Home Away from Home - Winter 2020 travel blog

the retro look

golf cart in basement

a little cutie

folding bed

gray, gray, gray

is it a deal?


huge sliding out tray

iPad control

Whenever we are in this area in January we go to the Tampa RV Show. Since I don't like to repeat myself, I'll link to what I wrote last year, which is more or less what I would write about our stay here this year. The Super Show has been here for 34 years and claims to be the largest RV show in the country. The one in Hershey PA claims that, too. The first day is very popular because senior citizens are given a big $1 discount. I met a lady in the bathroom (we were standing in line, of course) who said it took her over an hour to drive the last half mile to get into the fairgrounds where the show is held. Many people attend to gather information about all the choices there are in the RV world and other come to buy. According to the signs plastered on the rigs, tremendous savings are available. You can see why the dealers don't want to pay someone to drive the rigs back to their showroom after the Super Show is over, but those discounts seem too good to be true. Buyer beware. On of the reasons we come here is to gather information about what's new for the next edition of our RV Navigator podcast.

Our campground has an RV travel group. They have monthly meetings and plan RV short trips within a few hundred miles of Titusville. On paper we are members although we have never attended a meeting and are not usually interested in leaving The Great Outdoors when we have finally gotten there for the winter. The last few years we have been able to weasel into their January trip to the Super Show and feel so lucky to be camped with a well connected group which always parks right next to the show entrance and has electric hook-ups. We come the day before the show starts and never deal with traffic jams. They provide a continental breakfast of coffee and doughnuts. As coffee snobs who grind our own beans, and avoid eating doughnuts for health reasons, so we never partake. At the end of the day they have snacks and BYOB. We try not to snack and have never attended one of these sessions either, because we have usually connected with other friends who are attending the show. I keep waiting for someone to kick us out of the group, which will probably not happen because no one knows who we are.

The last time I wrote we were delighted to get our tires replaced for what appeared to be a reasonable price. Ken put the tire pressure monitors back on and kept an eye on the new tires. When one of them read "0," he thought the reading was in error. It was not. The new tire was flat, flat, flat and could not be filled with air. The installer drove out from Orlando and determined that the tire pressure monitor was the cause of the leak. Some of the other tires were leaking as well for the same reason. When they had been moved, they lost their seal. Another thing to be repaired/replaced.

We have not made much progress on our remaining repair issues, which is one of the reasons we've come here. As we left home, our antifreeze levels were quite low and Ken added water, which was sufficient to get us to FL, but diluted the remaining coolant, which is not as it should be. Ken took a photo of the sign on our radiator which spells out exactly what antifreeze we need to buy, but we can't find it anywhere. Even Amazon has let us down. We spent a few hours bouncing between Newmar who manufactured our rig, Freightliner who built the chassis, and Cummins who built the engine with our photo. They all denied any knowledge of this coolant and sent us on to the next company involved in building our motor home. I could understand if we were driving around an antique, but our rig is only eight years old. Surely there is someone around who knew what antifreeze they were using in 2012. It would appear that we will have to pay $$$ to suck out all the old stuff and put in what they are using today. These fluids cannot be mixed. More ka-ching.

Newmar also could not help us with the relay switch that we probably need to repair the headlights. In fact they were not sure that we could buy a replacement part, because this unit may have been welded on in 2012. Eventually we will find a technician who knows what is needed and get things fixed, but this isn't going to happen any time soon. So, still no driving in the dark.

We were hoping to buy replacement house batteries here, but no one is selling any on site. We did find a salesman who gave us good information about what kind to buy. This decision has been torturing Ken, because there are so many variables to consider. Our current least expensive wet batteries give off sulphuric gas, which is eating away at the rack in the compartment where they are stored. If we buy that kind again, the rack could disintegrate and our batteries fall on the ground, perhaps while we are driving. The ones that don't exude gas are much more expensive and also have to be replaced periodically. Lithium batteries last forever and take up less space, but are very, very expensive and would require an overhaul of our electrical system and storage bay, because they get unhappy in cold temperatures. Our current bay is wide open so all those gases can escape. Final decision remains to be made.

On a more positive note we have enjoyed wandering around seeing what's new in motor homes. No matter which manufacturer we looked at, nearly all of them had gray interiors. Some day if we are in the market for a used motor home again and find one that is gray inside, we'll know it's a 2020. Many of the beds, even the king and queen size, can fold in half. This is meant to provide more floor space when the slides are in, but could also make it nice to read in bed sitting up. A good idea. More and more of the controls are on iPad-like devices. This seems the height of convenience and modernity, but we were in a rig that was not connected to electricity and we could not turn the lights on. In our ancient rig the batteries power a manual light switch which is alway ready to go. Storage space is always an issue. You can never have enough, but it is easy to lose things in the huge basement areas. We try to container all the things we store beneath, but we saw many rigs that huge sliding trays that would give you easy access to stuff stored deep inside. Another good idea. Inside it is always fun to guess how deep a drawer is before you open it. It's easy to be fooled. Some areas can look like they have lots of storage but there isn't much you can put in a drawer that's only four inches deep. It can make you feel like you are on a Hollywood set. It's all a facade.

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