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.

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