The Heartland Rally and Aftermath — June 16-23, 2013

Numerous nice things happened at the Rally.

When the damage on my trip home from North Carolina first occurred, I contacted the director of dealer services at Heartland to enlist his aid in finding a suitable repairer.  Jim and I have developed a “working knowledge” of each other over the years.  I then contacted the director of the Heartland Owners Club, sponsor of the Rally.  As a result, the word got around, and everyone I ran into when I got there bent over backwards to accommodate and help me.

One of the perks of the Rally was the opportunity to have Heartland perform a couple of factory service needs on each rig.  Techs showed up from neighboring Elkhart in droves on the first Rally day and stayed for several days to complete reasonable requests.  We got everything done that we’d requested!

One more repair was required by the tire explosions — replacement of a small body panel.  Heartland uses an authorized agent for most of its repair and dealer prep work, and Jim made arrangements for me to get that job done before we left – at a very reasonable price.

Despite the fact that we’d spent a week in Goshen in 2012, we still found two new area attractions.  One was Menno-Hof, the perfect place to hone your knowledge of the many area people with straw hats or bonnets, beards or long dresses, boxy black buggies, and houses with no electricity.  Collectively they’re Anabaptists, a movement founded in Zurich, Switzerland in 1525 in the early years of the Reformation.  The movement spread north and east, to Tyrol, the Low Countries and into South Germany and Russia.  Convinced that the church had become corrupted, Anabaptists called for the strict separation of church and state.  They also sought the purity of the simple life.  They were violently persecuted by both Catholics and Protestants — members were declared heretics and treated as such.  They escaped by migrating into the U.S., beginning in 1644 and increasing throughout the 18th century.  William Penn welcomed them to Pennsylvania.  Between 1815-60, others flooded into Ohio and Indiana.  Many of the Pennsylvania Mennonites migrated to Ontario, and direct immigration into Canada followed.

Menno Hoff Center

Menno Hoff Center

Menno-Hof, in the neighboring town of Shipshewana,  is a multimedia presentation of the heritage, beliefs and lifestyle of the movement.  One of the most important things it does is define the groups within the movement, primarily Mennonites, Amish and Hutterites.  The original movement was the Hutterite, but the largest is the Mennonite.  Today, Anabaptists can be found in 66 countries, on every continent except Antarctica!

Your experience begins with a 13 minute introductory video, and then you pass through two dozen exhibits that document nearly phase of Anabaptist life.  It’s a wonderful opportunity to understand – and respect – their culture.  Speaking of respect, the Goshen Walmart isolates a section of its parking lot with hitching posts!

Adjacent to Menno-Hof is the  Hostetler Hudson Museum.  Eldon Hostetler grew up on his family’s 280 acre Amish farm, where automobiles were, of course, verboten.  A neighbor’s son, however, went south and west to follow the wheat harvest, and when he returned, he was driving a 1936 Hudson Terraplane.   In 1940, at age 18, Eldon began his own lifetime bond to Hudsons,  purchasing a 1938 model with a secret loan from his grandfather.

Eldon had a profitable life.  He left the family farm and started a poultry business.  He revolutionized the industry when he invented an automatic feeding system for laying hens and started Ziggity Systems in 1977 to take it to market.  This was followed by dozens of other patents aimed at streamlining farm processes.

Eldon bought a new Hudson every year until manufacturing ceased in 1954.  After that, his wealth made it possible for him to amass and restore a collection reputed to be the largest in the world.  In 1997, Eldon donated the collection, a maintenance fund and 18 acres of land to the town of Shipshewana, which, in turn built the complex to hold it.  Most are now housed in the museum; a few are loaned to other   I took a picture of every one but will spare you by selecting a sampling!

During the Rally, I took advantage of a service called Smart Weigh.  The advisors weigh each wheel of the RV and tow vehicle independently.  I frequently checked the overall weight to be sure I wasn’t exceeding road limits.  But this program revealed a significant fact:  the left rear trailer tire – the culprit in my May travail — was overloaded.  So just before we left town, we installed a new set of heavier-duty Goodyears.

Now we were broke!



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