One of the benefits of some shows is that Blue Ox sends a team of techs who do maintenance of the Blue Ox tow bars. It's about three years since we had that done (at the Quartzsite RV Show) and time for more maintenance.
The hard part in all this was lugging the 35 lb tow bar from the parking lot to the ticket booth. There was no easy way to get to the Blue Ox repair area which was about 1/2 mile on the far end of the Tampa RV show lot.
As we stood in line waiting to get in we saw a guy with a dolly and lamented "I wish we'd have thought of that". He was nice enough to offer to put our tow bar on his dolly along with tow bar. What a nice guy!
After we got done with the show, we went back to the Blue Ox area and the tech was working on our tow bar. We got to watch him do his thing. Very interesting. He basically wiped down each arm with a silicon solution and applied some grease. Then he replaced the plastic washers and took apart the ball joint to make sure everything looked good.
He finished in about 20 minutes and he even gave us a ride back to our parking spot.
At the show, we wander through the first large building we could find with suppliers and displays.
We were looking for a 'hang down awning' to attach to our main awning. We've seen a lot of people who tie down the awning and then attach some additional shade.
We were also curious about what the 'hot items' were this year. Was it LED rope lights? Or ladders? or???
Another thing we were looking for was campgrounds who were offering free nights at there campgrounds. We decided why not? We haven't completely filled in our schedule for the next couple of months so we figured that might be fun to check out some new parks.
We also like the 'freebies'. Sometimes we stumble across a pretty cool give-away so we kept our eyes open for those.
One of the goals of our time there was to meet up with long time RV blogger friend whom we have never met - Joe and his wife Carolyn. Joe and I met online about seven years ago I think, and we have conversed a few times as we roam around the country. But we have never met face to face.
He and Carolyn are spending the winter in nearby Clermont and he suggested we try to meet at the RV show. We are always up for that so we agreed on 11:00 AM for lunch. It took a few phone calls because I kept referring to where we were: The "Winnebago display" or "the LazyDays area". Trouble with that was there are lots of each. Both Winnebago and LazyDays have many areas in the fairgrounds.We eventually got together and enjoyed our time over lunch. We beat the main crowd by about 15 minutes so we avoided the long lines. It was great to get to know them a little bit and hear their story and how they started out, where they have been and basically 'chew the fat' for a while. We vowed to keep in touch and continued our wandering throughout the buildings and RVs.
One thing that is always fun here are the characters that parade around.
We went through a couple of buildings and didn't really see much in the way of new products. We did see a lot of 'glue' solutions. Looked like another version of Super Glue to me? We did find a number of campgrounds that were offering some free nights. But I never found the hang down awnings I was looking for.
We stopped at the Freightliner and Cummins displays and picked up a couple of hats. Sometimes those items are good to give to mechanics on the line at the Red Bay Service Center or our next? diesel repair shop.
And we lined up and went through the million dollar motor homes just to see the latest. Pam and I decided the we liked the first one we went through was the best.
The Newell was a cool $2.0 million. We loved the interior!
The interior designer did a great job. And the huge picture windows were fantastic. I casually asked the salesman what the profit margin was on these units. He looked at me as if I had three heads and said, "I'm not going to tell you that -- it's classified!" No surprise there, but it's always fun to ask and see what they say.
He did indicate some of the benefits of this custom coach. The 300 gallon diesel fuel cell could be expanded to whatever we wanted. Same with the 160 gallon fresh water tank. Nice to know... :)
After that we toured a couple of Prevost units. One was listed at $2.7 M and we didn't like it as much as the Newell. We also toured a Foretravel unit that was priced at $900,000. In our first year on the road, we toured the Foretravel factory in Nacogdoches, TX. We were shocked at what we saw here. The interior was all white. As in subway white tile. It was awful. But still interesting.
That was about it for our day the Tampa RV show. Lots of fun and the highlight was meeting up with Joe and Carolyn!
We are enjoying our time here in Florida!