Sunday, January 16, 2011

2011 Chicago Boat, RV & Outdoors Show

On Saturday Heather, Malia and I went out to McCormick place for the 2011 Chicago Boat, RV & Outdoors Show. Paul, Connie and Brianna wanted to take the train and bus in, just for fun, so they met up with us a little later. Can I just say that despite the number of times we've been to events at McCormick, it never ceases to amaze me how immense the place is, (2.6 million sq. ft of exhibit halls and 600,000 sq. ft. of meeting rooms, for those interested).

We knew we only had 3 hours, so we headed straight to the RV's first. The Airstream booth was the first stop, not that we intend to buy an Airstream, since they mainly make trailers, and we won't be towing a trailer around. Airstreams are just cool as hell, both inside and out. For those not familiar with the name, these are the classic looking trailers that are basically a stainless steel Twinkie on the outside. Well, they have very sleek modern styling on the inside as well, not at all like most other trailer interiors. I was also pleasantly surprised by the prices on them, as I always thought they were way more expensive, since these babies really hold their value.

We wandered around a bit more until Breezy, Paul & Connie showed up. The center of the hall had this nice area of activities for the kids and it was all free. Breezy got to try catch-and-release fishing in a pool, climbed a cool rope jungle gym and bounced around on an inflatable slide.

Then is was off to the Dock Dogs competition. This is where trained dogs run along a dock and then leap into the air off the end of the dock, as high as they can, in an attempt to reach a toy, finally landing with a great splash into a pool. I had seen this on tv before, but never in real life and I have to say it was pretty impressive. The dogs we saw jumped as high as 6 feet 6 inches off the dock. These dogs are quick, and after several failed attempts, this is the best shot we could get of the leapin' labs.

They had several boat restoration companies on hand with some really amazing examples of completed projects as well as pre-restored Chris Crafts that showed just how much work they must put into these fantastic restorations. Some of these boats were sunk or rotting away in a barn someplace but now they are flawless. I would actually be too afraid to put these beauties on the water. 
We also saw a few incredible yachts that I'm not even posting pics of because they just didn't do justice, but if you're interested, Google "Formula 45 Yacht".

Lastly, we got back to the RV's. We looked through tons of them and, I must say, we had it in our minds that we were going to have to go with a Class C to live in full time and that hasn't changed after going to the show. Just for fun, we did look at a lot of Class A and the bus-type motorhomes, but we found them to be not a whole lot larger in the interior then the Class Cs. This is actually a blessing, since they cost at least twice as much as a Class C and I had this fear that we'd go into some Class As and fall in love, but thankfully not. On top of all that, how I would drive something 50 feet long is something I don't ever hope to contend with. The RV we really loved is called the Forester. It's 31 feet long and has a back bedroom for us and a hallway with bunkbeds for the girls. 

That's all for now, but believe it or not, next Sunday, we're going to the Lake County Camping & RV show as well. I'm looking forward to this one too, since it's all RV's & no boats. We're also talking about hitting one last RV show in March at Rosemont. 

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