As we planned our trip to the mid-West we consulted the Harvest Hosts website. We were pleased to see that the RV/MH Hall of Fame was listed as a participating site. Elkhart, Indiana….here we come.
Sunday Morning Drive
Our Sunday morning drive from Columbus, Indiana to Elkhart took about 3.5 hours. After circumventing Indianapolis on 65/465 we settled onto Rte 31 a wonderful blue highway lined with endless corn fields and vegetable stands. We stopped shortly after 9 am for muffins, donuts, kettle corn and tomatoes at Wilson’s Farm Market. If you are in the area, take the time to stop in. We stopped on the way south six days later and found the place packed with eager shoppers. We purchased corn, more muffins, and ice cream cones on our second trip.
RV/MH Hall of Fame
We arrived at the RV/MH Hall of Fame at noon, meeting our friends The Shanks who were visiting family in the area. We enjoyed the senior discount, paying $8 each and were oriented to the facility by the cashier.
We started in a room which featured new RVs of every shape and size. Not one to pass up an opportunity to look at a motorhome, we made our way through the pop-up campers and various classes of motorhomes.
However, the camera came out and the real fun began when we stepped into the museum which included the vintage campers. With over 60 campers on display, most accessible by the public, this is an educational and entertaining journey down the road of RV history. The tour begins with a 1913 Earl Trailer/Model T Ford thought to be the first non-tent trailer ever made. Next, to it, you’ll find one of the most innovative early designs, a telescoping 1916 “apartment”….and you thought slides were new.
The cabinets, shown in the photo, manually slide out of each side. Once returned to the interior of the unit, the entire back of the unit is slid along wooden guides inside the bed of the unit. Talk about compact!
There are tent trailers, housecars, a covered wagon, canned hams and teardrops, the first Class C, the first RV thought to offer basement storage, and even a Class A that was low enough to fit in a garage. As you walk through the collection, your decision as to which is your favorite changes frequently. However, the consensus winner for “best in show” that day was the 1937 Hunt Housecar, built by Hollywood producer Roy Hunt and shown below. All four of us agreed that you rarely see such sophisticated design today. We also noted that most of the vintage units had built in desks….seems like we need to encourage today’s designers to take a lesson from these vintage units.
Camping at the RV/MH Hall of Fame
We dry-camped that night with four others in the large, level parking lot. The museum asks that you remain discrete (no awnings or outdoor set-ups), but we enjoyed a comfortable, quiet evening. We learned that the RV/MH Hall of Fame has many more assets they could display if they had more room. The good news is they are planning a major addition and 30+ full hook-up sites in the next two years.
So if you find your way in and around Elkhart, take the time to visit the RV/MH Hall of Fame. And if you are a Harvest Hosts member, you can spend the night.