RV travel and camping are receiving a timely boost with the debut of NBC’s Great American Road Trip, the reality TV show showcasing the adventures of seven families traveling in motorhomes on a cross-country road trip.
“This is tremendous exposure for the RV industry coming at a time when American families are focused on summer travel,” said Gary LaBella, RVIA vice president and chief marketing officer, in a news release following the show’s debut Tuesday night (July 7). “The message of the show reflects the appeal of RVing…that families reconnect and recharge as they spend time together traveling.”
Airing on NBC on Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. EDT, the Great American Road Trip is a new series where seven families from divergent backgrounds take the vacation of a lifetime. Over eight episodes the families will travel iconic Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles in their own motorhome through cities large and small, all while competing in a medley of humorous challenges that will ultimately lead one family to victory.
El Monte RV, a national RV rental company, provided the motorhomes used in the Great American Road Trip. The units are Bounder type A motorhomes built by Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. RVIA’s Public Relations Department worked with the program’s producers on content and messaging.
“The premier really had some nice moments, including the beautiful sights seen from the RV and family and friends bonding at the campground,” said LaBella. “We’re hopeful this continues throughout the remainder of the show and grateful to El Monte for making this wonderful exposure possible. The series has the potential to make millions more American families aware of the benefits of RV travel and camping this summer and beyond.”
Editor’s Note: Travel writer Keith Bennett posted this recent story in the Denver RV Travel Examiner about RV travel in Colorado.
If you drive a motorhome with a towed vehicle and wish to enter Colorado state parks, you will have to pay the $8/day entrance fee on both “motorized” vehicles for a total of $16/day to get in. If you drive a vehicle with a trailer or fifth-wheel in tow, you will only be charged $8/day. We were told this is the policy across all Colorado state parks.
This policy has upset many RVers who visit Colorado and has been an issue on Internet forums going back to 2007. Comments range from not staying in Colorado state parks to, as long as the money goes to the state parks, then it is OK. Most commenters were upset at the perceived unfairness between motorhomes with toads and the rest of the camping visitors.
We decided to check and see if anything has happened in the last two years to change this policy. We called the Denver administrative office at (303) 866-3437 and posed our question to determine the future of this policy. We were told that the State Parks Division has looked into this and “intends” to make some changes sometime in the future. The changes would be an ID pass for the motorhome and entrance pass for the toad.
When pressed as to the timing of a new policy, we were told that it has to go before the state legislature and that it would not happen until next session, at the earliest. That would be fall of 2009 or nothing for this year’s season. The person went on to say that each park has its own manager and that if it was a real issue to plead ones case to the park manager for an exception. When asked if park managers have the authority to grant exception, the parks representative was very quick to back pedal and say, “I don’t want to speak for park managers, but they are managing their park…it’s worth asking, but if they are adhering strictly to the rules, any motorized vehicle does require a pass to be on the windshield. I’m just giving you the official word.”
With the state’s budget issues, as a result of the economy, I am not optimistic for a change in this revenue generator. On the other hand, these are challenging times for all of us and I would hope that groups like CTO (Colorado Tourism Office) would jump in and press the need to have “happy customers” when the competition for the tourism dollar has just gone way up.