One of the things we look forward to during our stay in Bonita Springs is a trip over to the Tampa RV show. We visited the show for the first time two years ago and this will now be our second trip. Even though the show is about 130 miles to our north we enjoy going because we also have good friends who winter at a very nice park in Cortez just south of Tampa.
As we did the last time we planned to spend the night at our friends, Mike and BJ's, RV. Friday morning the weather was quite unsettled but we opted to go ahead with our plans since the forecast was for a nasty storm line to pass through quickly and clear out by the time we got to Tampa. The evening before our trip Sharon baked Mike's favorite oatmeal pecan raisin "mookies" and we made sure to pack the tickets our friends (Jerry, Janice, Jeri and Terry) gave us after their trip to the show on Thursday. This was really nice of them since it saved us $9.00 per person to enter the show. Thanks again you guys for the tickets!
The drive up was a bit nerve wracking as we passed through one squall line after another. We did finally arrive at our rendezvous point where we met up with Mike and BJ. From there we all went to the show together and by the time we arrived at the RV Show the weather was great again as it warmed up nicely.
Why do we go to this RV show? Well definitely not to buy another RV. In fact, during the whole day we spent there we only looked briefly at the new Tiffins curious to see any new innovations. We really didn’t see anything new and novel deciding once again we are quite happy with ours.
The main reasons to attend the show to us were to enjoy the company of our friends and to score some discounted camping for our travel route out of Florida. We always leave Florida in February and that month is one of the most expensive with even the cheaper parks charging $50 per night or more! Finding some discounted camping sure helps the old budget especially since the stock market is beating up our nest egg!
We were able to find some good camping deals we will hopefully be able to take advantage of. We also found some nice 'freebies' such as caps, visors and Koozies. Sharon even got a nice little string backpack and I got a cool beer bottle opener shaped as a palm tree. It was very entertaining to walk through the show with our friends sharing our finds while enjoying the costumed volunteers mingling through the crowd to entertain.
We were all pretty tired after walking through the entire show and Mike suggested we stop for some wine tasting nearby. Unbeknowst to us he took us over to meet some of their friends, Tammy and Roger, who had their RV at the the fairgrounds just outside the show. With some wonderful snacks, seemingly endless wine and some great conversation filled with laughter we finally said our goodbyes to make the drive back to Cortez. It’s always nice to meet new friends!
After spending the night in Cortez and before heading back to Bonita Springs Mike and BJ took us to one of their favorite little spots on Anna Marie Island called the Rod and Reel Pier. What a scenic and fun place it was for lunch and a beer! The bar/restaurant surrounded by fishermen outside sits on the end of the pier. We had some fantastic tile fish and chowder for lunch while chatting with other patrons at the bar. On the way back to Cortez we stopped to walk through an arts and crafts fair. Finally back at BJ and Mike's we said our farewells, left Cortez and arrived home a few hours later. What a great two days we had visiting our friends, making new ones and attending the Tampa RV show…