INDIANAPOLIS - Gov. Mitch Daniels is taking the RV featured in his campaigns on a final trip as he wraps up his eight years in office.
Daniels and staffers from his two gubernatorial campaigns are riding the vehicle dubbed "RV One" on Wednesday from the Statehouse in Indianapolis to the RV Hall of Fame in Elkhart. The crew will stop at restaurants in Tipton and Plymouth on its way north.
The governor's office says Daniels has visited each of Indiana's 92 counties in the RV at least five times since starting his run for governor in 2003 and has logged tens of thousands of miles.
Daniels said the original idea behind the RV was to get closer to Hoosiers at their homes and gathering places to talk with them and find out in what direction they wanted him to steer Indiana.
He said he learned a lot from those home visits and hopes future governors will do the same thing.
"I just want to thank everybody who was a part of this great adventure, which I hope will leave a little imprint," he said. "I hope honestly that there'll be a little pressure on future candidates in this state to get out and see their employers."
Daniels quickly discovered that Hoosiers loved to sign his RV. By the end of the 2004 campaign, it was so full that many people just assumed it needed a good wash.
When he started his re-election run in 2008, he had the vehicle completely repainted and started over collecting names.
Daniels estimates there are 20,000 names showing, from every visible flat space and cranny.
"A hundred and some thousand miles and two campaigns later, it's on its way now to its final home," he said. "But I believe that the reason I still get asked all the time about this vehicle is that it came to stand for certain things that were more important than me and more important than a political campaign."
Daniels leaves office on Jan. 14 and begins the next day in his new job as Purdue University's president.