Thursday, January 13, 2011

Rv Supershow

We spent the day at the  Florida Rv Supershow, in Tampa.  It’s billed as the largest rv show in the country, with over 1100 rv’s and 350 vendors.

It’s normally very crowded, no matter which day you go.  Our plan was to get there when it opened, and visit the vendor booths first, as that is where you really have to fight the crowds.

Unfortunately, the powers that be for the show,  decided to reward the people who arrived early by forcing them to park in the “back forty.”  We were directed right past the best/closest parking in the front (where the vendor buildings are) and around to the back.  We had to park a a long away from the main part of the show and around to the rear entrance gate.  They had a tram, but needed two or three of them.   The people who lounged around in their warm beds got the best parking and the early birds got the shaft.  We knew we would have to make a trip back to the car if we bought anything, and the car was a long way from the main show.

Al made the first  trip back to the car to drop off some rv polish/wash, while I visited the Thousand Trails booth.  This is the camping club that we considered joining last month.  You join and can then camp “free” for 30 days annually.  After you use your “free” days, the cost is $3.00 a night.  They had been selling each zone for $499.  The southeast zone consists of Texas, Alabama, Florida, North and South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia, and are 24 parks in the south east zone.  For an additional $199, you can purchase 6 extra Florida parks.

Thousand Trails was offering a “show special” for $199.  That was the exact same thing that we almost bought for $499 last month.    We decided to go ahead and join and try it out for a year.  It will cost just over $13 a night for the first 30 days.  We can cancel in writing after the first year is up.   They have some rules you need to be aware of, and plan for.  You can only camp in any park for a maximum of 14 days, then you have to go somewhere else for 7 days.  You can get discounts at other Thousand Trails parks though.  I think we can work with that.  We’ve done some research and it seems a lot of people like the club and use it often.  I think we’ll get our moneys worth, and probably before we even leave Florida.  We opted for the 6 additional Florida parks as well, so there are 9 to choose from in Florida.  One is in the Keys!

By the time we left Thousand Trails, the vendors were getting really crowded.  We ended up buying some mirror covers made from the same sunshade material as our front window shade.  Al got some Boeshield lubricant (good stuff), some rugs for the outside stairs, and some velcro straps.  We also got some free tickets for Homosassa Springs Park.  I think we have to listen to a sales talk, but the tickets are $13 each, so we can sit there a while for free tickets!

By the time we went through all the booths, we needed to make another trip to the car to drop off our very heavy bag.  Of course by this time we were at the main part of the show and the car was way, way, way far away!    There were shortcuts to get back to the car, but they had “guards” around to make sure you went the long way.  You want to make sure to aggravate everyone, don’t you?  Our bag was really heavy and we were not happy campers by this point.  By the time we got to the gate, you were supposed to get your hand stamped in order to get back in.  The stamp pad was there, but no one was around, so we proceeded to stamp our hands ourselves.  I was in no mood to wait for someone to show up.   While we were stamping our hands a lady came over and gave us a bit of a hard time…hey, you want to stamp my’d better be there!  Of course when we came back in, she was there and we got in trouble again for trying to go through the turnstyle!  Brother!!

After we got rid of our heavy bag of goodies, it was time to look at the rv’s….the fun part.  Of course after carrying a 500 pound bag a thousand miles, we were getting tired! 

There are so many rv’s that you really have to do some walking.  There are trams you can catch, so we took one to the far part and worked our way back.  There were sure some beautiful rv’s.  We found a really nice one for only $674,000.  We never even got into the really expensive ones.  We actually found several we really liked in the 225-300 range.  (of course we did).   We looked at Winnebago’s, Itasca, Holiday Ramblers, Newmars, Damons, Tiffin, Fleetwood,  and I can’t even remember the rest.  We looked at a LOT of rv’s, but didn’t even see all the class A’s.  We did manage to get inside a few 5th wheels.  We went inside a 5th wheel that a had a “living room” upstairs where the bedroom normally is.  It was open so you could see up into the space.  The dining room was downstairs right across from the door. It really seemed like a separate and private dining room.    It was very nice and a totally different concept.

We finally wore ourselves out  by about 4:00 pm.  Of course, we were on the opposite side of the facility from where we parked, so we had another long walk back to the car.  This time, we decided to take the shortcut, security guards be damned!!!   They had left their stations by then, so we got out without being arrested!

We had a cold night last night, so Al unhooked the water and we hit the bed pretty early.  It didn’t get quite as cold as predicted and was only 32 this morning when we got up.  I think we should be back into the mid 50’s today…and sunny. 


oh….by the way…we didn’t buy a new motor home!


  1. It's been a few years since we've gone the show. We found that it was just to big to see everything so the last time we just hit all the vender's to get the freebee's and coupons for camping, since we knew we weren't going to drive away in a new rig.

  2. You need to write an article for the RV newsletter about the frustrations of the show!!

    What other kind of vendors were there? Were they selling stuff for inside the homes to make life easier? Any cute crafty things there? I would of loved to have gone to this!!

    Stay warm..I am at Wendy's 11 degrees this morning...brr!!

    Hugs Cindy

  3. I was so hoping you were going to tell us you bought that $674,000 rig. Heavens, I've never paid that much even for any of the homes we've owned. But I bet some of them were really gorgeous.

  4. Geez! I wonder if that $674,000 unit is still available?

    Sounds like the RV show wasn't exactly in line for the customer service award of the year. Glad you were able to get around though and have a look at things as well as picking up a couple of bargains!

  5. You're in Tampa area and the high is only in the mid 50's?? Brrrr!

    I know it's a bit of a drive, but the weather in one of the reasons we are sold on Mexico!

  6. I'm with you on wondering why the punish the early birds. Seems to me you wait, you sit/park in the back. Why not drop an email and complain? They sure do have terrible customer service.

    But thanks for the advice. I think if I can get there next year, I'll go for two days and do the venders one day and the rigs the next. Did they actually have anything a "normal" person could afford to buy?

  7. You know you have had a good day at an RV show we you got some items you wanted, saw all the latest and best RV's at some outrageous prices, and still managed to go home without a new huge RV mortgage.

    Congrats on a great day.

  8. Last year we were at a show that the entrance was quite far from the back area where all the class A's were. After looking at quite a few we were ready to leave and could see our car just on the other side of a moveable fence.

    A salesman helped us move the fence and leave.

    I wish I had gotten his card!

  9. Good blog I can just picture you guys going back and forth to the car.

    The fifth wheel you looked at with the living room where the bedroom is the one we love and looking at.

  10. Cindy,
    There are many different kinds of vendors...cookware, camping, anything rv related, jewelry, sunglasses...but mostly rv related. Not really much crafty, but it was fun and we enjoyed it.

    Jim and Sandie
    I wish we could have bought that $674K was really nice, but at 43 feet probably too big to get into the kind of places we like!

    Kevin and Ruth
    yeah, it's cold here..wish we were in Mexico with you!

    Yes, there are lots of rv's that normal people can afford. There are pop-ups, truck campers, small trailers as well as large 5th wheels and motor homes. There are reasonably priced motor homes and 5th wheels, as well as the high end ones. After looking at the really expensive ones, the less expensive ones didn't look so good!

    Kenny and Angela

    That 5th wheel with the upstairs living room was very homey.

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. We went yesterday (Thursday) and they had not fixed the parking issue. We are hikers, so it was not a problem for us. We weren't crazy about the living room in the raised area of the 5th wheel. We too resisted buying, and even though we saw things we liked, are quite satisfied at the moment.

  13. Oh brother, sorry about the hassles on the RV show parking! I think a well-worded letter to the organizers would be in order too.

    We once booked a train ride into Canada. We got there one hour before departure and picked a great seat with wide window access for photos, with no posts or walls alongside our seat positions. The last minute before departure, 2 couples came rushing in and wanted the conductor to move US to a single seat bench in the back, with barely a window view... just so they could sit across from their friends. ARGGHHH
    We politely said no thank you. They persisted and started to complain loudly, to embarrass us into moving. We held our ground. And as they pouted and moved to the back seat, the folks around us cheered us and clapped their hands! Of course, their friends across from us gave us the ole stink eye for the rest of the trip, but so what. We planned and got there early and picked our seat.

    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard


Please feel free to leave comments. We love to read them! To contact me directly you can send e-mail to