The Rally

Veranda by Country Coach

Veranda by Country Coach

Next we went to The Rally, the biggest RV show in the country. RVers had completely filled the Balloon Fiesta grounds and all of the surrounding parks. They estimated 10,000 RVs had come into town for this event from all across the US and Canada. The Lujan building with the indoor vendors was jam packed with retirees not in any particular hurry to move anywhere. People were packed in there like sardines, all of the electric wheelchairs and such weren’t helping any. I don’t know what the max occupancy was for those buildings but I’m sure we were way over it. I’m never going to complain that those car and bike shows they have there are too crowded again.


Booths from parks all across America were there with their pamphlets and literature including my own Santa Fe Skies. The KOA out of Durango, CO is now privately owned Durango Riverside Resort & RV Park and they do have tent spots as well as cabins. I entered a drawing to win 2 free nights in a cabin, even if I don’t win I think that’ll be a great location to base a trip around. We could stay there and then do Mesa Verde one day and maybe the San Juan Skyway on another. I’ve been wanting to do that ride for as long as I’ve had the bike, it was rated in the top 5 motorcycle trips in the country in some magazine I read a few years ago.

I was amazed at how many parks I’ve stayed at had booths here and how welcoming the owners were when I talked to them about enjoying their towns. It was like running into old family you haven’t seen in years, we’d talk about places we’d been what we’d seen, it was like running into old family you haven’t seen in years.
I guess in a way us travelers are a lot like an extended family with our shared experiences and difficulties that others just cant relate to, like say trying to get a drivers license without having a physical address. Its also weird to think that I have more in common with 60-70 year olds who’ve thrown off their anchors to one place, sold their homes and hit the road full time than anyone my own age. It saddens me that many don’t ever get to see what our wonderful country has to offer the way we do and stay stuck in their 9-5 jobs and never go out and explore whats in their own back yards. If you can believe it, I’ve met people in Albuquerque who’ve never left the city limits and didn’t see any reason to ever go anywhere else.
Escalade 5th Wheel

Escalade 5th Wheel

I had fun, it was good to see what new designs and floor plans are popular now. I hadn’t kept up with the RV industry lately it was sad to see how the economy has really tore through the coach builders. Some had gone under, others have merged and some have broken up with the pieces being sold off. Not good, if you thought GM and Chrysler had it rough you haven’t seen anything. With all the uncertainty of who might be left standing in the next year or two companies are having to do some interesting things to move coaches. Instead of a manufacturers warranty they are instead bundling up your RV with an insurance policy against failures that works like a warranty. This way if your fridge breaks down in two years and the company you got your RV from doesn’t exist anymore you can still get it repaired. I don’t think any of the big car makers are going under any time soon but several brands are going to be getting the axe, this could be something they could try it seems to be working here.



I also noticed prices have come down quite a bit. The last time I came to this thing 4 or 5 years ago with my Dad there were many coaches we looked at with prices over a million. This time the most expensive one that had a price that I walked through was a mere $790,000 that’s almost affordable, heh. There was still plenty of over the top excesiveness to go around though. A new model from Country Coach to be available in 2010 had part of the wall fold down into a patio outside with huge sliding glass doors that retracted all the way back leaving a big open space, on top of that a big flat screen extended out of the wall so you could relax and watch TV outside. There was two more ginormous TVs inside the living room and another in the bedroom. If you’re into James Bond type gadgetry and have more money than brains this is what you need.

Everest 5th Wheel

Everest 5th Wheel

My favorite hands down, however, was a 5th wheel for $48K. It had a nice big living room and most importantly a desk next to the big screen TV. I didn’t care for the fake electric fireplace built in but it was a nice touch. It had a real gas oven and range the double fridge and one of the new convection oven/microwaves. None of the half million dollar ones had an oven, I guess if you can afford one you can afford to eat out every night. Overall I find 5th wheels are much more livable and suitable for fulltimers in general but I was suitably impressed by many of the coaches and how far they have come in terms of livability and usable space.

One word for the organizers, I overheard some of the vendors complaining rightfully that the thing was too spread out and they weren’t getting enough foot traffic outside. One guy said he thought 75% of the attendees were seniors and they cant be expected to walk such long distances. I have to admit that even at my sprightly young age of 31 after 5 hours of walking in my motorcycle boots my feet were killing me. I felt like I’d walked 20 miles and only saw 1/4 of it, if the adult sized electric tricycle’s they were renting weren’t so much per hour I would have gotten us some. I’d thought about maybe squeezing in the Albuquerque International Car Show that was also taking place in town this weekend and open much later but not after that. These boots were not made for walking.

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