For the second year in a row we have gone to the Chicago Boat and RV Show, but this was the first year as an RV owner. The funny thing is, after seeing this year’s offerings, I feel like had we gone to the show for the first time this year, we probably wouldn’t have ended up buying an RV.
There were some very, very nice rigs at the show to be sure, but most of the ones that made me say “wow!” were ones I don’t think we would have considered as first time buyers, especially first-time buyers interested in the recreation part of an RV as opposed to buyers who had plans to live full-time in an RV. Now, if full-timing were on the table, I think there would be some possibilities. In fact, some of them blew my house away in terms of wow-inspiring features.
The new trend with fifth wheelers is to use the front, raised part as a living room instead of the traditional floorplans which place the bedroom in the front. The front living rooms were big, wide-open spaces with recliners and cozy fireplaces. One could easily forget their home was on wheels while sitting in there. I know, it sounds cheesy, right? But, I promise, they didn’t look cheesy at all – or maybe I have been drinking the RV kool-aid and don’t recognize RV cheesiness anymore?! Someone offer me some validation here. Please?
Another trend I saw was kitchens that are so wide, they have islands! Features like that would make me want to trade my house in for a fifth wheel. Ok, maybe not. But I’ve always wanted an island in my kitchen! Oh, pretty kitchen.
But the thing I found most surprising is that the two brands that got our attention last year — the Earthbound and the Ever-lite (which we ended up buying) — were noticeably absent this year. I remember last year, for days, possibly weeks, after the show I read and re-read the brochures, visited the websites and looked for online owners forums for both brands and actually visualized myself in one of those trailers. They were so different from everything else at the show, you couldn’t help but set them apart in your memory. As much as those fancy kitchens and large living rooms made me go “wow!” this year, I don’t remember any of the brands that offered those features because there were several. They were nice, but not unique.
It seems the reason the two brands were absent is because the dealership that had them both on display last year (the same dealership we bought from) is phasing them out of inventory. I guess their uniqueness hasn’t motivated too many others to buy the way it did us.
This year’s show did get me to dreaming about something I never thought I’d dream of, though: a pontoon boat 🙂 Brian has long said that if he were to get a boat, it would likely be a pontoon since they are basically a floating party. To me, they didn’t scream “party boat” as much as they screamed, “I’m taking a break from shuffleboard to cruise around on the water for a bit, but I better be home in time to watch Matlock.” But the old pontoons have gotten major facelifts. This one even had a bar and barstools!
We were pretty close to buying this one, but only because I almost broke it 😉 You see that grey thing sticking out of the counter on the left side of the bottom picture? I think maybe it was its resemblance to the pump on my salad spinner, because without thinking, I tried pumping it by pushing down on it really hard. Turns out, that salad spinner plays music! Some might call it a pop-up speaker, but whatever. No harm, no foul. We left with the musical salad spinner still intact and I don’t have to change my name to the Boater on the Run.