Our Annual Trip to Louisville: Part 1

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I’m pretty sure I’m the worst blogger ever. Really, I am.

It’s the dastardly pictures-taking thing. I suck at it.


Whenever we go to events with other bloggers around, they’re snapping pictures of EVERYTHING. What they’re eating, who’s around them, which toilet they’re about to sit on…whatever. Clearly, they’re the good bloggers.

Seeing their phones clicking away is good for me though, because then I think, “oh yeah! I should be snapping pictures, too!” And for about 10 seconds, I’m suddenly on top of the whole blogger thing.


Once fellow blogger Kate Mullen stopped to take a pic, I did, too. (still have no clue what we were shooting…)

So, when James said earlier this morning… “Hey! You should write up a recap of our time in Louisville!” I knew I was going to have to face the music. I opened my phone. Besides the 10 pictures that looked like this:


What IS this?!?!

I really only had about 10 pictures from the RVIA show itself. And don’t even BOTHER checking James’ phone. He’s even worse than me about taking pictures.

So let me preface this recap with an apology that I’ve got very little to work with here, so the show itself is about to play a minor role. In fact, just go ahead, bail on me now. Go read a good blog. I wouldn’t blame you one bit.

For the rest of you masochists, let’s get this story rolling.


The show didn’t start until Tuesday, which meant we had 2 days to kill. We spent Sunday at Churchill Downs. And not down on the lower levels with all the jeans clad masses, oh no-ho-ho! We forked it over for the dress-coded highfalutin section that looms high above the track, Millionaire’s Row. And I must say I actually did a bang-up job of getting photos on this day!


We’ve never been at a race track before so the whole betting thing was brand new to us.


You get this book, with ridiculous detail about each horse and you use that to try to make a slightly less uneducated guess on which horse will come out on top. And after we won our first two races, I quickly understood how easily people can get addicted to it.


Since the races last about 5 seconds and happen every 30 minutes, there’s ample time to kill. At some point, we decided to head down to the ground floor to the paddocks, a spot where the horses parade in a tiny little loop before the race so you can see them up close. And who did we run into there?


Chuck and Dean from Pleasure-Way! I guess we weren’t the only ones in town a few days early! Sometimes this world feels very, very small.


While there, we got a text from one of our friends who works for Winnebago. “Just flew in! Let’s meet up for dinner!” The timing was perfect because we were just leaving. So! We headed to a place called Garage Bar in Louisville. The coolest part about this place? The light-up ping pong tables and campfires outside the restaurant!


Plus Garage bar makes its own tonic, and wow. It tastes NOTHING like tonic! I had the best vodka tonic of my life at that joint. Can’t wait to go back next year.


Somehow I was the only female. Also the only one who didn’t gorge on the “ham bar.”

The next day was Monday, and still pre-show. After no exercise all weekend, I spent the morning working out, and since I had nothing else to do, tried to stretch it out as long as I could. James had to work his pesky day job, so he was tethered to his laptop and was unavailable to give me any attention. By noon, I was bored.

I knew the Winnebago gang would be at the show setting up, so I ended up texting them. “I’m bored! Sneak me in and I’ll help you set up!” And this is why I love the Winnebagans:

RVIA show Louisville

Within 15 minutes after texting, I was in! They had to assemble something like 70 tables and 300 chairs…so I started by helping with that. But then SOMEHOW I got myself on sticker duty. Each individual piece of each table and chair had a sticker on it. These were not the nice kinds of stickers that peel off easy. These were the kinds where you scrape and rub and break every single one of your nails; and THEN you remember you didn’t pack an emery board. I MUST have been bored, because I did this for hours, and actually enjoyed it! There’s a pre-show excitement in the air at these things, and it was fun to be involved behind the scenes.

Eventually, James showed up and we snuck him in, too. But by then, there was little left to do in the Winnebago booth. So, James and I set out checking out various rigs around the show.

Winnebago has completely revamped their Era Pufferfish…the floorplan with the slide. They’re now calling it the M, but we call it the Super Pufferfish because we can’t keep their letters straight. We were seeing it for the first time:


It’s pretty sweet. We’ve got footage for a thorough review and an interview about it with Russ Garfin. James should have it edited eventually…although a little nagging from y’all does help speed up the process.  Or so I’ve noticed. Have at it.

We were also curious about the new Coachmen Crossfit, so we made a stop there and snapped this:


And James actually DID get the video done of this one. You can see it HERE. We’re glad to see more options in the Class B market and liked a lot of things about this coach, but do hope they’ll work out the table and bed configuration before going to production.

And lastly, we decided to hike all the way down….what felt like 2 miles…to the far end of the show to where Leisure Travel Vans was set up. Mostly, we were hoping the gang was there so we could say hi. Alas, they weren’t. And we couldn’t even snoop around their rigs! They were locked up! Probably to keep out the nosy media people who snuck in.


It wasn’t a total bust of a hike, though. Because that’s when we spotted Taxa Outdoors setting up right next to the Leisure booth. They’d never been to the show before! We swung in and introduced ourselves.

It was serendipitous. You see, we had agreed to do a Facebook Live video event for GoRVing that happened at the end of Day 1. GoRVing wanted us to discuss something significant or interesting we’d discovered at the show. We knew right then and there it was the arrival of Taxa Trailers.


If you mixed a family tent with a traditional RV trailer, and threw in a dash of space ship, you’d end up with something like one of Taxa’s models…very different from the traditional trailer.


We ended up building our GoRVing live video event around them. We might not have seen them before the live event had we not snuck in!

And that was about it for pre-show festivities. Since this has gotten long, as it always goes with my ramblings, looks like I’ll have to bust this into two posts. I’ll try my best to tell you about the show with the few pictures I have! Just do me a favor.

Don’t get your hopes up.

xoxo Stef

After 15 years as an educator in both the public K-12 setting and the University level in Special Physical Education, Stef made the leap to her true passion… the fitness world. She’s currently a personal trainer and wellness coach specializing in seniors, medical conditions, and injuries. Stef loves running, cycling, and being “Mugga” to her two favorite mini-humans — Punky and Marshmallow. ❤️

    18 thoughts on “Our Annual Trip to Louisville: Part 1

    1. Maggie Graeber

      And guess who is in the March, 2017 Motorhome Magazine page 73, Live from Louisville? None other the Stef and James!!!! Looking good you guys!!! Keep it up! 🙂

        1. Maggie Graeber

          Wow James! Are you slacking? As soon as I saw it, I started screaming for Joe so I could show it to him! Lol!

        2. Stefany - Post author

          I just saw it, too! Too funny. We aren’t even mentioned so I’m extra impressed you spotted us!!! xoxo

    2. Troy in GA

      Here’s another reader eager to see the Era 70M! I’m sure James needs a break from all the Christmas grind by now, right?

    3. Other Steph

      I’ve climbed around the Taxa Cricket quite a bit… but additional questions to the rep went (and have still gone) unanswered. I was half thinking they were going out of business, so decided to hold on buying one last summer as a result. Glad to see they’re still at it!

      Also, I’m curious were all those guys show reps? Are there no lady show reps? Because once you pointed that out I realized I don’t ever see women reps at the shows I’ve attended.

      1. Stefany - Post author

        Yep, you’re right Steph. The RV industry continues to be dominated by men. There ARE women, of course, in all areas of the industry, but just in a much smaller number. I notice that all the time, and continue to get excited each time I see a woman sales rep at a show!

    4. Tom Boles


      Great report from an angle most people don’t think about…The nitty gritty that goes on before the show!

      I have participated in a number of trade shows as an exhibitor and wow, ANY extra hands are always appreciated!

      Glad you had an opportunity to relieve your boredom and have a great time, too!

      I hope we see more notes from you in the future!

      1. Stefany - Post author

        Thanks, Tom! Yep, and Winnebago’s booth was so involved, with a stage, two VIP sections with hired models checking for wristbands to enter, office areas, etc….in the next post I’ll try to put up some pictures…it’s amazing the work that goes into setting up for this show! There wasn’t a booth as uniquely designed as Winnebago’s at the show.

    5. leia

      I lived in Louisville for many years so this blog entry brings back memories. Is the ham bar at the Garage Bar? My husband would love a ham bar. Our son lives across the river so perhaps we’ll check it out on our next trip to Southern Indiana/Louisville. Also, thanks for the quick add of the Crossfit review!

      1. Stefany - Post author

        Hi Leia! Yes, the Ham Bar is one of the quirky things you’ll find at Garage Bar restaurant! I don’t eat pork, so didn’t try it, but James did and loved it! I definitely recommend a stop here; it’s such a unique place!


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