Sunday, July 19, 2015

Nappanee --- Indiana Amish Country

Parked at Rentown Market*
*Even the major chain grocery store in the area, Martin's, has a special row for horses and buggies to be tied to, complete with a permanent shade/shelter structure for the horses. -- D.
Roger here...  Keeping with our "Reunion Tour" theme, we spent five nights in Nappanee, Indiana --- the birthplace of our Newmar Motor Home.  

We needed a place to stay  between South Haven, Michigan and West Lafayette, Indiana.  Nappanee was halfway between the two, and our water/electric site was FREE!  (Our visit to Amishland was not entirely free*.  We will talk about that later).

(*That may be the understatement of the year -- D.)

Our view from the front was pretty bleak, but the view from the back was kind of cool --- a long row of brand new and very expensive motor homes.  Newmar Corporation probably thinks that the free water/electric sites deter vandals from climbing over the fence.  We also suspect that the free parking combined with daily factory tours might tempt motor home enthusiasts to spend some money.  
These are the two that we guarded most nights.

The line-up of new motor homes changed from day to day.  One day we were backed up to two ultra-luxurious London-Aire models -- as close as we'll ever get to one!

We were happy to fill the deterrent role.  No new coaches in our budget, though....

We parked here two years ago when we had some upgrades and service done on our Newmar motor home, so we knew that it would be a quiet and easy stop.  There was much to hold our interest during our twice-daily dog walks.  

The dogs were happy with the endless strip of green grass along the row of Newmar assembly buildings.  Dianne and I were happy that there was actually grass for them to walk through.

We were required to cross this busy intersection to get to the long grassy strip.  At the time of this photo the only traffic was this guy keeping  everything neatly trimmed.  However, during the work day, this four-way stop (actually six-way) is alive with tractor trailers, gators, front loaders, golf carts, pick up trucks, flat bed trucks, occasional horse-drawn buggies, and oh yeah --- motor homes.  During one crossing I actually counted eight vehicles waiting to pass through the intersection.  I can tell you that business is booming in Nappanee right now.

We walked around a lot that was filled with motor home chassis, awaiting their turn for Newmar to work their magic on them. 

We walked by the Newmar Service area.

Two years ago we spent four nights in this lot.

When we weren't walking the dogs, or hunkered down in our coach watching a variety of thunderstorms pass through, we found plenty of things to do in Amishland.

Rentown Country Store was a mandatory stop for Dianne.  This little place in the middle of nowhere was full of Amish Cheese and homemade goodies.  Dianne bought some pepperoni for pizzas and Amish cheese.

You just never know what you'll see on the roads in northern Indiana.  There were four horses pulling this Amish farm implement.  

A chicken dinner at Amish Acres added a few inches to our waistlines --- nicely complimenting the inches added at South Haven from all the ice cream.  The Rise 'n Roll Amish Bakery added a few more pounds.

One sunny day we drove to nearby Shipshewana (we refer to it as Shopshewana) to visit a shop that Dianne's cousin, Mike Byrne, owns.  Cousin Mike is a talented artist and his shop is a popular place.  Many of the items in the shop were created by Mike.  Unfortunately, he was not there when we dropped in, but we found a couple of "treasures" that Dianne just had to have.  

Shipshewana is also the home of Weaver Furniture.   Last year we ordered a cherry bed and two end tables for our new casita from this Amish furniture wonderland.  We also ordered an oak entertainment center.  

Lots of storage in our bed and end tables.
 We are really happy with the furniture we had shipped to our new casita, so we thought it would be fun to go in and look at Weaver's current offerings.  
Our TV entertainment cabinet

We did not plan to buy anything.  Not a thing.  After all, we did not have the space to transport anything back to Texas.  I made this very clear to Dianne before we went into the store.  

Well, you know how that goes....  

We just had to sit in this double recliner.  BIG mistake.  

It's a power recliner and the distressed leather looks kinda Texas-ey -- it even has a power lift

we can use when we get old if we need to.  Also, the middle compartment holds the TV
remote that we can fight over without leaving
the comfort of our chairs.... -- D.
We have been using our motor home recliners in the casita and moving them back and forth to the motor home when we travel.  We had no intention of shipping anything like this recliner set to Texas, BUT it was the right size, it looked good, it was very comfortable, AND someday we might not be physically able to move heavy furniture back and forth.  (Before you say "Why didn't you just buy one in Texas," it's hard to find furniture down there that isn't oversized in scale.   This was small enough to fit, and we knew it would be well made and last as long as we need it. -- D.)

OK.  Now you know why the free RV lot at Newmar was quite far from being free.  BUT WAIT!

 Where are we going to set things?  These mission-style oak end tables match our entertainment center and would not take up space, since they slide under the recliners.  "Yes Dianne, I am sure that they would fit in the back of the car.  They will be in the way, but they would fit."  Two please!  AND...

Ours is similar to this one, but with a lower back.  They are
actually very comfortable, even without seat pads.
...Ya know how we talked about getting a small love seat to put in front of the window so guests would have a decent place to sit?  I wonder if one of these small benches would be better than a love seat.  We could put a pad on it to make it more comfortable, and, wow, the seat opens --- more storage!  We can put our throws in the bench and get rid of the big basket we now use (see pet photo of the day, below).   I wonder if we could find a bench that would match our entertainment center?  What about this one?  Is the oak finish the same as our entertainment center?  Sales guy (after looking up our order from last year): "Why, yes it is!"

(Disclaimer:  The bench was Roger's idea (but a good one) -- D.

I told Dianne that the bench and the end tables would probably not fit in the Toyota.  It would be very close, considering the fact that we are also transporting our outdoor camping furniture in the car.  I told Dianne that if anyone rode with us in the car that we would have to take out all the furniture (if it even fits) and put it somewhere.  Where would we put it if it is raining?  (It has been raining a lot here.)  Dianne's response, "Where there's a will, there's a way."  (I use this motto a LOT with Roger-- D.)  

No need for further discussion.  I went out to the car to figure out how to make it all fit while Dianne paid the sales guy (a very happy sales guy).

 Our next stop is Prophetstown State Park, a place we truly love.  We will be there for two weeks, except for a side trip to Chicago to see our daughter perform at Second City.  I will have to lug the bench into the motor home before we can drive to Chicago.  

I see no space to put anything else.*

*All it takes is a little imagination -- D.

The pet photo of the day shows Charlie the cat on the big basket that will be gone once we put our throws in our new bench's storage area.  He won't like it when we get rid of the basket, but I have a feeling he'll like the new bench even better.  It will be in front of a window, and Dianne is likely to put another empty box with crinkly brown paper on it just for him.

I just love it when Mom shops on Amazon and saves the crinkly brown paper and box for me!

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