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A Day at the RVIA Show — Part 1

Tuesday morning saw an early departure from home for the 130 mile drive south on I-65 to the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, KY for the 49th Annual RV Trade Show. Despite a 30 minute delay north of the Ohio River due to the I-64 bridge west of Louisville being closed for the past 3 months, I managed to arrive just before 10am.

Since it was my first time at the event, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. After several attempts to register, I finally found the press room where us “media types” had to check in. After signing in, I was told that I had some info to get in my mailbox. “My what?” Apparently all the media types had their own mail slot filled with press releases, company info, and even a 1GB flash drive from the fine folks at Go RVing.

I grabbed my mail and off I went. I soon found an area where I could look at the map they provided so I could coordinate a plan of attack for the day. After looking at the map, I wondered if 7 hours there would be long enough. My first part of the plan would be to just walk the entire show to get a feel for where everyone was. Just when I thought I had seen everything on my first walk through, a new wing popped up with either a whole big section of RVs or a wing of suppliers hawking their goods.

After awhile, the stack of stuff from my mailbox was starting to become a hassle to carry along with my trusty Nikon D-40.  My mission soon turned from figuring out the layout of the show to finding a booth that was giving away free bags. I stopped by the booth of Denso Heavy Duty and they were kind enough to let me have not only one, but two of their bags for my growing stack of stuff. Now it was time to get serious!

Since I knew this would be my only day at the show and because I was there to find material for the blog, I focused on, obviously, small travel trailers. What I found from all the manufacturers in attendance is that there are a wide array of options across just about all income levels, whether it was the Airstream Sport 16′, which retails for nearly $40,000

to the lower end Jayco Swift SLX, which can be had for just over $9,000.

The majority of the trailers I went through had some nice, usable floor plans, along with various interior features that caught my eye. Then there were some trailers that I just liked because of their eye appeal. Here are some observations on trailers I liked for one reason or another:

–As mentioned a few weeks ago, the Gulf Stream Visa 17RWD didn’t disappoint when I saw it first hand. Good floor plan and that sleek exterior design:

The new Springdale Fireside: Not the most attractive trailer out there…

but the interior had this very nice looking rustic/log cabin look on the walls and cabinetry.

It was good to see Forest River has finally got a decent exterior package for the r-pod. What used to look like a circus trailer…

has now been upgraded to a nice cream base and a much more toned-down exterior scheme:

And since this post will likely be a little longer than usual and since it’s nearing 1:30am, I’m going to cut this post into two and continue over the weekend. I’ll return with some more that I liked, one that disappointed, and even my own personal “best of show”. Stay tuned!

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