We left the quiet, bucolic campground in Fort Pierce and drove across the middle of Florida to park next to an expressway in Tampa at the RV Super Show. The middle of the state is full of orange groves. I’ve read a lot lately about how orange trees are suffering from sort of blight or fungus and huge orchards have been destroyed as a result. That certainly wasn’t the case on our route today. We shared the road with huge trucks carrying freshly picked mounds of fruit to the juicing factory. When we came to the factory, clouds of steam filled the sky. When we were kids there was nothing better a good mother could do than give her child a glass of OJ for breakfast every morning. These days nutritionists react with horror and act like it is nothing but sugar water. Too bad. I used to like drinking orange juice.
We planned to meet friends at this rally that we had traveled to Australia and New Zealand with. They did not have a reservation as we did, but called ahead and were told that they could boondock. They arrived before we did this morning and were turned away due to lack of space. How disappointing!
Organizing and parking a fleet of RV’s in a short amount of time is always a challenge, but the super show has been here for years and the volunteers knew exactly what to do. First we were directed to a pull off area so we could separate the Jeep from the Dutch Star. We are camped quite close together in a grassy field that could become a mud pit if it rains much. Fortunately, there is no rain in the forecast. Generators are supplying us with 30 amps of electricity, which is less than we normally use, but enough to keep the batteries humming along. We’re glad that we’re not parked near a generator as we have been at some shows. They are noisier than the expressway.
This RV show is one of the biggest in the country and it would take 2 - 3 days to see it all. We are here for five, so we should have time to see what interests us in a leisurely fashion and take advantage of being in the middle of the big city of Tampa. Most of the acreage is taken occupied by new RV’s ranging in size from the tiniest trailers to mega motor homes. Show literature indicates that there are 1,250 units on display here along with more than 200 exhibitor booths. 800 RV's are parked on the rally grounds and another 150 are parked in the official campground on the Florida State Fairgrounds. That's where we are.
Getting all the RV’s here and parked in an orderly fashion must also have been a logistical challenge. They are parked on mats so the interiors will stay clean no matter how many interested customers tromp through. The top end motor homes that cost over a million are parked under roof and some restrict how many people can come inside at any one time. Some had exterior tailgating TV’s that are larger than the one we have in our home. One had two screens side by side that used special software to split the picture into two pieces and give a panoramic impression. You’ve got to come up with some cool stuff to charge people a million dollars.
There is a large variety of vendors here. Some sell gizzmos, some sell services and some sell campgrounds. We weren't sure where we would stop after we leave Florida and now thanks to a friendly man from Brunswick, Georgia we have filled in the remaining hole in our calendar this winter.