John Beckman said he lived on a sailboat for five years in Port of Los Angeles but realized he needed to return to dry ground and moved to Waxahachie.
The lifestyle, he said, was not conducive to raising a family that now consists of three children ages 4 to 8.
“There is just not enough room for all those diapers,” Beckman said.
Beckman made his first appearance Friday at the annual East Texas Boat and RV Show at Maude Cobb Convention and Activity Center in Longview to promote and sell trauma care products, including bandages.
“I wanted to spend more time with the boating community,” said Beckman, who represented First Response Survival Gear. “We mainly do gun shows.”
He was among many vendors who included recreational vehicle and boat dealers, an insurance company, a credit union and a spa seller.
The show, which is conducted by the Longview Chamber of Commerce and has been going on for about 40 years, drew both would-be buyers and people who were just looking around.
RVs were on display inside the building and in the parking lot.
“We are looking to buy a motor home, and we wanted to see them in person,” Teresa Windham of Lake O’ the Pines said. She and her husband, Terry, said they attended the show for the first time and thought they would feel less pressure than if they went to a dealership.
The Windhams, who have owned a travel trailer, said they were willing to pay as much as $100,000 for a motor home so they can travel with their two daughters throughout the country for the next two years.
By contrast, Andrew and Abbi Splawn of Whitehouse said they were just looking around and getting ideas. They said they own a 24-foot cabin cruiser.
“We like fifth wheels: the space, separate bedrooms and the storage,” Andrew Splawn said.
The Splawns and other couples had opportunities to meet with dealers such as Tyler RV Center and Avalon Pontoons.
Tyler RV Center saleswoman Lynn Florence said her dealership’s RVs have undergone extreme weather testing and range in size from 18 to 44 feet. They include amenities such as outdoor kitchens, refrigerators and microwaves that run on propane and bowls, beds and leash holders for dogs.
Buyers include young families and “a lot of retired folks,” Florence said.
They are the same target market for boats, said John Cornelius, a Houston resident and manufacturer’s representative for Avalon Pontoons. He said the boats range in size from 20 to 25 feet in length and are intended for use in lakes and bays.
“It’s a family boat, for sure,” he said.
Families with young children took a breather Friday by visiting an adjoining room with two bounce houses and an inflatable basketball hoop game, courtesy of Space Walk of Longview.
Jonathan and Michael Ann Pickenpaugh of Hallsville dropped by to allow daughters Jolee, 4, and Elliott, 2, play in a bounce house.
“They have been well behaved, so we thought we’d given them a break,” the dad said. He said they came to the show because he was looking to buy an RV.
“We have been tent camping and cabin camping,” he said.