Governor returns RV1 to its Elkhart home

RV1 is back home in Elkhart County, with Gov. Mitch Daniels turning over the keys to his campaign vehicle to the RV/MH Hall of Fame Wednesday afternoon in Elkhart.

Posted on Dec. 20, 2012 at 12:00 a.m.

ELKHART — RV1 came home to Ekhart County on Wednesday afternoon.

Jumping out of the campaign vehicle he took over 85,000 miles of Indiana roads, Gov. Mitch Daniels said, “We're here to make a delivery.”

As he walked into the RV/MH Hall of Fame, where RV1 will be displayed, he joked to hall employee Stacey Walworth, “We brought you a Christmas present.”

That's a present Daniels described as “a little piece of Indiana history.”

A little while later Daniels, in the last weeks of his second term in office, choked up a bit as he turned over the keys for his locally made campaign vehicle to B.J. Thompson, representing the RV/MH Hall of Fame.

“I don't know if I can do this without choking up, but B.J., here you go,” Daniels said.

The 2003 Damon motor home belongs to the Indiana State Museum, but it doesn't really have space to display it, so it loaned it to the hall of fame.

Tom McNulty of the hall said it will likely be here for at least five years, giving the roughly 30,000 or more people who signed it in 2008 (it was re-painted after the 2004 campaign covered it with signatures) a chance to come see the unique piece of history.

Pointing to the signatures that cover the outside, including the windows, Daniels said it brings back good memories. “I can remember where I was when Sarah signed, where Chrysta signed,” he said, picking out two names at random.

There were many stops and starts in the RV, and some repairs made by an Elkhart dealer.

“We had an adventure and an experience to treasure,” Daniels said.

The RV served as a symbol of Indiana's people, but also of its manufacturing resilience through the recession.

“We're so proud that this industry is now even more centered here in our state than it was a few years ago,” Daniels said.

He praised the Damon product to Bob Martin, president of Thor, the company which owns Damon.

When asked if there will be a Purdue RV when he takes over as the university's president, Daniels said he's not sure, but, “This is my favorite mode of conveyance along with a motorcycle,” he said.

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