Have you ever been to an RV Show?
If you are interested in RVs, looking to buy an RV, or already own one, RV Shows are a great place to:
- Dream about camping in comfort and style
- Learn about RVs, compare types and models and prices
- Explore all of the accessories, memberships, and camping possibilities
- Research everything you could possibly hope to find out about RVs.
If you’re not interested in RVs, not looking to buy, and don’t plan on ever owning one, RV Shows are a great place to:
- Pass time on a rainy day (if it’s an indoor show)
- Pass time on a sunny day, if you need to get out of the house
- Discover you just might be more interested in RVs than you thought.
Fair Warning: Be careful meandering around, passing time at an RV show. Whether you are seriously interested in buying an RV, maybe just dreaming about RV Life, or not even thinking about ever owning an RV at all: Before you know it, you could be driving away from an RV dealership on one of the biggest adventures of your life…
It all starts at the RV Show.
1) Atlanta RV Show – January 2019
RV Newbies & Looky-Loos – Passing Time
Our first RV show was a distraction.
We were in the midst of scary upheaval and transition: After 25 years building our careers and raising our family in Atlanta, GA… we were moving back home to Seattle, WA. To help my mom. We hadn’t figured out all of the pieces yet.
We ended up at the Atlanta RV Show, in the Convention Center by the mall, to get out of the way while a real estate agent showed our townhouse.
We wandered around, touring the various vehicles and configurations. It was fun, and interesting. We were intrigued by the very low monthly payments listed with the prices.
Could you actually live in one of these things?
We weren’t serious at all, but it was a good way to get out of the house for a couple of hours.
And we learned RV stuff!
What’s a Fifth Wheel? Okay, what’s a Class A?
At that first show, we learned the distinctions, and price differences, between the different types of RVs:
- Travel Trailers: Smaller pull-behinds you tow with a regular car or truck. Generally least expensive.
- 5th Wheels: More elaborate trailers that hitch into the back of the pickup bed of a more powerful full-sized truck. More expensive than Travel Trailers, but generally not as expensive as a motorized RV (Class A, B, or C) – until you consider and include the cost of the more powerful and well-equipped tow vehicle.
- Class A Motorhome: Full-sized RVs where you sit and drive in the front, and have full access to the entire living area behind you while you are traveling down the road. Class A Motorhomes are built on heavy-duty frames, typically on a commercial bus or semi-truck chassis. These can be the most expensive RVs to purchase and maintain, because they are all-in-one.
- Class B Motorhome: Smallest and generally least expensive motorized RVs, these are built on a van chassis, and are called van conversions, RV vans, or Camper Vans. As small as they are, Class B Motorhomes can still be quite high-end and luxurious.
- Class C Motorhome: This is kind of a hybrid mix of Class A and Class B, with the distinctive appearance of a truck cab, with accessible RV living areas above and extended behind the driver’s cabin. Class C Motorhomes are built on a truck or van chassis, making them smaller and easier to maneuver intown and in campgrounds and national parks than larger Class A Motorhomes.
2) Seattle RV Show – February 2020
You can’t get to Hawaii in an RV…
One year later… another distraction.
We were living in a high-rise condo, downtown Seattle, by the Space Needle. Within a short bus commute to Russ’s new office. A ferry ride away from my mom.
Everything had worked out for the cross-country move. We were happily settled in a two-year lease to figure out where we wanted to buy a home and settle back in the Seattle area.
After 30 years on the east coast, we’d kind of forgotten, or at least minimized, the annual impact of the Great Gray Rainy Season in the Pacific Northwest.
February 6, 2020
Another Gray Rainy in Seattle. Clearly, we are going to be planning sunny vacations in February every year to survive this.
And we had. That very weekend, we were supposed to be traveling to HAWAII, for two weeks, to visit our Active Duty Navy Son and his lovely fiancée in Honolulu.
We had it all planned out and paid for: airline tickets, hotel, time on the beach and with the kids. Sun!!!☀️ 🏝
–> The week before: unexpected deployment on the ship, leaving anytime. Destination, purpose and duration of mission: unknown.
–> That’s all the info and notice they get sometimes.
–> We had to postpone all the arrangements. I was devastated.
And in Seattle, the Great Gray Rainy just kept on giving.
So we went to the indoor RV Show downtown Seattle, in the Convention Center by the football stadium.
I do feel bad, in retrospect, about my attitude at that show. Every time someone greeted us and asked how they could help us, I glumly replied:
“Well, we’re supposed to be in Hawaii.”
I really wasn’t there to look at RVs. It was something to do to pass the time. A distraction.
We looked at 5th Wheels, Class A Motorhomes, and Vintage Travel Trailers, which we thought were pretty cool.
RV Vertigo? Motion sickness at the RV show
PROBLEM: By the end of the day, after walking in & out of the show models, up & down the stairs to each RV, and touring the interiors, which were sometimes on two or more levels (some 5th Wheels)… I was dizzy and nauseous.
Turns out (later, after mentioning it to my doctor at a routine visit a couple weeks later), I suffer from a common form of vertigo: BPPV.
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is one of the most common causes of vertigo — the sudden sensation that you’re spinning or that the inside of your head is spinning. BPPV causes brief episodes of mild to intense dizziness. It is usually triggered by specific changes in your head’s position. Source: www.mayoclinic.org
Well, that could be interesting, trying to travel in an RV with BPPV.
Fortunately, I didn’t think it would ever be a problem: We’re just looking, thank you.
Passing time at the RV Show.
“We’re supposed to be in Hawaii.”
Never suspecting, by the end of the year…
3) Tacoma RV Show – August 2020
RV Beginners Buying First RV
Our Anniversary Weekend (#32 ❤️ ).
Almost six months into pandemic lockdowns and restrictions in Seattle…
We couldn’t do any of the things we wanted to do: Hawaii, Mexico, or even just an Anniversary Getaway at a luxury hotel resort in the San Juan Islands…
We were limited, at that phase of the pandemic, to road trips, safe in the comfort and isolation of our own vehicle. With our own snacks, masks, wipes, and hand sanitizer.
So we went to the RV Show
The outdoor RV Show at the Tacoma Dome, an hour’s drive south of Seattle.
Apparently, we are somehow cosmically drawn to these things, in times of stress, boredom, or disappointment, with nothing else to do: Go look at expensive tiny homes on wheels!
But this time was different.
RV YouTube & Thoughts of ESCAPE
As I’ve mentioned before (see RV YouTube Superstars), Russ started the full-time RV dream and adventure long before I did. During the early days of the pandemic, he started watching random YouTube videos by people doing this RV thing.
I assumed it was the boredom of isolation during the long months of lockdown in Seattle. I didn’t pay much attention. At first.
By August 2020, we were both watching the RV YouTube videos.
We were looking for an escape.
Becoming First Time RV Buyers
That third RV Show, outdoors in a parking lot at the Tacoma Dome, was the first time I (Sherri) have ever walked up into an RV (Class A Motorhome) and immediately felt… at home.
I could do this.
It was a 2015 Entegra Aspire, with a lot of miles and some wear & tear.
I fell in love with the space, the layout and design, the colors.
By the end of the weekend, we were seriously considering this thing. We put down a deposit, researched financing and storage, RV inspections and insurance.
Thank God that deal fell through. With timing and circumstance, we just couldn’t get it done.
That 2015 Entegra Aspire was a starting point in searching for our unicorn RV. (The thing so perfect, you wonder if it actually exists in the world.)
We found it — Her — less than a month later. Researching online and in RV Trader, we found our unicorn RV: a 2016 Entegra Aspire 40P with less than 5,000 miles, in near-perfect condition (which we would triple-verify) – at a dealership in Orlando, FL.
You know what happened then…
All it took was 3 RV Shows and we were hooked
A year and a half later, January 2022: We attended our 4th RV Show: The Florida RV SuperShow in Tampa, as RV Owners, six months into our full-time RV living, working and traveling adventure. Once again, attending the RV Show changed our lives. We abruptly changed our planned travel schedule and reservations, to head out to San Diego, CA.
That’s a whole ‘nother story, for another time.
All of this to say: Be careful meandering around, passing time at an RV show. Whether you are seriously interested in buying an RV, maybe just dreaming about RV Life, or not even thinking about ever owning an RV at all: Before you know it, you could be driving away from an RV dealership on one of the biggest adventures of your life.
3 RV Shows & The Slippery Slope to Suddenly Owning a 40-foot Motorhome
This article was about our first tentative ventures to RV Shows, and how “just passing time” can end up changing your life!
We hope you enjoyed the article and are inspired and interested to attend an RV Show near you to check it all out. No purchase required, really! (But you just never know…)
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