Heading out into the big new world of full-time RVing, it seemed appropriate to land, our first full day, at the RV/MH Hall of Fame Museum and Library just outside Elkhart, Indiana (for those of you punching addresses into a GPS: 21565 Executive Parkway; for those of you looking to surf it: www.rvmhhalloffame.org). It’s easily accessible off Interstate 80/90 (Indiana Toll Road) via Exit 96.
Plan to spend at least two hours — it’s well worth it! For just a few dollars, you’ll come away with a better understanding of how camping evolved into RVing, yet how we’re still connected to all of the gypsies, scouts, nomads, and others who lived “on the road” way before there were roads, much less before it was fashionable. The museum has dozens of early motor homes, campers (amazing how much today’s pop-ups resemble those used back in the early 1900’s!) — many of them set up so you can actually walk into them.
And if you’ve never been to an RV manufacturer to see a unit being built (which I HIGHLY recommend — of course, I think how things are made is always fascinating!) check out the small replica of a factory that’s included in the exhibit. This photo shows just a part of that replica, which is very detailed.
And — as he does everywhere he goes — Bob yik-yakked with the men at the Welcome desk and even found this bud in the exhibit hall 🙂
Though I vowed not to buy another book until I have finished and donated the ones I brought with me, I couldn’t resist Al Hesselbart’s The Dumb Things Sold… just like that! This slim but informative book describes (and shows — with dozens and dozens of great photos) how the RV industry in this country evolved. Al happened to be there and not only signed our book, but shared even more stories — and a local restaurant recommendation — with us. Thanks, Al!
Just a note about boondocking at this property — Bob had read that overnighting here was okay, and we managed it, but know that they are not really set up for it. Spaces for RV parking (at least those we found) were more scarce than you might expect for a place catering to folks like us, and if the spaces had been filled, we would have had a hard time staying the night. Apparently the local officials aren’t keen on boondockers, and they make a hairline distinction between “overnighting” and “camping,” so we followed the advice we got to stay hooked to the fifth wheel except for a short run into town. The story goes that someone boondocked but put out the awning and set up a grill, and the local authorities saw that as “camping” and the RVer and the museum were levied hefty fines. Ask first, and be courteous, and you’ll be fine overnighting here — as we were.
We plan to return — and spend more time in the library, with its shelves and shelves of RV, camping, and related books, magazines, owners manuals, and other materials. A researcher’s delight and a playground for anyone curious!