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Monday, Dec 22, 2014
Steve Otto Columns

Otto: RV Show sings Siren song of the road

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Published:   |   Updated: January 15, 2014 at 05:38 AM

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I can hear them calling, but we're only going to have a look. If it starts getting out of hand, I've instructed the Frau to drag me out and shove me into the backseat and not stop until we're safely home.

Today is the opening day of the Florida RV SuperShow at the fairgrounds. You know it's a big one because it is (1) “Super,” and (2) because people actually pay money to go to an event where the object is to get you to spend money — lots of money.

If you read the ancient myths of Greece and Rome, you know the Sirens were allegedly beautiful women who sat on rocks without any clothes on, strumming lyres and luring sailors to their deaths.

In more modern times, the Sirens I'm talking about are usually men in leisure suits trying to entice you into sinking the family fortune into land yachts you don't need and can't afford known as RVs.

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To tell you the truth, I thought RVs had gone the way of the dinosaur a few years ago when gas went over two bucks a gallon, but they not only survived they are doing better than ever.

We've never owned an RV and don't plan to now, but it can't hurt to just go over and look around, can it?

We actually rented one years ago and drove it out West and up into the Dakotas. The Frau thought it would be a good way to demonstrate how much money we could save instead of staying at those expensive motels and lodges I liked.

I won't go into details; this is still a family newspaper, but the passengers in our 29-foot RV included our two boys (No. 3 was not yet in the picture), her parents and one hamster. How the dogs managed to get out of going, I don't know.

The configuration was that her folks got the only real bed in the back of the RV. The two boys got some deal you assembled at night out of the dining room table and the couches, while the Frau, the hamster and I slept in a storage bin above the front seats that was allegedly another bed for two.

The hamster slept in a cage up there with us, although that's when I learned that hamsters don't really sleep at night. They run around on those gadgets inside the cage.

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All in all it was a good time. There was that non-road to Chaco Canyon in New Mexico where everything fell out of every cabinet. And then we drove down that mountain in the snow out of Yellowstone where the driver's side (mine) actually hung out over a cliff into nothingness.

And of course there was that business with “black water'”and dumping sewage that I never quite got the hang of.

But hey, that was decades ago. Surely they've solved all that sewage business, and surely today's modern RVs get more than nine miles a gallon.

Not that it matters. There is no way we're going to do anything more than look.

But I can hear the lure of the Siren's song in the back of my head. She's singing the song of the American road. I just hope she isn't wearing a leisure suit when we swing by the fairgrounds.

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