museum: