When the Florida RVTA invited us to the Supershow in Tampa, FL we had no idea what to expect, we had never been to an RV show and this was the biggest, grandest show in the entire country, drawing in over 50,000 people last year!
We were asked to do a little PR about life in an RV, a Live TV appearance on Fox Ch 13 in Tampa with Charley Belcher and an interview with Tampa Bay Times Reporter, Terry Tomalin, who by the way wrote a pretty epic book about a whole slew of amazing adventures in FL called, “Everyday Adventures: A Florida Outdoors Guide”. Rowdy mentioned it was his birthday and Terry FedExed the book overnight to him … signed, with a note! We are now big Terry Tomalin fans. See the article here: http://www.tampabay.com/sports/outdoors/more-people-can-live-in-an-rv-than-you-think/2161382 We never did see the link to the TV story!! 🙂 But here’s a photo of Charley! ha ha
Now, an RV Show is packed with vendors (outdoor rugs, RV campgrounds, cleaning chemicals, food processors, vacuums, RV Clubs, like AmeriGo …) RV dealers and manufacturers, and lots of food vendors. There are seminars on topics such as RV Maintenance and RV buying tips, etc. And this particular RV Supershow lived up to it’s name by all kids standards because there was a KID SECTION! No joke. There was a climbing wall, bounce house and slide and a rodeo area complete with motorized animals that the kids control! What a blast, but more on this later!
We were able to camp right on the fairgrounds with full hook-ups … water, sewer and electricity, which was awesome. Dan was able to get a lot of work done in the morning, the kids knocked school out really early and the rest of the day we were free to walk — or ride around, as Dave K. was able to snag a golf cart for us! This was truly the kids favorite part. It was not, however, the favorite part of some of the elderly ladies who wore STAFF T’s!! Apparently we were having a little too much fun, laughing a little too loud for their enjoyment, but that’s always the case!! 🙂
There was also a huge field right near us where the kids drove their RC cars, played tag and in the evening they tore it up with Kick-the-can, Sardines, and the most epic game of dodgeball tag ever known! In fact, it was so epic, and so competitive that Kady twisted her ankle and we ended up in the ER a few nights later … luckily it was only sprained and not broken!!! And then add in free coffee and donuts every morning and it was a week made for us!!!
We were really looking forward to the show. We couldn’t wait to see all the designs, the interiors, etc from the top RV manufacturers. The absolute first thing we did when we entered the RV Show was to make a fast and furious beeline to our top three favorite RV manufacturers. Epicness isn’t even a sufficient word! Huge, full of seating & amazingly luxurious interiors left us drooling. From gold sinks to washers & dryers to master beds that convert to sofas to dishwashers to 1.5 baths to actual bathtubs to induction cooktops to walk-in closets … you know, all the things that would make our lives so much easier … these RV’s had it all. We were even approached by one RV manufacturer who was eager to make a deal and offer us a custom RV for dealer cost. Oh, I wish!!
First stop was Newmar where we visited with the Newmar Rep’s … we even scored a free lunch from Chik-fil-A – mega winning (thanks Matt & Pam)!! Here’s a couple photos from the inside of the King Aire. My jaw about hit the floor when we walked in … seriously! After touring these, we signed up for a test drive and Dan drove the Newmar Dutch Star around for a bit and he said it was sugar!! Check out the interior of the King Aire, it was beautiful and Oh, so my style. Modern, clean lines, bright and really really spectacular!
Then we had the pleasure of touring the Dynamax RV’s. I thought of all the families who email saying they are dying to get out on the road and thought the Dynamax DX3 was an option. It’s a triple slideout with 2 really large sofas, a fireplace with a TV over head and another huge TV in behind the cockpit. It had wood floors, epic for families with kids and then there was also carpet on one side, to give the cozy feel. It was really wide and spacious and I loved the fireplace … it gave it a real home feel! The only issue I had was the door was behind the driver, which for our family and our insane children does NOT work. I’m terrified one of them would open the door while driving, so the only RV I would even consider for us would be those with the only exit being up in the passenger seat and the driver seat!! The listed show price for this RV was $237,588.
Next up was Brody’s love … the Showhauler. I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with the son of the original owner of showhauler and these guys are a class act. I think the Showhauler is a badass looking RV. It is tough looking and give the feel it could go wherever we needed it to go!! It is awesome because the exterior gives the impression its a stout hauler, but the interior felt posh. Definitely more on the masculine side for my taste, but I know, from talking to them that they will customize to a customers specifications. I mean, check out this bad boy …
Then we checked out the Winnebago’s and I took photos of the Forza. Winnebago calls this their pleasantly priced RV and at $189,887 I have to agree. The one we toured was light and bright inside, it had laminate flooring throughout, a nice sofa, dinette, TV and fireplace (I love those fireplaces) in the cabin and then another bonus dinette in the rear. The kids thought this was awesome because they dubbed it the interrogation room, see photo below! 🙂
We even sauntered into the Prevost arena. Jaw dropping. These bus conversions are massive and quite easy on the eye. However, I could never EVER see us in one! Why? Well, for one, the interior was so ritzy it bordered on gaudy and the employees were nothing short of rude, I guess we didn’t appear to be their average clientele, but neither did anyone else running around there. I mean seriously, can you imagine how wealthy one must be to sink $2.4 million into an RV? I saw $500,000 RV’s that I thought were equally amazing and they were a whopping $2 million less!! There are starving children, there are kids with cancer and life-threatening illnesses, there are kids with debilitating illnesses whose lives could be changed drastically by that leftover 2 million and it’s not as though one would be sacrificing by any means!!! But I’ll hop off the soapbox.
Now ya’ll know we are a hardcore RV family, trailers aren’t really our thing because we don’t stay stationary for long. I mean in 20 months we put 42,000 miles on our rig, so travel is our life, hence an RV makes much more sense — for ease of travel, for us and for the kids. But, some of the trailers we saw blew our minds! No joke! Like full on great rooms with huge flatscreen TV’s and fireplaces, bunks, bathtubs and outdoor kitchens — even bathrooms accessible from the outdoors, which family travelers will appreciate seeing that the kids would really never have to enter the trailer, I mean like NEVER! Just kidding … sort of.
I took photos of my favorite trailer, the Forest River 8312 SS and if we were in the market for a trailer, I think this would have to be on the top of my list simply because of the bathtub (I do miss bathtubs) and the fully equipped outdoor kitchen. Of course there were other more elaborate trailers that had full on great rooms and huge kitchens, but for our size family and the amenities this trailer had … it would be my pick. Plus the price was enticing at $35, 989!!
The Florida RV Supershow was a fabulous experience for our entire family. We are well known for having the uncanny ability to have fun anywhere, but we didn’t even have to try to have a blast here, the Supershow made sure it was enjoyable for everyone. On Saturday and Sunday there was a kid area — a FREE kid play area!!
There was a climbing wall, staffed by some really fun young guys; a little rodeo area with mechanical animals that the kids could ride around and around and control completely. This was staffed by the happiest, smiliest, most kid friendly guy I’ve ever met. Seriously, when the kids crashed into the fence, which ALL the kids did, he wrote them a fake ticket and laughed as he guided them away from the fence. When they crashed into each other, which they inevitably did, he wrote them a fake ticket and gave them a high five. When they crashed into him, which happened every 5 seconds, he laughed out loud and wrote them a fake ticket. Never did he not appear to be absolutely thrilled to be there. Never did he look frustrated. He was fantastic and I wish I got his name, because the people running the Show need to know about him!! He stood in the middle of the ring and gave high 5’s to every kid as they precariously circled him!! God Bless him!!
And then, our favorite … two bouncy houses and a crazy fast bouncy slide, brought to us by Jumpy King!! If you live in the Tampa area, I would highly suggest you check these guys out. Their bouncy house and their huge slide is made for adults and kids alike. Dan and I loved it and Elly loved it … what an amazing birthday party, anniversary party, family reunion, whatever!! We spent several hours laughing it up on these things Sat and Sun! And the guy who owns it was awesome. Three rules: Don’t kill anyone or yourself, Go down the slide feet first and Wait until the person before you is out of the way. Love that! No micromanaging of the fun. Just rules to keep safe. My kind of guy!!
Hi. I am looking into selling our home and going on the road. We are a family of 7 and 2 dogs. Your family is inspiring as all hell, and after 7 years of my talking about hitting the road, my wife sees one video of your family and she’s ready. Our question is about RV’s and gear and trying not to get bogged down with stuff we don’t need. any info you can give would be greatly appreciated.
Hey Chris, Thanks a ton!! We are excited for your new adventure!! I’d love to help you out, just narrow down your question a bit. LOL!! I could write 5 novels on what you wrote above!! 🙂
The Houston RV show is this week. We are hoping to go again. Considering we are still dreamers, we absolutely love looking at all the possibilities. have a blast where ever you all this week!
Awww, I wish they invited us … would love to see you guys again!!! As you know, prayer has miraculous results! Waiting for our own burning bush! :)))
I want an RV so bad! I showed my mom and dad your web site, your you tube and your face book page. They said, “This looks like a great family experment.” Oh my gosh, thank you! i love you guys!
We are contemplating this lifestyle change. My wife, surprisingly, is 100% eager. I’m the hold out. How do I throw away everything I’ve worked so hard for? I will have nothing to show for my efforts over the last 20 years. This is a hurdle I can’t jump. Advice?
I will email you Richard, but what you will to show for it is children (if you have them) who have a plethora of memories WITH you and your wife! They won’t remember the things, I know this for a fact.
We live in Tampa, we saw the article about your family. You are very blessed to be living a life so full of all the things you love. Many blessings on the road. Stay safe.
This has always been a dream of ours and now that we are in our 60’s we are hoping to bring it to fruition with our children and grandchildren in tow. We will be competing against you for the most people in an RV. I think we will win by 2. Many blessings and here’s to hoping our paths cross soon.
What a fun blog. You guys are so amazing.
I love you guys. I love you so much. Everything you do is fun and full of love.
This new design is spectacular, I love it! You most certainly know how to keep a reader entertained.
Between your wit and your videos, I was almost
moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Great job.
It sounds like you had a great time in Tampa, at a trade show, where no-one really has any fun at all. Your family is very special. Carry on. Myrtis
My spouse and I stumbled over here by a different website and thought I should check things out. I
like what I see, you are an interesting family.
If you haven’t already written a blog about this, can you give any advice on picking the right RV for those on a budget and with a small family? We are looking at Class C Motor homes. I’ve heard good and bad about practically every RV manufacturer and I’m more confused than ever on which ones are best for reliability and longevity. We are not mechanics or very handy at all, so we really need a used RV that isn’t going to be a money pit or have a ton of mechanical issues. Can you speak to this at all? Thanks!
I really wish we’d been able to make it across the state to the RV Show to meet your family, but it wasn’t in the cards. Hopefully we will get another chance soon. God Bless you all, safe travels.
I wish I’d known you were in Tampa, we would have come to meet you. Will you be there next year?
We Have A Plan Of taking Things On The Road In A Year Or Two. But, How Do We Accomplish This Goal? Any Advice Is Welcome. We Homeschool Now.
Stay motivated!! Read blogs, watch videos, subscribe to travel magazines … whatever it is that got you motivated to make this your goal, keep up with that motivation. If you can keep your motivation, you can reach ANY goal!! 🙂
I just read this and I can’t believe you were in Tampa and I didn’t know it. I love your family and everything you stand for. Keep on truckin!
Are you coming again this year? I’d love to come meet you.
So upset you were here and I didn’t even know it. You should have a page on your website that shows where you will be so all of us out here who want to meet you can plan!