Saturday, January 14, 2012

2012 Tampa RV SuperShow

The annual RV Super Show in Tampa has been on our calendar for a long time and when the day came to leave Bushnell for the Florida State Fairgrounds we were pretty excited, notwithstanding the rain that moved in for the day. 

We got our usual mid-morning start, saying our goodbyes, topping off the propane tank and leaving Paradise Oaks. The rain prediction is sure to complicate a hectic half-day as we'll need to walk Lexie and Ozzie in the midst of getting settled at the fairground.

Several heavy downpours slowed our speed as we traveled south on I-75.  Towed vehicles must be unhooked before entering the grounds so we just drove separately. Traffic moved steadily until we got to the fairgrounds where we found disorganization and confusion among both the attendees and show volunteers.  At one point, during heavy rain, the check-in process was stopped altogether.  I saw no evidence of flaring tempers which was a surprise as old folks sometime lose their patience.

We were settled into our grassy site in one of the training areas about a half mile from the show sometime around 1 p.m. and were surprised to see the rain didn't cause much mud in the area.  To this point, we've not heard from Ray, Cindy, Dan or Sheila who we are looking forward to seeing again.  It's been five months since our paths parted in Montana.
This is our spot for 4 nights and 5 days. There are hundreds of rows just like this one.
We're about a half mile walk to the RV show. The shuttle runs but on no particular schedule.

The rain subsided and we found our way to the show area  and saw several coaches in the afternoon. My first impressions of the 2012 Monaco coaches weren't favorable as they all seem to be too "glitzy" for my taste. Wayne agreed.  Maybe that's a good thing as we're not tempted to trade. We ran into a couple with two dogs in a dog stroller. One was a Maltese and I can't pass a Maltese without at least asking about it.  I asked about their stroller, larger than ours, and Jeannette (the woman) told me she wanted to buy a larger one as her dogs are overweight and too large for it.  I asked if she wanted to sell hers and her husband quickly quipped "$50 and it's yours". To make a long story a bit shorter, Jeannette bought a new larger stroller for her fat dogs and I bough hers. Then I saw a couple with another Maltese (on a leash and tired) and sold our small stroller to her. Gee, I love buying and selling stuff. Sadly, I always take a hit in the pocketbook.

On Thursday, the first full day of the RV Show, we found ourselves impressed by the Itasca coaches and then the American Coach models.  The crowd was larger than on Wednesday afternoon but we were able to go into nearly all the coaches that interested us, missing just the Newell. It was a really warm, sunny day.
This Ellipse was nice...

It's easy to get lost in the maze.

I don't know....
This guy looks like he might not know how to ride this thing after all.
"Hey, we're the good ole boys!"

There's a lot of weird stuff here.

Missing our Bushnell neighbors, Joe and Pam already, we were happy to get a call from Joe mid-morning. It was difficult getting together at the RV Show as the areas are so confusing and poorly marked.  Wayne had scheduled installation of the new windshield at 1 p.m. so we were unable to connect for lunch with them but we did manage to meet for a few minutes once they had completed their rounds of vendor shopping. We took a few pictures and loved on the dogs who were so cute riding in the little canvas wagon.  After some last minutes hugs and dog kisses, we parted ways, promising to stay in touch 'till our paths cross again. 
My tummy's bigger than your tummy.
Yeah, but I've got more facial hair.
Maybe. But it's grayer than mine.

Some people make a science of attending the RV Show.
Notice the notebooks in the wagon. Pam even got a tattoo on her hand.

Wayne:  "This RV sales girl thinks my legs are cute."
Joe: "The likes me best, though because of my USMC shirt."
 Jess (the salesgirl): "I'm wasting time with these ole guys. They look broke to me"

Parting is such sweet sorrow.
Pam is fussing at me for taking all these pictures.

That's another really good thing about this life. We meet people, make friends and then part ways, knowing we will meet again somewhere along the road. Facebook has proven to be a terrific tool for keeping up 'till we meet again.  This is proven in our friendships with Tom and DJ, Marcella and Landon, Dave and Connie, Ray and Cindy, Dan and Sheila and now Joe and Pam.  It's a great way to live and I just can't imagine anything better. ...especially good for those who enjoy being with the spouse and we're fortunate that way too.
Before the crowd got really big.
Lots of Rascals and scooters here. Watch out!

Bagpipes entertainment.
(What do they wear under that skirt?)

Newell.  Out of our price range.
Shown by appointment only, thank you very much.
All of Friday was spent at the show. We arrived early and made our way into the Tiffin coaches. To our surprise, we met Bob Tiffin  after he commented on Wayne's Auburn cap and then introduced himself.  For those who don't know, the Tiffin family has close ties to the University of Alabama and has provided several good punters to the Alabama football team over the years. As the conversation continued, Wayne mentioned his family hometown in middle Tennessee to Mr. Tiffin who knew the city very well as his father bought insulation from a company there many years ago. Turns out that insulation company was owned during that time by Wayne's grandfather.
Checking out all the amenities while the babies wait in the stroller.

Wayne babysitting while I take a look -- and a photo.

Somebody told Wayne about towing a truck with camper behind their big coach.
Of course, Wayne loved this idea and had to try on a Lance!
I think I've talked him out of this one.

Around noon, we bumped into Ray and Cindy along one of the midways. We then stopped by their coach before heading in for the night.  We're exhausted with sore feet.
Ray in the blue sweatshirt.

A cool snap made sitting outside uncomfortable even with the little gas fire pit.
On Saturday we took a break from the RV Show, knowing the crowds would be huge, to visit Lazydays RV in nearby Seffner. We wanted to take a look at the pre-owned late model coaches to see if anything stirred our interest.  It did not.  Saturday night we stopped in again at Ray and Cindy's coach where we enjoyed visiting with Sheila and Dan. Ray was filled with excitement over the Holiday Rambler he'd seen at the show. We had taken a look at it on Thursday and didn't feel the same enthusiasm but agreed to meet Ray at 9 a.m Sunday morning to take a second look.

As planned, Wayne, Ray and I took the long walk back to the show next morning and I must confess I fell in love with everything about the Holiday Rambler. Joined later by Cindy and Sue, we took a last look at several other coaches before we finished up and headed out.
Ray's enjoying oj and a breakfast bar.

Okay. I'll take it. I love the floorplan.
I don't love those white fabric dining room chairs.

2012 Holiday Rambler

Ray's checking out the drivers side.

Cindy's had too much caffeine.
Nobody's this happy this early in the morning.

Ray and Cindy's friend, Sue.

Out of focus. Literally.
Cindy, Ray, Wayne and no, that's not me -- it's Sue.
As usual, I'm the photographer.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Living A Dog's Life In Central Florida

Just one week left to relax here in Bushnell; then we'll head to Tampa for the Annual RV Super Show and Rally.  We're looking forward to the event and will likely lighten our bank account substantially during the five day event.  Several of our RV friends, who we've met along the way, will be there and even though we won't be parked together, it will be nice to see them again.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the weather won't be too cold, too hot or rainy.  We plan to take the dogs around the show with us in their stroller as they just don't do well on leashes in a crowd.

On Friday, January 6, we enjoyed another day outside and took a little time to snap a few pictures.  In early afternoon, I caught Lexie and Ozzie sleeping in their favorite spot:  the ledge behind the couch where a large window gives them a good view of campground goings-on and some fresh air.
Sleeping in the window -- Lexie and Ozzie. 

Ozzie gets really relaxed on his back.

Lexie gets herself into some funny sleeping positions too.
Here her little head is hanging off.
Late in the day, I set up the tripod and made an attempt at getting some family photos to use in our next printing of personal information cards that we use to introduce ourselves to new acquaintances.

I remembered this afternoon that I've not taken any pictures of our campsite for the scrapbook. Our site has a very nice view of a small lake with a fountain and some beautiful live oaks.  It's lovely.

We've joined forces with our dog-loving neighbors, Joe and Pam, and connected our two individual small doggie playpens to make one large one. It's set up in front of our coach with a patio rug under it.  Our dogs, we've learned, eat grass (we call them little cows) and we have to do something to keep them from getting too much of it.  The rug helps in that regard and keeps them from getting too dirty too.

Our site is to the far left, Joe and Pam are next door.  Nice neighbors, Bob and Patsy are next to them.

And finally, I'll add this photograph of Ozzie, always eager to "ham it up" for the camera.  Incidentally, it should be noted that of the neighborhood dogs, he's the only male (neutered, but a male nevertheless) and he's not going to be happy to leave the situation he's got here.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year 2012

Sunday, January 1st., New Years Day was warm (low 70's) and mostly sunny even though these late afternoon pictures show a little cloudiness overhead. 
Wayne and Ozzie
Mom and Lexie
To close out the old year and welcome the new one, we did what we usually do... sleep.  Even the nearby train horns won't disturb us.  Never does.  We are, quite frankly, happy to see the holiday season come to a close. I'm not sure why, maybe it's because we are observers and not real participants this year.  Maybe next year, I'll muster a bit more spirit.

Lexie and Ozzie were bathed today and for a few short hours, they will look really good. It only takes one day for Ozzie to get his face hair all dirty. I don't know how he does it.

We sat outside during the late afternoon -- nearly dinnertime for the furkids. They were watching Pop's every move for a sign of the big moment when he announces, "time to eat".

The weather is forcast to turn cold by Tuesday so on Monday, January 2nd we make a special effort to enjoy the sun and fair temperatures.  Joe and Pam, our neighbors and fellow dog lovers, brought over their dog playpen and we connected it to ours to make a super-size place for the four dogs to romp in the sunshine. In a few minutes another neighbor, Billie, brought her two furkids for a neighborhood playdate.  Couldn't resist a few more doggie photos...
The people in this photo are (L to R) Pam, Billie, Wayne and Joe

Billie, Wayne and Me.

This is our new personalized wooden camp sign. We love it.

Pam (looking serious but really isn't)

Joe had an urge to trim some stray hairs off Allie.
 Pam holds her while Joe undertakes this all-important task.

Pam and Allie

Joe and Pam

And of course.... the DOGS!

Izzy and Allie (Joe and Pam's) are at the top.
Billie's babies are on the right - Todora (checkered band) and Zoey.
Our Lexie (Left) and Ozzie (Right) are nearest.