We went on some tours of a plant and some private collections today and had a great time. Unfortunately, Stella was not able to go along, but there were plenty of friends with me.
The first stop on the tour was at the RV Parts Nation store. We also went to this store during the Indiana rally a few weeks ago and they have added even more inventory since we were there.
The next stop was at one of the Mor Ryde plants (there are 3 plants in the Elkhart/Goshen area. They fabricate many items for RVs and other products, and the factory tour showed us just some of them.
A robotic welder at work.
This demonstrates the size of metal that the lazer cutting device can cut.
These guys are using a large bender to form metal.
They produce not only RV parts, but many other items. These are the metal bases for hospital beds.
These are stainless rails for hospital beds. They are bent and formed in huge presses.
Time out for lunch. Get it? The Sports Time grill?
We had soup, a choice of three sandwiches and a salad.
This unmarked building has one of the most interesting collections in it.
We met a man named Tom who is a huge collector of Studebakers. He is also a mechanic for these cars, but also has a very nice wood shop, vehicle painting area, all of which are spotless and neatly arranged. He is also an oil painter with a huge collection of paintings, including an artist named Vargas. Most of the men reading this will recognize him from Playboy magazine.
This old Studebaker truck is being overhauled. Tom didn't say how many people work on these vehicles, but it takes a LOT of work.
From Tom's car collection, we went out to a private residence that houses the Elcar & Pedal Power Museum.
Lots and lots of pedal cars found here.
They even have an old soda fountain set up.
There were so many pedal-powered cars, trucks, bicycles and tricycles, that I couldn't add too many more photos. The Roy Rogers/Dale Evans collection brought back lots of memories!
This is a Mercer automobile. They were only produced from 1909-1925 but this one was one of only three built in 1931 by a company that took over production, and this is the only one remaining in existence.
They also have a nice exhibit of restored gas pumps and I thought this was the best one but I don't know why it is sideways. Please tilt your head or hold your computer sideways to check it out.
Did you know that autos were built here in Elkhart? I didn't either, but they were. Autos were produced from the early 1900's until about 1935.
This is a 1908 Brownie two seater roadster-juvenile motorcar. It was built in Newark New York by the Omar Motor Co. and sold new for $150.
This is a 1926 Elcar 8-81 Landau roadster with a Lycoming 8 cylinder engine. I remember hearing of Lycoming engines in airplanes but not in autos.
This is another Elcar 8-90 Landau Roadster. The car was found in a barn and not restored. They left it pretty much as found and is a very interesting car.
They also have a nice collection of soft drink machines. The old names bring back memories and of course, many of us can remember these old machines. The blue Pepsi-Cola machine and the yellow Royal Crown cola machine are both marked 10 cents. How long has it been since you could buy ANYTHING for a dime?
1930 Custer Electric Chair.
They have a nice collection of muscle cars here but I didn't photograph them too much since they are modern cars.
Our bus driver did a fantastic job of backing down this long driveway! First he backed into the driveway off a very narrow country road and backed up for what seemed like a half mile.
A modern military Hummer equipped with a 30 caliber machine gun. It also has the proper radios to communicate with headquarters.
A simulated machine gun nest with replica guns and ammunition. Very, very realistic!
A Vietnam-era Jeep and trailer.
Rockets and ammunition on a flatbed trailer.
A deuce and a half personnel carrier
Many realistic weapons. I spoke with the owner and learned that some are replicas and some are real, but demilitarized and inoperable. The ammunition is either replica or fired rounds with a bullet inserted to resemble live ammunition.
We had a great time visiting these collections. We are lucky to have been able to visit and were the first group to ever visit them. A Heartland employee went to school with a couple of the owners, and since they are all pretty close together, they knew of the other and allowed us to visit. Our thanks go to the individual owners.