RV Industry is Big in Elkhart County
Elkhart County, Indiana, is home to many Recreational vehicle (RV), mobile home and boat manufacturers including such well known companies as Bennington Marine, the Damon Corporation, Four Winds, Hy-Line, Keystone, Monaco, Skyline, Sun Valley, and Travel Supreme all located in the City of Elkhart. In the surrounding Elkhart County area are many other industry notables including Dutchman, Gulf Stream, Heartland and Jayco.
Forest River - One of the Largest
Forest River has grown to become one of the largest, privately owned recreational vehicle manufacturers in the United States and America's largest producer of towable RV's and cargo trailers. You've undoubtedly seen Skyline products on the highways (Aljo, Forest Brook, Freestyle, Layton, Nomad, Rampage, Seaview, Trailrider and Weekender).
Monaco Coach Factory Tours
Monaco Coach is a leading producer of luxury diesel motorhomes. Though the corporate headquarters is in Oregon, they maintain significant production here.
Monaco offers special plant tours. A plant tour typically takes 60 to 90 minutes. While no appointment is necessary be advised that you will be led through some very congested areas and be inundated with a lot of factory noise. (They have also warned that restrooms are not available during the tours. ) Tours are scheduled at 10a and 2p Monday through Friday (except holidays). Phone 1-800-634-0855 for details.
Jayco Factory Tours
Jayco, founded in 1968 on a family farm in Middlebury, is among the largest RV manufacturers in the world. Jayco has renovated the 1880s farmhouse into its visitors center from which their tours depart weekdays at 12 noon. Phone 574-825-5861 for details.
This is an activity of the RV/MH Heritage Foundation. An unusual museum, exhibits and displays trace the history of recreational vehicles and manufactured housing going back to the 1920s. On exhibit is a variety of recreational vehicles plus many, many photos. It is really very interesting.
From the Indiana Toll Road (I-80/90), turn left at the end of the long off-ramp and follow IN-19 southbound into Elkhart to its end at Beardsley Avenue. Turn right, go 3 blocks to Main Street (marked by a traffic light) and turn left. Continue south on Main, crossing the St Joseph River, to the railroad tracks. Cross the tracks and continue one more block to St. Joseph Street. Turn right and drive to the end of the block to Benham Avenue. Address is 801 Benham Avenue. Telephone (toll-free) 1-800-378-8694.
Major Events in Elkhart County
Perhaps you will be visiting Elkhart to attend the Midwest RV Supershow and Rally (to be held August 14, 15, 16, 17, 2008. While you are visiting Elkhart County you can take some time off to relax for there are a number of different opportunities. One favorite is to canoe down the lazy Saint Joseph River which bisects the city of Elkhart. Or you can bicycle on one or more of the many bike paths or quiet county roads. This is Amish country and they welcome visitors. They host the annual Amish Acres Arts & Crafts Festival (July 31, August 1, 2, 3, 2008) at the Amish Acres Historic Farm and Heritage Resort in Nappanee. Here you can view 350 juried artists and crafters from across the nation. Most of their works are available for purchase. Four stages of live entertainment, puppet shows, and plenty of eats are available on this historic Amish farmstead.
Classic Car Drive-in
Do you enjoy classic cars? You can enjoy the Classic Car Drive-in every Thursday evening starting July 17th and running through August 14th. Held at the parking lot by the Das Dutchman Essenhaus (an excellent restaurant by the way) admission is FREE!
Where is Elkhart
Elkhart is accessed from I-80 exit 92 (Indiana West-East Toll Road). Midway between Chicago and Toledo, it is just a little over two hour drive from either (and about a half tank of gas in most cars).
Elkhart County Visitors Center
The Elkhart County Visitors Center supplies maps, including information about tours, dealers, repair services and more. Phone 1-800-262-8161 (toll-free) or stop by the Visitor Center and check out the free brochures and maps. They're located in Elkhart at North Pointe Plaza, behind the Cracker Barrel Restaurant at I-80 exit 92.
The complete article can be viewed on http://www.I-80-Guide.com/ including detailed directions to access the attractions plus a map of Elkhart County, Pennsylvania. (If you're traveling in an RV, you'll find a list of RV parks at http://www.I-80-RV-Guide.com/ ) Bob Masters started traveling as an Army dependent and hasn't stopped, since. He has written hundreds of articles ranging from tips for traveling in RVs to descriptions of interesting destinations. He is not associated with any Chamber of Commerce or Travel Bureau but writes with the goal of sharing with others the many beauties of this wonderful country we call America.