RV SuperShow Day 1

Day 1 at the Tampa RV SuperShow done.

We spent roughly six hours at the show yesterday. A few observations to share with you.

We walked. And walked. And kept walking. Roughly 18,000 steps. By no means did we cover the entire show. If you come out to the event, be sure to bring some comfortable footwear.

We dehydrated. Unlike last year, when the temperatures were quite cool, the weather this week is quite warm. The winds were very still and it was very hot and humid yesterday. Coupled with a lot of walking and we dehydrated quickly. We will be carrying a lot more bottled water with us when we wander out today.

We kept bumping into YouTubers. My, my. They are out in full force at the show. You can easily spot them. They are the ones walking around holding a selfie stick, talking to their cameras. They have been busily posting content on their YouTube channels. Some are high profile with lots of followers, others are hoping to gain more followers. I follow most of them online. A bit odd to see them in the physical world.

Might just be my own observation, but most of the new product from the RV industry looks, well more cheaply made than before. We noticed this as we went through the various manufacturers. Even this ForeTravel at $1 million had a few misses.

I found several examples of poor quality in that coach including a badly hung door, malfunctioning cabinets, rough grout work and this screw wedged into the slide out mechanism on the floor. Not something I would expect to find in a million dollar coach.

The crowds yesterday built up around 10am and people started leaving the show in large numbers around 3pm. When Lorraine and I returned to the show late in the afternoon, the crowds had literally disappeared. That was the perfect time to walk through coaches and visit the exhibitor booths.

Aside from bumping into YouTubers, we kept bumping into fellow travellers at the show. This happened to us last year as well. We spent a fair amount of time just catching up with old friends as we walked through the show.

What did I buy? I was asked this question many, many times yesterday. Sure, there are all sorts of deals to be made at the show. But we are not here shopping. Yes, there are a few items I would like to get for the coach. We’d like a name sign. We’ve been meaning to get one made for several years now. Perhaps we will finally get one this year. I’d like to get a portable shade for the driver’s side window. The sun visor on my driver’s side window has regulatory limits which means that my arm gets scorched when driving the coach with the sun on that side. Magna Shade has a portable sunshade that you can stick to the window and it would provide better sun protection when driving while leaving the mirror still readily visible. We’d like to get some underbody LEDs to provide a glow to the coach. And a floor mat for the front cockpit. Along with a few other odds and ends. But no new coach. I did not see anything in our price range that compels me to trade in the coach. Especially now that we seem to have most of the bugs worked out.

Newmar had their executives out in full force to the show this year. Likely still trying to calm everyone down about the Winnebago acquisition. Matt Miller was quite visible and accessible at the Newmar booth yesterday. Although things seem to be pretty much the same with Newmar, I have noticed a few unique additions to the Newmar website. Like this new link in the footer section:

Well, if you are focused on producing shareholder value, I guess you need to include a link to your corporate Investor Relations page from your recent acquisition’s website.

We’ll be chatting with the Newmar execs later this morning. I expect to hear the same company line: we are still Newmar and we will still operate as we did before.

The buildings do get much busier with the warmer weather. Attendees seek refuge from the heat. We found it was best to visit the booths first thing in the morning or late in the day when the crowds have thinned.

Looking forward to spending more time at the show today.

The Bug

I try to avoid it. Really. I do. I wash my hands frequently. I take my vitamins. I even remember to eat the occasional vegetable or two each day. But, every once in a while, it happens.

3 days coming.

3 days staying.

3 days leaving.

Here is what it is like being on the road with the flu. Day 1 and Day 2. I spent most of the day on the couch. I was completely knocked out.

My wonderful golden never left my side. At least I don’t think she did. I was passed out for most of those two days so I would not have noticed if she had wandered away.

This bug came on quickly. I felt feverish. Severe muscle aches. Extreme fatigue. Awful headache. Coughing. Runny nose. Probably one of the worst ones to hit me in quite some time.

We were still at Walt Disney World when I first became infected. Thankfully we had decided to stop at Bay Lake Motorcoach Resort for a few days on our way out to the Tampa RV SuperShow. Bay Lake Motorcoach Resort is only a 30-minute drive from Fort Wilderness. We left Disney on Saturday morning. I was beginning to experience the symptoms but still able to operate the coach safely.

If we had left Fort Wilderness any later, I would not have been able to drive the coach at all. It would not have been safe to drive.

Was this a bad cold, or was this the flu?

The Center for Disease Control identifies the flu this way:

Influenza (flu) can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Flu is different from a cold. Flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • muscle or body aches
  • headaches
  • fatigue (tiredness)
  • some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

Looks like the flu to me. Unfortunately Lorraine has it as well. She is about a day or so behind me and she is definitely not doing very well today.

We hit the road this morning to make our way to the SuperShow. Another short drive.

I am definitely on the mend and fully capable of operating the motorcoach although it will take another 3 to 4 days to really get over this bug. But I am alert and I can concentrate. The extreme fatigue is mostly gone as are the severe muscle aches.

I’ll need to take it easy. Lots of rest and plenty of fluids.

Looking forward to sharing the RV SuperShow on the blog. I hope that we will have decent cellular data at the grounds.

Wearing Out The Welcome Mat

They don’t keep count. “They” being either the Canadian or U.S. government. That is the perspective of some Canadian RVers when they are travelling into the United States. They don’t worry about overstaying in the States.

They should.

As of July 2019, phase III of the Entry/Exit Initiative was implemented and this is what it means:

CBP and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) are exchanging biographic data, travel documents, and other border crossing information collected from individuals traveling between the countries at land border ports of entry. This data exchange allows both governments to expand their situational border awareness so that the record of a traveler’s entry into one country can establish a record of exit from the other country.

Importantly, a coordinated Entry/Exit information system will help the U.S. and Canada identify persons who overstay their lawful period of admission; monitor the departure of persons subject to removal orders; and verify that residency requirements are being met by applicants for continued eligibility in immigration programs.

Both governments can and will identify travellers who overstay their lawful period of admission. One of many possible outcomes could included denied entry.

We count the days and I carry the data with me. In our coach and on my smartphone.

Some of the above data came from the i94 website. This U.S. government website will report on your travel history. Enter your name, date of birth and passport information and a table with your travel history will magically appear.

Border crossing between Canada and the United States was based largely on an honour system.

Not now.

Our governments are actively monitoring the movement of people when they cross the border.

Be careful with your days in the United States.

Someone is keeping count even if you are not.


Welcome Home!

Welcome home! Such a lovely greeting from the owner of Myakka River Motorcoach Resort. And this will be our home for the next six months until we return to Canada.

We stayed here last year and we connected with so many wonderful people that we knew we had to come back. Aside from the awesome community at Myakka, it is hard to beat the views from the front of our coach. We have a riverside lot and we enjoy awesome sunsets.

Our coach is nestled amongst the palm trees with an expansive site. Life does not get much better than this.

We decided to arrive a few days earlier than planned and we skipped our stay at Bay Lake. It was a very long drive from Hilton Head Island Motorcoach Resort to Myakka. Part of the drive took us through the horrendous construction work that is ongoing on I-4 in Orlando. Not fun.

I will take a couple of days to rest and recover although I will be very busy in the woodshed preparing for several guitar dates in Florida and in Canada.

Nice to be back in shorts and t-shirts. Awesome to reconnect with our friends.

Here is a short video showing our arrival into Myakka.

Buffalo Creek Park and Trails

Hiking the great outdoors. We’ve enjoyed beautiful weather in this part of North Carolina and I really wanted to get outside and explore the area.

I’ve been spending most of my time inside the coach since we arrived at Lake Lure, North Carolina. This has been my office for the past week.

At the end of the month, I will be flying back to Canada to play lead guitar for a Christmas event in the Toronto area. I needed to get a bunch of Christmas tunes under my fingers before I fly out and this was the week to get it done. One more day of practice and I should have most of that concert memorized. Lots of guitar playing in Florida as well. My fingers are getting sore.

I’ll be on lead guitar with Paul Baloche. Here he is in a Christmas concert from 2017.

A few days back, the need to get outside continued to grow. Spending most of the day inside a coach practicing is tough to do when surrounded by such a beautiful area. Especially with the sun and mild temperatures.

Lorraine and I decided to hike Buffalo Creek.

Buffalo Creek park is situated on the slopes of Weed Patch Mountain near Lake Lure. The park covers over 1,500 acres and includes a variety of hiking trails. We opted for the main loop trail which is roughly 4 miles in length from the trailhead and back. Although you might see some wording at the trailhead suggesting that the hike is easy to moderate, it is definitely an intermediate level hike. The trail gains almost 1,000 feet in elevation and it took us almost 3 hours to complete the hike.

A few images to share. The trail is in a deeply wooded area and, given the time of year, offered some beautiful fall colours.