Elkhart, Indiana is the RV capital of the world and over 70% of all recreational vehicles and motorhomes built in the United States are made there. As full time RVer’s we had visit so we drove from New Buffalo to Elkhart. Our first stop was the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum. $30 got us a family pack of tickets for entry. The Museum has an excellent exhibit of old and classic RV’s all the way back to the first ones made in 1913. It was very interesting to see a Ford model T with an extended bed in the back containing a mattress. They had dozens of lovingly restored old motorhomes and travel trailers, some owned by celebrities such as May West and Charles Lindberg. What the museum didn’t have were many new model motorhomes on display. They normally have some of the latest RV’s on display but demand for RV’s is so high right now, none of the dealers wanted to loan one to the museum.
Our next stop was the Thor RV factory tour. We were met by a very knowledgeable regional sales manager who took us through the Thor Class A motorhome factory. Thor is one of the largest manufacturers of RV’s in the US and owns popular brands such as Thor, Airstream and Jayco. We got to see the production line from where the engine and bus frame come in to the fully built RV’s going out. It was very interesting to see the various stages of construction starting from the underbody components to the flooring, then inside cabinets and fixtures then the walls and ceiling and finally the slide outs go in. The factory seemed clean, well-organized and professional. We own a Coachmen Leprechaun though so after the Thor tour we went to the Coachmen factory in the nearby town of Middlebury.
Their tours are by appointment so we made an appointment for the next day and spent the night at the free RV campsite at the factory. This was really cool since it is only for Coachmen owners and had hook ups. It had been hot and humid for the last few days so it was perfect since we had electricity and could run our air conditioner all the time.