The idea for USA Love List, a site to promote American-made products, came slowly over a long period of time, over the course of many miles on a road trip. More than one road trip, actually. Our family has had wonderful opportunities to travel, all over the world, to places that seem exotic or exciting. But the trips that have been the most powerful, the most thought-provoking, are the ones when we hop in our motorhome with kids, dog, bikes, and boats, taking our family life on the road, exploring the country.
Traveling the United States by RV
It is an unforgettable experience to drive west out of the East Coast congestion, across the Mid-west, into the farmlands, the plains, then the prairies. What's your most memorable road trip?
It boggles the mind to contemplate our wildly varying experiences in the humid coastal marshes of the Southeast, the dry red deserts of the Southwest, and the dizzying western mountains. As we roll along the roads, the changes in the landscape are so gradual that I don't notice them, until I look around and realize how different each day looks from the day before. I love this about a road trip!
We don't move too quickly in the motorhome so we tend to take the older highways that lead us right down Main Street of town after town. We spend a lot of time driving, so I usually sit in the front seat with my iPad on my lap using a pack of apps that give me local information wherever we are, which gives me a good sense of the personality of all the places we travel through, every one of which is unique and special. Do you have favorite apps for taking a road trip?
One of the ways we like to break up the driving days in the motorhome is stopping to take factory tours or to see showrooms at company headquarters. Some of our recent stops were the John Deere Pavilion in Moline, Illinois and the Winnebago Factory in Forest City, Iowa. The Winnebago factory, in particular, was a long way off the beaten path but it was a fascinating experience. They have a little museum where we learned about the small group of local businessmen who, in the 1960's, decided to invest in their town and bring in a manufacturing business. As it happens, the one they chose was motorhomes.
There were many changes over the years that led to the development of Winnebago Industries, but the vision remained the same: to provide jobs and economic growth to their small slice of America. We toured the factory and saw the people on the assembly line working hard to make every unit some family's dream.
We met the man who puts the foam inside every cushion of every Winnebago, including ours. He showed us the clever tricks he has devised to do his job quickly and well. Our volunteer tour guide enthusiastically ticked off the many years he worked for Winnebago and the many more years under the belts of his brother, his son-in-law, and his granddaughter.
It got me thinking about how people say… nothing is made in America anymore. But it's not true. I have a road trip (or a few) to prove it.