Woodbury: RV Fever Evident at Hershey Show

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September 16, 2017 by   Comments Off on Woodbury: RV Fever Evident at Hershey Show

Chuck Woodberry

Editor’s Note: The following column by Chuck Woodbury, appearing in the latest edition of the newsletter, offers a look America’s Largest RV Show in Hershey, Pa., which is seeing a record gate.

The show opened yesterday. I awoke to rain pounding on my motorhome’s roof. I felt sorry for the show organizers. “They won’t set any attendance records today,” I said to Gail. Two hours later we arrived on the scene, and I could hardly believe my eyes: The place was packed! It looked like a Saturday crowd! But this was Tuesday and more rain threatened. How could this be?

Is RVing so popular these days that buyers are willing to attend a mostly outdoor show even in marginal weather? Apparently so: The opening day attendance topped last year’s record crowd by almost 10%! 

This scares me! With so many RVers already on the road, and practically no new campsites, where will we all stay?  

Who cares? Apparently not these would-be buyers, some of whom plan to live in their RV full time! They see the beautiful coaches here and fall in love, and as the wise among us know, love is blind.

Some of these rolling homes are as comfortable as a luxury hotel suite. They’re smaller than a traditional home, yes, but they have every convenience. With four or five slide outs, a bathroom (or two), washer-dryers, dishwashers, big screen TVs, heated floors, king size beds, built-in WiFi boosters … well, who couldn’t travel or live comfortably in one of these mobile mansions?

Some of the price tags aare incredibly appealing — much lower than a home with similar amenities. Why? Often, it’s irresistible financing terms. “Only $779 a month,” a sign on one RV notes, and a savings of $41,657 over the MSRP of $159,656 on another. That’s only half as much as our mortgage,” a couple might think. But read the fine print: After 10 percent down, at 4.99 percent APR, that monthly payment stretches for 20 years! That’s crazy — 20 years of payments, while the coach depreciates to practically zero at the end! Yet people get sucked into these deals. If they pay on time each month, in 20 years, they will have paid a whopping $186,741.

Still, there’s the dream, and what a powerful dream it is! You see it in the eyes of buyers: Sell the house, get rid of all their stuff, and head out to see America at their own pace, leaving responsibility and worries behind, in an incredibly comfortable, rolling condo. I bet in some cases their new RV is nicer than the home they left behind. 

All this said, if you’re looking for a new RV and can afford it without financing it for 20 years, get on over to the show this weekend if you’re close by, or plan to attend next year. It’s worth it. It’s Disneyland for RV buyers — 33 football fields of RVs. Plan to stay a few days. While you’re in the area, visit Hershey’s Chocolate World, and maybe sip a ch0colate beer or two at a local watering hole.

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