One for the Money, Two for the Show

A few weeks ago, we made our third annual family outing to the Treasure Valley RV Show. Unlike the annual RV show in Hershey, PA, said to be the largest such show in America, where rumor has it you could spend two or three days and still not see everything, our local show is a bit more modest. Still, we found plenty to pique our interest.

When we went to our first show in 2009, we had never been to an RV show before, and I think we experienced a bit of sensory overload. We saw all sorts of RVs, but at that time we still had our tent trailer and were not yet sure what kind of RV might be in our future.

Our second show last year seemed a bit of a letdown after our initial experience. The economic slowdown took its toll on the show. There seemed to be fewer RVs to see, and none of them really spoke to us.

Despite that experience, we decided to return for the 2011 edition. And we found plenty to see.

One of the highlights was an Open Range fifth-wheel with its own patio. Mere words cannot describe it and do it any judgment, so you need to see it for yourself. The model we saw was the H345MPR, and Open Range has a virtual tour of the floorplan. (Click on virtual tour to see it.)

Although we agreed it was not a practical floorplan for many of the places we like to go, the Open Range did do two things for us, I think. It showed us more clearly than any other rig we had looked at to that point just how much of a home a fifth-wheel could be. It also showed us more than past rigs we looked at the potential of a toy hauler as a future home.

For those not familiar with toy haulers, they have a garage area at the back of the trailer that can be used to transports such toys as bicycles, motorcycles, ATVs, and so on. Most have a bed or two that lowers from the ceiling for additional sleeping once you set up camp, and some also have a table area that can convert to a bed.

The excitement after seeing the Over Range allowed us to see the rest of the show without feeling the fatigue we usually begin to feel about half-way through one of these shows. That was a good thing, as it turned out, because we ended up looking at more RVs than we had at either of the previous two shows.

Because there is a chance our son may have to come along for the ride, as it were, if we ever are able to live full-time in our RV, we’ve had several conversations about what our needs might be. Most of those have worked on the assumption of getting a rig with either bunk beds or a couch long enough for someone to sleep on.

At the RV show, however, we decided to consider a different approach – a separate smaller trailer for our son, something to give both him and us a bit more privacy. So this year we looked at a number of smaller trailers.

One of the models that intrigued me the most was the r-pod RP-175, an aerodynamic 18-foot travel trailer (including hitch) that was compact yet had the necessary features for a person to be comfortable – a small kitchen, a couch, and a roomy bed with an overhead entertainment center that allowed watching TV from bed or anywhere else in the trailer. The r-pod website has one virtual tour available featuring a sister floorplan, the RP-177.

We looked at several smaller trailers then toured a few motorhomes, which did not impress. What they did do was perhaps help us move a little closer to the type of rig we will want to full-time in.

After that, still remembering the Open Range model we had toured, I was ready to see a few more toy haulers. To my mind, at least, it turned out to be a case of saving the best for last,

The last rig we toured was the Voltage V3200, perhaps the most residential feeling toy hauler we’ve seen aside from the Open Range unit we had seen. The use of wood in the kitchen cabinets and the bedroom and the rounded corners in several spots softened the industrial look and feel many toy haulers have.

We saw plenty and went home with plenty to think about and talk about and feeling sated – at least until next year’s show.