Middlebury is home of all things “Recreational Vehicles.” They have been building trailers and motor homes since the end of WWII. Our purpose for the stop was to get a checkup on our home on wheels at the Entegra Motor Coach factory. Parking places with hook-ups are provided right outside the service doors so people are able to stay in their coach if they want. However, they start work at 6:00a.m. so we chose a hotel.
We arrived around 3:00 p.m. The street was busy as men with full beards were leaving work on bicycles. We were told this is Amish and Mennonite country so the workers arrive early, work hard all day, and then go home to work their farms and have time with their families.
Seeing the unique scenery of each area in this wonderful country, and experience all the different cultures is my favorite part of our traveling. The Indiana Amish area was no exception. Whenever I looked out the hotel window cars, horses and buggies, and recreational vehicles were sharing the highway. The whole scene seemed such a contradiction.
As we drove around the green rolling hills everything was so clean and well cared for. Huge farm homes and barns nestled among abundant crops. Fine horses grazed as they waited to be hooked up to a plow, or the buggy sitting outside the house where most Americans would park the car. Laundry hung on clotheslines all along our path. Gardens were so perfectly cared for they seemed to defy any weeds to consider entering. Large pictures of quilts were displayed on the side of sturdy barns. There were no rickety barns like we’ve seen other places. Bright flowers were abundantly on display.
To our surprise, the week we scheduled in Middlebury was also Entegra’s celebration of the opening of their new facility. We were invited to join in the festivities and attended the gala banquet. We took a tour of the new factory, attended the ribbon cutting where a drone circled our heads recording the event. We enjoyed the impressive unveiling of the 2016 models. My, they have come a long way from the first one we saw at the travel trailer museum in Elkhart.
One hundred and fifty other motor coaches also came in for the event. When that many traveling people are together, everyone is excited to share their don’t miss favorite places. We were told not to miss the donuts at Rise’N Roll on Highway 20.
Oh, my goodness. As we savored each bit I tried to grasp how I would describe what we were eating. They were no ordinary donut. I couldn’t find words. It was large and felt heavy like a cake donut, but when we bit down … Finally, I decided the only word was indescribable. We were told the locals call them Amish Crack. We highly recommend the stop.
The delicious cheeses and meats were worth the trip. We enjoyed a soft swiss with rye seeds, one called Butter Cheese (how could that be bad) and Jim liked a cheddar chili cheese. Everything was so fresh.
The locals call the many trotting buggies along the roads buggy races. I fell in love with the sound of the clip clop of hooves. They move much faster along the skirt of the highways than I would have guessed. One day as we were pulling out of a parking lot I was saying how dangerous driving horses in all the traffic seemed. Horses have minds of their own or they sometimes get spooked. While I was still speaking Jim was stopped behind a buggy. Suddenly, the orange triangle sign on the back started getting closer. Jim tried to back up but other cars were behind us so the buggy backed into our bumper. The driver got control and pulled forward but the horse balked again and backed up. That time the buggy turned sideways. A young man in a knit cap got out and pulled the horse back in alignment with the buggy, jumped in, and was off to the race. He never looked up, probably very embarrassed, and there was no damage. I was worried the horse might have gotten hurt but as we passed them the trotting beauty looked as regal as ever. Hopefully there aren’t too many people that can say they’ve been hit by an Amish buggy.
We talked with our friends Marg and Roger while we were in Rockford. They were going to be in Shipshewana while we were there so we were able to get together for dinner. The tiny community puts on all kinds of wholesome entertainment. I look forward to returning next time we stop by Entegra.
Traveling Blessed USA