(Millersburg, IN) Hi 82 Lo 64 -- Another early start to the day. Yesterday Jim called DRV (formerly Doubletree RV) and reserved a spot for today's factory tour at Howe, IN. It was about 40 minutes away so we left at 9am to make it in plenty of time for the 10am tour.
DRV makes three lines of luxury fifth wheels, Select Suite, Mobile Suite, and Elite Suite. We were the only ones that came for the tour, so it was very personalized. No pictures were allowed during the tour. It was very up close and personal, and we even got to interact with the workers. They're currently building only 10 units a week (compared to about 20 for Carriage) and, like Carriage they build to fill orders, not to build inventory. We were very impressed with the quality and attention to detail on the assembly line. They build beautiful units, and if we couldn't own a Carriage, we'd certainly choose a Mobile Suite. I fell in love with the Mobile Suite 36RSSB3. The tour was two hours long and very detailed.
We were both starved when we left there so we went to one of our favorite places for lunch, Rise and Roll Bakery in Middlebury. They make great sub sandwiches, and then for dessert we each had one of their fabulous donuts. Jim says eating their donuts is like a cloud in your mouth. :) We'll visit there at least once more before we leave the area.
Right across the street from the baker is Forks RV, Inc, makers of the custom-built Continental Coach line of fifth wheels, and on a whim we stopped there to see if we could get a tour. They welcomed us warmly, and Dan, the Vice President of Sales & Marketing, spent over an hour showing us around. They consult with their customers and help them design the perfect floorplan and then build the unit entirely to their specifications. They're one of only a few companies that do that (New Horizons, Travel Units, and Space Craft are three that I can think of). The units they build are big (36' to 52'), very heavy (wood frame construction), and very expensive! Their units are at another level of quality. They only built about 36 units a year, and that includes fifth wheel RVs for full timers, fivers and trailers for Hollywood (for movie sets), and other commercial type rigs.
From there we went to a nearby cheese factory, about two miles out in the fields. We could look through a window and watch them make the cheese. There wasn't much going on at the time we were there, but we did buy some cheese. It wasn't as good as the cheese we got in Wisconsin, but it was pretty good.
We came back to the RV and mingled with some of our neighbors that will be leaving tomorrow. We met the president of the Carriage Owners' Club. He's here working with the factory managers on some deals for the club. It was great hearing all about the club and where they go for rallies and the chapter meetings.
We had a light dinner and settled in for the evening. We'll do errands tomorrow and work on getting more of our winter travels planned out.