Up early AGAIN, donned our 2013 North American rally t-shirts (along with nearly 500 other Heartlanders), hopped into our ‘little red golf cart’ and headed over to the ECCC builing here at the fairgrounds so as to board 1 of 3 buses headed to the Heartland factory facilities in Elkhart. The ride took about 30 minutes and when we arrived we were welcomed by several of the brand managers.
We had the option to take a one of several plant tours – Landmark/Bighorn/Big Country, Elkridge,/Sundance,/Gateway or Cyclone/Road Warrior/Torque or to visit the Design Studio. We chose to go to the Design Studio as we plan to take a tour of the factory sometime during the next 3 weeks while it’s in operation.
We had about 30 or so people board a bus to take us to Plant 19 where Renee & Chastity work their design magic. It ended up being kind of a focus group where the ladies got our opinions on certain aspects of the interiors of the coaches – wood preferences (light or dark), shower doors, bed coverings, window coverings, etc. It was a really nice discussion and hopefully some of what was discussed comes to fruition.
As we were leaving Renee & Chastity told us each to pick out a throw pillow from their ‘pillow room’ to take with us. A pretty nifty little treat that most of us really enjoyed.
We boarded the bus again and headed to the RV/Motorhome Hall of Fame. We had time to wander around the exhibits going back to the early 1900’s. Wow! So very cool to walk among these classics and see the differences from what we are familiar with today.
We all met in the large banquet room for a lunch provided by Heartland, once again catered by Nelson’s Catering. When we finished our lunch we had an open discussion with a few of the brand managers for Heartland. There were lots of great questions and feedback. It always impresses me that Heartland actually listens to their owners and often implements the suggestions they are presented with – not many companies do that.
We boarded the first bus headed back to the park so as to get some rest in before headed off to another catered dinner in the ECCC building. Michael even caught a few Zzzz’s in his recliner!
On our way to dinner we stopped by our friends, Dan & Karen Halvorsen’s place to check on Dan who had a bit of a scary incident while at the Heartland factory. He was feeling better but still not 100%. Glad to hear it and hoping he continues to feel better.
We arrived at the rally hall almost an hour before dinner and the Goldwing Express were there and they were tuning their instruments in preparation of the show. I stopped and talked to Bob, the father of the bunch and told them that we’d seen them in Mission this past January and really enjoyed them…I might have also said I had a bit of a crush on Shawn. 🙂 We ended our conversation and I went and sat down at our table (front and center!) and about 10 minutes later Bob tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I’d be willing to help them out by running their video camera during the show. I was a bit taken aback and probably looked like a deer caught in the headlights but agreed to do as asked as long as he showed me what to do.
Dinner ran as smoothly tonight as every other night…it’s not easy to keep the flow of 500ish people running smoothly but it happened once again. Tonight’s dinner partners were the Mayer’s, the Venus’ and another couple that I can’t seem to recall the names.
After dinner I took my place behind the video camera – zooming in and out when needed. I behaved and didn’t keep the camera zoomed in on Shawn the entire show because Bob told me I couldn’t because Shawn’s wife was the jealous type. (dang it!) The show was just as good as it was down in the valley and Shawn’s deep voice melted a few other hearts besides mine, I think. To thank me for my great cinematography skills the guys gave me a copy of tonight’s performance dvd & tonight’s audio as well.
Another busy day in the books. We are looking forward to some down time very soon. Tomorrow the majority of our Heartland family will leave to head home or to their next destination. We’ll miss them all until the next time….Happy Trails!