Day At The Show

Of course it would be nice to have an RV.  But it’s just not something I feel comfortable dealing with.  It’s a big, scary commitment. Admittedly, I have about 80 pounds of literature about campers, pop ups, RV’s fifth wheels, all of them!  I lean toward the toy haulers, and I’ve been pondering making a purchase for about 10 years. But I am afraid to be responsible to pull some giant trailer.  I have no confidence in being able to maintain one.  I don’t know what I don’t know.  I do know that whatever I would end up with, I would be completely on my own with dealing with it, and when it gets right down to it, I’d rather spend that time doing something less stressful.  I have endless lists of unrealistic fears about owning and caring for an RV.  I’m not an electrician, or a heater cooler guy, or a plumber, or a carpenter, or a mechanic, and it seems to me that everything about an RV requires you to be all of those things.  I’ve thought about this for years.

 

Tents are so easy.

 

Tents are so flexible.

 

Tents are so maintenance free.

 

I know what to do with a tent, no matter what, and don’t need any help.

 

But sure, I’ll go to the RV Show at the Florida State Fair Grounds and look.  I’m really good at looking, done it for years! Dennis and Buddy say it’s the biggest show in the country. Sounds like fun, so Carol, Dennis, Lois, Buddy and I get in Buddy’s car and go.

 

We pull into the Florida State Fair Grounds and in front of us is a field of motor homes, as far as the eye can see. Rows and rows of 53 foot long homes on wheels.  Beautifully painted ‘coaches’ that must cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.  What it must cost just to put gas in those rigs, well, I’d need to be someone else, doing something else, indeed. And next to them are smaller motor coaches, fifth wheels, RV’s, and pull behinds.  So many makes and models my mouth drops open. 

 

Dennis says, “you think this is something, wait till we get inside!”  Oh my, you mean this isn’t the show?  These are just people who want to sell their rig!  I am amazed.

 

Of course, the one day weather predictions call for wind, rain, cold and blowing is the day we go to the show  We park, we walk into a main building and the first thing we see are the “by appointment only” motor coaches that start at over $500,000.00, and climb to 1.5 million or so. Wow. Again, I’d need to be someone else, doing something else, indeed.

 

We pass through that building quickly, hit the outdoors, and main exhibit area.  There are trolley cars running groups of people around the show.  It’s that big.  We start wandering the isles.  Lois is telling me I need a Toy Hauler (wow, she is right on!).  Dennis is telling me it’s time for me to upgrade from sleeping on the ground and get away from the raccoons.  Buddy is telling me I will know when it’s time. I will just know.  Carol, is remaining politically correct and not commenting.  I’ve spent at least 10 years going to the Minneapolis RV show.  I can get in and out of every unit on display at that show in about 3 hours.  No way could I do that here. But, I’m sliding into the “Oh, look at this one!” mode and before long, I’m in and out of RVs, sitting on couches, looking at cupboard space, reading the weights and lengths, and saying “nope, nope, nope”.

 

And then…….there it was.

 

Like a vision Rugged, yet soft, functional, yet fun, huge, yet understated, and in colors that would really compliment my truck…my future Toy Hauler.  “Hello my baby, my sweet functional machine, I am digging you”!  I was drawn to it.  I walked up the ramp.  I sat.  I touched. I opened and closed things.  Lois appeared at my side.  “This is what you need.”

“Oh, my dear, yes, you are so right”.  I see me loading the 4 wheeler. I see me under the awing, on the side of some hill, overlooking the valley of deer I’m hunting.  I see me and the kids curled up on the couch, set up alongside the lake, looking out the window, watching the waves crash to shore.

 

Oh yeah, this is my Toy Hauler.  Where has this baby been all my life?

 

“You guys, we gotta go, we gotta keep moving.”  I gasp.  “Come on, we gotta go.”  Dennis is laughing, and looks over to the sales people—starts getting information.  Buddy joins him.  They start getting specifics.  The manufacturer VP is on site.  He is talking about the details of the construction, and why it’s better.  They are offering a special at the show.  They are pointing to me.  “She’s the one looking”.  Buddy says.

 

“You guys, we gotta go, we gotta keep moving.”  I gasp.  “Come on, I gotta go.” And I take off.

 

Dennis proceeds to tease me about my new Toy Hauler for the next hour.  I am making an earnest effort to look at every other type of rig I can.   They are all great. They are all much fancier, and actually less expensive. They are all not for me.  Dennis and Buddy are assuring me that my irrational fears are just that.  And my truck would have no problem pulling that Toy Hauler. 

 

It starts to rain, we scramble to get under the nearest awning.  I decide to play the “find the button” game and go find all of the booths that are giving out one of the 12 unique buttons required to win a great prize.  The wind picks up, the rain picks up, and my group holes up inside a Toy Hauler that is four times the cost of my sweet unit from the morning. The show is becoming a ghost town, people fleeing for cover all around us. It has become downright cold in Florida.

 

But I press on, and dash from trailer to trailer in the rain, and mange to get into every button holder on the premises.  I manage to see another couple dozen pull behinds that are all beautiful, detailed, reasonably priced, but, well, just not for me.  I keep thinking back to that Toy Hauler.  There has never been one like that in Minnesota in all the years I’ve looked.

 

Lois calls me.  “Where are you?  We’re freezing, we want to go.” I find my way back to them.  Before we leave I have to check in with my buttons and find out what kind of prize I won.  What a coincidence, the check point is down by the Toy Hauler booth. 

 

I check in to the button station, and have one a T-shirt.  Great.  Not quite the TV I was hoping for, but great.

 

Dennis continues teasing me about my new Toy Hauler.  Buddy says I’ll never find all that for that price anywhere else. We arrive to the booth.  I am immediately drawn back in.  Oh it would be so foolish and irresponsible to make a giant purchase right now. 

 

Or would it?

 

The guys are negotiating with the sales manager and manufacturer.  What would it take?  We are all making it crystal clear that I am an absolute newbie, I know nothing about these rigs, in fact I don’t know what I don’t know, and I need to be taught every single thing that all RV owners take for granted.  I am completely ignorant.  I cannot just drive off into the sunset with this Toy Hauler and call it safe.  I need massive amounts of training and assistance.  With it, I can promote this toy hauler.

 

They can give me that training and assistance. 

And I need a screen porch, and a TV and DVD player, and a list of other things…

They can give me those things.

 

I am in the golf cart with the sales manager, heading to the paperwork booth.  I am in the booth, for 45 minutes, filling out paperwork. My credit is good.  I’ve signed my name about 50 times.  Then it’s back to the Toy Hauler, where my friends are patiently waiting. 

 

I stand before them, the proud owner of a 28 ½ foot long Riverside Travel Trailer 24RPM Toy Hauler.

 

Am I dreaming?

 

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