2013 Tampa RV Show
Bushnell, FL - Events of Wednesday, January 16 to Thursday, January 17, 2013
Every year since we first started staying at Blueberry Hill for the winter we have gone to the big RV show in Tampa in January. We have always gone on the opening day of the show because we figured it would be less crowded. We also went on the first day because it was senior day with a $1 discount, even though there is also a coupon on the show's website good for $1 off per person any day. This year, however, we had signed Freeway up for training classes (well, really we signed ourselves up) at PetSmart, and the first day of the RV show was also Freeway's first training class. Therefore, the RV show had to wait until Thursday.
Last year when Freeway was just a couple of months old we signed him up for puppy classes at PetSmart. The classes went well, and we all learned a lot. This year, we thought we could use a bit of a brush-up, so we signed up for intermediate classes.
In addition to reinforcing what was learned in the puppy classes, the lessons are taken to a higher level in the intermediate classes. For example, the pups learned sit and stay in puppy class. In the intermediate class, they will learn to sit and stay when there are distractions such as when being tempted by a favorite toy or treat.
As another example of raising the bar, the dogs are taught loose-leash walking in puppy class so the dogs will walk without excessive pulling on the leash. In the intermediate class, they will learn to heel, which is walking closely beside the person on the other end of the leash.
We headed to PetSmart in The Villages on Wednesday morning for the first class. At the beginning of the class, we all introduced ourselves and our dogs. The dogs had a little time to play, then Melanie, the instructor, began a review some of the basic commands we learned in puppy class. We all had an opportunity to ask questions about anything that we were having trouble with. Obviously, if anyone is having trouble with their dog obeying basic commands, things are going to be even worse when those commands are taken to a higher level, so it was a good time to iron out any problems.
Toward the end of the class, Melanie began to lay the groundwork for the heel command, which starts with getting and holding your dog's attention. This is usually done with a treat. The treat is then used to bring the dog to your side in a sitting position.
Getting Freeway into position was a challenge for us because Freeway is not particularly motivated by food. We have spent a small fortune on different types of treats, but we haven't found anything he is absolutely wild about. Melanie suggested using one of Freeway's favorite toys instead of a treat, but Freeway is also finicky about which toy he wants to play with at any given time. The toy that he is playing with one minute can be ignored in favor of another toy the next minute. We definitely have our work cut out for us either finding the right treat to get his attention or guessing which toy he wants to play with. We will need to work on that before the next class.
Thursday morning was overcast with a chance of showers. Radar showed a thin line of rain heading for Tampa from the Gulf of Mexico, but we persevered with our plans to go to the Tampa RV Show and arrived there about 9:30 a.m., which was half an hour after the show opened.
From previous visits to the show, we knew the accessory areas would get very crowded later in the morning, so we headed there first. We were able to take our time and to stop and take a closer look at anything that happened to strike our fancy. Since it wasn't very crowded yet, we were also able to catch a photo of some of the show entertainment as it passed by.
It started sprinkling rain as we headed for the second accessory building toward the back of the fairgrounds, but we took time to stop to take a look at a couple of streamlined, all-fiberglass travel trailers. The model was the Aviator by Forest River. Both trailers on display were about 29 or 30 feet long and had a show price of around $60,000. That's a lot of money for a travel trailer, but they had lots of exras you normally don't find in a trailer like full body paint, ceramic toilets and solid-surface countertops.
It never rained very hard, but as soon as the rain started, so did the wind. We also experienced about a 10º temperature drop so the second half of our time at the show was a bit chilly.
Last year, we stopped to look at several 5th wheels. It's not that we are in the market to buy a new RV, but as our full-time lifestyle matures, we may slow down staying longer at each stop. Since staying longer and moving less seems to better suit a 5th wheel, we looked at a few 5th wheels last year, and we decided to do the same this year.
We stopped to see a Cardinal 5th wheel by Forest River.
The thing that made us notice this particular 5th wheel was the fact it had a front living room. Most 5th wheels have the bedroom in front, but this one had a large living room with two sofas, a huge flat-screen TV and an electric fireplace.
The Cardinal was almost 41' long, had 5 slides, was way heavier than we would want to tow, and was way out of our price range; but it was fun to look.
Last year, we were attracted to 5th wheels by Heartland RV. Their models are advertised as being suitable for full-timers, so we stopped to look again at what they had available.
After leaving Heartland, we checked out the Tiffins. We always like to see the new fabrics and colors and to see if there are any new features.
As we made our way to the show exit, we passed a display of old travel trailers. The Tin Can Tourists is an RV club that was first formed in 1919. Today, members of the club restore, travel in and display vintage RVs. There are also lots of vintage tow vehicles like the red and white 1956 Pontiac station wagon in the photo below.
Visitors could walk by and peer into most of the the trailers, and the owners of the 45-foot, 1950s trailer in the photo below were offering walk-through tours. The trailer, which was originally owned by a circus couple, is in the midst of restoration. Although much, much larger than Margery's grandmother's trailer, it brought back memories of visiting her in the 1950s.
As we headed toward the show exit around noon, we could see the crowds starting to build in spite of the cool temperatures, wind and ongoing threat of rain.
Since Qdoba Mexican Grill is only a hop, skip and a jump from the fairgrounds, we stopped there for lunch on our way back to the motor home where we spent the next several days relaxing.