Greetings from Shipshewana, Indiana.
Shipshewana – what a lovely name to say. We are at the top of Indiana, right dab smack in the middle of Amish Country. I am staying in one of those dreaded RV parks(Shipshewana South Campground) where the rigs are piled right on top of one another. The park isn't all that bad and it is fun to watch all the Amish buggies going by. In fact, this park is just down the road from the local grocery store, so we are sort of on an Amish super highway, horses and buggies all lines up outside the grocery store.
Why am I here you ask? Because I am here for a meeting of my fellow Peeps, the people who have the same type of RV as I have. I have a Jayco Precept and one of the other owners decided that we should have an informal get-together. There aren't that many Precepts in the world – they are a fairly new model so finding a bunch of us in one place is rather unique. There are about 18 of us here and I have the distinction of having the oldest Precept here. There are a couple of brand new 2017 models and it is fun to see the changes that have been made in the last few years. What sweetened the pie for me is the fact that we get to do a tour of the Jayco factory and actually see how they are built. I am a sucker for factory tours.
|Precepts all lined up in a row|
The tour was really fascinating. When you walk in, you get one of those orange vests that construction workers wear and some safety glasses. They also gave us some transmitters that we put in our ears so we could actually hear our guide talk. That was nice because the inside of the factory was really loud and with thirty some folks all strung out, it made it possible to actually hear what was being said.
Jayco gives it's employees a quota that they have to meet every day. As soon as that employee meets that quota, they can go home. It doesn't matter if they meet it at 2:00 a.m. or 2:00 p.m. They get to go home. I don't know if I have ever seen people move so fast. Up and down ladders, jumping through different parts of the chassis – these people are a blur. Somebody asked the guide about quality control and the guide said that each employee is their own quality control agent which might explain the plethora of issues that crop up with these RVs. Don't get me wrong, I think Jayco, overall, is a quality product compared to other RVs but I think they could do a lot better. Anyway, we saw the whole build process from soup to nuts as they say. I wish we could have spent a little more time there in certain areas, but an hour or so was all we had.
Jayco is always interested in hearing from it's customers what works and does not work with their RVs. A few years back, one of our people asked Jayco why the front of the RV always looks like it is frowning. They must have taken that to heart because the new 2017s are now smiling.
The interesting thing about all of us Precept owners getting together is that we could compare notes and help each other out. I learned some new things that will make my life easier on the road. It also made me really appreciate my rig after hearing some of the stories. It was nice meeting people who I had only known online and actually putting faces on the screen names. All in all, they were lovely people and I was really happy to meet them all. Is this where I mention the fact that I have a missing hubcap and although Bob thought that with all these Precepts here, one might magically appear on my rig one night, it never quite happened.
Photo credit: Tinman
I also had a free day and decided to spend it in two spots. One was the Menno-Hof Center. A while back, a Mennonite preacher got tired of answering the same questions that the tourists were always asking about the Amish/Hutterites/Mennonites also known as Anabaptists. Anabaptist means to rebaptise (voluntary adult baptism after a declaration of faith). So the three religious groups got together and built a center where all of these questions could be answered. It is appropriately located in northern Indiana because this is where one of the largest Anabaptist groups in the world exists. This was a fascinating place – they dealt with the history of the Anabaptists all the way thru current day policies and culture. They also had a Tornado room where you sat and watched on a video a tornado approaching while being pelted with wind and the floor actually shaking. The actual purpose of this room was to talk about how the Mennonites try to serve their communities in times of stress.
The other place I visited was the Guggisberg Deutsch Kase Haus Cheese Factory. Besides having about 30 different types of cheese which you could sample, they also had jams, homemade candies, beef sticks – it was a stomach's little slice of heaven. I bought a cheese called Swiss on Rye, which was a soft cheese with caraway seeds. I wish I had bought a lot more of that cheese. I wonder if they do mail order