The Mid-America RV Show is to be held in Kansas City January 15-18, 2015. Karen and I are planning to attend and have been working on what we hope to learn from this year’s show.
The show is located at Bartle Hall Convention Center in downtown Kansas City. The show is advertised as the “largest consumer show in the Midwest dedicated to the RVing lifestyle and everything associated with it.” They expect 200 units to be on display along with the newest products and services on the market. Bartle Hall is named after one of our Mayors. H. Roe Bartle was a good guy. They named a Boy Scott camp after him near Osceola Missouri.
Parking is not an issue and it’s in a relatively safe part of town right off Interstate 35. We often walk to other destinations downtown from the parking area at Bartle Hall. We have attended the show before, however, this year is a special occasion. In the past we just walked around looking at the shiny rigs. Now that we are planning for a future in an RV, our interest in attending the show has special meaning. Our primary goal is to attempt, and we mean attempt, to identify the rig type for us such a motorhome or a fifth wheel. Selecting a brand to buy, size, floor plan and all the remaining decisions will come much later as we approach retirement.
A good suggestion I received was not to commit to a rig type until later in our planning as our wants and needs will most likely change. I’m open to confirm we made the right decision just before we actually buy a rig. So far we have developed a budget out of necessity as the expenses of fulltiming and rig purchase will influence our financial planning on an on-going basis.
Karen and I have discussed what we consider to be our type of travel, some call that a mission plan. We talked about what we wanted to get out of this year’s RV show. She was not sure other than knowing she did not want to eat lunch there. – She does have a way of making me slow down and smell the roses. For me, trying to decide between a fifth wheel and a motorhome would be a great achievement in planning. I’d like to not have made the decision, only years later to have purchased a rig and selling it a short time later at a loss. We are leaning towards going with the theory to “buy your third rig first.” Hopefully having years to plan will better prepare us for the actual purchase decision.
Here’s our goals for this year’s RV show:
- Not walking around aimlessly without a plan.
- Take a full day or two off from work to attend during the week.
- Our main goal for this years show is to decide if a fifth wheel or class A motorhome is best for us. We have already visited a larger dealership and attended the show in the past. We are keeping an open mind, knowing the decision could change in later years.
- If available, look at units from our research that appear to be the sturdiest for full-timing. And spend hours in two of them.
- Eat lunch somewhere other than the show – and wear comfortable shoes.
- Look at floor plans to get a sense of what we might be interested in while considering the pros and cons between a fifth wheel and class A.
- Another important goal would be to seek out information regarding RV construction methods important to fulltime living.
- Have fun.
- Take photos we can post on the blog should we see something others might find interesting. Update – should have left the camera at home. Maybe when we are closer to buying a rig it would have been worth hauling around. –
- I’d like to stop at a booth or two, time permitting, to find out about items like insurance, solar, navigation devises and such. But that’s not a priority. If we see anything interesting we will take a photo.
- Find out what $102,000 ($128,000 in 2019 dollars) would buy because that is our estimated budget.
- Be on the lookout for full-timers and listen to what they are saying.
Update – I printed a list of the rigs that were advertised to be at the show and studied up on the ones we were interesting in walking through. We went back to the show a second day and talked to every factory representative we could find. We are going to have to increase or budget should we plan to buy new. Most of the rigs we would initially consider were in the $60k to $70k range as of 2015. Add that to the cost of a new truck and we are about $10,000 over budget.
Knowing there is plenty of time to break our rig decisions down into smaller steps, it seems reasonable to focus on rig type at this point. And, as suggested, to stay open to changes.
What do you think? Here is a link to how the show actually went!