Wednesday, October 15, 2014

New Friends and a New Contender - Pomona RV Show

The annual RV show at the L.A. County Fairgrounds in Pomona is a great place to check out every kind of trailer, 5'er, motorhome, camper, van and assorted other recreational vehicles. Add all the memberships, gadgets, tours and vacation packages, and it's easy to see why this nine-day show draws a huge crowd. 

This was our second year and there were some similarities and, as expected, some differences in our experiences:

Last Year                                     This Year
failed to take a single picture                 failed to take a single picture

large selection                                      large selection

large variety                                         large variety

hot with little shade                               hot and smoggy with little shade

poor signage                                         poor signage and really bad maps

looked at two booths in tent                   looked at every booth in tent

bought nothing in tent                           bought nothing in tent

Bill's knees hurt all day                          Bill has new knees!

poor restroom placement                       poor restroom placement

clean, well-equipped restrooms              clean, well-equipped restrooms

t-shirt: spoke to no one                         Steelers jersey: everybody's best friend

long lines at food/drink trucks                moderate lines at food/drink trucks

pre-paid for entrance fee                       cash only at gate (WTH???)

poor experience w/Tiffin seminar            worse experience with Tiffin seminar

poorly trained Tiffin show-salesperson    poorly trained Tiffin show-salesperson

looked at three specific coaches             looked at one specific coach

absolutely buying the Allegro 33aa         might buy the Thor Tuscany XTE 34ST

bought no rig at the show                      bought no rig at the show

went by ourselves and came home         met and had dinner with new friends

Every thing considered, this year was a better experience than last, and we're very glad we went.

Although Tiffin customer service is probably the best in the industry, they have not figured out how to do trade shows. Both years we planned our arrival around the published seminar schedule - planning both years to start with Tiffin. Last year we went to see the seminar on the 33aa, but they covered the Allegro Bus instead. No explanation for the change, just did something different. This year we went to see Bob Tiffin's seminar on the Powerglide Chassis. Changed location at the time the seminar was supposed to start, then never did the seminar. Again, no explanation, just blew off those who came to see it.

If you're wearing a Tiffin shirt you should know more about your rig than I do - or at least as much as I do. Enough said.

Taking precious space from a small bathroom, and leaving no space to move between the wall and the bed, to add a pull-out pantry beside the refrigerator, was a bad design choice. And one that moves the 2015 Allegro 33aa off the top of our list.

On our way to check out the Thor Palazzo we stopped to enjoy the A/C in a Thor Tuscany. Great lay-out but it was a 36-footer and bigger than we want. I remembered that I liked their smaller model online, so after getting cooled-off we found the 34ST. And fell in love - again. Never made it to a Palazzo.

Probably the thing we least liked about the 33aa (before the new pantry fiasco) is the high price. So now we're looking at a rig that lists for more. We're so bad at this :-)

We continue to look at 2013-2014 33aa's, but the 34ST is definitely a contender. And yes, Bob Tiffin's "blow-off" is a contributing factor.

So we came away with a new rig on the top of the list - but better yet, we came away with two new friends! Rene of R&R On the Road and I are friends on RVillage and Facebook, and read each others blogs - but of course we'd never actually met each other! The other R is her husband Ron, and Rene and I made plans many weeks ago for the four of us to meet up at the RV show. We met to introduce ourselves in the middle of the day, and then continued our individual coverage of the show. They plan to buy a toy-hauler-5'er, and although they've decided on the Voltage 3600, there were lots of other models to check out. Knowing we would have lots in common, Rene had already found a great place to meet for dinner that evening.

Eureka! is a small, very popular, venue in the college town of Claremont. The food and craft beer were tasty, the service delightful, and, as expected, the company was great :-) We have more in common than just RVing, including their being high-school sweethearts as well! The conversation was only interrupted by laughter - and making our way through the great meal.

Thanks to Rene for making sure we got a pic!

All too soon it was time for us to head home, and them to return to their hotel, so we parted with hugs and handshakes and promises to stay in touch. And most definitely plans to meet up out on the road!

There are many reasons to attend an RV show, even if you are sure you know what rig you're going to buy. Whether you confirm that decision, or see something that changes your mind, it's worth the time to go. For us it was also a good opportunity to meet friends from out of town.

And, if you want every stranger at the show to say hey, and a dozen of them to stop and talk to you - wear a Steelers jersey :-)


  1. What fun for two reasons. What fun to meet friends we have lots in common with and what fun to go to an RV show.

  2. What a great day! The changes in seminars usually like at the hands of the RV show organisers not the companies.

    Something to keep in mind: Tiffin's reputation as a Top Four in Quality motorhome....Thor....not, Tiffin's service is excellent. If it were me, I'd look at more of the Tiffins. Just my opinion, you know.

    1. Could have certainly been a mix up by the organizers, but Tiffin could have bothered to explain or acknowledge the inconvenience. I do worry about the Thor service being less reliable than Tiffin, and that is a big reason to keep looking at them! Just not the 2015 model :-(

  3. Just LOVE RV shows! And your list was terrific. But why are you not giving Winnebagos a whirl and considering a new rig. We did both and couldn't be happier. Winnebago tech support is fabulous. Call them about anything anytime and they know everything or that's been our experience. We know lots of Tiffin owners and they seem to be going back to Red Bay all the time.

    1. We like the new Winnebago Forte except for the small bedroom, and the Journey is beautiful but just too huge on the outside with a tight living space inside. Looking back at the show I'm mad I didn't get in one of the new retro Braves - they had already sold one of the three on the first day!

    2. oops - Forza! So many names to remember :-)

  4. That is a good, large RV show...we too went a couple of years before we hit the road! Too bad Tiffin is messing with your dream coach! And I'm glad to hear you found another you liked. No RV is perfect, but as long as you find one that hits most of your buttons you'll be just fine!

    So cool that you got to meet up with new RV's such a great lifestyle and blogging really helps with community!

  5. It's such a different experience from shopping on line or even visiting multiple dealers - there are just so many different RVs out there now!
    It really was fun to meet folks who share the dream, and have the face-to-face time. It is funny to hear someone you've just met reference something about you - Bill kept looking at me like "Oh yeah, she reads the blog!"

  6. It took us seven years visiting the Hershey RV show to find what we wanted. Try to a new year old model. Sure makes a big price difference and it is still new!! That's what we did and we haven't any regrets:)

    How neat to meet blogger friends in person:)

    1. Agree finding an older year new coach would be ideal - especially now that we don't like the changes in the new year :-( There are only 2 showing up on RVTrader, but I keep looking on multiple sites!

  7. Hey, we also met Ron & Rene. Great couple! I know we'll see them out on the road one day. (Rene, if you see this, your candle sits on my dresser :-) Always fun to see the models. Don't you hate it when the updates are less than desirable? You'll find the one that makes your heart skip, don't worry!

    1. I should have asked her! You were practically neighbors :-) Yes! Always makes me wonder where they got the idea - not from someone who ever used the bathroom in this case!
      It's out there, right?!

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    3. Debbie-it was fun visiting with you and Steve. Too bad I didn't think of a photo... I'm glad you're enjoying the candle :-)

  8. Jodee-it sure was a bonus to meet you and Bill! I had given Ron a few small bits of info about you from the blog so he had a little heads up. He prefers to read CNN in the morning and I prefer to read blogs relating to RV travel. You know what they say-opposites attract :-)
    Yes, we will definitely be seeing you both on the road! Perhaps you'll make it up here on your maiden voyage.

  9. I loved this post. You make me feel so normal now, changing my mind so often about what kind of rig might be best for me...we have our RV show here in Boston in January, and I can't wait. That's great you were able to meet up with your friend in person. Isn't it funny how sometimes you can meet someone after having talked online for a while and it's like you've known them for a long time??