Entries in RVing Year1 (35)

Thursday
Sep142006

Our First FMCA Convention

Someday we want to move up to a larger RV as we plan to go on the road for 3-6 months at a time once Tom retires.  For longer trips we really need more space in the bedroom and we’d like a tag axle coach (6 rear tires vs 4).  The extra tires provides a smoother ride and allows us to carry more stuff - safely. Most likely we’d would get a 42’ or 45’ coach - today we have a 40’.  The extra length - and extra slide in the bedroom would satisfy our space needs for sure. 

Like most RVers we are always looking at new or different coaches and last month we attended the largest RV show we have ever seen.  The FMCA convention in Charlotte, NC.  FMCA sponsors 2 conventions a year and since Charlotte is only live 3 hours from our home we could not skip this one.  Only problem is - the show is mid-week vs. weekends so Tom had to use a couple vacation days.

FMCA Charlotte.JPGWe heard stories that FMCA shows are huge — and wow - it was just incredible. Over 3K owners brought their coaches and parked onsite.  The RV dealers and manufacturers brought 1K+ new coaches for the exhibits.

I snatched this pic from the FMCA website.  This is a good example of what it looks like to park at the convention.  If you can imagine - several large fields of coaches setup just like this.  Amazing.

Walking through the exhibit coaches was fun but getting there was exhausting.  You need good walking shoes and a 20 year old body.  I had the shoes.  They had several golf carts, trolley cars, buses to help you get to the exhibits locations - thank the Lord. 

We did not stay onsite.  I considered it as it sure would be convenient, but they offer limited electric sites.  I knew without electricity we would be sitting in a field of RVs with generators running over several days.  That did not appeal to us.  Instead we stayed at Dan Nicholas County park in Salisbury, NC - 35 miles from the convention.  A bit of a drive - but it worked out OK.   There was a huge thunderstorm one night and we heard some of the RV parking areas @ the convention flooded.  Rumor has it one was swept into a creek.  Good Lord.

Here are a few pics of our site @ Dan Nicholas.  201966-469042-thumbnail.jpg A nice campground - though getting into this site took some maneuvering.  That Tom, he is getting pretty good at parking this monster - huh?  he he.  201966-469102-thumbnail.jpgLook at those trees. 

This assigned site was a reservation mess-up.  But since we spent most of our time @ the convention - we just stayed put.  You can read my entire review of this campground here.

We spent the nights @ Dan Nicholas and our days drooling over the 2007 Mountain Aire.  Well we did look at many other coaches - but returned to this one often.  We first saw this coach in Wilmington, NC.  And lucky for us we were able to see the exact floorplan we would choose - a 3 slide coach. Some pics below.

201966-469173-thumbnail.jpgMost RVers prefer 4 slides - and that is predominately what you can get today.  We are odd balls i guess. 201966-469175-thumbnail.jpgWe don’t want a slide to intrude on our patio area.   This coach has 2 slides in the bedroom and night stands around the King bed.  Plenty of room and 1 slide in the front living area.  The only issues we had - the bathroom vanity is too low, it does not have a tub, and the outside TV is not in the right spot and we would want a euro recliner and table on the patio side vs. a sofa.  The Newmar rep said they could fix all of these things.  Overall we were quite pleased with Newmar and their willingness to make changes to the coach if we ordered one. 201966-469194-thumbnail.jpgOur current  manufacturer, Tiffin Motorhomes, will not do this even on their higher end units. *sigh*  Sure wish Tiffin would be more flexible - because we love our Bus and are happy with the quality and the company. 

While it was wonderful to see this coach and we would love to own one - 201966-469197-thumbnail.jpgit’s just not the right time for us.  Geez — our Bus is only 1 year old.  It’s just a baby and Tom has several more years until he retires.   So - it remains a dream for now.  But it was sure fun looking and we will keep watch over what manufacturers do in the years to come.   

Friday
Sep012006

Summer RV Trip - Part 5 (Lake Hartwell)

Tom and i made the 5 hour trek from Hilton Head to Lake Hartwell with no major problems.  We stayed 2 nights at Twin Lakes - one of the 9 Corp. of Engineer (COE) campgrounds on this huge lake.  Four of the CGs are in Georgia and the rest are in South Carolina. This one is close to Clemson and Seneca, SC.

twin lakes site 22.jpg

I found this place browsing the RV.NET forum and was thrilled to learn their website included pictures of every site.  Here we are parked in site 22. Not the best time of day for this pic — or maybe it’s operator error; probably the later. *sigh*  Regardless - i included it for RVers who might stop by - they’ll appreciate seeing the site size.

Once again we are in awe of what COE CGs offer.  Spacious campsites, lots of trees, and fabulous views.  Getting a site right on the water is such a treat. Tom loves it - i love it. This lake had a lot more boat traffic than the last COE CG (Goose Point in Virginia) especially jet skis, but everyone starts to wind down at the end of the day..so cocktail time was quiet.  Drunk.

summer trip tom  lake hartwell.jpg

I love this picture of Tom enjoying the view.  Sure wish i had more to share about this place, but i don’t.  This is where i had the bike accident.  We spent more time @ the emergency room than the campsite - *double sigh* - so i leave you with this final picture -  our view.

summer trip lake hartwell view.jpg  

Fellow RVers, be sure to checkout their interactive maps for pics of all the sites at all 9 CGs here

That’s it for the Summer RV Trip reports.  We did make one last stop - the Outdoor Motorcoach Resort @ Lake Toxaway, NC, however, due to my accident we did not do much - nor did i get many pictures.  Which is a real shame because the drive to/from this place was something — steep grades and some really hairy turns.  I did add a review of that CG (ok resort) - so if interested, checkout this link to read it and see a picture of our site.

Happy Labor Day to all — we are spending it @ Willow Tree RV Resort in Longs, SC.