Last week we spent a few days in the Tampa, FL area to attend the RV Super Show at the Florida State Fair Grounds.
It’s the largest RV show in the state. We spent our first night at another county park (they tend to be much less crowded and really great values) and then decided to stay in the fairgrounds parking lot the second night to give “boondocking” a try, too.
Boondocking, also known as dry camping, is living in the RV without any of the typical services we get when we stay at campgrounds. This means no electricity (or shore power), no water, no sewer hook-ups. Not so bad, though, since our motorhome (MH) has a 7kw generator on board to provide our own source of AC power, a 70 gal fresh water tank to provide us with water and an onboard “septic system” collectively referred to as a grey-water tank and a black-water tank (we’ll leave it to you to imagine which one is for what…).
We are hoping to boondock as much as possible on our excursion later this year so this was a good learning experience. We’ll need to learn to conserve our water better to extend the number of nights we can stay “off the grid”. A simple example is the use of paper plates rather than dishes just to cut down on water usage. And, rather than a parking lot, we are looking forward to being out in the wilderness.
We had a blast at the show and used it as a way to gain more knowledge about RVing as well as explore the various RVs on site and chat with the vendors selling stuff we didn’t even know we needed! We attended three seminars to learn about basic RV maintenance, weight balancing & tire safety, and extended & full time living in the MH. There is always more to learn and hearing from those that have been there / done that is so helpful.
Exploring the many (literally hundreds) different RVs was cool, too. Even though we really enjoyed checking out our show-favorite Newell coach with the gold leaf sinks, wine cooler and everything else you could imagine (it was show-priced at a mere $2 million), we came away feeling that we made the right decision since we really love the one we have! Reassuring to have that confirmation.
Finally, the people that we meet while RVing are so friendly. On our way back home, we pulled into a truck stop (can’t fit this thing into a regular gas station). While there, we met another RVer heading home from the Tampa show and got to talking. Turns out, they’ve spent the past four summers living in their MH (which is similar to ours). They said they’ve been all through the mountains out west with it while towing their car and had no issues climbing the mountains. That made us feel more hopeful that we’ll be able to go everywhere we want to once we get out west.