Sunday, March 14, 2010

Vintage Camper Museum Road Trip

I can't believe it's already been two weeks since we took our little road trip.
Look at all that snow.
Today out my window is gloomy, but greener.

We got up and just decided to head out.
I've been wanting to go to this Vintage Camper Museum in Elkhart, IN for quite some time.
It was about a two hour drive.

Gosh, it was a pretty drive.
Even with all the snow we've had this winter, it still stops me in my tracks, so beautiful.

'Thar she blows...the RV Hall of Fame

I started getting really excited at this point.
I adore old campers.
I look for them all the time abandoned in fields.
I dream of ways to fix them up.
Just knowing what was in that building could bring on an anxiety attack.
I'm high strung, what can I say?
I get that way at flea markets, farm stands, garden centers and garage sales.
It's too exciting.
My central nervous system can't handle it.

Breathe Jayme, breathe.

Once inside the museum, a very friendly and knowledgeable volunteer took our admission fee, and began to tell us about the layout of the museum.
Blah, blah, blah...that's all I heard.
I could smell the campers.
Let me go, for the love of God.

In the lobby, there were display cases with camping memorabilia, posters, toys etc.
I need this.
Need, not want.
I need it as much as I need air.
Thank the Lord for eBay.

Glenco decided we'd start with the brand spanking new 2010 campers, just to ease into the whole experience.
They had a nice assortment of pop ups and all the different class campers.
They smelled good too.
The good new smell.
I tend to like the good old smell much better.

I almost had an anxiety attack in this one.
Not in a good way.
I kept thinking of this thing actually rolling down the road with me in it.
I swear, right now, my chest is tightening just looking at this picture.
It's so massive.
To me, it's a rolling death trap.
How can you control such a beast!?

I really, really, really, like camping.
I love going and seeing the countryside, exploring.
I love the food.
I love camping gadgets.
I love the nights at the campgrounds.
I usually only camp at State Parks, and I haven't been disappointed yet.
Although, The Great Mosquito Attack at the Tippecanoe River State Park was rather unpleasant. begins.
We are in the old section.
Let me just preface this by saying, this museum did a great job.
I worried at times it would be worth the drive.
It was so worth the drive.
They actually had bird sounds piped in.
The campers were in order by age.
1913 was the oldest one!
The pictures I'm posting are just a small portion of what we saw.

Adult diapers would have come in really handy.
I'm much too old and high strung for this kind of fun.
I started out running around like a kid with ADHD.
It took me a minute to compose myself and look at them in order.

Love this one.
That color green with the it!

Oh dear Lord. Just when I thought this was a mannequin free museum, I turn a corner, and I see this.

If you aren't familiar with my mannequin phobia, read this.

An entire blog post could be written about the picture below alone.
I'm not going there.
Suffice it to say, I've named these people, and I have made up a story about them.
It's a tragic love story.

When I see this picture, I hear "ok, all you need to do to get to the campgrounds is make a left on State Road 42, it'll be on your left hand side. Look for the giant carved bear at the entrance"
The eerie thing is, he's not holding a cell what the heck IS he doing!?

I hope you enjoyed our little trip to the RV Hall of Fame.
If you are in North or Central Indiana, and like this kind of thing, it's really worth the trip.
They have NO food in this museum at all. It takes a good four hours to see it. So, plan accordingly. The museum isn't too far from the town of Shipshewana, IN, which has a large Amish population, and an even larger population of shops and restaurants.

If'n you're a new reader, and you want to see my little vintage camper, affectionately called 'The Happy Squirrel', take a look at this.


  1. Those are GREAT! Thanks for sharing. Manneguins wierd me out too!

    I'm off to plan a camping trip.

  2. I would have loved to seen the campers up close and personal, but the tour was fantastic! I totally could drive the behemoth Winnebago and at 57, that's my idea of camping! We did tent camping when the girls were little and really enjoyed being out in the fresh air and hiking. Whatever I cooked tasted so good over a campfire. The mannequin photos need to be compiled into a special album!haha

  3. Bliss!! How did you ever leave? I think I could get there in under 12 hours. I think, I think...

    I just discovered my mom also loves vintage campers, and like my husband my step-dad is saying nah-nah. What is it with men? I showed her yours and we searched the web and oohed and aahed over pictures Friday night. I have a feeling there may be one parked in my yard sooner rather than later. Thanks for the tour!


  4. That was so much fun, thank you.
    Do you have the camper ornament from Hallmark? They still have one at a website called HookedOnHallmark:

  5. 1. I do believe those are faux Pioneer Woman rolls atop the oven in the one picture.
    2.I can't get over that old fashioned car/camper thingamajig!
    3. Corco has been to this place before, but has somehow failed to ever mention to me that there are vintage campers. I always thought it was just the big, new monstrosities.
    4. So close! So cloooooooooooooose!

  6. What a wonderful trip!!! I would love to see this someday and am putting it on my list of things to do!!!
    Have you heard of "sisters on the fly"? You must check them out! You can see them online or go to my blog and look into June 09 reguarding the farm chicks show. We were lucky enough to meet and hang out with them, which included tours!!!!!
    I too have a desire to find one of these old beauties and fix it up! Actually, I'd rather just decorate an already fixed up one!!!
    Have fun!!

  7. OMG were just minutes away from where my folks live. Wowie. It really just makes my heart pound knowing you were so close. ha. I've never been to this place in Elkhart, but I can see how you would go GAGA over it! So happy you had fun. When I come up there, you and I will have to go to Shipse for a day. What fun. Been there many times! Again as made me smile! Thanks for the trip.

  8. I love to camp too. I would give anything for the little red and white one! I bought an old pop up camper many years ago. We took our girls and their friends a lot over the years. I finally fell apart and it now reworked into a hauling trailer. Our last tent bit the dust last year. Alas no more camping in the near future. I was really getting too old to sleep on the ground anyway. Someday I will own a camper again...

  9. I could have spent a lot of time sitting in some of those and sipping Root Beer. Great post!

    The Blue Ridge Gal
    (could almost smell the inside of them)

  10. My hubby would love this! I might like camping if I could camp in the first picture!

  11. Since I'm NOT - not now, not in my youth, probably never - been into camping, in any way, shape or form, the most exciting thing in this post for me is that kickin' hat on Glen's head!! I wannit!!!

  12. Thanks so much for this post....I absolutely will have to go there almost kind of reminds me of my workshop though...right now we are working on a 1956 Airstream "Bubble"..pre-Bambi days...was only 400 made and ours is #289...kind of excited about it...hope to have it done by this summer..

  13. Oh boy - I know have serious camper envy! And your happy squirrel is genius!! I absolutely want one of our own in our next home... OMG I will loooove sleeping in there on warm summer nights... Also great for visitors - bliss!!

    I wish I lived closer to visit that museum of awesome!

  14. Those campers are wonderful, I would love to be able to see that museum one day. I'm with you, those big ones would give me palpitations. The smaller ones are much nicer and they also have more personality.

  15. What an awesome tour. I can relate as we live in our campground. I have to steer my daughter-in-law to your post as she is goo goo over vintage campers and such. Her and my son plan on getting one soon and re-doing it with her flare for decorating!

  16. Okay, little missy. You are now responsible not only for my obsession with having my own chickens, but now I want a vintage camper. And I don't even like to camp, or leave home much for that matter. They are so stinkin cute, and what fun you obviously had.

  17. Those vintage campers look wonderful to me;) That boy is probably picking a tick out of his ear. Don't mean to scare ya..but I'm almost positive he's pointing for his sister to grab the tweezers.

  18. Oh I LOVE THESE!!! What a fabulous post. I want to go ... I need to plan a road trip. How wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing!

  19. Thanks for taking us on the road trip to the camper museum. I love them all. They all look so cozy and sweet and lots of fun. I love the one that looks like a truck from the front.

    OK, so I went back and looked again at your blog with "The Happy Squirrel" and really like yours the best of all!!!!

  20. What a great place! You must have had a ball.

  21. It's sad that I live in Elkhart (been here almost my entire life) and this is the first I've "seen" the RV Hall of Fame. And my husband works in the RV industry. I'm thinking we definitely need to plan a trip to the other side of town so we can finally take it all in! :)

  22. I absolutely love the smaller older campers I to would like to have one as you do "Happy Squirrel" to customize to my liking. My thought is wanting that extension to the outdoors so I dont think getting it out of the yard would be a biggy with me either. Just a place of calm to gather yourself and connect with the soul, family and friends without being distracted by all the good things technology has to offer these days. I'm love your blog and plan to be back to read/see more. Inspiration for a blog brain storm of my own. Love it!!

  23. Thanks, Jayme! Now I'm guilty of the Cute Camper Coveting Condition, whose only cure, is to purchase one for yourself. I'm willing to start treatment anytime :)

  24. jayme i kept "OOOOing!" and "Ahhhhing!" and "OH, look at THATing!"

    i too am a fool over the vintage campers. we tried to buy one this past november from a hermit. no deal.

    when people paint them and fix them up, it makes me wild with happiness.

    yep, ewwwwwww on the manniquin *you remember the one in my mom's house...knife....yeah?"*

  25. oh Jayme Jayme Jayme I am sitting here in sweats thinking well if I get dressed right now get ahold of my husband gas up the car we could be there in 12-15 hrs. and I would be in heaven. Oh how I love the looks of this place. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. When we sell our beach house we are getting another motorhome (not the big honking kind we need small and cozy)I am in love with all of these. nancy

  26. Jayme,

    Thanks so much for this tour. Some of them looked like cabins on wheels. Beautiful! I didn't know such a thing existed in 1913. Someday...


  27. I found your blog via Flower Patch Farm Girl. She told me how much she loves your blog so I thought I'd stop over. :)

    It's so funny, I've been in the museum for a bridal show but never got to see what was actually in it. I love the pics and the campers are fantastic too. I often wonder how people drive these new RV's - they are so huge - but divine in the same sense ;) Glad you had a ball in good ol Elkhart.


  28. That looks like such a fun trip!

  29. Before blogging last August, I couldn't have cared less about these things. Now I'm so enamoured with them that I WANT ONE. And you do realize that I've not ever been in the Happy Squirrel? Next trip, my dear.

  30. I'm pretty sure that is the first pirate mannequin I've ever seen. I hope it's the last.

    That museum rocks. How do I pick a favorite? I can see why you were so excited. I think I gotta get me one...

  31. I've thought about living in one of these on a piece of property as we build our new house - am I crazy?? We're a family of 5! My friend did it (4 people in her family), but she's a better woman than I am. Not sure I can really pull this off. But if I were - I'd pick that red and white number with the cherry cabinets. Nice....

  32. What a fun thing to do----and every one is appealing.
    How are those sweet ducklings doing??
    If it weren't for the coyotes, I'd get two myself!

  33. My dream is to own a vintage camper, keep it parked on our huge driveway and make it into a little guest suite for company. I'm a workin on it.


  34. Aghhhh! Heart palpitations!
    I had no idea the RV hall of fame had the good old stuff. I am there this weekend! It's only like 30 minutes away!! I can't tell you how much I've longed for an airstream. Did you know there is a traveling vintage camper group that will be coming through Indiana this summer? I know they'll be at the Granger KOA, but not sure how close they will come to your neck of the woods.
    The Happy Squirrel looks like heaven on earth. It is decorated so adorably. What a wonderful place to play! Thank you for sharing!

  35. Thanks for that journey. I so want to put one of those little vintage campers in my backyard...just like "The Happy Squirrel." Someday...

  36. Oh I'm late getting here too! this one squeezed at my heart..I lived in a couple of these things till I was maybe 7...Then the parents got bigger ones to live in. Didn't live in a real house till I was 13! How I'd love to have one of them now...
    Thanks for showing us...

  37. Thanks for posting those pictures from the RV museum. I forgot that place was out there in Elkhart. Have you two been to the Studebaker museum in South Bend yet?

  38. Wow! This made me think of that old Lucille Ball movie "The Long, Long Trailer"...I hope you have seen this given your enthusiasm.

    Also, the manniquinn who is not using the cell phone must surely be whittling;)

  39. That place looks awesome! I'll be visiting friends in Indiana for a few days and asked if we could put this on the agenda!

  40. I like the sweet little red & white one. I'm going to have to drag my friend to the museum the next time I'm over thataway. Could you really walk into them or did you just do a lot of leaning?

  41. Your blog is GREAT! My husband and I have an 63 Shasta with wings that we camped in for years and only recently purchased a Bigfoot camper with a shower for our cross country trip. I have not been able to part with Sputnik(little 63) yet. I, too, love everything about camping and I am crazy about vintage campers.
    This museum is going to be our first stop - I cannot wait. Thanks for sharing


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