In my first post about attending the Tampa RV SuperShow, I talked about the overall show and my impressions. I keep the length of my posts in the 1,000 word range. And after 1,400 words, I was still had so much to say. I decide the RV show was worth another post. And even with two posts, I haven’t said a word about the other goal of the trip which was to take a tour of the Oliver Travel Trailer manufacturing facility. You’ll have to wait for that report until next month’s Logistics post.
Throughout the show outside and in the two large expo buildings were rows and rows of vendors. What surprised me most was the large array of vendors. What surprised me even more was that most were not RV specific. For example there were two cooking demonstrators where the vendor was selling cookware but nothing about the cookware was tailored to the RVer. You’d find those same vendors at any home show, for example. There was someone selling essential oils, someone else selling custom wooden “welcome” signs and another hocking dog treats.
Though I found it surprising, I also found it convenient. It made going up and down the aisles quick. And, yes, we did go up and down every aisle. We couldn’t risk missing some fabulous RV thing. But, in the end, we stopped at only a handful of vendor booths.
Our stops focused on RV-specific wares and services. It was especially fun, despite three years of researching, to discover toys I hadn’t heard of before. A little device you can put against your propane tank to find how full it is was completely new to me. I didn’t purchase any of these gadgets because I had to get everything into a small suitcase for the plane ride home, but I picked up a lot of brochures.
I also picked up service brochures for things I know I will be using once I’m on the road. Not necessarily from the vendor who was at the RV show, but I liked reading the information on services such as roadside assistance and mail service.
Various membership groups were well represented. Initially I thought I’d join a couple but now I’m thinking I’ll get a bit of experience under my belt before making such choices. I’d kick myself if I spent money for a membership to find out it wasn’t a good fit for me and my needs.
There was a giant tourism display. It easily covered the area of four regular-sized vendor space. We got to that one near the end of our time and my bag was already heavy with brochures. This required I use a light hand in the thick brochures I took. It appeared most every U.S. state was represented. They worked hard to seduce RVers into spending their vacation dollars in their state. I picked up several in the northeast region of the country. I don’t have a photo to share because I devoured them at my hotel room. It wouldn’t be prudent to keep them since it might be years before I make it to that area. Still, they served their purpose. I made a mental note to get to Vermont and New Hampshire.
The other types of information I grabbed was on job opportunities on the road. Before going to the RV show, I’d already watch videos and listened to webinars on the biggest ones. But who knew Dollywood used work campers.
Every day of the 5-day event offered six seminars. They were the same six each day (except Sunday when there were four). I found this smart because most people only go for a day or two. No matter which day you choose you have the opportunity to attend seminars important to you. At the Tampa RV SuperShow, the seminars were:
- Basic RV Maintenance
- RV Weight and Tire Safety
- Tips for Choosing the Right RV
- Extended and Full Time RV Travel
- The Joys of Caravan Travel
- Explore America
My Tampa RV SuperShow partner, Darlena, and I attended the first three on the list. They were fantastic. The seminars alone were worth the price of admission. The seminar experience confirmed to me why it was important to attend an RV show prior to buying. I took pages and pages of notes that will come in handy from my first day of ownership.
In addition to RVs, vendors and seminars the Tamps RV SuperShow seeks to entertain. As I said last time, this was my first RV show so what I’m unsure whether my experience in Tampa was a typical RV show experience. If you go to a show elsewhere I’m not guaranteeing you will see pirates or jugglers or a parade of bagpipers or that you will be offered your very own balloon hat. The show definitely had the feel of a state fair.
All in all, I am confident the expense of the airfare, car rental, hotel, food and the days away from work were well worth the value I got from the event. If you are considering an RV, I’d highly recommend getting yourself to an RV show.
I am going to end this post the same way the guy who presented on Buying an RV ended his seminar. He held up a measuring tape. You know, the ones in the little yellow metal box where the tape is a thin metal and when you pull it out it stays stiff? He held the tape at his hip and pulled it out a long way.
He said, “Image each year you have lived is an inch on this tape. I am 72 and this is how old I am in inches.”
He then pulled out the tape to 84 inches, keeping his finger at the 72 inch mark. “The average male in this country lives to 84. This is my life line,” he said, referring to the tape. “And I have lived everything from my finger to the left. Everything from my finger to the right is what I have left to live.”
He let the reality of his statement sink in. The space to the right seemed so small. Then he let go of the measure tape. It noisily sucked itself back into its case, ending with the snap of the metal end hitting the case. “So I better start living,” he said and ran down the center aisle”
The room erupted in applause. It was dramatic, entertaining and simple in its message and a lovely way to end a presentation. And it’s where I’m ending this post.
A small side note: I looked up the average life expectancy of a US citizen and it is under 79 years. Curiosity took me down a bit of a rabbit hole and I learned that if one lives to the age of 65, life expectancy is 85.5 years.
Take a minute this week to find a measuring tape and do the exercise yourself. Measure your life in inches and calculate how many inches you have left. Then ask yourself what will do with each precious one.