Gathering at Islamorada Restaurant in Tampa, Florida during the 2020 Tampa RV Show was a huge success. What an amazing mini-rally we enjoyed on January 17 and 18, 2020! There were 18 LTVs – Unity, Serenity and Wonder – boondocking behind the restaurant, plus 50 in attendance at the event. See all the pictures below to enjoy the story.
At 5:30, we commenced our cocktail Flamingle hour and some of our members recovered Flo, our mascot, who had disappeared in the lake in Jacksonville over a year ago. She returned with much glee and was part of our evening festivities again!
Dinner included great appetizers provided by the Chapter: fish dip, veggie tray, shrimp, crab cakes, and lots of camaraderie, followed by a dinner of steak, chicken, salads, pasta, or fish. Our members enjoyed every morsel.
Names of members were selected and questions began from Chapter-Elect Brian Duffy – answer the question correctly, and receive one of two bagged gifts. One of the questions was, “What was the total weight of the catch at Cabo Island?” When the member had no clue what he was talking about, Chapter Leader Karen Semmelman stood on the chair to point to the picture helping with the answer.
The member answered 1,750 pounds, with a good bit of prodding from the other members! The prize was TSD drop-in toilet tabs. Other gifts included a 12-volt crockpot, flexible hose adapters, a collapsible washbowl, small levelers, glasses cases, LTV cutting boards, LTV hats, and small item bags.
The guest speakers were Jennifer and Mike Wendland, who are well-known in the RV world and who own a Unity. The Wendland’s provided lots of fun information and a stimulating talk.
1. How They Began as Bloggers
Mike was working for NBC as a reporter flying in and out of different destinations all over the world. Jennifer was a producer. They both decided it was time to slow down and take time to see North America. They starting RVing by purchasing a Roadtrek Class B camper van, traveling slowly around the US and Canada shooting videos and interviewing people along the way. Their blog consisted of conversations about many different models of RVs, not just Roadtreks.
When Roadtrek went out of business, the Wendland’s decided it was time to look for a new RV and they chose a Leisure Travel Van.
2. Lithium Batteries
Mike is very interested in boondocking and upgrading his RV, so a natural transition for him was to upgrade his LTV van from AGM batteries to Battleborn lithium batteries. He had lithium batteries in his old Roadtrek and loved them. Mike feels that LTV will eventually embrace lithium batteries.
3. Ford Transit 350 Cutaway Chassis 2020
Some information about the new 2020 Ford Transit was discussed, including:
- Twin-turbocharged 3.5L EcoBoost engine
- 10-speed automatic transmission
- HID headlamps
- SYNC 3 navigation system
- TPMS & lane-keeping system
- GVWR 11,000 lbs
- Post-collision braking
- Forward collision warning
4. Winter RV Camping
The Wendland’s enjoyed winter RV camping in their Roadtrek, and have continued the tradition with their LTV. They invite their blog followers each year to winter RV camp with them on the Michigan Upper Peninsula. The state park employees plow out parking spaces for the group to park in. The park provides parking and electricity, but no water.
RVers carry in water, food, snowshoes, winter clothing, and pink antifreeze for their toilets. Mike told us that their LTV van was nice and warm using the RV furnace, that the lithium batteries worked great, and that a good time was had by all who attended.
5. Anytime Fitness
Both Jennifer and Mike belong to Anytime Fitness. With 24/7 access to more than 4,700 locations worldwide, they can always find a convenient gym with private showers. Jennifer is very into working out on the road while traveling in their RV, and she also tries to keep Mike active by having him work out at the gym. As Mike says, “You gotta keep Mom happy,” and Jennifer is the happiest when she has time to exercise.
Saturday morning’s entertainment was one of the members leaving the Rally on a tow truck… someone said they heard she had a flat tire!