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Southeast (Gulf Coast), Texas, United States

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Florida RV Super Show – Days 1 & 2

We left the state park fairly early on Wednesday, and drove over to the Florida Fairgrounds and got our rigs set up in the rally area.  Because we were early, we got good sites close to the gate to the show.

Here is a picture of our setup.  Mark and Sue’s rig is directly behind us…… you can see the rear of it in the second picture:

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After we got set up, we had to take care of some problems.  Our Honda had been leaking radiator coolant  since we left Victoria, and was really bad on the cold nights.  I suspected a crack in the plastic bottom that opened up with the contraction of the cold.  We first took it to a local radiator shop, and when we got there, it looked like a homeless hangout!!!  The guy put a pressure pump on it, but it would only get up to 10 lbs…… and the radiator cap is rated for 16!!!  It did not produce any sign of a leak!  I then found a Pep Boys, and after trying to buy my own pump which would have cost $100, the parts guy suggested letting the service area put it on a rack and pump it up with a “good” pump.  I managed to get in right away, and within 20 minutes, we found the leak.  It was in the fitting where the transmission cooling line enters the radiator.  The test costs $35, and they wanted almost $400 for a new radiator with installation.

I had gotten on the internet earlier in morning to find a replacement, since the local Honda dealer wanted $390 (with out installation)!!  I found one for $122, but did not have an address to send it to.  It turned out that the company had a local distributorship in Tampa and that within 45 minutes of giving them a credit card number, I could pick it up at the distributor.  I told the salesman that I wanted to determine the source of the leak and that I would get back with him. 

While still in the Pep Boys parking lot, I called the guy back and ordered the radiator.  Patsy and I then went by a Wal-Mart for supplies and returned to the fairgrounds to have lunch.  After lunch, I drove over to the distributor to pick up my new radiator (about 15 miles), and returned to the fairgrounds with it.  I checked it and it was a perfect match.  We wanted to spend some time at the show, so I put off changing it out until Thursday.

Mark and Sue had their own problems.  When they left Lake Charles, Sue’s mother had been in the hospital and had just been released.  On Tuesday, she found out that she was not doing real well, so they got her a plane ticket back to Lake Charles, and Mark took her to the Tampa airport while we did the radiator leak check!!


In addition Mark’s rear furnace was not working and it is the one that supplies heat to the water tanks.  After we both got back to the rally area, we went with Mark to find a service technician booth at the rally.  He found a guy in a booth, and he came out on Wednesday night to get serial numbers to make sure he had parts.  On Thursday, he came back and repaired the heater!

On Thursday morning, we went to the show area and looked at the exhibits and vendor booths.  While we were walking around, we bumped into Vi and LJ Verderber, who are in our Lone Star Allegro RV Club in Houston.  They are looking to get a custom RV, like a Newell or Prevost.  Here are some pictures of them in a Prevost shell:

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Vi said they were buying a fixer-upper.  Patsy and I spotted them later negotiating with a salesman.   I remember our recent purchase of the Bus, and I wish them luck!!

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As we walked around the exhibits, I took a few pictures:

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Around 2:00PM, Patsy and I returned to the Bus.  I started taking the old radiator out of the Honda, and had it mostly lose and ready to come out when Mark returned.  He started to help me, and we had the new one in by about 3:30PM.  So, most of our problems are fixed……. for now!

On Thursday night, Mark went to eat at a Cuban Restaurant with his cousin that lives near Tampa.  Patsy and I went to the Rally evening entertainment.  While Patsy left our seats to get something to drink, she saw our friends, Wayne and Nancy Milne.  We first met the Milne’s in Alaska on our summer ‘05 trip, and have run into them several times since.  The last was at the Tiffin factory in Oct ‘09 (See the Oct 24 Blog Posting).  We had a couple of extra seats up front, so they jointed us.

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The entertainer was George Raab, who sang classic Rock & Roll and Country songs.  After the entertainment, they had a door prize drawing with about 100 winners…… none of us were among them!  Here are some photos of the entertainer and the hall:

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Tomorrow, we will go back to the show area.  This is a big RV show!!

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