For example, when they visited the Grand Canyon they would find a nearby Cracker Barrel. “We had a couple hundred of them down,” he says in a country drawl as thick as pancake syrup. Its a map filled with 600 stores.” The hard-hitting journalist might ask if Ray and Wilma have documentation of all their visits. I was going to the right when I was so used to going to the left.” Ray says, “We got serious about this in the ‘80s. ’ and I said, ‘Don’t eat too much at the first one.’ They were out of the way places but we needed to get them in order to claim them with our bunch. By ten o ‘clock we were at the third one, probably the house salad…The fourth one would be noon hour for meat loaf…The fifth one would have been a sandwich. “We go to that one, sometimes for family get together,” Ray explains.“I heard where another restaurant chain had a guy following them. And if you don’t mind Mom, we’re going to all of them’.” Wilma nods her head in agreement. We got eight (Cracker Barrels) in one day.” I about fall off my country rocker. At that time we liked their grilled cheese and bacon sandwich (sixth)…. “The lady who runs the cash register there, her and her husband used to run the Greyhound bus station across the street.“Wilma came about ten miles that day in a horse and buggy not knowing it was all going to be worth it,” Ray quips during a front porch conversation on a warm September morning. The Yoders are the proud parents of four children between the ages of 43 and 58.Ray and Wilma will celebrate their 61st wedding anniversary on Oct. In the 1960s Ray became a factory worker at the now- defunct Globemaster Mobile Homes in Goshen before snagging a job delivering motor homes from manufacturer to dealers in Elkhart, the RV capital of the world.
And while I’ve been to tiki bars from Easter Island to Hawaii to San Francisco, I can’t remember going to a roadside tiki bar with an adjacent tiki hotel. And an 80-person outdoor Coconut Terrace overlooking the highway and the magnificent Laviolette Bridge that arches over the St. At first I thought the hallway door was an adjacent room.GOSHEN, IND.—-Ray and Wilma Yoder watch the world roll by from the front porch of their 85-year-old farm house on County Road 34 in Goshen, Ind.While sitting next to each other on a twin rocking chair, Ray and Wilma wave to Amish neighbors who hold tight reins on their horse and carriage.Even if you waited until nine at night you’d have the grilled chicken dinner…The eighth, final stop,would be the cider float. She always knows us.” Ray maintains the Amish population birthed the RV industry in Elkhart. “One Amish guy will know a neighbor down the road looking for a job and they bring them in. I’d say about 80 per cent of the workers were Amish when I started in the RV industry (in the late 1960s).” Indeed, in June, Allison Yates of Atlas Obscura wrote a story “Why the Amish are Building America’s RV’s (They’re forbidden from driving them, but not making them)” and pointed out the Amish of Northern Indiana have never been as isolated as other Amish communities in America. As a surprise, Cracker Barrel flew Ray and Wilma to the Cracker Barrel grand opening in Tualatin, just outside of Portland, Or. The Nashville-based chain previously had only ventured as far west as Boise, Id.You go to work at four in the morning and work hard at it. “All the employees were waiting for us to make our appearance,” Ray says. I told them I could drive to O’Hare airport (in Chicago.) I’ve done that before. I thought he was better looking.” Ray continues, “I was never into alcohol. You pick them and you stay together.” And that has been the old country creed for Ray and Wilma Yoder as they seen America through the wide open windows of an RV and the comforting heart of a Cracker Barrel.