From $10,000 to $750,000 and beyond — or — Beware the Seniors at the RV Show


After the excitement with the construction barrels that I wrote about yesterday the rest of Saturday went just fine.  In fact it went better than fine — it was an outstanding day!  Even if I did get my feet run over by mobility chairs and back-ed up into by more people than I can count. Seniors at the RV show are DANGEROUS!

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Cars and RV’s in the parking lot for as far as you can see.

We don’t do a lot of RV shows.  This was actually our 3rd such show and definitely was the largest of them.  We arrived early on Saturday to the 5 day show.  Parking was $6.00 (cash only) and the show was $10.00 per person — but we had a coupon from the show website worth $1.00 so we had a day’s entertainment for $24.00.  The admission tickets were could for 2 days (Sat & Sun) so we could have gone back another day for just the parking fee.  We arrived early — just after the 9:00 opening — and by the time we left in mid-afternoon the lots were crammed with cars, trucks and RV’s as far as you could see. 2016011613433410

2016011613430709As soon as you walked through the ticket gate you walked right into the primary display hall and all the really BIG rigs were there.  Fully 1/2 of the huge hall was filled with Prevost coaches — from four different Prevost customizers — and there were lines people queued up to see the insides of the one that was open for tours.  Another unit was illuminated inside and they had a set of stairs erected in front of the windshield so you could see INTO the coach — but not enter. For a million smackeroos or two this was the manufacturer of dreams and most of the folks in attendance didn’t even bother standing in line.  Why salivate over something you’ll never own.

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How about a full length awning — and it curves about 2 feet from the edge to improve water drainage off the awning. Clever idea! But I don’t like those extra joints needed to let the edge of the awning dip a couple feet.

There were a lot of new ideas to be seen.  I liked seeing what’s out there but we didn’t tour through very many RV’s at all.  We’re really happy with what we have; it’s nice to see what’s out there; but that doesn’t mean you need to tromp in and out of everything on the lot.

I satisfied my personal objectives.  I had two vendors in particular that I wanted to see and talk with. I discovered a third vendor who may be able to help with an upcoming need — so it was a good day. I spent a good hour or more between two I had wanted to visit and learned a lot from them.  The third I’ll probably visit in person (in Ormond Beach) and try to tie down a few more details.  I’m not quite ready to place an order with any of them but as you’re finding that’s kind of how I reach decisions: a lot of thought, a lot of discussion about options and alternatives and then a purchase decision.

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Just where do you fit a shower in one of these tear-drop trailers?

I have to admit that I was stunned by how many coaches, 5th wheels, travel trailers, Class B’s and Class C’s were on the lot — to say nothing of two buildings full of vendor displays with resort representatives, aftermarket vendors and miscellaneous gee-gaw peddlers.  A person could have spent two full days at the show if you were seriously looking to buy a new RV.

I’ll be honest when I say that current production — to my taste — has moved beyond what I would ever want.  I find myself feeling uncomfortable in a lot of these new coaches.  I find them too showy.  Some you may not understand what I mean but for a guy who started out in the world of heavy-duty camping — with tents that weight 20 lbs and 5 or 6 lb sleeping bags — because that was the only kind of equipment that was available — our 2005 coach is about as plushed out as I’d ever want.  Ok, so I did update the lightbulbs to LED’s, but we don’t have in the ceiling canisters and there’s no tile on the floor and no granite on the counter.  That’s not the kind of thing I grew up with and it’s not the kind of thing I feel comfortable with.  I’m not into conspicuous consumption.  I like seeing what the engineers have figured out to do — but I also cringe when I see the wiring harness with hundreds of wires and I wonder how long it would take someone to troubleshoot the problems caused by some of the designs.  I’m just an old skool kind of guy I guess.

2016011613240407One of the day’s highlights was meeting a couple of Life Unscripted readers:  Jim and Diana Belisle.  They’re from Grand Rapids MI and they are over-wintering in Melbourne FL — not terribly far from us or Tampa.  When they learned we’d be at the show the decided at the last minute to bop over to meet us and to check out the show for themselves.

Jim and I share notes back and forth and we have both learned a lot from each other I think.  It was good to see them enjoying themselves;  After a season of caring for an aging parent, and spending last winter in Grand Rapids – IN THEIR RV — they really deserve a great winter.  I was glad to meet them face-to-face and cement our friendship.

On our way out of the show I chuckled when I saw the parking lot — and in particular the number of motorcycles were parked outside the entrance!  Seems RV’ers aren’t just into RV’s — a lot of them seem to love their cycles too!

So, there you have it.  The cheapest RV we saw was going for $10,000.  The most expensive (that had a price tag on it) was $750,000.  Of course that did not include the Custom designed Prevost coaches which could easily have topped 1.5 Million or more.  I didn’t even look for a price.  This is a pastime that a huge part of the population enjoys and can afford.  It’s growing each year and it can be almost anything you want to make it.   Don’t forget — there’s no right way to RV. 2016011613453912

Thanks for stopping by, and what say we chat again tomorrow.

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10 Comments

  1. We’ve been to smaller RV shows, and we had the exact same feeling you had about the newer rigs becoming way more than we would ever want for ourselves in an RV. We still love our RV, which is a 90’s vintage, and every person that sees it and sees the inside loves it because it feel “homey.” We will upgrade at some point, maybe two more times, but right now we are quite satisfied with ours, especially since we bought it with really low mileage, even moreso than lots of RVs. We really enjoy taking our motorcycle along most of the time, but for longer winter trips, I will usually follow in the car instead. Puttering around a gorgeous park on the Yamaha is really a lot of fun, now that I’ve grown used to it. Glad you got to see the big show. We would love to travel to one of them sometime ourselves.

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    1. If it weren’t for two vendors I wanted to see there I probably would not have bothered. But it was fun, and we met two readers there too. So that made it even better.

      I”m sure the manufacturers are adjusting their products to what they think the market place wants — but the fact is the likes of us may be over the optimum buyer curve and they are building for people younger than us. Which is fine — that’s the market of tomorrow. It does affect who shall be able to afford USED RV’s in the future though. I can see that there is a line for us that we cannot exceed if it comes to trading out or up. If we were trying to enter the world of RV’ing today I’m not sure we could start out with as sound a unit as we did — and with more RV problems to begin with our experience 4 years on might have been very, very different. There are windows of opportunity.

      Do you trailer your cycle? Or do you have a rack for the back of the coach? I don’t remember seeing a picture of you towing the bike

      >

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      1. We have both right now. We used the rack on the back at first, but we are now trying the trailer, just to see if it works a little easier than pushing it up on the rack. We’re not getting any younger, and that can be pretty hard at times. So far, the trailer works just fine, really fine when we have a pull-thru site. At Caprock Canyons, we have to unhook the trailer before backing in, but it works ok, too. We are going to keep both for now. Hubby made a really nice wood pad with tire guides for the motorcycle, and it works and looks great.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I forget if your coach is gas or diesel?

        I know our diesel pusher specifically warns against a rack that obstructs engine cooling — do you have any issues with that?
        I like the trailer idea better.
        (just nosey is all) 🙂

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  2. Peter,
    We share your feelings in comparing our present coach to the new ones we have seen. Ours just feels right to us and we aren’t tempted by the new ones we have seen. We went to an RV show here in the valley last Saturday, not as large as the one you went to, but it was fun looking at a few units and gadgets.
    I just found out yesterday that I have been accepted back to volunteer at Saylorville Lake in Iowa starting mid April. We have a couple of new grandchildren due there in DesMoines in the spring and early summer there so it will be nice to be there for the births.
    Looks like we traded places this winter, we are near where you were last winter and you are near where we were.

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    1. Bob — good for you! (about Saylorville) We stayed there one night on our way to Oregon and of all the Corps Campgrounds we’ve stayed at it was the one we seemed to least care for. — but our taste often seems to be at odds with MOST people. It’s an interesting location though — and you can’t complain about being near when babies are being born. That’s the same reason we are heading for Highland Ridge this summer. There’s a chance our Grand-One may get married this year and we’ll be close (80 miles) — and if she doesn’t get married this year we might return to the same campground to host another summer if we can stand it.

      How do you like the Refuge where you are now? And are you having any problems with pack rats? You mentioned that as a problem a while ago.

      We went to the Rio Grande Valley RV show last year — it’s a nice little show!!!! And for the area there was a good number of vendors.

      Have you gone to the Flea Market there in … the Mission area — can’t think of the town it’s in right now.

      I think you got the better weather this year.

      Take care.

      > >

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  3. Peter
    We have enjoyed being at the refuge here, It is quite a place for birding, I’m sure that you would enjoy it here. We haven’t had any problem with the rats, but one of the other volunteer has trapped a couple.

    We have been to the Mercadome flea market in Alamo and the Don Wes flea market between Donna and Westlaco. Both are pretty big.

    I am enjoying all of the local vegetables being harvested around us, but I miss the Chinese Honey oranges over there in Florida. If you can find some, be sure to try them.

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    1. I’ll start looking for Chinese Honey Oranges Immediately!

      We don’t usually do flea markets but we enjoyed the ones there.

      I suspect this may be our one winter in Florida — I just don’t think it’s “us”. But we did want to try it once at least.

      We’ll have to try catching up with you some place along the way and share more stories in person. > >

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