America’s RV enthusiasts seem to be sticking with their passion for the open road despite high gas prices and the down economy, though it hasn’t been without a few concessions along the way.
As reported by the Goshen News, such was the apparent consensus at Indiana’s Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds Friday (Aug. 19) afternoon, where approximately 300 members of the Passport America RV Rally were preparing to clear out after a week-long gathering.
According to Marvin Miller, a 30-year RV enthusiast from Goshen, while a majority of his friends and acquaintances in the RV community still have, and are using, their RVs, just how they’re choosing to use them has changed significantly over the past couple of years.
“Most of our friends have continued using them, but if anything they’ve probably downsized on the distance they drive compared to past years,” Miller said. “Also, when talking with a lot of entry level people, a lot of them are buying, but they’re probably not buying as expensive a unit as they may have in the past.”
Downsizing from a large unit to a smaller, more economical unit is also becoming a popular option among RVers, Miller said, adding that he and his wife, Janet, have had to make a few changes of their own to maintain the RV lifestyle they love.
“As a matter of fact, we had a large motorhome, and we went from a motorhome to a fifth-wheel trying to get a little bit better fuel mileage,” Miller said. “Other than that, for the most part we have probably just downscaled on the distance we travel. For example, rather than taking it to Arizona or Florida, now we’d probably just rent something down there for that period of time, and just stick to the shorter trips overall.”
The Goshen News reported that for RV enthusiast Diana Stone, however, the onset of the down economy and skyrocketing gas prices actually pushed her deeper into the RV lifestyle, rather than pulling her away from it.
Based out of Livingston, Texas, Stone has been a full time RVer for the past 10 years, and wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Being a full time RVer is considerably less expensive than if I owned a home and all that goes along with that,” Stone said. “I don’t pay taxes. I don’t pay any electricity. I don’t pay for water. Really all I pay for is about $50 a year for propane gas, and then the gas we use to travel.”
With a disabled husband and two pension plans devastated by the economic downturn, Stone said living anything other than an RV lifestyle just wouldn’t make sense for her in today’s economy.
“We basically just said we can’t do this anymore,” Stone said. “We considered moving into an apartment, but I nixed that right away. Then one day we saw this baby for sale, we bought her, and never looked back.”
Stone did admit that today’s high gas prices have played a role in reducing the scope of her travels, however.
“Now, instead of going lets say from Arizona to Washington to Illinois to New York down to Florida then back up to Missouri and then over to some place else, now we plan very carefully,” Stone said, “and we do very short increments.”
Even with the restricted travel plans, though, Stone said she can’t imagine giving up the lifestyle that has given her so much freedom and enjoyment over the years.
“The lifestyle is great!” Stone said. “You get to see the country, meet lots of great people. There’s just nothing better.”