Saturday, January 16, 2016

Fun at the Tampa RV Show 2016

Since we are in the Tampa area, we wanted to check out the Tampa RV show again.  I think this may be the second year we have been.  Three years ago we went and attended two days of the event.

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!
 We wound our way over to the Blue Ox area and arrived about 9:20 AM and got in line.  Good thing we got there early.
 We were hoping to drop it off and get it serviced that same day so we wouldn't have to pay admission again just to pick up the tow bar.
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!


  1. I remember once upon a time when we were in the midst of buying our Class A (which we've since sold) looking at some of the "higher end" coaches, and being a little taken aback. Too many mirrors, rather gawd-awful design choices, and too much wasted space. Seems the higher up you go, the worse it gets. Some with no character at all. Looks like you had a fine time. Always fun to go and look.

  2. Gotta love "free" and it sounds like you got a few of them. Nice that they managed to get your tow bars done the same day and met some new faces. We had the same experience two days ago, we have met up with blogger readers and bloggers themselves. We spent a lovely day with them and it looks like we may meet up again in a few days. It is nice to finally put a face to the words.

    After looking at those expensive motorhomes, I think we will just stick with Sherman, he has done us well so far but that 160 gallon water tank would be nice, we could probably boondock for a month with that! ;-)

    1. Sherman is great! I love how you all maintain it and it serves you well. And I like those nice new curtains! They look great.

  3. Joe and Caroline are a happy and fun loving couple to be around. We last saw them at the RV Dreams Reunion Rally in May. Glad the weather held off for you at the show, Three years ago it mostly rained and two years ago we nearly froze.
    Those high end coaches are out of our range.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  4. Ok Randy. Tell us the truth about which Newell you purchased. I want to be able to spot you when we're driving down the road.

    1. did I say purchased? We picked it out-- but no cash changed hands. :)
      The truth is that we probably our last Class A...
      If we had purchased that beauty we would be posting a lot more pictures!

  5. We met Joe and Carolyn a couple of years ago in Sioux Falls and enjoyed time and a meal with them. You meet the nicest people on the road. :c)

    1. Yes - nice people! and fun meeting up with those RV friends we've never met yet. Like you folks!!

  6. We went to the show on Friday... had we known we could have all met up.

  7. Just don't know why you didn't pick up one of those million dollar coaches? We will have to try out that RV show in the future. We met Joe and Carolyn at the very first RV Dreamers rally. Good to see you having fun.

    1. haha. The main reason is the $$$$. I think we could get used to all the rest of the new stuff. At this point in our life not only could we not come close to affording something like that, we want to avoid costly bad decisions.... :)

  8. We didn't make it across from the "east coast" this year. We had gone through all the vendor lists and didn't see that much new and unique to go see. But it is an amazing show!