Thursday, May 17, 2018 – RVillage – Rally One – Day One

I was up at 7:00am eastern time to get ready for the Jayco tour. Drove to Jayco land as they call it. It is about 15 minutes away in the town of Middlebury. They have several plants over 300 acres that manufacture the various motorhomes, 5th wheels and travel trailers they make.

Elkhart, IN is in the county of Elkhart.  Approximately 200,000 people live in the county.

Elkhart County

80% of the RV’s made in America are made in this county.

There are 25,000 amish people in this community and they make up a huge part of the RV workforce. Our tour guide said he thought 80% of the people that worked at Jayco are Amish.

The “plants” are just big metal buildings without air conditioning. Year round they start work at 4:45am. Each day they work until their required number of units are completed. Today they were building twelve 5th wheel units. The faster they work, the sooner they go home.  Many of the amish bicycle to work.

P1100067I have never seen people that work so fast. Many of them are literally running from task to task. Both Amish and non-Amish. It is a non-motorized assembly line. Station by station certain items are done and then it is manually pushed to the next station for the next set of workers to do complete their tasks.
There are some female workers but I did not see any on the actual assembly floor. I saw an Amish woman working in the cabinet shop and the guide said three Amish women twist electrical wires for the units. It was interesting.

Here is a link to a you tube video that shows pretty much what we saw on the tour:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuPR1Et3B1E

I stopped for lunch and then drove to the RV Hall of Fame which is about five miles from the campground. The price of the tour was included with the rally package. It was interesting to see some of the first RV’s and travel trailer concepts.

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I returned to the campground and attended my first seminar at 1:30 on Solar Power and batteries. I am now more informed about both subjects which I knew very little about.
At 3:00 I attended another seminar on the state of the RV industry. 2017 was the best year the industry has ever had. Eight years ago, unemployment in this county was 20%, today it is less than 2%. They constantly need new employees and the fast food places and others in the county can’t find help at all.

I left the campground and went for a pedicure and then stopped for dinner at the “Flippin Cow” and had the Tipsy Brisket sandwich. It was a casual restaurant that is lakeside to a small lake. I ate in the screened porch. It was a nice sunny, warm day and the food was pretty good.

At 7:00pm I attended the rally “Opening” where the owner of RV village talked about the weekend, the Rvillage site and the issues they have had already with the rally (first rally they have had).

A lot of the issues are communication. Most of the staff here running the rally are volunteers that have never done anything like this as well.

Here is a quick drone video of the campground an attendee took this evening:

Two sites from me some inventive campers recycled their Coke bottles…

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At 9:00pm they lit the “Fire Birds”.  These are built by an artist in Georgia.

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