Monday, October 14, 2013

First RV Show

It would take the week to see all the RVs at the Annual RV Show in Pomona.  It would take a couple days just to see the Class A motorhomes.  Although the weather on Saturday was perfect for walking around a huge parking lot at the fairgrounds, I'm so glad we had narrowed down the diesel pusher coaches we wanted to check out.  Even with the focused plan we covered more ground than Bill's back and my legs were happy about.  If we go next year we'll be in much better shape!

We started at the vendor tent but it was dark and hot and wasn't very welcoming.  I wanted to get information on solar systems for the RV.  In the first few booths there were three solar vendors but two of them were for residential systems.  What?  That was just weird.  The last one we saw did have the information I was looking for but we just took a pamphlet after checking out the portable unit they had on display.  Without knowing our options for solar on a new coach we aren't ready to talk with anyone about after market roof panels.  I was disappointed that there were no inflatable boats or recumbent bike vendors and I just wanted to get outside after only 5 minutes. 

Once we got our bearings among the hundreds of different "islands" of RVs we headed for the Itasca and Allegro area.  They were both Mike Thompson sites and were side by side.  Sweet.  Of course our third coach to view was a Newmar and they were at the exact opposite side of the grounds.  Oh well.

The Itasca coach we wanted to see was the Meridian 34B and it looked like one right inside the entrance, but when we told the salesman what we were looking for he took us down another row just to realize it was in fact the one back at the front.  It was a sign of things to come as no one seemed to know where anything was most of the day.  The Meridian is huge!  It was like standing next to a cruise ship and my first thought was "I'm not driving that anywhere!"  On the inside however it was crowded in the living area.  It is a beautiful coach with all the must-haves and nice neutral amenities.  But the couch is inches from the kitchen peninsula and is just a bad design.  In fact, there is more separation when the slides are in!  King bed and hookups for washer and dryer by the closet, but no ceiling fan over the bed.  Top of the line black out shades and a nice fold up table on the passenger seat, but that couch set up just ruined the whole area for me.  Aaron was very knowledgeable and I would want to work with him if we end up at that dealer.

Allegro was "next door" so we went in search of our next choice - the Allegro 33aa.  Again the salesman took us to a couple coaches before finding the right one but in all fairness they were packed in there only inches apart and many of them looked nearly the same on the outside.  Not sure why they didn't have signs on them but I'm sure there is a logical sales reason.... :-).  This was the coach I was most anxious to see and was thinking it was the best choice for us.  I wasn't disappointed.  It was not intimidating on the outside and felt twice as big on the inside.  Perfect.  Two things better on the Meridian - basement storage and dash screen size.  Bill will want to be sure there really is an auxillary audio port and that we can add the drawer in the basement of the Allegro.  I would have bought the one we were in right there. Although not from the salesman who I had to correct twice on coach specs and who was way too pushy for my comfort. 

After waiting 20 minutes to get our bbq chicken to share for lunch we rushed to the seminar tent.  Three people had told us three places to find the tent but Bill found it on the brochure map and we got there just after it started.  Unfortunately they were showcasing the Allegro Bus and NOT the 33aa as advertised in all of the show material including the schedule posted outside the tent.  Bummer.  There was good information on the technology and suspension and other important areas but it was all about the wrong coach.  So we sat down in the back and shared our chicken which was really good then headed back out.

I wanted to check out a couple of the big 5'ers because so many full timers rave about the space and storage compared to motorhomes.  We only looked at three of them but I wouldn't have taken any of them.  Claustrophobic bedrooms, inaccessible bathrooms, unnecessary cathedral ceilings in the living area.  No thanks.  Bill reminded me that I wouldn't be able to make him a sandwich while he's driving and of course that was the most important reason why a 5'er would not work for us.  Of course.

After a quick pit stop (fancy porta pottys but not nearly enough locations in a show this size) we made our way to the Newmar area to see the Ventana LE 3433.  I had it on the list because it's our size and I've heard great things about their Comfort Drive system that makes the coach easy to drive.  Ugly coach.  Few things turn me off in a motorhome like gaudy details and this coach had just enough fake columns and cabinet legs to sour me.  There is no king bed option and the refrigerator was way too small.  Nope, I don't care how nice it is to drive, I wouldn't want to live in it.

So what did the show do for us?  The first thing is it confirmed that if we pulled the trigger today we would get the 33aa.  The 2014 only has two small changes from the 2013 and they are both in the bedroom.  We don't care which side of the cabinet the tv is on but we do want the ceiling fan that only comes in the 2014.  So we know which unit and which year.  The second thing is that 2015 seems even farther away now! 

We are just that much more committed to make this happen.

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