August 25, 2010 – Elkhart Indiana, Shipshewana
. The big goal was to see the Monaco factory where Safari Coaches are made, then go to the RV hall of fame museum. We got up early and headed to Indiana, after being lost as normal, we finally made it to the visitors center at Monaco just shy of the 10am tour time. We rushed into the center and found a blank lobby with a lady behind the desk. Upon inquiring as to what we wanted, we informed her we were there for the plant tour. She looked confused for a moment, then stated they no longer do tours in the mornings, and that they really need to quit advertising these. She was not real polite, not real compassionate, and not terribly professional, which has been my experience with Monaco to date. (One exception, the factory service techs on the phone are polite and knowledgeable. ) This factory visit affirmed my feeling that this is the last Monaco I would ever buy.After leaving Monaco, we gave our car a long over due scrubbing, now it hardly looks like it could be ours. Then off to the RV hall of fame, where we met with a nice and rather knowledgeable tour guide. We told him about the redwood motor home in California that predated many of the motor homes in his museum, and that we thought it was pretty cool. He informed us there were only five ever made, and that they were never drivable. He did not believe me when we told him they drove the one we saw around as a plea to get people to save the red woods. I have no idea if he is right, or if the Californians are right, but any way it is still my favorite. He also told me Monaco has removed the Safari product line but retained rights to the name in case they ever decide to resurrect the product. I own one of very few Safari Passages made in the last few years of the Safari production. (No wonder this thing is so hard to get parts for.) The museum was cool, we saw all kinds of RV’s from 1931 to present, even a converted Cadillac made in 1980.
Afterwords we ventured off to the Rising roll bakery, a business started by an Amish family who grew out of control along with their business and is now sold to an outside interest. The donuts were to die for! Their saying on the wall is the key to success in life “keep your eye on the doughnut, and don’t focus on the hole”. (Too bad for golfers!)We then ventured of to the town of Shipshewana and found Amish, Mennonites and tourists every where. That town sure nailed tourism. The Amish and Mennonites are good business people and capitalize on their being different. (I wish more people were like that. These people have nothing and it looks like everything.). Here is a link to one of the best run museums I have ever stumbled into!https://www.mennohof.org/
Have a good evening, a good night and a good morning. Catch you in Toledo!