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Saturday, November 10, 2018

2018 Sarasota Pleasure-Way Rally

For the third year in a row we are attending the Pleasure-Way Rally at the Sun-N-Fun RV Resort in Sarasota, Florida. Here's our summary of the four day event.

Welcome Reception
Wine, Beer, Soft Drinks, and hors d'oeuvres awaited. Multiple drawings for prizes allowed people to get to know each other. Winners had to introduce themselves prior to picking a prize from a large assortment provided by Pleasure-Way. The tie dyed anniversary t-shirt was very popular.

Here's the obligatory group photo. The hall we used for seminars had a stage which really helped make everyone visible. Once again thanks are due to Beth for arranging everyone so I could click the shutter.

Seminars
Every day had at least one seminar.

Truma provided a detailed talk on how to maintain their AquaGo on-demand water heaters prior to a Q&A session.
Phil Nickel followed up with procedures for taking care of the older water heater systems.

Phil also ran a full seminar on Maintaining Your Pleasure-Way. As usual, Phil took names and visited any motorhome where owners wanted help or advice specific to their unit. Phil is a huge asset to Pleasure-Way and is why many of us have purchased multiple motorhomes from the company.



David then spent the rest of the day helping owners at their rigs and meeting demand for the Truma cleaning tablets.

Betty Lemley demonstrated microwave and convection cooking to a bring-your-own-chair crowd at her site.


Mercedes-Benz sent two representatives to give a briefing on the new plant in South Carolina along with the latest safety and convenience features that will eventually be available in 2019 models. A Q&A session provided owners with the current thinking on biodiesel, idle times, and service intervals. These guys were extremely helpful last year when we had problems with our Sprinter, following up with us to make sure everything was resolved.

The seminar hall was a little walk from the campground, but Harold  provided colorful transportation to anyone who asked.


Upgrades
Roger and Agathe flew in from Montreal to install their Rolef screen systems for owners that didn't yet have these. Rolef provides the factory option screens for current Pleasure-Way models.

We love our side door and back screens so much we purchased a pair of their slip-over front door window screens. They even have a zip-up privacy layer on the inside.



Roger demonstrated the proper method of rolling up the screens; roll up from the inside so there isn't any stress on the zippers.

2019 Motorhomes
Shane Coffey returned this year with new Pleasure-Way motorhomes from RV World. He and Chuck Kellogg from Pleasure-Way were busy showing of the latest features all four days of the rally.

At least one current owner upgraded to a 2019 and more than a few visitors to Sun-N-Fun were exposed to the brand.

Food and Fun
Sun-N-Fun opened their restaurant a week early just for us. Brunch and dinner was available every day and Pleasure-Way even sponsored one of the dinners. Bobbi, our PW Club East president, memorialized the "Branson Rooster Incident" by presenting Phil with a Rooster T-Shirt and a custom stitched Rooster hat made by Dwayne Stewart.

Lee Schmidt (left) and Bobbi Bergstrom


Recreation
Within Sun-N-Fun, there are miles of roads and sidewalks to walk or bicycle. A small lake has a path all the way around with appropriate warnings for alligators though we didn't see any. Tennis, pickleball, basketball, horseshoes, shuffleboard, swimming, a water slide, lawn bowling and an indoor fitness center were all available to help work off our meals. Scenery isn't anything special, but it is fun to see what motorhomes are visiting.

The vast majority of sites are occupied by "park models," which are really miniature mobile homes. Local regulations don't allow for full-time inhabitation, so owners have to leave for at least three months every year.

Looking to get out of the campground for a bit, we bicycled to The Celery Fields and the Audubon Nature Center. Here's the view from the top looking at Sun-N-Fun on the horizon. It isn't a former landfill (Mount Trashmore?), but a hill made from the earth obtained when scooping out flood control and water quality management ponds. There is also a Big Cat Habitat that we didn't visit though we heard a few roars from the top of the hill.

A visitor's center staffed by volunteers offered help on bird identification and good spots to bird watch. A boardwalk across the street extends into the wetlands where we saw a few waterbirds in the midday sun. Morning or evening would be the times to find more birds.


For a reading or wi-fi fix, the local library is just down Fruitville Road. This unique book sculpture out front casts quotes on the ground whenever the Florida sun is shining.

Another field trip, this time with friends, was for lunch at a huge amish buffet restaurant.  We learned that the ladies had an ulterior motive when we ended up at an adjacent quilt shop after lunch.

Closing
The time eventually came for everyone to bid goodbye on Sunday morning. Phil's better half joined us for breakfast before they headed off for a well deserved vacation.

Watching vans roll out, we noticed how many maps were posted on windows. Pleasure-Way owners don't let any grass grow under their tires.

We are looking forward to meeting up again in Big Timber Montana next Spring.

For lots more photos, click through to the 2018 Sarasota Album.

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