Editor’s Note: The following article, authored by Emily Pfund, appeared in a special “RVs Across America” section of the Sunday (June 28) issue of The Elkhart Truth in which Newmar Corp., Keystone RV Co., Quality Drive-Away, Patrick Industries Inc., Grand Design RV Co., Renegade RV, Jayco Inc., the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA), Dicor Corp., Augusta RV and Cummins Onan were among the advertisers.

The recreational vehicles manufactured in Elkhart County are designed to go places. Lots of places.

For Toronto couple Bob and Marianne Harvey, a motorhome built in Nappanee provides the freedom to chase history through the deserts, canyons and mountains of the American southwest.

The couple isn’t alone in choosing to spend their retirement on the road. The Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, a trade organization that represents RV manufacturers and suppliers, estimates that about 750,000 people live in RVs full-time in the United States, said Kevin Broom, public relations director for RVIA.

And that number doesn’t include people like the Harveys who only spend part of their time living in an RV, Broom said.


The Harveys have been traveling in RVs for years.

Bob Harvey, who is now in his early 60s, started in the 1970s with a popup camper and worked his way up to buying a motorhome in 1993. He and Marianne took shorter trips — usually no longer than six weeks — before they retired, including winter trips to the southeastern United States, where they camped with other snowbirds in North Carolina, Florida and Alabama.

Bob owned a John Deere dealership and retired in 2003, buying a small campground he planned to run as a way to stay busy in retirement.

When Marianne, now in her 50s, retired from the dealership three years later, the couple decided to sell their campground and home, buy a motorhome and spend their retirement traveling North America.

In 2007, they purchased a Nappanee-built Newmar Northern Star and started traveling in the fall, driving west across the northern United States with stops at landmarks like Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone National Park.

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