The Inaugural Voyage - Winter 2008 travel blog

crack check in staff

fancy kitchen

lah-di-dah bathroom

wanna be style

attached outdoor grill and wide screen TV

When we were still working, we looked forward to the Chicago RV show in February. In the middle of deepest winter, it turned our thoughts to warm weather and camping and vacations. It usually took us about three hours to look at all the new RV's and helped us to decide what to look for when it was time to buy a new one. Occasionally gizzmos and gadgets caught our eye and if nothing else, we came home with bags full of brochures.

The Tampa Super show is reputedly the largest RV show in the country and we and thousands of others are camped at the Florida State Fair grounds to attend it. We are here for four nights which will hopefully give us time to see it all. There are 1300 new RV's for sale here marketed by dealers from all over the country. Now that we have such a nice motor home ourselves, we mostly enjoy gawking at the million dollar models. This year the hot style reminds us of modular space capsules featuring lots of high end wood. There are no square corners and everything curves and flows. It struck me that they have much more room for storing clothing than for storing kitchen items. Perhaps the millionaire wife always gets taken out to eat... It also is fashionable to have a semi truck cab pasted on front of even the smallest RV. To me this looks like the owner is a long distance truck driver wanna-be.

We have camped at a few other huge RV shows and have had some bad experiences getting situated. It easy to imagine that parking thousands of RV's at the same time is an organizational challenge. Once we enter a park it takes us ten minutes just to disconnect the tow vehicle from the motor home. Usually some sort of registration and verification of papers has to be done. Lines can form quickly as a result. We went to a show in Louisville where we stood in line for four hours and ended up being sent home when they ran out of space even though we had a reservation. Here the directions were perfect, there was plenty of check in staff and we just drove right in.

There are some gizmos and gadgets on our shopping list and we began to visit the vendor area today. Sheets specially fitted for RV beds with ultra high thread counts seemed to be the most popular item from what we saw today. Ken was ready to buy a central vacuum cleaner that I didn't know we needed, when a fellow shopper pulled us aside. He told us about a Home Shopping Network outlet store about six miles away that was selling the same item, for 60% of the asking price. So now we are the proud owners of a central vacuum. No more pulling the portable out of the closet and getting hoses and electric cords tangled. Campers are the nicest people!

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