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Newmar factory overnight coach parking
Newmar factory overnight coach parking

On Thursday Aug 25th we drove northwest to Nappanee, Indiana where our coach was built. We spent the night in the Newmar parking lot and took the factory tour the next day.

Newmar factory
Inside walls being added to chassis

It was Friday and the workers had the day off, which meant that we missed seeing them working on the coaches, but we got a much closer look and it was much quieter than it would have been if the line was busy.

Newmar factory
Outer walls being glued to inner walls

The thing that impressed me most about their production line was the pads they put under each wheel of the coach that they inflate with air so they can easily push the coach sideways down the assembly line.

Air cushion pads under tires
Air cushion pads under tires

Every Newmar coach is built to a custom order. Our coach had over 20 special things that we wanted done. It takes about a week for each unit to be fitted with appliances and cabinetry and to get the complete full paint finish.

20445
Newmar Factory Paint Booth

The Amish are famous for their fine woodworking and the cabinetry in our coach is a great example. Since the population in the area is growing steadily but the land available for farming is not, many of the amish have turned to coach building and about half the RVs in the US are built here in Northern Indiana.

Handcrafted Amish Cabinetry
Handcrafted Amish Cabinetry
Nappanee Bill Board
Nappanee Bill Board

On Friday we moved the coach to the Elkhart County 4H Fairgrounds where they have a very nice RV Park. We had dinner that night at Das Dutchman Essenhouse which is a very interesting Amish Restaurant, Gift Shop and Playhouse.

Das Dutchman Essenhouse
Das Dutchman Essenhouse

The next day we spent the entire day driving around the county checking out all the Amish farms and little towns including Goshen where we visited Ten Thousand Villages which is a store featuring crafts from all over the world. This motto from India on their wall proclaims "Not by charity or sympathy, but through hard work and integrity we shall strive for our dignity."

Ten Thousand Villages
Ten Thousand Villages
Ten Thousand Villages
Ten Thousand Villages
Ten Thousand Villages
Ten Thousand Villages

It was obvious from the start of our visit here, that we had been transported to another time and place, where the horse and buggy were common and life was slower and simpler.

Buggy Parking
Buggy Parking

In Shipshewana I visited Menno Hoff which is a great museum where I learned all about the Amish and their cousins the Mennonites and Hutterites.

Menno Hoff
Menno Hoff

Apparently they came from all over Europe including Russia and settled mostly in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. The Anabaptists movement was persecuted by the church because they believed (among other things) that people should be baptized as adults, when they could make the conscious decision to pursue their faith, rather than being baptized only as children by the church.

Menno Hoff History display
Menno Hoff History Display

Here is one of the few buggies we saw pulling a wagon, but this was a saturday and many people were out doing their weekly shopping.

buggy pulling a wagon
Buggy pulling a wagon

This amish couple were typically dressed in plain, mostly hand made clothes, and traditional hats. Bicycles are a very common mode of transportation.

Amish Couple
Amish Couple

This Amish farm is typical with its white picket fences and horses. These miniature horses are used for pulling small wagons. .

Amish Farm
Amish Farm

Electricity is available but most of the farms we saw were not connected to the grid. Instead they relied on wind and diesel generators for their electricity. Similarly, there were few phone lines installed, but cell phones were in wide use. They much prefer to live as independently as possible.

Available, but unused electicity
Available, but unused electricity

Almost all the farms had some sort of small garden in front with many colorful flowers and vegetables growing. They typically have very large families, so large houses are required and there are many hands to take care of the chores. During harvest, communities come together or outside help is hired.

Amish Garden
Amish Garden
Amish Farm
Amish Farm

The prevalent thinking is that buggies are much safer, both to their occupants and to others on the road, than automobiles. So most of the locals drive their buggy's or ride bicycles around town. If they are traveling to remote places they will hire a cab or go by bus, train or even airplane.

Amish Buggy
Amish Buggy
Amish Buggy
Amish Buggy
Amish Buggy
Amish Buggy

Buggies are driven by people of all ages and are required to have lights and license plates. These American draft horses are used for heavier tasks around the farm.

Draft Horses
Draft Horses

I thought this contrast between the horse and buggy and the road construction equipment parked in this farmers driveway was interesting.

Buggy and Road Construction Equipment
Buggy and Road Construction Equipment

Here are some more beautiful flower and vegetable gardens.

Amish Garden
Amish Garden

On Sunday we drove some different roads but mostly did much the same as the day before. However because it was Sunday we saw many farms with between 6 and 20 wagons, presumably religious or family gatherings with lots of kids playing and men and women sitting around enjoying the beautiful afternoon.

Community Gathering
Community Gathering

Here is a good look inside a buggy. Notice the beautiful material, the fly swatter and the rear view mirror and lights on the outside.

Inside a Buggy
Inside a Buggy

We visited a great store that had everything from lawn decorations to appliances to fine art, hardware and even hats and gloves.

General Store
General Store

Monday was wash day and we saw clothes hanging on lines like this everywhere we went.

Laundry Day
Laundry Day

Here a young lady puts her buggy into reverse as she pulls out of her parking spot. This large buggy was being used to haul tourists around Shipshewana. We had a delicious Amish dinner at the Blue Gate which also has many associated shops including a great bakery.

Girl handling horse and buggy
Girl handling horse and buggy

On Monday we visited the Amish Acres in Nappanee where they have some great exhibits about how the Amish lived 100 years ago, which is not very different then how they live today.

Amish Acres
Amish Acres

Here is a Blacksmith's workshop, which looked like it is used occasionally, an outdoor baking oven with a drying shed and a smokehouse nearby.

Amish Acres
Amish Acres
Amish Acres
Amish Acres

They had a medium sized vegetable and herb garden and many different animals on the property.

Amish Acres
Amish Acres

This is the first corn we saw being harvested on our trip. As you can see, this farmer is using (or has hired) a modern combine to harvest the crop which will be used for silage.

Corn being harvested
Corn being harvested

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