RV Rally Tips for Newbies
So you’ve gotten yourself an RV, or at least you’re interested in the possibilities offered by RV ownership. What’s next?
One of the best ways to gain a quick feel for the lifestyle is to attend your first RV rally. One of the best ones (if you ask us) is the Florida RV Supershow Rally held in January or February each year at the State Fairgrounds in Tampa. The Supershow is a huge event on 26 acres, featuring over 1500 RVs. This is a very popular rally and the huge camping area fills up quickly with RVers ready to roam the massive event. If that’s a little much, there are many other smaller gatherings, with something happening in Florida just about every week. Here are some quick tips for your first RV rally, whether it’s a big gathering that lasts a week, or a quick get-together for a couple of days.
What Goes On at a Rally?
Regardless of size, every rally is an opportunity to have your questions answered. If you brought your RV to the rally, the guy parked next to you will likely be happy to explain the nuances of equipment, maintenance and offer tips to get the most out of your rig. It’s not necessary to load up and roll out with your RV for this first foray, though. If you haven’t gotten an RV yet, this trip can be a chance to look into things. Most rallies are welcoming to visitors who just want to walk in and look around. When you’re walking in, there are always more than a few owners who are willing to let you tour their RV and answer questions about what it’s like to spend an extended amount of time on the road.
There are also usually gatherings for picnics and games, seminars, demonstrations of equipment and accessories and sometimes even live music and dancing.
Prepare Ahead of Time!
You’re going to want to have at least a few meals with minimum hassle, because you’re going to be busy, probably tired from walking and possibly in a hurry between events. One way to do that is to prepare them ahead of time and freeze them for reheating later. It’s a good idea to start the RV refrigerator and freezer a day or two ahead of time, so they have plenty of time to get cold before you take off. This will minimize the use of energy once you’re on the road. As part of this approach, make sure your food is frozen or chilled prior to stocking it into the RV.
Make sure your bedding is stocked, cleaning supplies and toiletries are on board, lube and chemicals for the vehicle are included, air in the spare tire, safety equipment is on board, food and dishes in the cupboard (don’t forget the silverware!) and the water tanks are filled.
Study the maps of RV parking spots, learn where various events or classes are taking place, and get an idea of what you’d like to see or do on which days of the rally. With a rudimentary itinerary in hand, you can maximize the time spent on things you want to do, and minimize walking, waiting and other activities you don’t want to do. Make sure to include some time for rest and meals. Make sure to get proper sleep so you don’t get there exhausted.
Check the weather and make sure to bring appropriate attire and any necessary accessories like slickers or umbrellas. Make certain to include medications, pet food, phone chargers, manuals or guidebooks, and other accessories and equipment that will make your time on the road more pleasant and less stressful.
These Are Real People
No matter how well you plan, research or imagine what to expect, the reality will likely be different than anything you have dreamed without actually attending. You will quickly find that RV folks are a cross section of the general population. There are going to be bullies, know-it-alls and every other kind of irritating boor you can expect to meet at other public gatherings. However, there are also many people that are amazingly generous, kind and understanding, regardless of their economic, political or religious background.
The lesson is to be understanding yourself and accept the fact that, as in so much of life, it takes all kinds to make a vibrant community. Before long you’ll be the one that’s offering advice, giving tours and showing the ropes to the new RV owner parked in the space next to you!