Sunday, September 14, 2014

Hershey RV Show!

I now appreciate the Hershey RV Show in a whole new light - thanks to RVing "newbies" Linda & Dave and Kimberly & Jon. Not even sure they technically fit the term of "RV noobs" because they are just checking out the lifestyle. These two couples are friends from different parts of our lives, but we connected for this weekend together thru interest in the RV Show.
The reasons that these couples are interested in RVing is slightly different, but revolves around family.
Kimberly and Jon have a young family of three boys, and want to take them on the road for an extended RoadTrip out West - a few weeks to maybe a month. After that the possibilities of weekends in state parks looks inviting.
For Linda and Dave, the want a place to make their two soon-to-be teen sons comfortable while they travel and see new places together. One of their sons has health challenges, so being able to have a place of familiarity and that can be modified to meet his needs is important.
We met up at Hershey Park Camping Resort - formerly known as Hershey Highmeadow. This campground is perfect if you want to hit Hershey Park, Giant Center, or one of the many other attractions in the area.
For our "adults with no kids" weekend, Linda and Dave had booked a cabin, and Kimberly and Jon bunked with us in RoadAbode. After each couple got situated, we went out to grab a bite and sample the brews of Tröegs Brewery.
If you are in the Hershey area - GO! Tröegs offers a variety of in-house brewed beers, some which are only available seasonally. They have been in their current location in Hershey since the fall of 2011. The brewery originally started in Harrisburg. Self-guided tours are available daily during regular business hours. Though the beers are great, and the tour impressive, what really got us was the food. Though only listed as having a "snack bar", this brewery's food menu is something not to miss. Items like smoked lamb sausage, cod and potato cake on Pullman bread, and the wonderfully tasty tröegswurst feature ingredients that are fresh and local. Make sure to check out their specials for a treat for your taste buds. If you are not sure what to drink - check with the wandering tasting room barbacks and servers for a great pairing. Or, try a sampler to find a Tröegs brew that is a true taste fit for you.
Saturday we hit the RV show full force. We started by consuming a great egg and spinach scramble (with homemade biscuits)  that Amy created. Rather than all squash into RoadAbode, we sat on the picnic bench of Linda and Dave's cabin porch. (nicely appointed cabin!) Then we headed to the front of the campground for the shuttle to the RV Show. The shuttle was the local school's "Cheese Bus", which was perfectly fine for our short trip. Once at the RV show, we dove right in. Since our guest couples were trying to get a handle on what is available, we looked at everything. From classic Airstreams to fifth wheels - million dollar rigs to  pop-ups. Normally Amy and I would confine ourselves to motor-homes, with a passing interest in other units. But we wanted to be sure our friends got to to see the differences, and assess themselves the pros and cons for their particular needs, of features available on different camping units.
For ourselves, even when  not in the market to purchase an RV, it's interesting to see the latest "do-dads" available, and dream what would work, or could be incorporated into RoadAbode. Some of the features we have built into RoadAbode over the past ten years are items we saw first at an RV Show. It was fun checking out some of the trailers and fifthwheels we usually don't go into. The Class B motorhomes on Mercedes chassis were nicely appointed but too tight for me.For the hugh Class A motorhomes I just can't comprehend why it seems the higher the price of a motorhome, the less people it can sleep! Even our lunch was on the go from the food carts in the venue, although my crabcake sandwich was pretty good for $8 bucks. We headed to the Giant Center to check out campground booths and accessories. After checking out the indoor wares, Linda and Dave headed back to their cabin for a "nap", so we were down to four for the afternoon. We spent a good part of the afternoon looking at various trailer manufactures. Jon already has a truck capable of towing, so a trailer could be viable solution for their travels. One issue was checking out a unit that would be usable with slides in when just stopping in a truck-stop or Walmart for a few hours sleep.
One of the Class C manufacturers I was keenly interested in, Nexus RV, ended up being a disapointment. A "direct to buyer" manufacturer, I had been excited about the included amenities and price points this small factory was hitting. On paper (and in videos) the build quality looked great for the price. However, once we actually got to be inside units, we began to see problems. Even Jon was pointing out defects in finish, and quality of materials. Unless I see other results in the next few years, they will no longer be on my "short list". Happily, Jayco, and Winnebago stay on that list  - and now Thor may be included. All had floor plans that I'd like to see more of in the future. My favorite Class C is the 31E Bunkhouse Chateau (more comfortable sleeping for guests) also an available sister model by Fourwinds -  with sliding wood door (take notes Jayco, those sliding fabric things are flimsy!) to close off the bunks from the back bedroom. Loved the two door central bath as well! Also available in a "Super C" Ford 550 diesel, which gives more pulling power.
In a Class A, I enjoyed the room found in the Winnebago Vista 35B, Similarly laid out to the Fourwinds C class, but with an additional toilet area. Pocket doors  to close off the bunks from the back bedroom and living area as well!
With all the features and possibilities swimming in our head, we headed back to the Hershey Camping Resort and then out to dinner to Applebees. It seems from the conversations the RV "noobs" were hooked! They may not be buying in the next week, or month, but RVing is definitely on their radar.
After dinner, Jon and Kimberly said their goodbyes, and headed back homeward to their boys.
The four left had a fun spirited game of Quiddler (a word-making card game), and then off to bed.
Sunday - We readied to go, then went to Bob Evans for a hearty breakfast. Linda and Dave decided to go back to the RV show to check out areas they hadn't gotten to, and we headed for home. Great weekend!