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Yes finally. The conclusion to this exciting saga. I know the two of you who read my articles (hi mom and dad) have been waiting with baited breath.
The RVIA show always begins with a big fancy breakfast kick-off complete with guest speakers and fireworks. Actually there were no fireworks. But it DID start, yet again, at stupid-thirty in the morning. Since James and I are both pretty bad at mornings, this poses a yearly challenge. Last year we arrived so late we got to hold up a wall off to the side in the back of the banquet hall. This year, I’m proud to say, was a totally different story.
Truma sponsored the breakfast kick-off and it so happens they like us. Remember in blog part 1 when I mentioned we snuck in the show on set-up day? I left out something. We ran into some of our Truman pals as they were setting up their booth during our sneak-around. They invited us to sit with them at the breakfast….in the VIP tables! As the show sponsors, they had the tables up front and center! THAT was the motivation we needed to get there on time.
On time. At the VIP tables. Yep, we were off to a good start.
After a few various important people spoke, the keynote was given by Captain “Sully” Sullenberger; and wow. Hearing him retell the story of how he safely guided US Airways Flight 1549 to an emergency landing in the Hudson River gave me chills. THAT woke me up.
After that, we beelined for the Coachmen booth. Coachmen was displaying their brand new campervan…the Crossfit, and y’all already saw the fruits of those labors.
I can usually last a good two hours on a video session but then I start wilting. James recognizes the early signs of my “wilt” quite well. First, I shrink about two inches. Second, my voice lowers. And third, my eyes dart around, desperately seeking the nearest escape hatch that will lead me to coffee. If James doesn’t get his act together and wrap up videotaping during those early signs, Scary Stef emerges. Lucky for him, he finished up quickly on the Crossfit footage and I happily skipped my way to Winnebago and their complimentary coffee bar.
Winnebago has the booth of all booths at the RVIA show. There are two VIP sections on raised platforms so important guests (and also me and James) can lord over the commoners down below while sipping lattes or eating ice-cream. They even had a stage set up and the top dogs gave Ted-like talks during the show. Even though James and I were all over the show, we always gravitated back to the Winnebagans.
Here’s the new CEO Mike Happe talking on stage…I took this from inside the VIP area with the espresso bar! Too bad they didn’t hire a “Ted” as CEO. Then it would REALLY be a “Ted-Talk”! Alas, this is a “Mike-Talk”, leaving me no material for something funny to say about it.
Winnebago DID surprise us with a dark red Travato on display. But don’t get too excited, I’m not sure it’s going to become an available option. They brought it to get dealer feedback.
We nabbed Godfather Garfin to pose with us with his new red rig. Of the 5 pics the passerby snapped for us, this was the worst. I’m trying to start a new trend in the blogger world…I’m calling it the Bad Pictures Movement. (What is wrong with me?!?)
I’ve got no clue what the dealers thought about the dark red, but wouldn’t that be a super cool option? (…this said from she who drives a screaming yellow Travato…)
At the end of Day 1, we had agreed to do a Facebook Live Event for GoRVing. If you’re not familiar, GoRVing is the media side of RVIA. We like to explain GoRVing as sort of the “Got Milk” of the RV industry. I occasionally write for their blog and do various collaborations with them throughout the year. For the FB Live Event, they wanted us to talk about something noteworthy we’d noticed from the show. We ended up talking about Taxa Trailers showing up, and how excited we are to see outdoorsy campers like these entering the RV world. I hope you’ll go check out Taxa Trailers. We’re rooting for big success for them. They’re paving the way for a new generation of campers and you can bet we’ll be watching.
While filming the Facebook video, we could see a party going on next store at the Leisure Travel Vans booth. So guess where we headed after wrapping up?
Fancy finger foods, complimentary cocktails…why can’t ALL RV shows be as luxurious as RVIA?!?! Dean was in typical Dean form, immediately giving us crap for not stopping sooner, how James must have stopped working out, how I’m probably there to bitch about his table…
Our friendship with Dean Corrigal from Leisure Travel Vans is probably our oldest friendship in the RV industry. We came on his radar after James and I had made a video of one of the LTV rigs, and I said I didn’t love the dinette table. It wasn’t even all that negative! We met in person after that video at an RV show and as we walked towards him to introduce ourselves he said, “you’re those Fit RV people who hate my table!” We ended up filming Dean and me doing a rebuttal video where he got to explain how the table had been totally revamped. He was pacified and the friendship began. But he hasn’t let me live down that table diss ever since. In fact just to mess with him, if you see him at a show, tell him you just watched the video where I said I hated the table. OMG SOMEONE PLEASE DO IT!
We ended up getting footage for a video review of the Wonder so expect that any day now. I won’t get too detailed since you can watch the video, but my oh my that Murphy bed system is just brilliant. (…though even if it weren’t I’d be scared to tell you; Dean would probably show up at my door for another rebuttal video.)
And quite possibly some of the most fun to be had happens AFTER the RVIA show closes up. There are parties and functions galore in the evenings. The Trumans nabbed us one night and took us to this upscale Brazilian steakhouse in the trendy part of downtown Louisville. There were about 20 of us and the Trumans had a private room. If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend having dinner with a room full of Germans. There was no rush, and we spent a couple hours chatting over food and drinks, with no one in a hurry to be anywhere else. Definitely a cultural difference from our American eat-it-and-beat-it ways. I found it refreshing.
The final day of the show was my birthday. I suspect this is why James insists we attend this show each year; gets him off the hook. Well, not totally. In an attempt to TRY to be thoughtful, James bought me a few birthday presents from the corner gas station.
Umm, thanks for the doo-rag, bag of balloons, and the mini-speaker, honey? Am I the luckiest girl on the planet, or what.
He did redeem himself by giving me this:
I’ve been wanting a double cable stack to replace the single I have in my home gym for ages…James is happy with what we’ve got, and has been using clever redirection tactics each time I bring up the subject. Therefore this is a very welcomed post-it note.
So, yeah, that was pretty much it for the highlights of our time at the RVIA show. Despite having only a few pictures from the show, somehow I managed to pull this story off!
Our next RV show will be the big one in Tampa in January. A totally different beast from the RVIA show for sure, but we’re looking forward to it since we’ve never been to that one before. We’ve even agreed to lead some sessions on healthy RVing in the Winnebago booth! If you’ll be around the Tampa area, hope you’ll swing in and say hi.
Hope y’all are having a great holiday season!