Monday, January 21, 2008

Tampa RV Supershow

Views from New Mexico and Utah

The amazing show is over for 2008, but it was another great one. Unfortunately I was down with laryngitis earlier in the week, so was only able to attend on Saturday. (This show is so huge that you get a pass for a second day when you buy your ticket - and trust me, you do want to plan for two days.)

So much for hearing about the RV sales slowdown - don't tell that to the vendors there - they were hopping. I not only FINALLY made our reservations for the upcoming Good Sam's RV rally in Perry, Georgia in March - but received a $25 certificate towards fuel. OK - it may not pay for much, but on a limited income, some is better than nothing!

We've been drooling over Freightliner-type conversions for some time. I like the warranties on them and the way they handle. The Optima has been at the head of our list, but this year, Renegade came on as a close second. They don't have the frills and gussie doodads of Prevosts or other luxury brands, but for us, they're more livable and we'd never have to worry about overloading. But that's strictly pesonal preference - and they're still out of our league. My CrossRoads Cruiser fits us well and has held up beautifully for full-timing. What surprised us was how popular they are becoming. Normally there would be three or four at the Super Show - this year we looked at 10 - and didn't see them all. There were about 1,300 RVs total on the grounds for viewing.

My daughter and her husband have been looking at lightweight towables - fairly basic, but comfortable for a family of 4 and a dog in inclement weather (otherwise they are outside). T@B now has a unit slightly larger than their revised, popular teardrop (like the Betty Boop unit on the left). For their needs, there are units they would be happy with - ECO has one that is even better geared to their needs without going overboard on their wallets.

At the other end of the spectrum, we're seeing a huge surge in high-end class A's. The transition lot at Seffner's LazyDays is so busy that they're asking the people there to try to stay only one night as they transfer their belongings from the former units to their new ones. One such couple is staying at WigWam RV Park where we're at - waiting for their new unit to arrive. Lazy Days was putting them up at their beautiful Rally Park, but it has been full with reservations - and will be, through the end of the month. We aren't in a resort-type park - far from it - but new arrivals are sporting some gorgeous units for the few days they are staying.

Even the dry camping lots - at TA and Flying J truckstops as well as Camping World, are filled. The Super Show has not only drawn them in, but also LazyDays with their own show which will be ongoing this coming weekend at Rally Park. It's a fun time for looking and dreaming.

I sure wish RV salespeople would stop trying to sell heavy RVs to people that are beyond their true towing capacity. I went in a beautiful Alfa fifth wheel, to drool a bit (sometimes it's a bit embarrassing - and that unit definitely qualified!). The salesman was telling a customer that he definitely had the right pickup truck for it. I inadvertently blurted out, 'Sure, as long as it's bigger than a one-ton' - the salesman glared at me as the prospective customer confirmed that he indeed had a diesel one-ton. When I mentioned that as a former RV transporter the EMPTY weight on that one made me nervous - especially in the mountains, the salesman modified his comment to add that the one-ton would pull the behemoth just fine with certain modifications - omitting the detail that virtual ANY power-boost changes void a new pickup truck warranty.

I keep repeating myself like a broken record, but knowing your weights and combined loaded weights (GVWR) are critical. Overextending can create unpleasant nightmares down the road.

Happy Camping everyone

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