Our 2006 Inaugural Bus Trip Part 5

Our 2006 Inaugural Bus Trip Part 5  Sunday March 20, 2016

Here is post 5 from our 2006 inaugural bus trip:

Hello from Barstow CA.

Friday evening March 24, 2006. Fifth travelogue of this trip.

Well, we survived the FMCA trade show.  Our sales were OK, but we always hope for more.  We sold a bit over $2500.  The profit from those sales would probably pay for the cost of the booth ($700).  I guess we can rationalize that our sales are increasing at each show, but they need to be at least 4 times where we are now to break even.  Oh well, we are having fun and maybe the sales will come.

The show had 2800 motorhomes in attendance, which is down quite a bit from past shows.  We had two very strong competitors for two of our products, so that affected our sales as well.  I had hoped to sell more of my units, but I did have very good interest and several folks mentioned our product coverage and/or ad in the magazine.  As I toured the show, I think the next thing we need to work on is the appearance of the booth.  Nick, if you are reading this, I will really be picking your brain as we travel to Atlanta – fair warning.

The evening entertainment was great the two nights we went.  Debbie Reynolds still has a huge amount of talent at 73 and really belted out some great songs.  Last night Bobby Vinton wowed the audience.  He played several instruments and sang most of his hits.  He really knows how to work the audience.  Both were very fitting entertainers since the membership is heavily skewed towards the over 55 age group.

Speaking of members, the vast majority are driving at least mid range motorhomes ($400K) with probably 25 to 30% driving units that are over $500K.  They seem to us to be rather tight with their money.  One guy talked about his motorhome and trailer (with $250,000 show car in it) and would not buy a tire monitor system unless I paid the tax!  They are so different from the bus conversion folks, but we have to address that market somehow.

Today, I had the bus weighed by a special service that weighs each side of each axle to get the full picture of the tire and axle loading.  I had adjusted the axles of the bus (uses very special rubber springs that are adjustable) and it appears that I did a pretty good job.  None of the loads exceeded the ratings and everything was pretty well balanced.  The bus was loaded pretty much the way it will be most of the time and our total weight was 36,550 pounds.  And that does not include the Durango.

Pat had made reservations for tonight at what seems to be a great hot springs in Shoshone CA which is about 60 miles from our direct route to Las Vegas (sounds well worth the detour).  The campground is $20 per night and that include use of the hot springs.  We got started later than we wanted, and then ran into horrendous traffic getting out of the LA area.  We decided to park here for the evening (of course at a Wal Mart) and then go in tomorrow.  That will let us pull the huge climb up to Baker CA in the early morning.  The engine is running very cool, but the heat from the turbo is causing the air going into the engine to be warmer than I would like.  It is not a huge deal, but I want to keep the temperature as low as I can, and I will work on a solution when I get home.  I have a temporary solution I will rig up for our climb up the west side of Eisenhower tunnel.  If that is the worst problem I have, I will be tickled pink.  Things have been going so well, that it is scary.    

Shoshone is at the southern entrance to Death Valley.  We will tour a bit while we are there.  If the hot springs is what we think it will be, we will probably stay there several nights.  As you all know, Death Valley can be very hot in the summer, but right now, Shoshone weather suggests that it will be in the low 80s during the day and low 50s during the night.

From there we will stay a few days in Primm NV.  We both like that location since Pat can gamble, and I don’t have to endure all of the glitz of Las Vegas for too many days <grin>.

Today we made our reservations for the campground at the drag strip in Las Vegas for the big national event (April 6-9).  The campground area (no services) is located so that we can see the strip from a hill not too far from the bus.  I talked to a friend at Gates and they are going to comp Pat and I tickets for Sat. and Sunday plus admittance to the Gates hospitality suite.  It should be a ton of fun.  From there we will take a few days getting home.

I guess you can tell that we are getting close to the “slow motion” part of the trip and we CAN’T WAIT!!!

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