The Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel & Convention Center is very nice, and it makes for a pleasant weekend for us. The hotel costs are more than we would normally pay, but since it is attached to the convention center where the RV show is held, we splurge a little. Of course, we don't have a need for a rental car and never go outside, so that helps.
Our seminar room was great and had 90 chairs. On Saturday, we had to go fetch another dozen or so chairs and we still had people standing in the back of the room. Our turnout each day was fantastic, and we met so many wonderful folks. We also had a few of our prior Rally attendees that were wearing RV-Dreams shirts and hats - that was a very nice gesture.
We schedule our seminars so there is an hour in between, but by the time folks finish with their questions, we often have to move right into the next seminar. On Saturdays, we're "on" from the time we arrive at 10:30 a.m. until we leave around 6:30 p.m. or so. It's fun, but also exhausting.
Now, this year we have been going through the shows and checking things out more than the prior years. We look for anything new or that stands out, and we're contemplating possibly going with a Class C motorhome in a few years. In our ideas of our future RVing life (who knows when), we're thinking about making a couple of laps around the U.S. in something much smaller, and we're trying to see what we can find in the 22 - 26-foot range that we might consider suitable.
Sometimes, when looking at RVs, you can have too much knowledge about them. :) But we'll keep looking - there's certainly no hurry.
We did see some different RV appliances that have been out for a little while (we just hadn't seen them).
Some manufacturers are putting in a Furrion gas oven/range that looks much nicer than the old standard Amana/Magic Chef ovens. And it's my understanding the 2018 models can ignite the pilot from a knob rather than requiring bending over and sticking your head in the oven to light the pilot. There is also a digital temperature reading. In doing a little research, I haven't found many reviews on this oven, so it will be interesting as they get more use over the years.
We also saw our first 2118 Norcold PolarMax refrigerator. At 18 cu ft, it's the largest "RV" refrigerator (runs on propane or electric) out there. When we saw it, we assumed it was a residential fridge, but then we noticed it was a dual power model and were impressed with the size. But it's also extremely expensive.
In some quick internet searches, I didn't find many stellar reviews on this refrigerator, but it does seem that folks have had one of two common issues: 1) mis-aligned doors causing varying temperatures inside the unit depending on whether the doors close and seal or not when parking in a new spot, and 2) when running on propane, people are finding that the igniter is either too close to or too far away from the burner, and when this is adjusted it seems to work fine.
We saw those appliances in a couple of Grand Design Solitudes. The Solitude 375RES is quite an interesting design with a raised living room in the back allowing for massive storage space underneath. We really liked the design - it was different. The kitchen and living area and storage were wonderful while the bedroom was okay.
The problem with the particular model we saw was that it only had 1,650 pounds of cargo carrying capacity so, for a full-timer, it would quickly be overloaded, especially with all that extra storage space. The base model shows a cargo carrying capacity of 2,300 (based on average unloaded vehicle weight). You just have to be careful about the weight of added options. We did hear that they have been known to add a third axle to some of these for additional capacity.
This show is was not a huge show, but it had much more variety in the types of RVs than we've seen at other shows.
Anyway, it worked out perfectly and we didn't freeze. It was in the 40s on Monday when we left, and our Uber got us to the airport in plenty of time. There was a lot of rain and potential for storms, but our flight left on time.
We were glad to be back in our little refuge by around 2:30 in the afternoon. The sun was shining, and our batteries were fully charged.
In going over some of our expenses from the weekend, we noticed that the hotel over-charged us, so I had to spend a little time on the phone. Marriott customer service said there was nothing they could do even though I had a confirmation letter from them with the pricing, but I got in touch with the hotel through Facebook and they fixed the problem.
Our host, John, came by and wanted to know if I wanted to join him to hit a few golf balls at a driving range. I hadn't swung a club since September, so I was certainly up for seeing how rusty I was. Pretty rusty, but not as bad as I thought.
As always, it's good to be home. :)