Shipshewana Indiana…Lovely and Surprising

Our next stop was to see Leon, the Amish A/C guy.  Leon was absolutely all that his reputation lead us to expect.  His shop was very modern.  Yet,  no power.  Batteries only for LED Shop Lites.  When testing stuff in RVs,  he starts a generator to power the RV. 

Sooo…Who said
religions need
to be logical
and consistent?

Reading up on the logic of this…no connection to external world (i.e. power, phone, etc.) allowed.  Using a self-sufficient diesel generator arrangement OK.  Office phone in an external shanty. 

Leon had dozens of RV fridges in various stages of reconditionment.  I guess Leon’s chosen field now makes sense…since the Amish don’t use electricity but DO use gas-powered fridges…which are just like those in RVs!  The ones he reconditions are not only for RV use, but also for his neighbors.

Downtown Shipshewana Parking Lot

He similarly had dozens of RV Air Conditioners. Most of these were acquired from manufacturers as ”scratch and Dent” merchandise.   A little more of a stretch,  since Amish do not use A/C.  But I guess he considers that he has an expertise in refrigeration.  Anyway, Leon does not believe “fixing” A/C’s makes much sense as compared to fridges that are always fixable.  So he buys up surpluses, blemished,  used-but-working A/C units.    He took a look at our dead unit and our still-working unit.  He had never seen units from “Fridgiking” or ones as old as ours.  (Leon is for sure younger than the units).  

Leon’s  first pronouncement was that the working one was good-as-new and needed nothing.  If it ever fails,  he’ll put a new one in,  but not until.  On the former he pronounced it thoroughly dead.  Then started looking through his racks to find a suitable replacement.  He found a new-dented one with Heat Pump (so also a heater) as a drop-in replacement.  After we worked through the numbers,  I realized it was about half the $$$  a “new” one, even though it is new,  and has the full 2-year mfg. warranty (plus Leon’s more-valuable absolute trustworthiness guarantee).  So we had him install it. He also swapped the cover from the dead one to the remaining old one – it was in better condition.   Last night we were TOASTY.  If the weather ever gets warm,  we will also be cool! 

Then Leon fixed the door seal on our fridge – and said there is no reason to replace the unit,  no matter how old, since it is working well (he checked).  He also made Liz feel safe…we had heard there were some recalls on our brand of fridges…they can cause fires.  Liz is pretty tight with the budget,  but under that circumstance would have been willing to have Leon replace it.  Leon said, “No.  the recall was on MUCH NEWER Norcold Fridges,  the old ones are fine.”  

The BEST RV Park Amenity Yet!

There are several very nice RV Parks  near there as well a thriving trade in surplus and reconditioned RV parts and supplies.  I can see stopping here several times a year to buy things to replace stuff. I know that is kinda vague, but we went to a couple places with several thousand square feet of bins full of things such as valves, switches, handles,   moldings, etc. etc. etc.  Having seen this place,  I think the future strategy is:  if something breaks,  it will be found in slightly less-broken condition in Shipshewana.    There is a Bluebird Rally here in June…and I think I know why it is SOLD OUT.  Everyone with an old Bluebird needs to visit “Mecca” pretty often.  We put ourselves on the waiting list for the rally. 

While here,  we had a rainy day and a couple issues.  First was laundry.  We went into town to the laundromat.  Couple horses and carriages in back.  An Amish couple (about our age) said they normally hang their laundry to dry @ home,  but it has been rainy and cold for days.  Practicality reigns – they need dry clothes, so they brought the laundry downtown in the buggy to use the dryers!  Turns out the fella works at the an RV factory around here.  Despite the fact that he works at a nearby RV factory, he had never really thought of what life would be like on the road in one!  Maybe hadn’t considered travelling as a lifestyle choice.   

At the laundry we found most machines full and a family with kids running around.  Turns out their house burned down that morning.  They had nothing except some sooty clothes.  The folks who own  the laundry and we guess several local residents based on the buggies and horse-apples in the lot were helping them wash and dry.  The Red Cross was finding them accommodations.  We bought them dinner.    Very tragic,  but they seemed pretty upbeat despite the circumstance.  Having been in their shoes (we had a house fire when I was in high school),  I remember that smokey-smell and know first hand the reason for the glassy-eyed looks.    

The second issue:  one of our furnaces still does not work right.  These are simple beasts … I had it out and cleaned a 20-year-old mud-dauber nest (the most common problem) out of it.  Still would not reliably stay on.  And it is COLD!  Our spanking new heat pump is doing a great job,  we cannot use it unless hooked up to Electrical at an RV park.  So Walmarts are gonna be cold.  Leon recommended a fella who does RV repairs on the side (he works in an RV factory as his day-job).  Sam could not look at the furnace on the spot for a variety of reasons.  Based on our experience with Leon,  we decided to simply leave it with him.  After all,  rumor has it the weather WILL warm up soon….  We will come back through Shipshewana in a month or so and pick it up.  I am sure it will be in like-new (or better) condition.

5 thoughts on “Shipshewana Indiana…Lovely and Surprising

  • OMG…this is one of your most interesting travel journal entries! Shows such a wild variety of life around the US. Your observations and reflections are so thoughtful and interesting. Even though your “parts and pieces ” are old, they’re working fine enough! (Meaning your RV…or maybe a little of you too!!)
    Looking forward to your next entry…love and safe travels

    • I do have a few replaced parts keeping me mobile!!! Not from a used parts bin so far (as far as I know), but in the current health care environment, who knows next time.

  • Have been following your adventures — did not think Charlie’s Angel had this much life left in it.

    Spring has sprung so we leave Key Largo on Sunday for Lake Geneva which means it is officially spring.

    Remember our project to develop a system to archive family memorabilia and photographs. Still interested?

    All The Best —- and safe travels!

  • Hi Dan. Your writings are great. You should consider writing articles for a paper. You are living America.

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